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Comparing The Competition: BA/VS Inaugural MAN-LHR  
User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1257 posts, RR: 4
Posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 12766 times:

Comparing the Competition: BA/VS Inaugural MAN-LHR

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/Manchester%202013/Manchester.jpg




Maps generated by theGreat Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz.


20th April 2012 – IAG completes its purchase of BMI From Lufthansa and announces the airline is to be integrated into British Airways. 15th August 2012 – Virgin (initially) loses the West Coast Mainline train franchise in the UK. Two key dates leading to this weekend’s trip, as shortly after losing out on the rail franchise, on the 21st August 2012, Virgin Atlantic announced they would launch their first domestic services between Manchester and London in March 2013. Being a frequent flyer of Virgin Atlantic for the last nineteen years, being able to take part in one of their inaugural flights for a bargain price was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Initially the flights weren’t able to book online, however shortly after returning from New York (also on VS – see report here: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR (by jwhite9185 Sep 21 2012 in Trip Reports) ) the online booking system opened up and I parted with £47.55 to confirm my place on the first flight from Manchester.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/Manchester%202013/VSBooking_zpsbc8fa9b8.png


A few moments later my E-ticket receipt arrived in my inbox.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/Manchester%202013/VSEtick_zps8cbbb18e.png


This left a further two things to sort. First off how I would get up to Manchester and secondly where I would stay once I was there. Well these were pretty easy questions to answer. I Used 4500 Avios + £13.50 to buy myself a reward ticket onboard BA1372 the previous lunchtime to take me up North.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/Manchester%202013/BABooking_zps1dda3a9d.png


I then booked myself into the Radisson BLU for the night. I upgraded my room at the hotel to a Business Class room, as these were on the top floor, therefore giving the best views across the airport – more of that later.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/Manchester%202013/radisson_zpsaab74d08.png


The next few months were spent being drip-fed various bits of information about the new VS services. During which time, it wasn’t possible to see any info regarding the booking on the VS website – it was just on a constant ‘loading’ screen.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/Manchester%202013/vsloading_zpsda7314e7.png


Further developments saw additional routes to Aberdeen and Edinburgh announced along with the announcement that VS would be wet leasing the A320 aircraft from Aer Lingus. This was a change in plan as initially the services were announced as using A319’s.

Eventually the Manage my booking section on the website opened up and around 8 weeks prior to departure the seat map opened up also. I initially chose seat 19A, however the following day the folks on v-flyer.com hatched a plan. The theory was that if everybody prebooked a window seat and an aisle, unless the flight was completely full then the middle seats should stay empty, therefore creating a business type arrangement. My new seat would be 5F.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/Manchester%202013/VSSEATING.png


Two weeks prior to departure, the VS flight times were changed – instead of departing Manchester at 06:50, the flight would now leave at 07:35. I’m pretty sure all the Manchester departures have now changed times from the original advertised ones.

One week before departure, I was able to select my seats on the British Airways flight. I would have preferred something towards the front, however these were all blocked. I elected for 17F, just behind the wing in the hope that a few more would open up at check in.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/Manchester%202013/MANBASEATS.png


A couple of days before my flight, my patience was rewarded and I could move forward to seat 3F.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/Manchester%202013/BASEATS3F.png


First off it was time to check in for the BA flight. Unfortunately this didn’t work too well as It said there was a problem and then issued my boarding pass anyway – I’d had a similar issue on my trip to Frankfurt last year.

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This was the first time I’d checked in for a plane on a boat:

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Check in for the VS flight the following morning was flawless. Although their website is still a mix of old and new which looks a bit unprofessional, the function is there. So far then VS 1-BA 0.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/Manchester%202013/vsweb.png
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http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/Manchester%202013/VSolciconf.png
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Range of boarding pass options


I elected for the mobile option

 photo 2013-03-30083337.png



Shortly after checking in for the Virgin flight, I headed off to catch the 10:05 coach to Heathrow. The coach was a bit delayed departing by people turning up at the last minute, then having no idea which terminal they were going from and then finally not having tickets. Following this, there was a technical problem with the coach - so not the best of starts. Luckily the 10:35 service arrived early and everybody was transferred to that one, and we finally left at 10:20... Until some more passengers turned up. Dearie me.



I arrived at T5 at just after 10:45, and headed off to grab my souvenir boarding pass. As all the desks looked pretty full, I had to make do with a machine.


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I then headed through security. I went to the normal lane, but the guy checking boarding passes told me I had to use the fast track instead - suited me! Wonder of the fact I was sat at the front confused him slightly? I was through in a couple of minutes and headed down to where I suspected my flight would be departing from.



I was wrong however, as a few moments later gate A11 flashed up on the screens.



I made my way down and as I arrived an A320 was arriving on to stand. Looks like this one had seen better days as I couldn't make out the reg above the flight deck windows.

Soon to be a rare sight I think




A bit of creative maneuvering later and I could see it would be G-EUUW taking me up north today. At 11:30, a delay was announced due to the late inbound arrival of the aircraft. It was also announced that boarding would take place strictly by seat number only. Of course, this didn't stop people queuing up anyway.


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Looks so out of place at T5.


Boarding was called at 11:40, but due to being in one of the forward rows I was one of the last onboard at 12:00. I was welcomed back by name and wished a pleasant flight.



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BA1372
LHR-MAN
30th March 2013
A320-232 / G-EUUW
Seat: 3F / Domestic
Scheduled: 12:00/13:00
Off Stand: 12:07
On Stand: 13:12


The flight seemed pretty full, and I had two seatmates. The captain came over the PA and welcomed everybody onboard but didn't mention a flight time.

Good legroom in the Club Europe section




The doors were shut at 12:04 and pushback was made at 12:07. Despite runway 9R being in use for takeoff, it was still a pretty slow taxi for departure.


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Extinguished firefly



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We were finally away at around 12:30, making a sharp turn to the left in the direction of Manchester.



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Pretty steep climb



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Almost immediately the crew started the service - unsurprising considering it was likely to be a sort flight.

I provided the sandwich myself.


During the very brief cruise, the captain came over the PA saying he had a special announcement for somebody on board. The person in control of the aircraft at ATC's son was onboard and he wanted to wish him a pleasant flight.

