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A Nigerian Adventure With VS Upper Class And Arik  
User currently offlineogepma From UK - England, joined Jan 2011, 67 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 11686 times:

Introduction

After a rather stressful semester, it was time to head back home to Nigeria for the Christmas holiday and I couldn't have been happier! This time around, my trip was going to be incredibly short because word was going around of a proposed fuel price increase on New years day. This trip was also going to be different in the sense that I wasn't spending all of my holiday in Lagos. I wasn't too happy about this because I don't like flying within Nigeria. Despite the fact that I am currently training to be a pilot and the air safety standard in Nigeria has improved tremendously over the years, I still have a little phobia for flying within Nigeria. It's quite shameful but I have had it for a while (from my younger days when flying in Nigeria was questionable). Anyway it turned out to be an adventure I would remember for a while.

This time around, I wanted to relieve myself of a lot of stress by taking a bus direct to LHR. It was going to take 5 hours but I didn't mind. I loaded my new Iphone 4S with about 15 family guy episodes to keep me busy. I had bought my ticket before hand in order to get a cheap fare. I left my home early enough in order to catch the bus. Unfortunately, there was some misunderstanding with the information at the coach station and so I missed the bus. I was completely dampened by this and was confused at the same time. It even got worse when I was told that I will lose my ticket if I can't catch the bus at Chesterfield and that the next bus will get to LHR a few minutes after my flight takes off! I decided to go to Chesterfield with a cab but for the first time in a long time, the cab's number just didn't go through. It was really strange. Luckily, I was still early so I had to go with my last option: taking the train. It's always so stressful using the train to Heathrow. London St Pancreas is always very busy and the Piccadilly line is always very full. Getting to Paddington is a whole different story.

At the airport: London Heathrow Terminal 3 (EGLL)

After my little ordeal, I got to Heathrow a few minutes earlier than my bus would have albeit a lot more tired. I found my way to the Upper class check in stand where I saw a friend who was also going to be on my flight. Usually around this period, almost everyone travels back home to Nigeria. It is not unusual to meet so many people you know on your flight. Today was going to be no exception.

Check in was quick as the line was minimal. Once that was done I found my way to the clubhouse through the separate Upper class wing and security channel. This, in my opinion, is where VS is almost unrivalled at least in Business class. It was very quick and stress free. Once I arrived at the lounge, there was only one lounge attendant attending to a man and his huge family. He was a gold flying club member but was travelling in either premium economy or economy. He was trying to get everyone into the lounge and of course the lounge attendant was trying to politely tell him off. There was no argument but I thought it was annoying because it looked like he was aware that he was wrong but was just trying his luck. Another lounge attendant eventually came and checked me in. The lounge was not really full so I was able to find a good place to relax.

Clubhouse by ogepma, on Flickr

Clubhouse by ogepma, on Flickr

Immediately after I was settled, a nice lady came and took my order for food and drinks. I ordered a raspberry cocktail based on the advice of the lady and a plate of beef bourguignon. They were both lovely.

VS Special cocktail by ogepma, on Flickr

Beef bourguignon & VS Special cocktail by ogepma, on Flickr

The VS clubhouse is a really wonderful place. I am always very relaxed when I use it. The attendants are always very helpful and courteous and today was no exception. I saw a couple of friends in the lounge and hung out with them for a bit. Eventually, I went for some 'chocolate shopping'. Duty free at T3 is wonderful. There's so much to choose from. When I got back to the lounge, I topped up with more cocktails. The attendant who was serving me was very engaging. She knew a lot about the aviation industry and was clearly loving her job. Eventually, she told me that was her first day working for VS. I took some more pictures of the lounge before leaving to board my flight.


Clubhouse by ogepma, on Flickr

Clubhouse by ogepma, on Flickr

Thai International Airways Boeing 747-4D7 HS-TGP by ogepma, on Flickr

The flight
Route: London Heathrow (EGLL) to Lagos (DNMM)
Carrier: Virgin Atlantic Airways (VS)
Flight no: VS 651
Aircraft: Airbus A340-600
Registration: G-VSHY
Flight time: 6 hours

Once I arrived at the gate, pre boarding had commenced. Unfortunately, only one boarding bridge was used so there was a long queue. A few friends were at the gate waiting to board so I caught up with them. When we got into the aircraft, we parted ways to our respective seats. I was seated in seat 14k. I find this seat to be the best. It is easier to look out of the window, it is closer to the engines (which I weirdly like) but not to close to the bar and it does not feel clustered. I was greeted by a friendly stewardess and was offered some champagne. The flight was going to depart on time which was very surprising. Usually, a passenger either gets lost or has to be off-loaded off the flight. This meant we were going to arrive at Lagos quite early.

