Shamrock_747
Topic Author
Posts: 1499
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2002 3:25 am

VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Sun Aug 15, 2004 1:47 am

Virgin Atlantic VS027 LGW-MCO
28th July 2004
Boeing 747-443 G-VROS ‘English Rose’
Upper Class Seat 9K
Departure Time (Scheduled/Actual): 1115/1230
Arrival Time (Scheduled/Actual): 1525/1630


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Photo © DAVID JAMES CLELFORD



My mother and I arrived at a very crowded LGW South Terminal at 0930. We were booked in Premium Economy on the VS015 1230 flight but the agent at the start of the PE/UC check-in queue informed us that we had two seats in Upper Class on the 1115 flight, which was delayed by one hour due to a late inbound arrival. The agent put some stickers on our tickets to change the flight number and directed us to a check-in desk. The check-in agent seemed quite confused said “you’ll have UC seats with PE service”. I told her I was informed we’d get full UC so she disappeared around the back of the desks for a minute and came back saying she’d got two seats in ‘real’ UC unblocked for us. If you don’t ask you don’t get!

As far as I am aware upgraded passengers don’t get lounge access, but I already had a pre-paid access voucher to the Virgin Clubhouse so I headed through fast track security and up the escalator to the lounge. The Clubhouse was quite small and mainly consisted of armchairs and tables. There was also a bar, library/smoking area, business centre and salon. I had a bacon sandwich and a couple of glasses of Champagne for breakfast. My overall impression of the lounge was average, but well worth £30 to get out of the packed BAA shopping centre which forms LGW South’s departure lounge. After a relaxing couple of hours I headed down to gate 21 and joined a short queue at the gate. I looked out the gate window to check which aircraft I was boarding – it was G-VROS ‘English Rose’.

At the door of the aircraft I was directed into the nose section. My seat 9K was in the last row of Upper Class just in front of the galley – there were only four rows, starting with row 6 at the front of the aircraft. The seating layout was 2-2 with a magazine rack and bar table area (though not a proper sit-down one as on VS LHR-based aircraft) in between pairs of seats. There were a further two rows UC seats on the other side of the galley which are used as Premium Economy on the MCO route. The seat was comfortable and offered generous legroom.


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Soon after I sat down a member of the crew came asked if she could get me a drink. I had a glass of Champagne which was refilled before pushback. An announcement was made from the flight deck but it was unclear and I couldn’t make any of it out. At 1230 we started pushing back, but before we reached the taxiway we were pulled back to the gate because a member of the crew had to pick up their passport. After a second attempt pushing back we were on our way to runway 08R and the safety video was played on the PTVs which extended from the seat’s armrest. Being seated in the nose section during taxi was interesting because I could clearly hear and feel the movement of the nose wheel. As we approached the threshold of 08R a BA 737 performed a go-around due to a CO 777 still on the runway.

The aircraft lined up and without stopping the engines spooled up we started takeoff roll. The acceleration was impressive – it was the most powerful takeoff I have ever experienced on a 747. Once we had been airborne for a few minutes the crew commenced their duties and came round taking more drink orders. I asked for a Vodka & Tonic. I was given a G&T by mistake but the crew had no problem in changing it for the right drink. Drinks were served with olives and crisps on small dishes. The Flight Service Manager came round with Amenity Kits. They consisted of a small black pouch with a few items such as socks, eyeshades and tissues in. I didn’t think it was particularly great so didn’t bother keeping it, so I can’t describe the exactly what was in it.

I had a look at the menu – it was the “freedom service” though meals are served at set times unless you request otherwise. I ordered Potato and Leek Soup to start and Thai Green Curry for the main course. Meals were served on a tray with a linen cloth. VS have done a good job of actually making plastic cutlery look good! The knives and forks were fairly chunky and the plastic on the handles had a frosted glass effect.