Almost as soon as I had finished my lunch, descent started at around 12:50. There were quite a few turns, and I saw Jodrell Bank observatory a few times so figured we would probably landing on the 5's.


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Pretty snowy down there



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Jodrell Bank



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Just before 13:10 we made firm contact with 05L .




We then turned off for T3, passing the Ryanair farm along the way.


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A few moments later we arrived on stand. On the way out, the first officer was stood at the door - I couldn't help but notice he looked a lot like former trip reporter Jonas. Maybe that's why we've not heard from him in a while? Who knows.

It was then through the bowels of T3 and into the arrivals area.


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On my way out I wondered upstairs to see the new VS check in area.



Then headed up to the car park to see what was going on - not much.


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Didn’t expect to see this one here



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I then decided to try my luck at checking into the hotel.


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Despite it being before 14:00 they had a room but it wasn't overlooking the airport... That wouldn't be any good! I decided to grab a coffee in T2 and try again later.


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Is there ever anybody in this terminal?


Luckily, on my second attempt a room was available. The room itself probably wasn't any different to a normal one, but the view was worth the extra £30! As I'd paid the extra, I decided to stay in as I'd seen Manchester many times before.


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Just lying around watching planes…


One for Marc


The new MON livery really suits the A330




I did eventually venture into town to grab a bite to eat.


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I then made my way back to the hotel just in time to catch the VS A320 arriving from DUB - thanks to Philip (OA260) for the heads up!


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Followed shortly after by the LX A320 with Sharklets.



I then headed out to meet up with the guys from V-flyer. No doubt a few of them will be reading this, so good to meet you.

Around 21:30 I headed back to my room to see what (or wasn't as it turned out) going on.


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Sunday morning started earlier than expected - why can't I sleep in hotels?! The bed was fine, yet I still woke up at 2am and never got back to sleep.

Much needed!


Seemed a bit had gone on at the airport overnight.



Just before 5 am, I set off to T3.


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Interesting choice of shape to say the least….


Once I arrived there was quite a queue. And it stayed that way as check in didn't open until 05:35. There seemed to be a few issues with the self serve check in machines, but once they were sorted I had the privilege of being the Guinea pig!


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It worked fine for me, although a bit slow. The following person, one of the V-Flyers wasn't so lucky and had to go and see a person.

It was then off to security - which was a nightmare. People everywhere, all of whom seemed to be running late for their flight. The system at Manchester doesn’t seem too efficient – mostly automated rather than an actual person, so therefore only allowing somebody through every 30-45 seconds or so rather than 10 or so if a person was signaling people through. By which point most had started looking around and therefore missing the green light signaling them through.

Once through - 45 minutes later - it was through a few corridors, then a 180 degree turn back the way I came to where there were a few bits waiting at gate 18, and a few more V-flyers. There were also a few VS crew around, but they wouldn't be taking the flight they were just on hand to make sure everything went to plan.


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There were a couple of VS officials about – and they seemed a little peeved that EasyJet had sent this particular one



Boarding was called just after 7:10, and as my boarding pass was scanned I was handed an Easter present from VS.


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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
43 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1257 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 12863 times:


VS3046
MAN-LHR
31st March 2013
A320-200 / EI-DEO Queen of the Cobbles
Seat: 5F / Economy
Scheduled: 07:35/08:45
Off Stand: 07:40
On Stand: 08:38


The cabin was very clean and tidy, as expected. Certainly better than the BA cabin from yesterday, although after a year or so I guess they will end up a little grubby as any aircraft in service for any length of time would.


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Decent amount of legroom


Interesting joint EI/VS branded safety cards




During boarding, my would be seat mate, another V-flyer said hello and mentioned that he had been moved to the back – interesting as I ended up having a row of three to myself, so couldn’t see any reason for him to be moved.

Soon after everybody was onboard, a ‘photographer’ needed a pic of everybody waving. I use the term photographer loosely as I had a better camera than him so highly doubt the picture will be seen in any mainstream publications any time soon. The official looking guy from VS also took a picture on his phone, although that was more obviously for personal use.

Gathering to wave us off


Everybody was welcomed onboard this inaugural flight given a flight time of 35 minutes and we pushed back at 7:40 making a fast taxi over to 05L. During this time the captain welcomed everybody onboard this Virgin Atlantic Little Red flight and that if anybody wanted to visit the flight deck once we had landed they were more than welcome.


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Little Red takes to the skies!



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Flying back past MAN






Once airborne, the crew were a little slow at starting the service compared to BA - I was actually starting to wonder if there would be time for any service. Eventually it did start, just as descent started. Bit of a rethink regarding the service needed there I think. One of the crew even said she was praying for a hold!

The thought is there, but the practice needs to be polished a bit.


And unsurprisingly, we were put into a hold for ten minutes. Although that still didn't help the crew out much as just before final descent an announcement was made apologizing to those who weren't served. After a few laps in the hold, we were down onto 09L and made the short taxi over to T1. Along the way there were quite a few airport workers watching and taking pictures - more than on my Dreamliner flights in December actually. Disappointingly there wasn’t a water cannon salute.



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Note the new AA 773 parked at T3



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Once on stand there was a bit of a wait to disembark, and I had a brief chat to fellow a.netter Slinky09 (who was sat behind me) - who agreed that the bacon rolls plan would never work on a flight of this length. Around five minutes or so later, it was off through T1 and on to the coach home.

Good looking desk for the launch.


V-flyers heading off into the sunset… or more likely the pub!


So how would I compare the two then? Well BA were good and well polished, although that’s to be expected as they have been doing these short flights for a very long time so have had plenty of practice. VS also have a strong product, although there were a few teething issues – such as the self serve check in kiosks not working, toilets overflowing and not having enough time to complete the on board service. I’m led to believe a faulty oven was a factor in that though, so it would be interesting to see how they perform when everything is running smoothly. No doubt on the longer runs up to Scotland the service will be fine, but on a 30 odd minute hop it was all just a bit too rushed. The crew didn’t show they were struggling at any point though and stayed professional throughout.

On the whole I think I would say I enjoyed the Virgin flight more – and I would be more tempted to use them again before British Airways, just to see how the service runs once its bedded in.