GQ by ogepma, on Flickr

Safety Video by ogepma, on Flickr

Soon after the doors were closed, we began our lengthy taxi to runway 27R. Once we arrived at the runway, we immediately lined up and all four RR Trent 500 engines were set to full power. Take off was very smooth.


Take off from LHR by ogepma, on Flickr

Once the seat belt sign was turned off, service started. I noticed that VS had changed the presentation of the meals with some new china. It looked a lot more classy so I only hoped the meals would be better too. Firstly, a small bowl of olives or crisps were distributed. I opted for the olives and they were lovely.


Olives by ogepma, on Flickr

Meanwhile, I decided to watch some Family Guy episodes and was relieved to see new episodes had been uploaded. The IFE screen was not really clear. It seemed as if there was an oil spill that was not taken care off on time; like dried oil on it. It didn't really bother me though.


family guy! by ogepma, on Flickr


Menu by ogepma, on Flickr

Menu by ogepma, on Flickr

Drinks! by ogepma, on Flickr

Bread selection by ogepma, on Flickr

The menu looked quite appetizing. However, the menus on my past VS flights have always looked good but the final product was never anything to write home about. Today, I was hoping that would not be the case especially since meals in economy were getting an upgrade. I decided to start with some King Prawns.


Starter by ogepma, on Flickr

Starter by ogepma, on Flickr

I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty the starter was. The prawns were of very high quality and the sauce too was top notch! It seemed VS had upgraded Upper class meals too!


Entrée by ogepma, on Flickr

Entrée by ogepma, on Flickr

For the entrée, I decided to go with the grilled fillet of beef. It was cooked to perfection. I couldn't believe I was enjoying such wonderful meal on a VS flight. Definitely a step in the right direction.

Cheese plate by ogepma, on Flickr

Pudding by ogepma, on Flickr

Cheese and desert by ogepma, on Flickr

As if the meal service could not get any better, cheese and desert plates followed next. They were wonderful! The desert was a warm sticky tuffy pudding served with fresh cream. At the time these came, I was full but I had to force them down to my tummy. I didn't regret it.

After my wonderful food feast. I decided to lay down as I was very tired. I watched Horrible bosses during the meal service and I really enjoyed it. I tried watching the Hangover 2 but slept off in the process. Before sleeping, I took a few pictures of the cabin


Bar by ogepma, on Flickr


Cabin with the lights off by ogepma, on Flickr

The rest of the flight went by pretty fast and before I knew it, the FA's had commenced the breakfast service. I had told the lovely FA serving me to wake me up for breakfast. I chose the hot option which was a traditional English breakfast. It was really nice.


Breakfast by ogepma, on Flickr

I was honestly surprised at how much VS J food had changed since I last flew them just over four months ago. This was a true upper class service. It was even better (service wise) than my EK F experience in July last year.


Cabin by ogepma, on Flickr


IMG_7863 by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_7866 by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_7867 by ogepma, on Flickr

Once we arrived in LOS, I made sure I left the aircraft first as I wanted to be in front of the immigration queue. When I got there, they were all frowning and moaning. It was so funny because that was the first flight to arrive that day. The air conditioning system broke down so the baggage hall was very much like hell! I was still happy to be back home though.

The flight was wonderful. I could not really fault anything. The crew were very nice and pleasant. Not the best I have experienced on VS but they were more than adequate. The highlight for me was the food. I wasn't expecting anything fancy at all so it took me by surprise. Kudos to VS for actually listening to feedback.

The following day, I had to travel to Enugu state in eastern Nigeria. This is my home state and most Christmas holidays, the whole family reunites there. I hadn't visited in a while and I was actually dreading it solely because of the flight. First of all, I was using Arik Air. I had assumed that they had renovated the General Aviation terminal at LOS since they are the only major airline using it however, as I had come to discover later, it was in a much worse state. Secondly, my undying phobia for flying in Nigeria was still moderately present. The security situation at home heightened it a bit.