The soup was served with Garlic Bread and was excellent, as was the Curry which came with Basmati Rice and Mushrooms. I had a few glasses of Chilean White Wine with the meal. For dessert I chose Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate Fudge Sauce which was very tasty. All in all a very good meal. I felt full up and worn out so I covered myself with the duvet, closed the window blinds and reclined the seat. The recline angle was impressive though not flat. The legrest was far too short didn’t come up high enough to provide adequate support. I managed to sleep for a couple of hours.

I woke up and had a look at the Nova IFE system. The PTV was quite small and scratched. There were 7 film channels available but I wasn’t interested in any of them. There was also skymap and 14 audio channels. No tv channels or games were available. I looked at the skymap and saw we were approaching Newfoundland then listened to some of the audio channels – there was some good music on them and I was impressed by the selection. I don’t like using the call button so I went into the galley and asked for a larger, which was brought to my seat very quickly. There were Quality Street chocolates, fresh fruit and crisps available on the bar table so I helped myself to an apple. The crew came round and served small pots of Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream.

About 90 minutes before landing the afternoon tea service started. I had a cheese sandwich and chicken sandwich then rock cakes, served with coffee. The sandwiches were ok and the cakes were very nice. I followed that with a Bailey’s. Soon the IFE was turned off, the seatbelt sign came on and we started descending into Orlando International. Irritating R ‘n B music was played over the speakers until shortly before landing.

We touched down smoothly at 1630. I got the impression the pax in the rear cabin had been making a fuss about the delay to the flight because during taxi to the gate an irate sounding Flight Service Manager made an announcement without an apology saying there was nothing the crew could have done about the delay and “we are as fed up as you are!”

Overall it was a very good flight with Virgin Atlantic. The upgrade was a nice surprise and I’m sure it had something to do with knowing everyone’s favourite airnet dispatcher.  Smile

The quality of the food was excellent and the crew were attentive. Some things gave an unprofessional image, notably having to return to the gate and the announcement at the end of the flight. Things that need improvement are the seat design and IFE system. I gather both of them will be replaced in the coming months.

Thanks for reading the report, I hope it didn’t bore you too much! The return flight report is coming soon. Feel free to post any comments or questions you may have.
 
Jetstreamer
Posts: 324
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2001 5:52 am

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Sun Aug 15, 2004 4:01 am

I was working on that flight!!

To clarify a few points:-

One of the crew was at the gate giving out the k-id packs during boarding. It was a rather hot day so he took his jacket off and accidentally left it at the gate! Believe me, he wasn't allowed to forgot his mistake for the rest of the trip.

The announcement by the Flight Service Manager at the end of the flight didn't come out exactly as she had intended it to. Unfortunately after such a long duty day, sentences don't always flow as well as they should.

I'm pleased that you enjoyed your flight. Thank you for a very interesting report.

 Big thumbs up
 
flyguy1
Posts: 1660
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 1999 9:45 am

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Sun Aug 15, 2004 4:29 am

Shamrock:
Nice report. I also flew into MCO on 7/28, but on a much shorter Jetblue flight. BTW, you sure like to drink Big grin
727, L1011, MD80, A300, 777-200, 737-300, 737-700, 747-400, 757-200, 737-800, A320. E190, E135, 767-200, CRJ9
 
Shamrock_747
Topic Author
Posts: 1499
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2002 3:25 am

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Sun Aug 15, 2004 4:32 am

What a coincidence! Were you in Upper Class by any chance!?

I can definitely sympathize with that end of a long day feeling.  Smile
 
Jetstreamer
Posts: 324
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2001 5:52 am

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Sun Aug 15, 2004 4:44 am

Yes! I was working in Upper Class.
 
Leezyjet
Posts: 3540
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2001 7:26 am

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Sun Aug 15, 2004 5:47 am

Nice report Shamrock.

I may have had a little influence in your upgrade shall way say.  Big grin

Those U/C seats on the LGW a/c were never ordered by VS. They were the ones that had been ordered and installed for Alitalia - along with the shyte IFE system too.

Hopefully in the next few months though those seats and the Nova IFE will end up were they belong and the new suites and V:Port will finally take there place on the LGW a/c.