As usual I welcome all comments and questions, although I will be away on a longer trip shortly – Seeing how BA premium economy stacks up after many years of flying VS premium economy. I’ll try to respond to everybody as usual but apologies in advance if I miss anybody out.

Previous trip reports

Taking TAP To Portugal: LGW-OPO-LIS-LHR Feb. 2013 (by jwhite9185 Mar 10 2013 in Trip Reports)
Poland On The Dream)liner - LOT LHR-WAW-LHR In C/Y (by jwhite9185 Jan 1 2013 in Trip Reports)
A Speedbird & Titan 767 – LHR-LCA-LHR In C…ish (by jwhite9185 Feb 1 2013 in Trip Reports)
British Airways LGW-AGP-LCY 737/E190 Nov. 2012 (by jwhite9185 Dec 1 2012 in Trip Reports)
Part 2: 5 Flights 3 Airlines MXP-ZRH-DUS-LHR LX/LH (by jwhite9185 Nov 14 2012 in Trip Reports)
Part 1: 5 Flights 3 Airlines LHR-BRU-MXP In Theory (by jwhite9185 Oct 29 2012 in Trip Reports)
Cancellations, Widebodies And Iberia LHR-MAD-LHR (by jwhite9185 Oct 17 2012 in Trip Reports)
Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR (by jwhite9185 Sep 21 2012 in Trip Reports)
A Night In Amsterdam - KLM F70/738 LHR-AMS-LHR (by jwhite9185 Aug 28 2012 in Trip Reports)
Trying Out Flybe - LGW-BHD-GLA-BHD-LGW (by jwhite9185 Jul 11 2012 in Trip Reports)
A Day Trip To MAN (by jwhite9185 Jun 21 2012 in Trip Reports)
Nice, Monaco And The Great British Lounge With BMI (by jwhite9185 May 13 2012 in Trip Reports)
EI237/182 LGW-DUB-LHR And 2 Lounges (by jwhite9185 Apr 18 2012 in Trip Reports)
LGW-FRA-BRU-LHR With LH And SN (by jwhite9185 Mar 27 2012 in Trip Reports)
BA906/8735 LHR-FRA-LCY (by jwhite9185 Mar 13 2012 in Trip Reports)
VS015/016 LGW-MCO-LGW June 2010 (by jwhite9185 Jan 20 2012 in Trip Reports)
VS006 MIA-LHR A340-642 June 2008 (by jwhite9185 Feb 10 2012 in Trip Reports)
Virgin Atlantic 747 To BGI - October 2007 (by jwhite9185 Aug 3 2012 in Trip Reports)



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 offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26854 posts, RR: 58
Reply 2, posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 12541 times:

Hey James  

Great report and nice to see how they have refurbed the Shamrock   Lets hope this lasts longer than a year. Its going to be tough for them up against BA . What lounges were on offer in MAN?

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
I then made my way back to the hotel just in time to catch the VS A320 arriving from DUB - thanks to Philip (OA260) for the heads up!

No probs your welcome. I was on my way shopping and drove past the airport and it was just a case of being in the right place at the right time.  

Anyway thanks for the report.

Regards

Philip  


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3203 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 12507 times:

Thanks for posting James...looking forward to my flight on Friday now. I've got a seat near the front, so hopefully I'll get served!


http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LHR-GVA-LHR-TXL-LHR-VE-PRN,SPU-OSL-LHR, LGW-DXB-BKK-DXB-LHR
User currently offlinecaptainsloo From Singapore, joined Dec 2011, 59 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 12492 times:

Hi Jwhite,

Thanks for the quick report on Little Red, I have been waiting for one since the launch  

I am surprised by the lack of fanfare surrounding the inaugural flight. Given the publicity and hype, I was hoping there would be more during check-in and before boarding. That aside, the seats look comfortable and I think Little Red has potential.

I will be on VS first London - Edinburgh flight on 5 April and I'm hoping there will be more. I hope I get to see the Tyrells Plane Crisps. However, most articles I have read seem to suggest that the inaugural flight is on 8 April. For example: http://www.businesstraveller.com/new...le-red-launches-double-miles-offer and "The Tyrrells Plane Crisps will be showcased on board the inaugural flight from London to Edinburgh on April 8th." I'm hoping I still get to see them!

Cheers,
David


User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1257 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 12240 times:

Hi Philip,

Quoting OA260 (Reply 2):
Great report and nice to see how they have refurbed the Shamrock

Thanks - They have done a good job, yet still recognisable.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 2):
Lets hope this lasts longer than a year. Its going to be tough for them up against BA .

It should do - its got a very good chance, and it seemed like most people didn't have any idea it was the first flight.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 2):
What lounges were on offer in MAN?

You and your lounges!! The escape lounge next door to gate 18 - looks like VS have picked up where BD have left off.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 2):
I was on my way shopping and drove past the airport and it was just a case of being in the right place at the right time.

Similar case for me - I was on the train back and made a point of rushing back upstairs - caught it by seconds.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 2):
Anyway thanks for the report.

No problem,

Gabriel,

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 3):
Thanks for posting James...

Thats quite alright.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 3):
looking forward to my flight on Friday now.

You should be, its a welcome change from BA on this route.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 3):
I've got a seat near the front, so hopefully I'll get served!

I think with the crisps/biscuits it should be fine. The main problem came because the bacon rolls had to be heated up and that took extra time that we just didn't have.

captainsloo

Quoting captainsloo (Reply 4):
Thanks for the quick report on Little Red

No problem,

Quoting captainsloo (Reply 4):
I am surprised by the lack of fanfare surrounding the inaugural flight. Given the publicity and hype, I was hoping there would be more during check-in and before boarding.

I was also, but then the inaugural flight to CUN last year was a good few weeks after the first flight.

Quoting captainsloo (Reply 4):
That aside, the seats look comfortable and I think Little Red has potential.

I feel they can really give BA a run for their money once they get themselves going.

Quoting captainsloo (Reply 4):
I will be on VS first London - Edinburgh flight on 5 April and I'm hoping there will be more.

Not sure... if anything there might be a bit less as it seemed like there was a bit of effort as its easter and the first flight.

Quoting captainsloo (Reply 4):
I hope I get to see the Tyrells Plane Crisps.

