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LHR-SFO-YVR-LAX-LHR VS/AS J Part 1 Long/pics Ish

Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:37 am

Firstly please bare in mind this only my second TR and I am hoping to make it much more detailed than my last one (LGW-BOD). This should be made easier simply based on how long the trip is. This TR will cover the Virgin Atlantic Flight from London to San Francisco.

FLIGHT 1 - 21st March 2007
Virgin Atlantic Flight VS19
Aircraft: 747-400 G-VHOT
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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Manas Barooah

DEP: London Heathrow Terminal 3
ARR: San Francisco - International Terminal
SCHED DEP: 11:00
SCHED ARR: 15:05
CLASS: J (Upper class)

I took the Heathrow Express (although expensive a very useful service) to the airport to arrive at around 8AM and slowly made my way to the Upper Class check in, believing, in my nieve way, that since it was a premium class there would be little or no queue. I was wrong, there was quite a long queue as one passenger were trying to do something at one of the two check in desks which he should've done somewhere else which held up the queue massively. Anyway 25 minutes later I approached the check in Lady. The conversation went something like this:

HER: Where to Sir?
ME: San Francisco
she taps war and peace into her computer
HER: Have you changed your ticket MR Stockler?
ME: Yes, I was told I could pay the transfer fee at the check in desk
HER: You were told wrong, you have to return to the ticket desk
ME: OK, thats fine but i would rather not queue again, can i come to the front of the queue?
HER: No problem, just come to my desk

Happy with this agreement I run to the ticket desk, pay my fee, and go back to the desk where i merrily go to the front of the queue. Now, I admit that queue jumpers are some of the most annoying people at the airport, but I felt that I had the right to. Especially considering that I stuck to the one desk (there were 3 open now). But despite this I got a lot of lip from many different people in the queue, who it had turned out had been waiting for less time then I had to. Anyway got checked in and headed for the Virgin Clubhouse. Now, I was seriously looking forward to this as I had heard so much about it, but also noticed a distinct lack of photos on TR's.

The Lounge
I have given this lounge its own section because words can't describe how amazing this lounge is. It simply leaves the others in the shade. BA - completely different, AA - no match, UA-nope. THere are waiters/waitresses walking around waiting to take your order for food and drink. Considering the time I ordered a full English Breakfast. I was not dissapointed:
Big version: Width: 800 Height: 600 File size: 212kb

There is a giant TV, snooker table, a restaurant (Well, the whole lounge is a restaurante but there is actually an area with tables), a library, Rooftop Garden, ideal for viewing:

THere was an announcement - Oh dear a delay of an hour on the SFO flight. Normally I hate delays but this time I actually was quite pleased. THis is simply because the lounge was so fantastic. I went to the Cow Shed (TM) beauty area, hoping to have either a massage or a shower. Sadly there were no spaces left for the former but there was a free cubicle for the latter. I went in for a shower and discovered ANOTHER surprise. The shower doubled as a steam room. 20 minutes later I emerged refreshed and had a look round the rest of the lounge. Briefly there was also a spa and jacuzi (bring trunks) and a hairdresser! All in all I rate the lounge 20/10. Unbelievable.

The FLight
At the call I headed towards gate 32 and was given priority boarding. I was welcomed aboard by a lovely young lady (unbelievably i can't remember her name I appologise, if your reading i'm sorry). She took my coat and I made my way into the nose of the plane. First impressions. WOW (again), the upper class suits looked incredible:

I sat down and immediatly started playing with the seat (man i'm such a child - but no one was on board yet). Thats when I discovered the only complaint I have about the service. That is the noise the seat makes when it moves! It makes a big racket. Aaaanyway Jessica (the aptly names In Flight Beauty Therapist) came up to me to ask if I wanted any in flight treatments. I chose the Head and shoulder massage. It turns out that the treatment wasn't guarenteed but a draw would be done and that I would be fairly high up as I hadn't had a treatment in the lounge (a very fair system I believe). The Menu was handed out. Here are the details:


Loch Fyne hot-smoked almon served with potato and horseradish Salid

Cream of Potato and Double Gloucester soup served with a choice of warm breads

Main Courses:
Cumberland pork sausages served with buttered mashed potato, sauteed spinach and red onion gravy

Chicken tikka masala served with basmati rice, mini naan and mango chutney

Potato thatched vegetable Cottage pie served with spring greens


Chocolate and pear posset served with rasberry sauce

Honeycomb ice cream served with a giant chocolate button (it really was giant trust me)

Afternoon Tea:


Warm fruit scone served with Tiptree strawberry jam and Roddas Cornish clotted Cream

Your choice from the cake stand.

I had the salmon and saussages - both of which were fabulous.

Later in the flight the stewardess (ill call her Rachel as it seems too impersonal to call her Stewardess, she really was fantastic very friendly and kind, couldn't do enough) made my bed. The upper class suite turns over into a fully (and I mean fully) flat bed I put on the sleeper suit and tried to sleep. An hour later I woke up and explored the V:PORT system which is Virgin's AVOD system. Very easy to use and enjoyable. All together I watched two episodes of The SImpsons, Top Gear, An inconvienient Turth, Employee of the Month and Casino Royale (as I seemed to be the only student in my university not to have seen it!).

The hours ticked by peacefully but fairly quickly and before long it was time for landing. I was given some spectacular views of both the USA and Canada on the way:

I was the first off the plane and my bags came through very quickly. I slowly made my way to the Alaska lounge which is where I am now. Oop my second flight has just been called. Will write Part 2 as soon as I can.

Long story short I would rate the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class project as highly as possible. I'm not going to give individual scores as in all areas they topped! I feel truly privaleged to have been able to try this product.
It seems my photobucket isn't working here, Rest assured I will upload the pictures as soon as I can but still all comments and questions are greatly appreciated.
above us is only sky
Posts: 2048
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2001 11:40 pm

RE: LHR-SFO-YVR-LAX-LHR VS/AS J Part 1 Long/pics Ish

Thu Mar 22, 2007 3:48 pm

Good report so far, looking forward to the rest! Some inflight shots perhaps?

Out of interest, where are you at uni - and studying what?

Posts: 2732
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2004 7:44 am

RE: LHR-SFO-YVR-LAX-LHR VS/AS J Part 1 Long/pics Ish

Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:27 pm

Good report. I have flown Upper Class a few times now and i always enjopy the flight very much so.

The new lounge is a pleasure to use and always full of charming people to look after you. The last time i was there i had a fantastic meal, lots of champagne and lots of purple martini's. I then proceeded to passout on the flight during dinner. lol

Where abouts are you from btw? London local?

5D2/7D/1D2(soon to be a 1Dx) 17-40L/24-105L/70-200F2.8L/100-400L/24F1.4LII/50F1.2L/85F1.2LII
Posts: 8201
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

RE: LHR-SFO-YVR-LAX-LHR VS/AS J Part 1 Long/pics Ish

Fri Mar 23, 2007 2:14 am

Interesting read so far, thanks.

Quoting Astockla (Thread starter):
But despite this I got a lot of lip from many different people in the queue

- I can imagine!

Breakfast in the clubhouse looks good.

The menu you list, whils i'm sure very nice, to me it seems to lack imagination, but perhaps that's just my opinion.

Look forward to the next installment.



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