At the airport: Lagos Murtala Mohammed Airport General Aviation Terminal (DNMM)

I arrived at the airport 55 minutes before the supposed departure time of my flight due to some extremely annoying and frustrating traffic (popularly known in Lagos as "go-slow"). Check in was to close 45 minutes before departure and the airport was in total chaos. I didn't know where to go and there were so many touts in the terminal building. It was just so disorganized. I still cannot understand why Arik still decides to use this small disgusting terminal when a world class one sits next door. It's completely appalling. Fearing that I would actually miss the flight, I had to make use of one of the touts. He was standing closer to the front of the line so I gave him my booking ref. and suitcase. I obviously had to watch him throughout. I requested a window seat and luckily, I was able to get one. Once he was able to get the boarding pass, I had to rush in order to go through security. By the time I got to the departure hall, it was completely full. That day, almost all the flights were heavily delayed and mine was no exception. I found my way to the 'VIP' lounge were you pay about ₦500 ($3.15) to use it. I was lucky to find a seat in the lounge. I kept waiting for an announcement on at least the status of my flight. About an hour past and I heard nothing. I asked around and they assured me the flight had not left. I was really getting worried after 2 hours and not even an announcement of a delay. Eventually, after almost 3 hours, they causally announced the departure of our flight without apologizing which I thought was ridiculous. To add insult to injury, the bus took all of us to an aircraft flying to Calabar, another Nigerian city. An airport employee had to run across the tarmac in order to get us to our aircraft. We had to walk across the tarmac to the aircraft. We were all asked to identify our suitcases before boarding. I think this is really good practice as it will reduce delays in case someone needs to be offloaded.

The flight
Route: Lagos Murtala Mohammed (DNMM) to Enugu (DNEN)
Carrier: Arik Air (W3)
Flight no: W3 905
Aircraft:Bombardier Canadair CRJ 900
Registration: 5N-JED
Flight time: 50 Minuites

Confusion had spread to the aircraft. After identifying my suitcase, I was the first to try to board. When I ascended the staircase, the chief flight attendant wasn't sure if he could let passengers board. He kept asking the captain for his approval. It just felt very unprofessional. The cabin was in good condition. I was seated towards the end of the cabin this time. There was also a small business class section in the front of the aircraft. I took a couple of pictures with my Iphone 4S however, I would eventually loose the phone a few days later. I did take some a few pictures with my camera though.


IMG_7868 by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_7869 by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_7870 by ogepma, on Flickr

After settling down, a man, his wife and two children (1 baby) came to seat by me. The man sat beside me and the wife and two kids sat opposite us. One of the FA's came and said that the man had to switch seats with his wife because of some regulations or so. It made my flight very unpleasant because the woman couldn't care less if she kept leaning on me throughout the flight. The child was a lot more peaceful than her.

The captain explained to us that the delay was caused by poor visibility. I was surprised as I thought Enugu airport had ILS installed during a major renovation that took over a whole year to complete. It was very embarrassing that the only thing the airport seemed to have gained was a small extra taxiway. It seemed the contractors had squandered the money that was allocated and nothing has been done about it. The airport is a really small one and one would think that closing it for over a year would eventually add some merits to its portfolio. The contrary seems to be the case.

The flight itself was smooth. The food was OK albeit a bit dry. We were served some sort of cake. Service was a bit slow. When the last person was served, the aircraft was already descending. Once we arrived at Enugu, my suitcase arrived on time and I made my way to the arrivals area where my Dad was waiting for me.

The trip was a lovely one. I decided to go with the mind of a foreigner so that I could appreciate the natural beauty of Enugu (which means "on top of a hill" in the local Igbo language). There were so many developments in the city since my last visit. A new mall had opened and a new shuttle service was available too. It's all pictures from here on till the next flight. Pictures of Nsukka town (which is home to one of Nigeria's most prestigious universities and my home town) are also included.


IMG_7877 by ogepma, on Flickr

Coal city shuttle by ogepma, on Flickr

Polo Park Mall by ogepma, on Flickr

Polo park mall by ogepma, on Flickr

Gene Bendi by ogepma, on Flickr

Levis by ogepma, on Flickr

Polo Park Mall by ogepma, on Flickr

Polo Park Mall by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_7960 by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_8015 by ogepma, on Flickr

No food for lazy man! by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_7985 by ogepma, on Flickr

Enugu by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_8035 by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_8033 by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_8061 by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_8184 by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_8085 by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_8065 by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_8173 by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_8088 by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_8050 by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_8449 by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_8458 by ogepma, on Flickr

Landscape of the obimo hills by ogepma, on Flickr

The stream by ogepma, on Flickr

Sunset by ogepma, on Flickr
I had eaten so much food that by the time I was leaving, I was a little bit heavier. I really appreciated the culture and nature of my town. It was very refreshing to experience all that again. I was forced to speak the local dialect (the Nsukka dialect of Igbo language) which I am not fluent in at all. It was a very interesting challenge.