You should do as I think they're a part of the standard service.

Quoting captainsloo (Reply 4):
However, most articles I have read seem to suggest that the inaugural flight is on 8 April.

I think thats the case, and that'll be the one that makes the headlines.



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 offlineflyingthe757 From UK - England, joined Mar 2013, 235 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 12184 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Thank you for a nice TR. Was watching your flight arrive this morning.

Quoting captainsloo (Reply 4):
I am surprised by the lack of fanfare surrounding the inaugural flight. Given the publicity and hype, I was hoping there would be more during check-in and before boarding

That does seem very surprising for a Virgin Company that has been trying to get a route like this for years. Living in London, it also has shocked me that I have not seen much advertising for the airline/route, but a lot of advertising for the Euston to Manchester service?

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
There were a couple of VS officials about – and they seemed a little peeved that EasyJet had sent this particular one

Very clever Easypeople, very clever  


User currently offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8507 posts, RR: 55
Reply 7, posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 12173 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi James,

Back from the pub and duly read as promised, a most enjoyable read.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Being a frequent flyer of Virgin Atlantic for the last nineteen years, being able to take part in one of their inaugural flights for a bargain price was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Initially the flights weren’t able to book online, however shortly after returning from New York (also on VS – see report here: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR (by jwhite9185 Sep 21 2012 in Trip Reports) )

- Hmm, I may have missed this, good oportunity to catch up!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Two weeks prior to departure, the VS flight times were changed – instead of departing Manchester at 06:50, the flight would now leave at 07:35. I’m pretty sure all the Manchester departures have now changed times from the original advertised ones.

- That's quite a timing change, have all the flights had big changes?

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
It was then off to security - which was a nightmare. People everywhere, all of whom seemed to be running late for their flight. The system at Manchester doesn’t seem too efficient – mostly automated rather than an actual person, so therefore only allowing somebody through every 30-45 seconds or so rather than 10 or so if a person was signaling people through. By which point most had started looking around and therefore missing the green light signaling them through.

Once through - 45 minutes later

- Bugger me!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
The cabin was very clean and tidy, as expected. Certainly better than the BA cabin from yesterday, although after a year or so I guess they will end up a little grubby as any aircraft in service for any length of time would.

- Indeed! - It's an older aircraft by the looks of the cabin side walls, not looked up it's age.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Once airborne, the crew were a little slow at starting the service compared to BA - I was actually starting to wonder if there would be time for any service. Eventually it did start, just as descent started. Bit of a rethink regarding the service needed there I think. One of the crew even said she was praying for a hold!

- Funny, praying for a hold!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
I will be away on a longer trip shortly – Seeing how BA premium economy stacks up after many years of flying VS premium economy.

- I suspect you'll prefer the VS offering, though I've always been happy with what BA provide me. BTW, where are you off to?

Cheers

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlinebwaflyer From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 689 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 12152 times:

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Once on stand there was a bit of a wait to disembark, and I had a brief chat to fellow a.netter Slinky09 (who was sat behind me) - who agreed that the bacon rolls plan would never work on a flight of this length. Around five minutes or so later, it was off through T1 and on to the coach home.

BA manage a hot Panini on all MAN flights before 09:30 with Tea / Coffee / Juice / Water.


User currently offlinevisualapproach From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2012, 121 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 12145 times:

Aha, so that was the group of people I saw! I was sat there waiting for the first LHR-MAN flight and saw you taking the photo of the FID screen.

User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1257 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 12089 times:

flyingthe757,

Quoting flyingthe757 (Reply 6):
Thank you for a nice TR. Was watching your flight arrive this morning.

No problem. Seemed there was quite a bit of interest in this flight.

Quoting flyingthe757 (Reply 6):
That does seem very surprising for a Virgin Company that has been trying to get a route like this for years. Living in London, it also has shocked me that I have not seen much advertising for the airline/route

Now that you mention it, I haven't seen a huge amount. I've seen some but only really noticed it because I was booked on to the flight. Not quite in your face enough really.

Quoting flyingthe757 (Reply 6):
Very clever Easypeople, very clever

Now I wonder if it was a coincidence or planned?!

Mark,

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 7):
Back from the pub and duly read as promised, a most enjoyable read.

Cheers!

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 7):
That's quite a timing change, have all the flights had big changes?

I think all routes have had time changes - I think so they fit around the longhaul flights departing and arriving at LHR a bit better.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 7):
Bugger me!

Worst security I've experienced in this country, although not quite as bad as MCO in the school holidays.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 7):
Indeed! - It's an older aircraft by the looks of the cabin side walls, not looked up it's age.

2005 I believe, although to the untrained eye it would be brand new. New carpets also.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 7):
Funny, praying for a hold!

They were up against it, although as I mentioned they dealt with it well and didn't show any panic. Top marks to them.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 7):
I suspect you'll prefer the VS offering, though I've always been happy with what BA provide me.

I've read reports that VS are slightly better, although I've only experienced VS from LGW before the refurb so keeping an open mind really.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 7):
BTW, where are you off to?

LHR-ORY-CDG-LHR-IAD-DCA-ORD-MCO-MIA-ATL-LHR - should keep me busy writing that lot up for the next few months!



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 offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8507 posts, RR: 55
Reply 11, posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 11876 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 10):
Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 7):
BTW, where are you off to?

LHR-ORY-CDG-LHR-IAD-DCA-ORD-MCO-MIA-ATL-LHR - should keep me busy writing that lot up for the next few months!

- Yes, should keep you busy!



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1329 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 11814 times:

Nice report James. A hot roll is probably a bit overkill on such a short flight  
The Radisson looks great. I like the bed angle towards to the window. I love hotels, especially airport hotels, and if there is a view like that I love spending the day in the room, reading, watching TV, and see planes go by... Excellent  


User currently offline817Dreamliiner From Montserrat, joined Jul 2008, 2211 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 11755 times:

Nice Report James!

A bit surprised to see it so soon, I mean that flight happened today! lol. But I enjoyed reading it Thanks for sharing your report. Now if only they would start a LGW service....       (Yea like that will happen....)



