January 8th 2003
VS006 Miami-London Heathrow
Airbus A340-300 G-VSUN "Rainbow Lady"
Departure time 06:45 pm
Actual dep time 06:45 pm
Arrival time 07:50 am
Actual arr time 07:15 am
Photo © Snorre
Photo © Matthew Willmott-Sharp
Why does good things always come to an end?
After spending 1 month in the warmth and sun of Miami it was time to go back home in the UK.
I got to MIA's Concourse E at aroun 1:50 pm to check in for my flight, I came really early to avoid qeues at check-in and to see if I could change my pre-assigned seat 44K.
Well I arrived at Virgin's desk to find an unbelievable....short qeue.... just 1 person in front of me I checked in fairly quickly after paying my penalty fee for changing the dates of my flight ( I was supposed to leave on the 15th) anyways the guy that check passports in the qeue just looked at my passport over and over again (I have the old EU style not the new machine readable) and asked me for some more ID anyways i got the OK so I then proceeded to get something to eat, we got some sandwiches at the California Pizza Kitchen in the food court and then wandered around the terminal.
At 4:10 I decided it was time to go thru security, I said bye to my mom and when she finally let go of me (why do they do that? nah I'm kidding I love me mum!) I headed for the relatively short qeue. put my bags and shoes to be screened and went thru the metal detecto... no beep and i got the all clear form the security guard, collected my stuff and headed to my gate E8. bought some last minute chocolates and then rushed to my gate to see what sort of Airplane I would be on today.
When i got to the gate I was surprised to see G-VSUN in all her glory, yayyy I was to fly on the A340 with the cool livery.
I sat and read my magazine until boarding was called, handicapped and families with small children first and then front back to front. actually sitting in the very back of the plane has its advantages, you get to board first, that is if you are a plane crazy fella like me who cannot wait to get inside the plane.
Anyways I got to my seat, stored my carry-on and sat on my seat, I cannot really stop saying how confy these seats are, even for economy they are wide enough and the legroom is pretty damn good! the cabin aroud this area is in a 2-4-2 configuration so it is indeed very nice.
Captain came in the P.A. to introduce himself and to say that due to tailwinds our fliying time today will be only 7 hours and that we should arrive in LHR 30 minutes ahead of schedule!
Safety video came on the PTV's and if you have never seen Virgin Atlantic's safety demo, you should because its simply funny! very original indeed, I even heard some chucles from the passengers as they watched it!.
We pushed back on-time and after engine start-up we taxied to Runway 9L for inmediate departure, again I did not felt the A340 to be sluggish nor underpowered as it performed a nice take-off we flew out of the city towards miami beach and then made a slight left turn into the Atlantic ocean.
Soon the flight attendants sprung to life for a drink service and soon after dinner was rolled in, the menu today was a choice of salmon, chicken or pasta. I went the Italian way and got some tortellini in a sundried tomato sauce very nice accompanied by a salad, cheese and bread, buttter and a chocolate tart all very nice and well presented and Iwashed it all down with a can of Virgin Cola!.
anyways after that i just started flipping thru the movie selection today, this aircraft also has the Arcadia IFE and the choice of movies today was not really that good, Out of Time, Open Range, the shape of things, Hulk and others plus children and travel channels where available, sadly the Comedy channel was not working today so I missed the Simpsons!!. anyways I watched Out of Time with Denzel Washington, pretty good movie.
Cabin crew passed around offering more juice coffe tea or water and then I settled down trying to get some sleep. but I can never sleep on a plane so I just switched to the Flightmap and listened to some music. cabin lights where dimmed off for people to sleep.
The flight progressed uneventful.
When I was beginning to get some shut-eye the cabin lights where suddenly turned on and breakfast was served by that time we where already close to Ireland. damn fast!
Breakfast consisted of a fruit roll, Fresh orange slices and orange juice. overall pretty basic. got some coffee to wash it down and then just started watching out of the window and saw loads of little irish city lights down below.
Soon after the captain came in to let us know that we will shortly start the descent into LHR.
and indeed soon the engines spooled down and we started our descent it was quite dark outside still but you could see big patches of cities down below very nice! you could even see the roundabouts hahaha.
later on in the descent it got really bumpy, and suddenly we dropped pretty hard which made some passengers gasp, I was just enjoying it!
Anyways London soon came into view and we circled around LHR for a while before turning left and stablish ourselves for a 27R landing.
Flaps and gears deployed and our Airbus glided over the city and then made a firm touchdown, a little bit of reverse thrust was used to slow us down and then we taxied to our gate on a wet London morning, welcome to London local time is 7:20am and the temperature is 5 degrees
Finally we parked at our gate and again I was one of the last to deplane, I colected my stuff and headed for the terminal, passport control was done in a breeze and then had to wait for 20 minutes to get my bags because the doors of the cargo hold where jammed so they couldnt get the bags out.
Luckily my bags where one of the first to pop out and with little time made my way to the central bus station to catch my bus back to Bournemouth. and got home safe and sound but with some jet-lag
Again I enjoyed my trip with Virgin Atlantic, they have a really good product and they are the funkiest, sassiest airline there is and I will definitely fly with them as often as I can!
Ok That's it, I won't torture you anymore, you are free to go. but leave a comment if you liked it.