 Smile
"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"
 
Lurch
Posts: 721
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:54 am

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Sun Aug 15, 2004 6:40 am

Well Shamrock I wondered how much you would get through on your flight over to Orlando and now I know Bucket loads.

But that's no surprise knowing you I was following you all the way over using 1st an ACARS system and then Listening to you on my mates HF radio and finally watching you on an ATC system in the states live it has RADAR and Audio so I knew where you was all the way to Orlando!
 
LHR27C
Posts: 846
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 3:49 am

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Sun Aug 15, 2004 7:08 am

Excellent report! How lucky to get the upgrade Big grin. Glad you got VROS, there should be another report with VROS coming our way in a week or so  Big grin.

Oliver
Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward
 
COEWR2587
Posts: 492
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2004 10:09 am

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Sun Aug 15, 2004 8:29 am

Why doesn't VS upgrade the UC seats. Not to the new suites, but atleast the type of seats on VS's A343. The seats pictured looked old.
Newark Airport...My Home Away From Home
 
MYT332
Posts: 7283
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2003 7:31 pm

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Sun Aug 15, 2004 8:58 pm

Sounds like you had a really good flight dooba! Kudons to that VS dispatcher who gave you the upgrade.

I'm a bit disappointed in you though. A free bar service and you drink like a pansy, bah!  Big grin

One Life, Live it.
 
Leezyjet
Posts: 3540
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2001 7:26 am

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Mon Aug 16, 2004 5:45 am

"so I knew where you was all the way to Orlando!"

F'in scary or what  Wow!

Big Brother is watching !!!

"Why doesn't VS upgrade the UC seats"

Read reply 5. They never got around to installing the J-2000 seats as they were put on hold after 11/09 and then along came the project for the new suites so there was no point installing the J-2000 seats only to take them out a gain a couple of years later.

 Smile
"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"
 
WidgetBoi
Posts: 1395
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:57 am

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Mon Aug 16, 2004 9:17 am

excellent report  Big grin

jeremy
 
Shamrock_747
Topic Author
Posts: 1499
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2002 3:25 am

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Mon Aug 16, 2004 7:23 pm

Thanks for the replies guys.

I was eating loads (in fact too much) as well! Otherwise I'd have been on the floor...

I found those 1990s style seats ok. Obviously they don't compare to new flat bed designs, but if the legrest was improved a little they would be really good for daytime flights.

Jetstreamer - I'm almost sure I know who you are. You did an excellent job!

[Edited 2004-08-16 12:46:10]
 
A319114
Posts: 520
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2004 9:40 pm

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Mon Aug 16, 2004 7:28 pm

Great report. Still waiting for my first upgrade to business class  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
Destruction leads to a very rough road but it also breeds creation
 
A340600
Posts: 3892
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2003 10:24 pm

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Fri Aug 20, 2004 9:20 pm

Great report, Dec, u lucky shite Big grin

Did you not find those seats hard, as I did when I tried them out?

Sam Big thumbs up
Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
 
Shamrock_747
Topic Author
Posts: 1499
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2002 3:25 am

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Fri Aug 20, 2004 9:29 pm

I did notice that the seats were firmer than most other designs I have tried, though not uncomfortably so.
 
pilot kaz
Posts: 4591
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2001 9:07 am

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Sat Aug 21, 2004 7:20 am

nice one deccers! any pics?
-
 
Shamrock_747
Topic Author
Posts: 1499
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2002 3:25 am

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:35 am

Sorry Kaz, I'm not into photography at all. I didn't take any pics during the entire holiday!
 
BA380
Posts: 1441
Joined: Mon May 17, 2004 9:59 pm

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Mon Sep 06, 2004 5:51 pm

great report Shamrock. Sounds like a good flight. What was the return flight like? Sounds like it is worth being nice to Leezyjet  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
cabin crew: doors to automatic and cross-check...
 
Shamrock_747
Topic Author
Posts: 1499
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2002 3:25 am

RE: VS Upper Class LGW-MCO

Mon Sep 06, 2004 7:08 pm

The return flight was good too, though no upgrades!

Here's the report.

http://www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/48768/

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