CV990A
Topic Author
Posts: 1385
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 1999 6:04 am

JFK-LHR-JNB-CPT And Back On VS/SAA

Tue Jun 12, 2001 2:31 am

May 16-
VS10 JFK-LHR
747-219B G-VBEE (Honeypie)
Seat 32C- Moved up to 27D to get the bulkhead

This was perhaps the best of the 4 Virgin flights I had on this trip. We were delayed an hour out of JFK because the A340 we were supposted to be on went mech. at LHR, so the previous flight was late getting into JFK. We were delayed another 30-40 min because of bad weather at LHR, but to the airline's credit, they were excellent in keeping us updated as to the cause of the delays. The dinner was ok- Chicken I think, but the 'breakfast' was terrible- yogurt that was closer to milk in consistency and a muffin. Still, the F/A's were very friendly, and the service was decent. Overall, it was an uneventful Trans-Atlantic flight.

May 17-
VS601 LHR-JNB
A340-313X G-VFAR (Diana)
Seat 42C

A wonderfully cramped 11-12 hour flight, punctuated by the screams of two babies in front of me. Give the mothers credit though- they did try and keep them quiet. I think the guy sitting next to me complaining about the babies was worse. The movie choices were better on this flight than my first, so I was suitably entertained for the duration of the flight. The PTVs on Virgin are nice, but the location of the controller (on the inside of the armrest) is terrible. The meals on this flight were better too. Kudos to Virgin for halfway edible food on their flights. Still- it felt good getting off the plane and really moving around once we arrived in Johannesburg.

May 26-
SAA343 JNB-CPT
737-85F ZS-SJJ
Seat 22D

OK- I now have a new favorite airline. Sorry Aeromexico, but my experience on South African Airways was amazing. The service was excellent, and the legroom was outstanding- even in Coach! I do think it's kinda sad when you get more legroom on a 737 than a long-haul jet. The 2-hour flight really went by quickly and the trip was enhanced by the fact that you get to walk across the ramp at Cape Town- here's hoping the pics I took came out and get uploaded on this site.

June 6-
SAA 326 CPT-JNB
A320-231 ZS-SHE
Seat 10D (Emergency Exit row)

I really didn't notice much extra legroom in the emergency exit seating, but like my previous flight on SAA, the flight was very good. The F/A's on this airline are very friendly and accomodating, and it's very hard to find faults in the atmosphere they create. Granted, the boxed snack they gave out wasn't THAT appetizing, it's more than you get on some airlines here in the US. One thing I did notice is that SAA pilots like to come in high and fast, and the resulting landings are hard with LOTS of thrust reverser- not a combination for creating comfortable landings. I probably just caught them on an off-day  Big grin Still- if anyone in the forum is planning a trip to South Africa- I strongly reccomend flying SAA- they were fantastic.

June 6-
VS602 JNB-LHR
A340-313X G-VAIR
Seat 53H

Another loooong, cramped Virgin flight. Pasta for dinner, yogurt again for breakfast (which I skipped this time) I'm glad the aisle armrests come up on VS planes, because the guy infront of me had his seatback reclined all the whole time, so I couldn't sit straight in the seat without my legs falling asleep. I finally broke down and watched 'Save the Last Dance' on this flight, mostly because it was between that or the animated Disney 'Tarzan' Flying over Chad we passed a thunderstorm, which I watched. I find seeing a thunderstorm at night from the air is spectacular. I've seen a few, and every time it's been great. This particular flight had the worst service of the trip. The F/A's vanished after serving dinner, and didn't return until breakfast time. None of the in-flight snacks like the trip down, despite what the in-flight menu told us. The lone male F/A singing 'It's Not Unusual' as we were landing added a surreal touch to the trip as well. I was glad to get off this flight and restore the feeling to my legs.

June 7-
VS3 LHR-JFK
747-4Q8 G-VHOT
Seat 26H

AIR RAGE!!! We had some drunk guy start yelling at one of the F/A's in-flight, so we got to sit for 20 min after we arrived as the cops arrested this guy. Still, we were an amazing 40 min early, so the delay didn't matter at all. Other than the little incident described above, the flight was routine. Chicken for lunch and a sandwich-thingy for a snack before landing. After almost a month on the road, it felt good to get home. On the whole, Virgin is a decent airline, with the exception of some of the worst seat pitch I've seen in a long time. Because of this, unless you're flying Premium Economy or Upper Class, I advise against flying them, still, it was a great trip, and I reccomend everyone in this forum to go visit South Africa at some point!
Kittens Give Morbo Gas
 
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RE: JFK-LHR-JNB-CPT And Back On VS/SAA

Tue Jun 12, 2001 2:40 am

Can't you take the PTV controlls out of the armrests at Virgin ??
 
englandair
Posts: 2193
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2000 4:34 am

RE: JFK-LHR-JNB-CPT And Back On VS/SAA

Tue Jun 12, 2001 2:54 am

Yes is the answer!
 
CX747
Posts: 5566
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 2:54 am

RE: JFK-LHR-JNB-CPT And Back On VS/SAA

Tue Jun 12, 2001 3:08 am

I wonder if Virgin packs their A340-300s like sardines? You seemed to not have enjoyed either of your trips on the A340, while the 747-200 and 747-400 was more to your liking.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
CV990A
Topic Author
Posts: 1385
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 1999 6:04 am

RE: JFK-LHR-JNB-CPT And Back On VS/SAA

Tue Jun 12, 2001 6:43 am

CX747- In answer to your question, yes, the A340 flights both had what felt like smaller seats, and all of my flights, except the first were full, so there wasn't much room to move around. Also while you could take the PTV controls out of the armrest, the holder still digs into your hip.
Kittens Give Morbo Gas
 
SR 103
Posts: 1618
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2000 6:19 am

I Agree!

Wed Jun 13, 2001 12:09 am

I agree with the statement "Unless you're flying Premium Economy or Upper Class, I advise against flying them."

This is true. I flew their Upper Class between LHR-HKG and it was Fantastic! Though I think other airlines are probably getting better than VS.

I also flew HKG-LHR & LHR-JFK-LHR in economy. They would have to be one of the worst flights ever. The crew were good but nothing other than that. The seats for some reason seem to be cramped on VS. I was expecting better.

Other airlines such as CX, SR, & BA are excellent in Business but their Economy is still good with the same standard of service. Virgin's service on VS is totally different in each class. I would think an airline should be the same overall!

SR 103  Smile/happy/getting dizzy  Smile/happy/getting dizzy  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
 
CV990A
Topic Author
Posts: 1385
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 1999 6:04 am

RE: JFK-LHR-JNB-CPT And Back On VS/SAA

Wed Jun 13, 2001 5:22 am

I just realized I forgot to mention that departing JNB in the A340, the Captain announced that we would have a long and slow takeoff roll, and this was normal. An admission that the A340 may in fact be 'underpowered'?
Kittens Give Morbo Gas
 
Guest

RE: JFK-LHR-JNB-CPT And Back On VS/SAA

Thu Jun 14, 2001 7:36 pm

CV990 - yes it is (or at least the variants VS have are) - and JNB is of course 'hot and high'. Still, if you want the feeling that you're going to be driving (rather than flying) to Europe - try doing it in a -7A powered B747!!! Big grin Big grin Big grin

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