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Virgin Atlantic MCO-LGW  
User currently offlineShamrock_747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (10 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 7108 times:

Virgin Atlantic VS016 MCO-LGW
11th August 2004
Boeing 747-443 G-VROM ‘Barbarella’
Premium Economy Seat 74A
Departure Time (Scheduled/Actual): 2025/2025
Arrival Time (Scheduled/Actual): 0930/0915


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Photo © Andy Martin - AirTeamImages
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Photo © Graham Hitchen



The report for the first leg of the trip can be found here.
http://www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/47682/

We arrived at Orlando International Airport just before 1900 which was somewhat later than planned! After having our passports checked we went through to the Premium Economy check-in desk where the agent assigned me seat 74A and my Mother seat 74C – a window and aisle on the upper deck. He commented “I think it’s time for a new passport”. Any of you who have seen my passport picture will understand why.  Smile

I headed through security and onto the shuttle train to the gate. The airport was bright, spacious and clean which made a nice change from the packed BAA shopping centres I’m all too familiar with. I took a seat by the gate. A group of gate agents arrived and one of them announced “Virgin Atlantic is paging passenger Ronald…. McDonald!” and collapsed into a fit of laughter, along with the other agents and all the passengers in the gate area. I assumed she was having a joke played on her until a couple of minutes later she said “Seriously, we need Ronald McDonald travelling on flight 16 to Gatwick to come to the desk”. Poor bloke!

Looking out the large windows at the gate I saw the aircraft for this evening’s flight – G-VROM “Barbarella”. “Air-born December 2001” was painted on the nose. This was rather interesting considering I had flown on the very same aircraft in August 2001!


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Photo © Ben Pritchard



Boarding for Upper Class and Premium Economy passengers started at 1940. I headed down the jetty and on to the aircraft. I made my way upstairs and soon after I sat down an attractive member of the crew came round with a tray offering water, orange juice and Bucks Fizz.

“Any Champagne?”
She smiled and appeared a with a glass of Champagne a moment later. Much better.  Smile

I settled down with my drink and made myself comfortable. The likes of Franz Ferdinand, Muse and The Killers were being played over the speakers – at last some decent boarding music on VS! The Premium Economy cabin took up all the upper deck. The seats were in 2-2 configuration with a 38” pitch and legrests. The additional space makes a flight significantly more comfortable, particularly on an overnighter.


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Photo © Ryan Gaddis - SPOT THIS!



We pushed back dead on time. Takeoff was at a leisurely pace and uneventful. As we started the slow climb to 33,000ft I got some magnificent views of a thunderstorm belting down on Florida. I was glad I’d made my escape a couple of days before the hurricane was going to hit!

Soon a Sky News bulletin was played on the PTVs and the drink service started. I had a Vodka and lemonade, served with a bag of pretzels. Once the news was over the Nova IFE system was activated. There were 8 films, 14 audio channels and a skymap available. As you would expect, I put it onto the skymap to keep track of our progress.

The meal service started with those famous words “beef or chicken?” There was a vegetarian option available too. I went for the chicken which turned out to be very nice. It was a chicken breast in creamy sauce with rice, peas and mushrooms. It came with a pasta salad, cheese and crackers and a chocolate fudge cake – naughty but nice! Wine was served with dinner (I went for the Chardonnay) and the crew came around with refills three times during the meal which was unexpected but welcome. After dinner I grabbed a can of Heineken and listened to some music on the IFE system for around half an hour before dozing off to sleep.

My Mum woke me up which irritated me because I felt like I’d been asleep for just half an hour. To my surprise we were approaching the west coast of Ireland and breakfast was being served! I had managed to get a decent amount of sleep. Trays were handed out with fruit salad, a pot of orange juice and a muffin. I had a coffee to go with it. It felt like I’d only just finished dinner so I passed on the muffin and got another coffee and orange juice.

Not too long after breakfast the IFE was switched off, seatbacks were moved to upright and the seatbelt sign came on. The same quality tunes that had been playing during boarding came through the speakers again. No “babycakes” or similar Chav rubbish on this flight!  Smile

During approach to Gatwick’s runway 26L Franz Ferdinand’s “Matinee” was being played which made me feel like I was in one of MYT332’s videos! We flew over the M23 motorway, the London to Brighton railway mainline and a load of car parks before gently touching down. “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to a very wet London Gatwick Airport”. Same old England!

It was announced that due to lack of space at South Terminal we were being allocated a remote stand and disembarkation would be by stairs, with buses to the terminal. We ended up parking near the control tower next to a Travel City Direct 747-200. Coming down the stairs from the aircraft and seeing it close up from the ground really made me appreciate what an enormous yet fantastic aircraft the 747-400 is.