Reality be Rent. Synapse, break! Vanishment, This World!
User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1257 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 11645 times:

Quoting bwaflyer (Reply 8):
BA manage a hot Panini on all MAN flights before 09:30 with Tea / Coffee / Juice / Water.

I even remember getting a full breakfast on that route back in the day. I think the feeling was that they needed another crew member so they could do one service from the back and another from the front.

As it was, I think it was just one service from the front, which is why the people at the back missed out.

Quoting visualapproach (Reply 9):
Aha, so that was the group of people I saw!

Must have been. Row 1-6 was the rowdy section on the MAN-LHR leg! A few of them went straight back again.

Quoting visualapproach (Reply 9):
I was sat there waiting for the first LHR-MAN flight and saw you taking the photo of the FID screen.

Interesting! Was your flight full? Didn't seem like many people waiting for it when I was there. Think I heard the crew mention there were 40 seats free on our flight and then the next one was a bit quieter.

Frederic,

Quoting reifel (Reply 12):
Nice report James.

Thanks,

Quoting reifel (Reply 12):
A hot roll is probably a bit overkill on such a short flight

True and it'll be interesting to see if it sticks around after half the plane missed out due to the time restraints.

Quoting reifel (Reply 12):
The Radisson looks great. I like the bed angle towards to the window. I love hotels, especially airport hotels, and if there is a view like that I love spending the day in the room, reading, watching TV, and see planes go by... Excellent

Even more so in a city you've been to many times! Didn't feel like I was missing out on anything, so was quite happy to spend a few hours keeping one eye out the window and the other on the TV. Shame I missed the busy morning period though.

817Dreamliner,

Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 13):
Nice Report James!

Thank you,

Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 13):
A bit surprised to see it so soon, I mean that flight happened today!

Well I was aiming to get it done either today or tomorrow as like I mentioned I'll be away shortly. The early arrival helped the progress.

Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 13):
Now if only they would start a LGW service....       (Yea like that will happen....)

There were actually quite a few mentioning that on the flight now that BA have left that route. Also Belfast to LHR. Guess VS will see how these three routes go then add more if they're a success.

[Edited 2013-03-31 11:55:16]


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 offlineBrianDromey From Ireland, joined Dec 2006, 3919 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 11106 times:

Great TR, Im hoping to get on one of these services very soon.

Interesting TR on an exciting development for VS (and by extension EI)
Sad to see the former BD lounge at T3 now branded as an Escape, although the MAG operated Escape lounges do offer a good product. Likewise Im sad to see much of the Airport facilities at MAN and LHR are ex BD. Might I say that brown leather reminds me of BD's last "Brown Cow" interior a lot. Hopefully this disco cow version will be around a bit longer, it looks great.
Strange that VS use T3 at MAN rather than T2 where their other flights go from. Does T2 not have domestic arrivals facilities?


Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 10):
They were up against it, although as I mentioned they dealt with it well and didn't show any panic. Top marks to them.

I don't think the Little Red crew are VS, are they? I think they are EI in VS uniform. In that case they all have a lot of experience and know-how, Im sure after a few flights they will get into the swing of things, flight times will probably be closer to an hour most of the time. Sundays are that bit quieter IME, so they were up against it with short flight time and brand new service.



Next flights: MAN-ORK-LHR(EI)-MAN(BD); MAN-LHR(BD)-ORK (EI); DUB-ZRH-LAX (LX) LAX-YYZ (AC) YYZ-YHZ-LHR(AC)-DUB(BD)
User currently offlinefca767 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2006, 1741 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 11026 times:

Loved it...Shame you didn't go on the afternoon flight as I've filmed the Landing from Heathrow and the Departure back at around 3pm
Just uploading it now, it's taking about 7 hours to upload part 1 lol


User currently offlinesmc88 From UK - England, joined Mar 2013, 4 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 10860 times:

All little red crew are new and contracted through an agency for ei, nothing to do with vs apart from the uniform. So over time the service will be spot on.

User currently offlineadamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1118 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (1 year 4 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 10748 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hey James,

Great report as usual with many nice pictures! Thanks for putting this report up so quickly, was looking forward to reading it!
Shame the inaugural didn't all go as smoothly as they wanted, was expecting a bit more celebrations to be honest. Nevertheless I wish VS lots of luck on these routes and sure hope they survive!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
the online booking system opened up and I parted with £47.55 to confirm my place on the first flight from Manchester.

Thats quite an OK price  
Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
The person in control of the aircraft at ATC's son was onboard and he wanted to wish him a pleasant flight.

Never have heard that happen before!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
I couldn't help but notice he looked a lot like former trip reporter Jonas. Maybe that's why we've not heard from him in a while? Who knows.

Hahaha lol, well who knows  
Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
I then made my way back to the hotel just in time to catch the VS A320 arriving from DUB -
Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Followed shortly after by the LX A320 with Sharklets.

2 nice catches, great day for the MAN spotters!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
As usual I welcome all comments and questions, although I will be away on a longer trip shortly

Have fun in my favorite country and definetely looking forward to those reports    

cheers!

Brendan


User currently onlineCarfield From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1894 posts, RR: 9
Reply 19, posted (1 year 4 months 22 hours ago) and read 10167 times:

Thanks for the report!

It is so amazing to read about the launch of Virgin Little Red service so soon!
The cabin looks very smart and I like the new seats.

The onboard service looks promising but I guess it will take some times for VS to modify it and for the F/As to get used to it. For these 30 minutes flight, you basically just don't have time to do much other handing out a pack with a sandwich and an OJ tub.

Thanks for sharing!

Carfield


User currently offlineMYT332 From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 9112 posts, RR: 70
Reply 20, posted (1 year 4 months 20 hours ago) and read 9983 times:

I was on the inaugural too with fellow user Nighthawk. Check-in closed at 0705 and owing to a flat tyre on the M61 we checked in, just about, at 0703 so we win the prize for being last to check-in. We then barged our way through security and down to Gate 18, amusingly the old bmi gate, and went straight on-board! We missed the champagne but obviously got that little Gu chocolate egg that was handed to us as we boarded.

