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IAD-LHR-IAD On VS, Including Special Meal  
User currently offlineJfidler From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 395 posts, RR: 0
Posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 2708 times:

I had to head to London 3 weeks ago on short-notice (business), and I ended up taking Virgin because they had the lowest fares.

Plenty of people have posted trip reports for similar or even the same flights, so I'll just post the highlights. I flew economy class.

Amenity kits were provided both directions. They included a plastic bag, socks, ear plugs, tooth brush, toothpaste, breath mints, notepad, and probably some other things I'm forgetting.

I booked through Virgin's site, and it reported the aircraft was a 744, but the safety cards stated the aircraft was a 742. How can I tell the difference?

I read in a travel column in a newspaper that ordering a gluten-free meal (gluten is a type of wheat, I think) is often a better meal because they have to prepare it specially, but it's not necessarily as flavourless as other special meal options, like low-fat. Well I didn't fare so well on this. IAD-LHR (dinner), I had a plain boneless chicken breast with rice and two florets of broccoli. Very bland. The salad had rice wine vinaigrette (also bad), and the dessert was a rice crispie treat (since cake would have wheat in it).

Return trip it was bland, dry salmon on rice, and some sort of dried fruit as the side dish. Again, some of the worst airline food I've had.

On the bright side, special meals are served before the other passengers are served (except for vegetarian, which was served at the same time with dinner, since it was a meal choice). So I was able to finish up my meal and get some sleep while others were still eating. Does anyone have suggestions for other types of special meals to try that might be better? I'm flying to AMS on UA (my first 777 trip) in a month, and I ordered gluten-free on there -- perhaps I should switch it.

On my return from LHR-IAD, I got to the airport (Sunday morning) a bit earlier than expected. After checking in, I wandered over to the observation deck, which I believe is near Terminal 2. I was there around 9am, and there must have been 30 people on both floors of the observation deck! On a Sunday morning at 9am! I never realized there were so many spotters. Anyway, the views were fairly good, and the cloud cover was only minimal.

Overall, I'd say VS had good service and I was pleased. The only downsides were the gluten-free meal wasn't very good, and I didn't get any FF miles for the trip because none of the airlines I am an FF member with are partners with VS.


6 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 31
Reply 1, posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 2601 times:

Try a special fish meal.
Isn´t Gluten that stuff that´s often used in Chinese dishes and gives some people a stiff neck, the so called "Chinese restaurant syndrom"?
Daniel Smile

User currently offlineIkarus From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 3524 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 2598 times:

In my ticket (on the same route, Feb 23rd/25th but LHR-IAD and back) it also said it would be a 744, and it also was a classic. You can tell the difference by

-the longer upper deck on the 744
-the winglets
and if you flew Premium economy: the fact that in the 744, Premium Economy would be in the Upper Deck

Nice trip report. Glad you had a good flight. I myself don't really mind airline food much - it's just the kind of microwaveable meals I often eat anyway....



BTW: On what dates did you fly?

User currently offlineJfidler From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 395 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 2590 times:

I left on the night of 28 Feb and returned the afternoon of 4 March. On the outbound, I did note the aircraft had winglets (I was thinking that's a way to determine a 744, but wasn't sure). Thanks for the information.


User currently offlineDfleet7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 153 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2581 times:

i find that the easiest way to tell a 742 from a 744 is that there is an exit on the upper deck of the 744 but not on the 742

User currently offlineAgnusBymaster From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 652 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2571 times:

Thanks for including the bit about the special meal  Big grin

In my experience, the special meals are generally WORSE than the regular meals. For the moment, I've given up on these inept airline catering departments

User currently offlineFqtv From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2000, 156 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2552 times:

Angus is right, special meals being better is a misconception. The reality is that special meals are usually much older than the regular airline meals, because the kitchens prepare them in large batches and then freeze them. It isn't economical for them to specially prepare just a few meals a day, so they make a whole bunch in advance. Also, the dishes in general tend to be pretty bland, as there are restrictions on the ingredients they can use. Most catering companies won't go out of their way to make special meals tasty - its almost as if they are more concerned about making a meal "glutan-free" (or whatever) than edible. Anyway, I would change your upcoming meal reservation back to good ol' standard economy fare if I were you.
Hope I didn't make you lose your appetite  Smile
Cheers, Zac

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