The aircraft was parked further north on the airfield than Gatwick’s north terminal, so the bus ride to the south terminal took a good 15 minutes. I did manage to get a good view of the new high bridge from the north terminal to the new gates though. After getting off the bus and spending 45 minutes in the disorganised BAA hell which is Gatwick South Arrivals on a busy summer morning, I was on the train home.

The flight was a great end to my summer holiday and Virgin Atlantic were very good as usual. Thanks for reading, feel free to post any questions or comments.


12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBA380 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 1466 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (10 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 7001 times:

great report - sounds good. I have not travelled upstairs on a 744 yet, but I hear good reports!


cabin crew: doors to automatic and cross-check...
User currently offlineMYT332 From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 9112 posts, RR: 70
Reply 2, posted (10 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 6901 times:

During approach to Gatwick’s runway 26L Franz Ferdinand’s “Matinee” was being played which made me feel like I was in one of MYT332’s videos!

I just chocked on my drink laughing at that!

Well dooba you can compose a really good report, it was a pleasure to read. I can't tell you how envious I am that you always travel long haul in something other than Y. Just for once im going to have to try that!

Glad you had a good time in America's wang.

Bonjour!




One Life, Live it.
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (10 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 6804 times:

Hi Declan,

Thanks for this excellent trip report!

It seems like VS still offers an excellent product...

Would love to give them a try!

Frederic


User currently offlineLHR27C From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 1279 posts, RR: 16
Reply 4, posted (10 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 6661 times:

Declan, another excellent report, well done and thanks for posting. Sounds like the VS experience lives up to its reputation!


Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward
User currently offlineLucky727 From Canada, joined Sep 2003, 602 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (10 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 6633 times:

A nice read - esp. the variety of cocktails chosen at appropriate times...VS UC & PE sound great - how would you compare them? Anything other than the seats (& IFE)?


··· [·] oooooooo [·] oooo oo ooooo [·] ooooooooooooooooooo [·]
User currently offlineLeezyjet From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 4042 posts, RR: 53
Reply 6, posted (10 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 6372 times:

Another good report Dooba.

Not quite the service you had on the outbound though !!.  Big grin

 Smile



"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"
User currently offlineShamrock_747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (10 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 6168 times:

Thanks for the comments guys.

Lucky727... the seats in Upper were slightly better than those in PE, with the main difference being the seat pitch. IFE was the same. In Upper the service was much better and attentive, as were the meals.


User currently offlineSegmentKing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (10 years 2 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 6157 times:

you drink a lot for being 16-20!!!

-n


User currently offlineAirgeek12 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 5752 times:

Great report, Shamrock_747! I will also be flying MCO > LGW (and back) and when I did a search (I'm researching the IFE systems) your post came up! Thanks for the info, to me it was much appritiated.  Smile

User currently offlineKaddyuk From Wallis and Futuna, joined Nov 2001, 4126 posts, RR: 25
Reply 10, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 5704 times:

All the LGW 744's have now been retrofitted with an enhanced IFE and the Upper Class Suite, with 14 J class seats, 58 W class seats and the rest Y class  Smile


Whoever said "laughter is the best medicine" never had Gonorrhea
User currently offlineChris78cpr From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 2822 posts, RR: 50
Reply 11, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 5666 times:

Quoting Shamrock_747 (reply 0):
He commented “I think it’s time for a new passport”. Any of you who have seen my passport picture will understand why.


I saw it yesterday and i can certainly agree a new passport would be a wise move! Big grin

Nice report Dec, good to read you had a good time in MCO and a good flight back. I love to fly VS, i had my first upepr deck expeiriance 10 days back on G-VTOP!


Quoting Shamrock_747 (reply 0):
During approach to Gatwick’s runway 26L Franz Ferdinand’s “Matinee” was being played which made me feel like I was in one of MYT332’s videos!


That one made me laugh out loud! I had it play on one of my flights recently and i felt exactly the same! I say blame Alex!  Laugh out loud

Cheers, Chris



5D2/7D/1D2(soon to be a 1Dx) 17-40L/24-105L/70-200F2.8L/100-400L/24F1.4LII/50F1.2L/85F1.2LII
User currently offlineAirgeek12 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (9 years 9 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 5436 times:

Quoting Kaddyuk (reply 10):
All the LGW 744's have now been retrofitted with an enhanced IFE and the Upper Class Suite, with 14 J class seats, 58 W class seats and the rest Y class Smile



Nice. I was kinda wondering about that. I thought it might have been that they still had the old purple UC seats but I guess that was in older pics, and they've been re-fitted since.

"..enhanced ife..." umm.. they did? Are you talking about the upgrade from Nova to SuperNova / Nova+?

geek


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