On-board there's nothing special, how could there be? It was never going to be Virgin America. There's, what remined me of, bmi brown leather seats alongside Aer Lingus blue arm rests and questionable purple lighting that flickers too much. There's no wardrobe and the seat pitch is tighter than BA's. There's no drop down screens, so a manual safety demo, and no moving map. The bacon roll either had too much bread or not enough bacon and was dry. There was only 4 crew who were too slow off the mark and so even on a 174 seat A320 that was 2/3 full, circa 10 rows didn't get a drink. I was in the last row to get a drink although they had run-out of apple juice by that time. Nevermind though. One of my 'five a day' would just have to wait.

As for the inaugural return, same thing exactly albeit 68/174, just about finished the drinks service this time and I got given a tiny packet of Tyrell's 'Plane' crisps. All in all it's a mimic of BA service although not quite there and with lower loads. Quite as expected really and on what must be my 1428th MAN-LON flight, it'll do.

So on the plus side competition is a good thing, the crew are friendly and we didn't crash.

All the best to Little Red.



One Life, Live it.
User currently offlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 965 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (1 year 4 months 18 hours ago) and read 9830 times:

Hi James,

Thanks for this great read. Nice to read about VS' service so quickly. Seems they have a decent product on their hands, just hope they will be able to finetune everything! Thanks for posting!


User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1257 posts, RR: 4
Reply 22, posted (1 year 4 months 15 hours ago) and read 9487 times:

Brian,

Quoting BrianDromey (Reply 15):
Sad to see the former BD lounge at T3 now branded as an Escape, although the MAG operated Escape lounges do offer a good product.

Yeah a few of the V-flyers went in there and it seemed like the comments about it were positive.

Quoting BrianDromey (Reply 15):
Likewise Im sad to see much of the Airport facilities at MAN and LHR are ex BD.

True, although I expected VS would use them for their once a day service.

Quoting BrianDromey (Reply 15):
Does T2 not have domestic arrivals facilities?

No sure - I know T3 at LHR doesn't and thats why VS use T1 there - and soon to be T2.

Quoting BrianDromey (Reply 15):
I don't think the Little Red crew are VS, are they? I think they are EI in VS uniform.

I think thats the case. As mentioned there were a couple of VS crew on hand at the gate just to help out.

fca767,

Quoting fca767 (Reply 16):
I've filmed the Landing from Heathrow and the Departure back at around 3pm

I'll look out for it.

Quoting fca767 (Reply 16):
Just uploading it now, it's taking about 7 hours to upload part 1 lol

Thats why this report doesn't have any of my usual videos - yet.

smc88

Quoting smc88 (Reply 17):
So over time the service will be spot on.

Lets hope so.

Brendan,

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 18):
Great report as usual with many nice pictures!

Thanks,

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 18):
Thanks for putting this report up so quickly, was looking forward to reading it!

No problem

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 18):
Shame the inaugural didn't all go as smoothly as they wanted, was expecting a bit more celebrations to be honest.

I was expecting celebrations at first, but I heard a few weeks ago that the official launch is on one of the Scottish routes.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 18):
Nevertheless I wish VS lots of luck on these routes and sure hope they survive!

They have a decent product, but I'm not sure many of the passengers were taking it as a stand alone flight - most seemed to be connecting, and had no idea that this was the first flight. Think VS need to advertise the fact more to capture a few more commuters.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 18):
Thats quite an OK price

It wasn't too bad, although i think BA are similar.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 18):
Never have heard that happen before!

Nice touch though.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 18):
2 nice catches, great day for the MAN spotters!

In a matter of minutes too!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 18):
Have fun in my favorite country and definetely looking forward to those reports  

Thanks!

Carfield,

Quoting Carfield (Reply 19):
Thanks for the report!

No problem

Quoting Carfield (Reply 19):
The cabin looks very smart and I like the new seats.

It was one of the stronger points, and the mood lighting makes it a little different.

Quoting Carfield (Reply 19):
For these 30 minutes flight, you basically just don't have time to do much other handing out a pack with a sandwich and an OJ tub.

Exactly, but I guess once they perfect it they will perform just fine.

MYT332,

Quoting MYT332 (Reply 20):
On-board there's nothing special, how could there be? It was never going to be Virgin America.

I was hoping for something like that when it was first announced, but in reality for flights around the UK where they last no longer than an hour or so, its just not needed.

Quoting MYT332 (Reply 20):
There's no wardrobe and the seat pitch is tighter than BA's.

Still reasonable though. I was on an EI A320 last year that was packed to the brim and it wasn't too unpleasant. Ive got a feeling that these VS flights wont be sold out quite yet, at least until word gets out to the general public.

Who knows, if VS get a few of their own jets they might be a bit more adventurous, but as they're borrowing them from EI I guess they're a bit limited as to what they can do with the interiors.

Quoting MYT332 (Reply 20):
There was only 4 crew who were too slow off the mark and so even on a 174 seat A320 that was 2/3 full, circa 10 rows didn't get a drink.

I think there might be an extra crew member added soon.

Quoting MYT332 (Reply 20):
Quite as expected really

Exactly - what more could be done on a short flight.

Robert,

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 21):
Thanks for this great read.

No problem,

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 21):
Seems they have a decent product on their hands, just hope they will be able to finetune everything!

My thoughts exactly. They can make this succeed if they put enough effort into it.



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 offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1257 posts, RR: 4
Reply 23, posted (1 year 4 months 15 hours ago) and read 9463 times:

Videos have now uploaded for those who are interested:

  British Airways A320 departure from LHR
  British Airways A320 landing in MAN

  Virgin Atlantic Little Red departure from Manchester
  Virgin Atlantic Little Red landing at LHR



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 offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4253 posts, RR: 51
Reply 24, posted (1 year 4 months 9 hours ago) and read 9043 times:

Hi James

that's once cool experience isn't it being on the first domestic VS flight. At least you were quite excited about the aircraft being ready in time to make the inaugural, everything worked out fine in the end.

Though I think the cabin is nice, it's nothing special either to me. Legroom seems standard as with other airlines, the mood lighting is a nice feature but not needed on these routes. But I guess it's 'Virgin style' to have some fancy things  

Service is good, I see you got ham on the sandwich. Any vegetarian choice offered? Upon booking it is possible to mention a special meal. Did you notice that crew were distributing those?