At the airport: Enugu Akanu Ibiam International Airport (DNEN)

After spending five wonderful days in Nsukka town, it was time to go back to Lagos. My mum and I were booked on the second flight to Lagos which was due to depart by 11am. We arrived at the airport on time even though we had heard on the radio that flights were neither arriving nor departing due to low visibility. The airport is a very small one but at the same time, it's not a very busy one. The terminal was nowhere as crowded as Lagos so it was much easier to check in. Once we checked in, we proceeded to the departure area but we eventually decided to relax at the VIP lounge. The lounge system was the same as Lagos. You pay a small fee and you are allowed to use it. This time around it was empty. It was also a lot nicer than the one at Lagos. Our flight was delayed for almost 2 hours this time around. Arik air could not be blamed for this as it is the fault of the government for not installing landing instruments at a certain "international" airport that was closed for over a year for renovation and upgrading purposes.

The flight
Route: Enugu (DNEN) to Lagos Murtala Mohammed (DNMM)
Carrier: Arik Air (W3)
Flight no: W3 905
Aircraft: Boeing 737-7GL
Registration: 5N-MJE
Flight time: 55 Minuites

Upon boarding the aircraft, we were greeted by a very young but very cold FA. That was going to be the attitude that the rest of the crew would adopt for the whole flight. The captain came on the PA and apologised for the delay. He expressed his embarrassment about the situation and frankly, I understood how he felt.

The flight was half full and I was seated just behind the wings on the starboard side of the aircraft. Once boarding was complete and the doors were closed, no time was wasted before engine start up. We taxied to runway 08 and began our very quick and powerful take off roll. I recorded this with my Iphone 4s but unfortunately, I lost it later that day at some event. I was so pained by this.


Takeoff from Enugu Airport by ogepma, on Flickr
Take off!

IMG_8490 by ogepma, on Flickr

The seats were a lot less comfortable and more cramped than the CRJ's still, they were adequate for a 1 hour flight.


Cabin by ogepma, on Flickr

Legroom by ogepma, on Flickr

Meal service started almost immediately the seat belt signs were turned off. We were given some buns which were ok and some apple juice; nothing to write home about. My mum wasn't hungry so she gave me her own meal.


Inflight meal by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_8497 by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_8509 by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_8510 by ogepma, on Flickr

It was soon time to start our descent into LOS. The FA's had already prepared the cabin for landing. It seemed they wanted to get out of the aircraft as soon as they could.


IMG_8517 by ogepma, on Flickr


Our arrival into Lagos was very uneventful. Landing was very smooth; the pilots did a terrific job. We taxied to the GAT where we disembarked the aircraft and were transferred to the arrivals hall by a bus . Surprisingly, the hall was not as crowded as I had initially imagined.


Landing in Lagos MMA by ogepma, on Flickr

IMG_8523 by ogepma, on Flickr

Landing in Lagos by ogepma, on Flickr

Nigerian Air Force by ogepma, on Flickr

Air Nigeria fleet by ogepma, on Flickr

First Nation Airways Airbus A320-200 by ogepma, on Flickr

IRS Airlines Fokker F28 by ogepma, on Flickr

Arik Air Maintenance by ogepma, on Flickr

I had just four more days to spend in Lagos before returning back to England on New years day. I spent this period mostly with friends. It was quite an interesting and very eventful four days but whatever happens in Lagos stays in Lagos .


Lagos Skyline by ogepma, on Flickr

MUSON Centre by ogepma, on Flickr

[Edited 2012-05-07 21:42:18]

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineogepma From UK - England, joined Jan 2011, 67 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 11676 times:

At the airport: Lagos Murtala Mohammed Airport International Terminal (DNMM)

It was finally time to return back to England. To be honest, I hadn't had enough of Lagos so I was not particularly excited about going back. Checking in at Lagos is usually very easy when travelling with VS as very few flights depart in the morning. My mum was travelling with me this time around. Luckily,there was a senior VS employee who helped my mum a while back when her flight was cancelled. He was on duty that day and personally made sure we had no problems while checking in. Once that was over, we breezed through immigrations and security. VS uses a very small but cosy lounge in LOS. On this day, it was empty. This was probably because it was new year's day and few people were travelling. The decision to depart LOS early was as a result of the proposed fuel subsidy increase. Despite reassurances from the Nigerian government that it would't take place until April, it was, in fact, imposed the day after we departed. Very dodgy government! We were quite lucky indeed.

