(originally posted on Flyertalk)
This is part of a larger trip. If anyone is intersted in a report on the following, I will post:
LAX-LHR (NZ, F)
CPH-IAD (SK, C)
I am just doing the RG segment, as I feel that it is a missing link in the trip reports.
I checked in at LHR about 3 hours early. Varig used the SAS check in area. I received an invitation to the Virgin Clubhouse (score!). Check in was easy, and I made my way to the VAT refund line, which took about 20 minutes.
I went through fast track, and did a bit of shopping. Nice thing about LHR and London in general is that the city cares about men's clothes. In the States, malls and shops cater mostly to women. The opposite is true at LHR. I bought some nice slippers for my future travels.
On to the lougnes. I wanted to check out as many * lounges as possible. I started with the UAL lounges. Been to the RCC, but never the F lounge. Alas, I was denied entry because I was not flying UA. I protested that I thought *A F passengers could use any F lounge. A defiant agent told me otherwise. Further, even though I had an F ticket, she demanded to see my *G card before allowing me into the RCC. I showed it to her and left.
Next, the Virgin Clubhouse. No, not a * lounge, but I did have an invitation. The receptionist was very nice, but did not think my flight warranted the pass. "Usually we only accept those travelling across the ocean, but as you have the invite, or course you may enter." WOnderful lounge with great selection of food.
I also went to the AC MLL, which was also nice. The SAS lounge is under construction, and the SQ lounge is in another area. Both the VS and AC lounges were much nicer that then always packed RCC.
Onto the flight. Boarding was on time, and the flight seemd pretty full. I was the only F pax. RG has one row of F on the MD-11 (2-2-2-). The personal video screens have been removed (not sure if from my aircraft or systemwide).
Upon being seeted, the FA offered me drink and asked me if I wanted a newspaper or magazine. They didn't have a ginger ale or a sprite or a seven up. So I settled on a diet coke. No Herald Tribune. Only English newspaper was two days old. (Ok, it WAS January 1, so I'll cut slack here).
Seat was a bit grubby. Recline and leg rest was ok, but not good. Most interational C seats are much better.
During the flight, I was served a plate of three small open faces sandwiches (a cream cheese, a nova, and a chicken). Additionally there was a small fruit salad, a small pie (apple?), and two chocolates. FA didn't ask if I wanted wine. No Duty Free. Inflight entertainment was on front screen.
We landed at 3:45. and it being the middle of winter, it was already pretty dark in CPH.
I was really looking forward to the RG flight. I thought it would be superior to SK's C flight, but I was mistaken. While the leg room was better, the quality was not.
So I can now cross Varig off my list of *A carriers to fly. It was fun, and I am glad I did it. But I would not want to fly them for a longer flight.