With such an introduction showing pics of the whole booking process, I found the amount of pictures of the flight itself minimal compared to eachother. I think the pictures of the booking process is not really special to show, it takes a lot of work to create all screenshots and I think readers don't have much eye for these 'pictures'. But don't take it too critical, just my thought about it.

Looking forward to my flight with them later this week.

Regards
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1257 posts, RR: 4
Reply 25, posted (1 year 4 months 8 hours ago) and read 8982 times:

Hi Eric,

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 24):
that's once cool experience isn't it being on the first domestic VS flight.

It was, but somehow I was expecting a little more. Seeing a lot of airport staff taking pics and waving was a pretty special feeling though - didnt even get that with the dreamliner.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 24):
everything worked out fine in the end.

It sure did.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 24):
the mood lighting is a nice feature but not needed on these routes. But I guess it's 'Virgin style' to have some fancy things

I guess they had to do something a little different to BA - a little bit of something for people to notice. I think the intention was to make them as similar as possible to the A330's

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 24):
Service is good, I see you got ham on the sandwich. Any vegetarian choice offered?

I didn't see anything advertised, although I'm led to believe a bowl of cornflakes were the alternative.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 24):
With such an introduction showing pics of the whole booking process, I found the amount of pictures of the flight itself minimal compared to eachother.

They were only short flights. But I agree, the picture count is a little low compared to usual.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 24):
But don't take it too critical, just my thought about it.

Of course. I write them for myself mostly and I enjoy going right back to the point of booking!



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 offlinepalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1221 posts, RR: 17
Reply 26, posted (1 year 4 months 7 hours ago) and read 8857 times:

Hey J

Nice report and good to see you got on the inaugural VS flight. It's quite good to do something like that and tick off the travel list! I've done two - the first BA flight LGW - SZG back in 2006 and then the LCY - EDI on the first EM170 flight a few years later.

Good to see a comparison with the BA product on your way up to MAN.

Nice to see VS made an effort to recognise the first flight too - so many airlines these days seem to do little or nothing. You'd think any kind of publicity would be welcomed.

Those red balloons were certainly.... interesting!

Interesting to read about the crew and their timing re the service. I remember when Virgin Australia started flying the SYD - CBR shuttle, the crews there also had the same challenge and I remember reading one of fellow writer allrite's report about how mistimed the service delivery was because it was such a short flight. A few more flights and things no doubt will be smoothed out.

I hope the service(s) that VS have started succeed. Are they expecting to build up the fleet and frequencies?

Cheers and thanks again! Palmjet



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1257 posts, RR: 4
Reply 27, posted (1 year 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 8561 times:

Hey there PJ,

Quoting palmjet (Reply 26):
Nice report and good to see you got on the inaugural VS flight.

Thanks - and yeah I'm glad I got the very first, even if VS don't see it as the inaugural.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 26):
It's quite good to do something like that and tick off the travel list!

Indeed.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 26):
Nice to see VS made an effort to recognise the first flight too - so many airlines these days seem to do little or nothing. You'd think any kind of publicity would be welcomed.

When I read that this wouldn't be getting the full on inaugural treatment, I wasn't really expecting anything so nice to see a table of food/drink at the gate.

Still would have been good to see Richard Branson on the wing in a dress though!!

Quoting palmjet (Reply 26):
A few more flights and things no doubt will be smoothed out.

Undoutably, although todays VS3046 has been cancelled. Not sure why though.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 26):
I hope the service(s) that VS have started succeed.

So do I, they will be strong once they have their teething issues sorted.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 26):
Are they expecting to build up the fleet and frequencies?

They are yes. They have already announced a 4th daily MAN-LHR-MAN rotation and will also be leasing an additional 2x A320 from EI. So with a fleet of 5, it would seem they will be serving more than 3x destinations.



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 offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 28, posted (1 year 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 8237 times:

Hey James

Another great trip report, thanks for sharing. I red this with big interest, especially knowing that I'm going to to the same combo this weekend (however it will be VS to MAN and BA back)
VS looks to be slighlty better on first sight IMO.
Thanks for warming us all up for MAN this weekend.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):


Two weeks prior to departure, the VS flight times were changed – instead of departing Manchester at 06:50, the flight would now leave at 07:35. I’m pretty sure all the Manchester departures have now changed times from the original advertised ones.

Mine has been rescheduled as well.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
One for Marc

Thanks
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1257 posts, RR: 4
Reply 29, posted (1 year 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 8216 times:

Hi Marc,

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 28):
Another great trip report, thanks for sharing.

Thanks, no problem

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 28):
I red this with big interest, especially knowing that I'm going to to the same combo this weekend

Be interesting to hear you experiences once VS have a few services under their belt.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 28):
VS looks to be slighlty better on first sight IMO.

Thats what I'm leaning towards too. BA just seemed a little bit too polished at it where as the VS crew tried to engage a bit more and had more of a human side to it.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 28):
Thanks for warming us all up for MAN this weekend.

Shame I cant be there!



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 offlineLuftyMatt From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2009, 428 posts, RR: 0
Reply 30, posted (1 year 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 8080 times:

Really good report, thanks for sharing. Your photo's were great  I hope this new venture by VS works out for them, it looks like a good product they offer.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Then headed up to the car park to see what was going on - not much.

It looks pretty busy in your pics, T2 was rammed.



chase the sun
User currently offlineeastafspot From France, joined Jan 2008, 745 posts, RR: 12
Reply 31, posted (1 year 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 8046 times:

very good idea of this inaugural flight - well done

Really nice pictures and a comprehensive comparison
The other day i've checked their prices and seem decent
The shape of the balloons is funny  

I'm impressed that VS also offered a buffet of pastries to celebrate that even.

Thanks you so much for sharing this great TR



Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki
User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1257 posts, RR: 4
Reply 32, posted (1 year 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 8012 times:

Quoting LuftyMatt (Reply 30):

Hi there, thanks for the kind words. T2 at MAN was busy... But nothing was moving anywhere!

And the VS little red product is pretty strong. Be a shame if it went away.

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 31):

Again, thanks for taking the time to comment. Good of VS to lay on breakfast and the staff on hand seemed genuinely enthusiastic about their job.

The prices were good - I've even heard there's fares around for £0 - you just have to pay taxes, fees, etc.