While we were at the lounge, an agent approached us and informed us of a problem with my mum's booking. I suspected as much because I could not access her booking on my computer the day before. We eventually informed the senior employee about the issue and it was resolved in the nick of time!


The flight
Route: Lagos (DNMM) to London Heathrow (EGLL)
Carrier: Virgin Atlantic Airways (VS)
Flight no: VS 652
Aircraft: Airbus A340-600
Registration: G-VATL
Flight time: 6 hours

When it was time to board, the gate area looked full. We met the senior VS employee once again and he personally escorted us to our seats. That was a little touch of extra service that added a lot to our experience. He later went on to introduce us to the head of VS for Lagos who was also travelling on our flight.

The cabin was empty. It was awesome to see that out of 48 seats, only 9 were occupied! I have never really had the opportunity to take pictures of the VS A346 cabin with so much liberty. I was not going to waste this opportunity. I usually feel very weird parading around the cabin with my huge camera. Nigerian's don't look too kindly to such behaviour and a lot treat it with so much suspicion. I can't blame them though. According to my mum, it's slightly embarrassing. Once on a short US Airways flight between DCA and ATL. She deliberately hijacked the window seat so that I couldn't take pictures. This was a long time ago but I still remind her of the lengths she has gone in order to bar me from taking pictures. Today, she couldn't care less. One of the lovely flight attendants, who served me for the rest of the flight, offered to take us some pictures.

Parked beside us was an Arik Air, A345 (CS-TFX). This is one of two A345s W3 operates.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7195/6914727507_2217f722ed_b.jpg
Arik Air Airbus A340-500 CS-TFX by ogepma, on Flickr

After settling down, the FA offered me a glass of champagne.


IMG_8745 by ogepma, on Flickr

When it was time to depart, I moved over from 14k to 16A. I wanted to have a better view of the terminal during take off. I usually hate this side of the aircraft. Although it is a lot more private, it can seem very claustrophobic at times.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7043/6914771837_11a39c0e7b_b.jpg
Zenith Bank ad by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7207/6914782853_26c1010e12_b.jpg
MMIA by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7056/6914787857_70c43bbfd2_b.jpg
Kenya Airways Boeing 737-800 5Y-KYE by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7044/6914807483_9a14bd15a3_b.jpg
IMG_8819 by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7066/6914824733_4f468f3b5e_b.jpg
Runway 18R by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7181/6914837279_46c7c62bd3_b.jpg
Take-off from Lagos by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7045/6914843605_41e1ee5369_b.jpg
Ikeja by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7066/6914849023_45b8338284_b.jpg
IMG_8881 by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7207/6914882919_dd1fa08b55_b.jpg
IMG_8894 by ogepma, on Flickr

I went on to take more pictures of the cabin

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7050/6914858815_a28f05b1f1_b.jpg
Untitled by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7200/6914880787_8287764969_b.jpg
Cabin by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7061/6914746853_024417f686_b.jpg
Upper class seats by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7196/6914750437_0b6838a572_b.jpg
Cabin by ogepma, on Flickr

As soon as the seat belt signs were turned off, I returned to my original seat. I decided to go through the menu early enough. As on my inbound flight to LOS, the menu looked inviting.
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7060/6914890473_0096201308_b.jpg
Amenity kit by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7043/6914867423_b0e11e0eab_b.jpg
IMG_8912 by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7048/6914878675_a706346d29_b.jpg
Menu by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7190/6914871889_d1a3137f29_b.jpg
Menu by ogepma, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7197/6914916371_9d63fb5f85_b.jpg
The time is 11:47 by ogepma, on Flickr
Time for brunch!

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7067/6914912679_18ba0dfc4a_b.jpg
Bread Selection by ogepma, on Flickr

I decided to start with the smoked salmon and trout with horseradish cream. It was excellent!
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7200/6914909517_71b6fc9dd8_b.jpg
Hors d'oeuvre by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7069/6914927155_4cf2d8bd71_b.jpg
Entrée by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7201/6914932845_6534107c69_b.jpg
Entrée by ogepma, on Flickr

I had always been curious about how Nigerian meals tasted in the air. I always played safe and went with more traditional "inflight" meals. But since the cabin was empty today, I decided to be a little glutton and ask for a second entrée. This was a popular Nigerian dish and when it's made well, it is awesome and when it is not, it can be really bad. The meal contained fried plantains (locally known as Dodo) with jollof rice and chicken stew. Dodo is literately my best food. Any time I am in Nigeria, I stuff myself with as much as I can because it is an amazing dish! So I wanted to see how well it was done by VS.
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7176/6914947243_1c53a5d077_b.jpg
Entrée by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7199/6914943171_cfa9d5d7c2_b.jpg
Entrée by ogepma, on Flickr

The verdict: It was ok. Not too bad but it wasn't great either. The plantains were nice and the rice and chicken could have been much better. All in all, it was nothing compared to what is served on the ground.

By the time I had finished the first three meals, I was stuffed. But for some reason, I wanted to take advantage of all I was entitled to. I usually opt for either the cheese plate or a desert but today, I decided to have it all. The cheese and biscuits were as usual, wonderful; especially with some nice Australian red wine to accompany it. The vanilla dessert on the other hand was meh, a far cry from the pudding I had on my inbound flight. It tasted like it was from Tesco.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7189/6914952257_7a5a70ba31_b.jpg
Cheese and deserts by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7042/6914957001_ee5f8685c3_b.jpg
Cheese plate by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7068/6914960483_b878412580_b.jpg
Biscuits by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7188/6914964287_9c4576790b_b.jpg
Desert by ogepma, on Flickr

At this point, I was completely full and generally satisfied with the meals. I decided to take more pictures. I also noticed that the skies were clearer than usual. Usually (in my situation), its an overcast of cumulus clouds over the Sahara.
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7185/6915039387_92feb312d6_b.jpg
Reflection by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7192/6914988655_6b4c27f424_b.jpg
Over the Sahara by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7189/6915021225_39241f4a55_b.jpg
Sahara desert by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7190/6915032155_1880a59bc8_b.jpg
Sahara by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7049/6915025309_8714332e72_b.jpg
Sahara by ogepma, on Flickr

Even more cabin pics!
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7195/6915045697_dc7efab0d2_b.jpg
Kabine by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7200/6915035731_474256e6d3_b.jpg
Bed mode by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7040/6915048759_27b246de99_b.jpg
Upper class bar by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7046/6915097627_a5e4d0745a_b.jpg
Cabin by ogepma, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7181/6915051225_6e032dd604_b.jpg
Over the Mediterranean Sea by ogepma, on Flickr

After a few hours of sleep, I woke up and decided to take some pictures of the beautiful scenery over the Alps.
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7181/6915061623_4a3a35edf6_b.jpg
Over the Alps by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7045/6915064841_f757d2cd61_b.jpg
Over the Alps by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7180/6915069991_6fda16df54_b.jpg
Over the Alps by ogepma, on Flickr

About and hour and a half into Heathrow, the crew commenced the pre-landing services. My mum asked for some fruits along with her sandwiches and they were generous enough to give her a lot. I simply opted for the sandwiches. They were ok. The beef one was not particularly nice. It felt like it was frozen. On the other hand, the salmon one was great.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7192/6915057789_b3d63089de_b.jpg
Pre-landing snack by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7070/6915080205_4629c5e2be_b.jpg
Pre-landing snack by ogepma, on Flickr

It was soon time to finally start our descent into LHR. The weather was a little bit rainy but there were no major delays. The flight was a wonderful one. The main reason for this is that we had most of the cabin to ourselves. The FA's were attentive, courteous, helpful but not pretentious or overtly smiley. The food, despite not being as good as the inbound flight, was generally very good. Definitely a step in the right direction especially when compared to the ghastly meals I received in the past. I really did not want the flight to end.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7194/6915118201_4e4c6ec88f_b.jpg
London by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7200/6915110193_316e5ce1e5_b.jpg
Approaching EGLL by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7042/6915102103_3206c8671c_b.jpg
Landing at EGLL by ogepma, on Flickr
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7184/6915113655_5f4e379eaa_b.jpg
Landing at London Heathrow by ogepma, on Flickr

Conclusion

My trip back home to Nigeria, was a very interesting and eventful one. VS has really upped their game and are officially back on track. The improved meal services, the nicer crew, and the upcoming upgrade to the upper class hard product will once again put them in the lead IMO. Arik Air on the other hand is an airline with the potential to be a world class one. However, at the moment, it stands as a national disgrace. Very poor customer service which is fuelled by the general lack of feedback from customers in the Nigerian hospitality industry is becoming the norm. The have a very healthy, well maintained fleet of aircraft; which should be their number one priority, but the fact that they consider them selves rivals to BA, VS, LH and AF is completely absurd. The more annoying fact is that they are not particularly cheaper than the aforementioned airlines and also are quite expensive on domestic flights. Time will tell how they would eventually end up.