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 offlinetheobcman From UK - England, joined Nov 2010, 140 posts, RR: 0
Reply 33, posted (1 year 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 7927 times:

Hi James, great report, really liked it & need to go to MAN in May so will be booking VS now.

Just one question, I also live in Surrey but was wandering where were you getting the boat from / to ?


User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1257 posts, RR: 4
Reply 34, posted (1 year 3 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 7630 times:

Quoting theobcman (Reply 33):
Hi James, great report

Hi there, thanks!

Quoting theobcman (Reply 33):
need to go to MAN in May so will be booking VS now.

Yeah I'd recommend them. Not that you can go far wrong with BA either.

Quoting theobcman (Reply 33):
Just one question, I also live in Surrey but was wandering where were you getting the boat from / to ?

That wasn't in Surrey - It was the Swanage ferry between Sandbanks and Swanage.



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 offlineanstar From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2003, 5174 posts, RR: 6
Reply 35, posted (1 year 3 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 7413 times:

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 32):
Be a shame if it went away.

Lets be positive... All we have heard since the BMI sell of was

- VS is just hot air, believe it when I see it (so believe it!)

- VS will not actually launch the flights if they get the slots (well they have)

- VS have the slots but doubt they will use them (they have)

- VS are not that into the domestics as only leasing from Aer Lingus (How else can you start up an operation in 3 months???)

And now it is "if it lasts" and "the loads were low" (what route starts at 100% load factors?)


So lets look at the positives for a change as VS have put their money where their mouth is this time and have a lot of changes happening (new CEO, Delta and likely skyteam).


User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1257 posts, RR: 4
Reply 36, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 7015 times:

Quoting anstar (Reply 35):

All very good points, and I sincerely hope the service does stay around. Although the virgin group doesn't have a particularly strong history with short haul - Athens and Virgin Sun spring to mind.



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 offlineanstar From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2003, 5174 posts, RR: 6
Reply 37, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 6832 times:

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 36):
Although the virgin group doesn't have a particularly strong history with short haul - Athens and Virgin Sun spring to mind.

I'm hoping the new CEO ruffles some feathers interannly and shakes things up. Hopefully he can do to VS a similar positive change the the (ex QF) ceo did at Virgin Australia.

 


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6716 posts, RR: 77
Reply 38, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 5827 times:

Hi James,

nice report about your Little Red experience. The product looks okay, but I'm disappointed that the flights are operated by EI. So it's not a new airline, just a brand. The AOC is what matters, at least IMO.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Almost immediately the crew started the service - unsurprising considering it was likely to be a sort flight.

That sandwich looks good. I'm really wondering why BA serves such items on domestic flights, while only chocolate bars are provided on routes such as LHR-MUC-LHR.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Luckily, on my second attempt a room was available. The room itself probably wasn't any different to a normal one, but the view was worth the extra £30! As I'd paid the extra, I decided to stay in as I'd seen Manchester many times before.

When did you pay an extra fee - at the time of booking? I chose a standard room for the MAN meet and simply added "high floor, airport view" in the comment section of the reservation. Then I got a great room on the ninth floor. Where was your room located at?

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Much needed!

The Nespresso machine was a nice surprise!


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinebwaflyer From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 689 posts, RR: 0
Reply 39, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 5776 times:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 38):
That sandwich looks good. I'm really wondering why BA serves such items on domestic flights, while only chocolate bars are provided on routes such as LHR-MUC-LHR.

Breakfast MAN/LBA/BHD/NCL - hot panini with tea/coffee/OJ/Water
Breakfast GLA/EDI/ABZ - hot breakfast tray with roll / jam / butter / OJ - tea and coffee served seperately

All flights after 09:30 - full bar service with choice of crisps / chocolate chip cookies / trail mix

On LHR-MUC in Y breakfast is a filled croissant with OJ/Water/Tea/Coffee, after 09:30 drinks and snacks. At lunch and dinner the snacks are replaced with a wrap.

[Edited 2013-04-15 08:25:18]

User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1257 posts, RR: 4
Reply 40, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 5742 times:

Hi there PH,

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 38):
nice report about your Little Red experience.

Thanks,

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 38):
The product looks okay, but I'm disappointed that the flights are operated by EI. So it's not a new airline, just a brand. The AOC is what matters, at least IMO.

My guess is this was the best way to get ops off the ground in as little time as possible. If all goes well, then VS can provide their own aircraft. If not, send them back to EI at the end of the lease.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 38):
That sandwich looks good. I'm really wondering why BA serves such items on domestic flights, while only chocolate bars are provided on routes such as LHR-MUC-LHR.

I'd brought the sandwich at T5 as I knew I wouldn't be provided much onboard. The crisps were provided by BA.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 38):
When did you pay an extra fee - at the time of booking?

Yes.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 38):
I chose a standard room for the MAN meet and simply added "high floor, airport view" in the comment section of the reservation. Then I got a great room on the ninth floor. Where was your room located at?

Tried that before and only ended up on the sixth floor. Guess it all depends what they have available. My room was 968.

bwaflyer

Quoting bwaflyer (Reply 39):
Breakfast MAN/LBA/BHD/NCL - hot panini with tea/coffee/OJ/Water
Quoting bwaflyer (Reply 39):
All flights after 09:30 - full bar service with choice of crisps / chocolate chip cookies / trail mix

Pretty much identical to what I got on my LHR-ORY and CDG-LHR sectors a couple of weeks ago.



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 offlinebwaflyer From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 689 posts, RR: 0
Reply 41, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 5664 times:

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 40):
Pretty much identical to what I got on my LHR-ORY and CDG-LHR sectors a couple of weeks ago.

Paris is what BA call a Band 1 flight, Munich is a Band 2 (about the longest), the only difference is that inflight retail is offered, and Band 1 has snacks all day whereas Band 2 during limited lunch and dinner times a single wrap is offered (snacks at other times).


User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1257 posts, RR: 4
Reply 42, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 5566 times:

Quoting bwaflyer (Reply 41):

Band 2 about the longest? They go up to band 4 where the offer a full cooked meal! LCA is an example.



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 offlinebwaflyer From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 689 posts, RR: 0
Reply 43, posted (1 year 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 5487 times:

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 42):


No, Munich is about the longest band 2 flight!


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