Thank you for reading. Comments and feed back are very welcome.

END

Previous Trip Reports
LH C-Class LHR-FRA-LHR:Short Weekend Getaway Pics!
Four VS Upper Class Flights Between LHR & LOS Pics
Emirates F Suite LOS-DXB-LOS And Armani Hotel

[Edited 2012-05-07 21:01:36]

[Edited 2012-05-07 21:42:10]

User currently offlineBRJ From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 265 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 11563 times:

Great report. Always enjoyable to see pics of Lagos MMA and other sites of Nigeria.
Thanks for sharing!


User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1325 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 11509 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Another wonderful report from you!! You always manage to get me jealous with those views of those Trent 500s...EK, VS...more than the actual scenes inside the plane lol. VS looks great and wonderful food that you could enjoy. Nice touch with the personal service on the return, as well as meeting the head of VS in Nigeria, not to mention having most of that cabin to yourself. And to top it all, you were on the gorgeous Airbus A340-600.

Quite a shame about Arik Air and the delay! Even other less developed airports and airlines would perhaps keep one informed of the flight delay.

Glad you enjoyed your trip to Lagos, and yes one always comes back a lot fatter than when they arrived....good food, family and hospitality!!

Nice to see that Herpa 1:200 Qantas Wunala Dreaming peeking out from the stand below in some of the photos.

Can't really say if the VS lounge actually looks very futuristic or retro or a combination of both.

Nigeria is supposed to be one of the fastest growing African nations, is it not? That mall in an otherwise smaller suburban town is evidence of such growth. The Mall looks very classy and still having some stores that are not yet occupied.


User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1369 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 10800 times:

Interesting to read about VS - doesn't appear to be a huge amount of reports of them here!

The LHR Clubhouse certainly has changed quite a bit since I was last in there.

And I believe VS has changed caterers in the last few months, so that would be why the food had improved. Although I must admit I've never had a bed meal on VS from the UK at least. The ones I've had from the US have been a bit hit and miss though.



A300,A319,A320,A321,A333,A343,A346,A388,732,733,734,735,738,741,742,744,752,763,772,77W,788,Q400,DC10,E145,E170,E175,E19
User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2460 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 10396 times:

Nice TR...

Quoting ogepma (Thread starter):
I wasn't too happy about this because I don't like flying within Nigeria.

Is this "fear" only related to flying within Nigeria or Nigerian aviation in general? Would you fly Arik Air's or AirNigeria's (new) London service (if the price is right)?


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3334 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 10120 times:

Interesting report, thanks for posting. We don't often get to see Nigerian domestics. The pictures you took looked very nice around Enugu. FLights on VS looked very nice - lucky you got such an empty flight coming home. I bet the crew weren't happy though about spending a sober New Year in their hotel in Lagos!


http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1128 posts, RR: 32
Reply 7, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 8809 times:

Excellent TR and great quality of photos.

So nice to see VS is finally dragging their product in line with others as I think it has suffered from underinvestment will RB's eyes were on other Virgin ventures.

Food looked extremely tasty too.

Is it too hairy to take photos in Lagos terminal areas?



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinecaleb1 From United States of America, joined Nov 2008, 368 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 8460 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Really enjoyed your report. I look forward to reading your next submission.

User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1960 posts, RR: 24
Reply 9, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 8176 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Good report!

Sometimes VS doesn't look like it provides the best service and food, but on these flights it looks like they did a wonderful job. I like the "freedom menu" concept, and the seats look comfy.

Thanks for sharing!

Matthew (767747)


User currently offlinechopchop767 From Italy, joined Aug 2010, 226 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 7811 times:

Quoting ogepma (Thread starter):
Once that was done I found my way to the clubhouse through the separate Upper class wing and security channel.

This is such a nice perk, that they offer. A few weeks back in the States, I had a J ticket on United and unfortunately, had to check a bag. The check-in from IAD to MUC was at the height of the European bank and it took almost a full hour to reach the check-in kiosk. Then, security was another disaster.

Thanks for the report, the service standard on VS appears to be VERY good.



this year: nap, lgw, fra, dub, fco, add, jib, muc, iad, sea, dca, bos, cdg, ist, bah, prg, ord, hsv, cmn
User currently offlineogepma From UK - England, joined Jan 2011, 67 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 7080 times:

Quoting BRJ (Reply 2):
Great report. Always enjoyable to see pics of Lagos MMA and other sites of Nigeria.
Thanks for sharing!

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed  
Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 3):
Another wonderful report from you!! You always manage to get me jealous with those views of those Trent 500s...EK, VS...more than the actual scenes inside the plane lol. VS looks great and wonderful food that you could enjoy. Nice touch with the personal service on the return, as well as meeting the head of VS in Nigeria, not to mention having most of that cabin to yourself. And to top it all, you were on the gorgeous Airbus A340-600.

Thanks Flightsimboy! Yes, I knew you would drool for the Trent 500 gain . VS outdid themselves this time around. The enhancements really showed positively.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 3):
Quite a shame about Arik Air and the delay! Even other less developed airports and airlines would perhaps keep one informed of the flight delay.

The sad thing is that this happens quite often, even when there's no real reason for a delay. I really hope they get better so that at least Nigeria would have a reliable international carrier.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 3):
Nice to see that Herpa 1:200 Qantas Wunala Dreaming peeking out from the stand below in some of the photos.

Haha, I knew someone would spot it eventually. Unfortunately, engine 4 is lost and half of the wheels are broken.  
Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 3):
Nigeria is supposed to be one of the fastest growing African nations, is it not? That mall in an otherwise smaller suburban town is evidence of such growth. The Mall looks very classy and still having some stores that are not yet occupied.

Yes in fact it is. Unfortunately, a small group of terrorists are trying to undermine this especially in the north. I hope things will get better soon. There is always something new to look forward to in Nigeria  
Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 4):
And I believe VS has changed caterers in the last few months, so that would be why the food had improved. Although I must admit I've never had a bed meal on VS from the UK at least. The ones I've had from the US have been a bit hit and miss though.

That would explain the change. In the not-too-distant past, it was usually a hit or miss affair. But the previous flights before these were really bad. I haven't used VS on any other route before so maybe it was peculiar to LOS flights.

Quoting debonair (Reply 5):
Is this "fear" only related to flying within Nigeria or Nigerian aviation in general? Would you fly Arik Air's or AirNigeria's (new) London service (if the price is right)?

Its more about Nigerian aviation. Its about me not coming to terms with the fact that things have changed since the 90's and early 00's. I would fly Arik or Air Nigeria if they are reliable enough and provide good services. The former is so far not known to be good at any of those. We would have to wait and see what air Nigeria can offer  
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 6):
Interesting report, thanks for posting. We don't often get to see Nigerian domestics.

Thank you very much! I am a fan of your reports  
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 6):
I bet the crew weren't happy though about spending a sober New Year in their hotel in Lagos!

Most likely but they didn't show it at all.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 7):
Excellent TR and great quality of photos.

Thanks! Glad you like it  
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 7):
So nice to see VS is finally dragging their product in line with others as I think it has suffered from underinvestment will RB's eyes were on other Virgin ventures.

The hard product had always been up there. It's a very comfortable seat and even more comfortable for sleeping. They really needed to work on the soft product. Finally, they are doing just that. R.B has to invest so VS can go back to its former glory if not, the really have no strong place at LHR.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 7):
Is it too hairy to take photos in Lagos terminal areas?

For flights leaving in the morning and early afternoon, at the international terminal, its not too bad. It can actually be very convenient. But in the evening, its a nightmare. The terminal is usually overcrowded. I once spent almost an hour queuing for immigrations and security in the priority line. The new domestic terminal is really nice. Spacious and very modern. The terminal Arik uses (the general aviation terminal), is a nightmare all day long.

Quoting caleb1 (Reply 8):
Really enjoyed your report. I look forward to reading your next submission.

Thank you very much! I am planning a euro trip and star alliance RTW trip this summer. If everything goes as planned, I will definitely post reports on those 
Quoting 767747 (Reply 9):
Good report!

Thank you very much!


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 12, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 6441 times:

Hi

Great trip report you've got there.
Thanks for showing us around!
Great to see VS pleased you, the low factor on the return was defnate a must.

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineparis380 From France, joined Jul 2011, 28 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 6136 times:

Virgin Atlantic looks very good. But I would fly it to somewhere I feel safe.

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