First off, sorry about lack of pics. I left my camera at Gatwick. Clever!!
I needed to back to England to finalize a business deal, and while I was there I thought I would visit some family and friends. I decided to try Zoom, mainly because of the stop in Bermuda, so i booked flights from JFK-LGW on 18-7 and returning LGW-BDA-JFK on 24-7. This also gave me an excuse to have a stop in New York which is probably my favourite city in the world. I booked Delta for MCO-JFK on the 17-7 and returning on 24-7. This would give me a night in NY. My DL outbound flight was at 6:45AM, so I decided to stay the night at the Hyatt at MCO, which I usually do if I have a early flight. I live in Celebration, which is only about 20mins away form the airport, but the hassle of driving and parking at 4:30 in the morning is not worth it to me.
17th July, 2007
My friend drove me to the Hotel at 4pm the day before. We had a couple of drinks at the bar and we said goodbye. The best thing about this hotel is that you can arrange for someone to take your bags down to check in, which is very convinent (as i had to check three bags due to requests from family in the UK). Someone gave me a crate of Moet Chandon at Christmas, so I packed three bottles so I wouldn't have to pay extortionate prices for alcohol. I then went to my room, sat out on the balcony and watched planes (while slowly getting a bit sozzled).
My wake up call was at 4am. I took a shower and had some coffee. The bellman came at 4:40 to collect my bags and walk down to check in.
DL flight 1858
Depart MCO @ 6:45AM
Arrive JFK @ 9:23AM
The first / medallion line was empty, so i proceeded straight to an agent. I handed her my passport and she started tapping away on her computer. She asked how many bags I was checking and I said three as I got my credit card out, ready to pay for excess luggage. The lady was extremely pleasant and as it turned out I did not have to pay extra. That was a nice suprise. She tagged my bags and handed me my boarding pass, and with a big smile she wished me a great flight and a pleasant stay in NY. The Hyatt Bellman the wheeled by bags to the TSA screening machine said goodbye. (Hyatt charges $5 + tip for this service and I can highly recommend it to anyone staying at the hotel)
It was just 5am, so, after looking at the security lines, I went back to my room in the hotel and had breakfast.
At around 6, i checked out and went through security, it took about 15mins. When I got to the gate the flight was boarding. The aircraft was in the wavy gravy colours, with the song interior. I was greeted at the door by the purser and directed to my seat.
I have never been in F class on a 757 before, and I found the seats to be really comfortable and soft. Legroom, however was not outstanding. Are these the same seats as on the MD-88? They definately felt better, but that could be because they are new.
I was one of the last people on board, so I think that's why I missed out on the pre-departure drink. The captain came on and announced a flight time of 2hours and 4mins. Five minutes later the flight attendants closed the doors and asked for mobile phones to be turned off. The safety video played on the PTV's. After a quick taxi, we took off to the South, and then made a turn toward the coast. When the FA's were released, they made and announcement and switched on the IFE. I'm pretty accustomed to this system as I used to fly Song frequently. I watched the airshow until we reached cruising altitude which was 35,000ft IIRC. The purser came with a drink and snack service. I had Biscoff cookies and a Fresca, which seems to be new on DL.
I really like the new DL cabins, they seem so fresh and clean. Also the cabin crew look fantastic in the new..ish uniforms. The purser was wearing the red dress, which, if you have the right body for it, as this one did, can look really hot. Another thing that sets Delta apart from some of the other majors, is the attitude of their crew. They are almost always smiling and doing everything they can to make your flight more enjoyable. I know that you can have good and bad FA's on any airline.
Up until last year, I was as loyal to AA as you could get, but the Delta crews all seem to exude ''Southern Hospitality''. I always find AA crews to be hit or miss. Some good, some bad.
Economy was only about 50% full and there were about 5 empty seats in first.
When we were over DC I switched to The Weather Channel so I could see the weather for NY. There were thunderstorms in the area, so I was hoping for some turbulence on our approach.
The captain announced our descent into JFK when we were over Atlantic City. He said that due to thunderstorms at JFK, we would be in a holding pattern for about 45mins. 20mins later though he asked the flight attendants to take their seats.
I was a bit sad, because the approach and landing were really smooth. We touched down at 8:50am and taxied to terminal 3. Baggage claim was quick and easy, and my driver to the Hotel was waiting for me.
Once again a great flight on Delta. They have really come a long way in the last couple of years. They went from being bottom of my list to the top. I really think that it is down to the warmth and hospitality conveyed by all the employees, from the check-in and gate agents to the crew. Friendliness and a smile really do go a long way, and I think that anyone who works for Delta should be truly proud of their recent acclomplishments!
It took nearly four hours to get to my hotel. I usually take the LIRR, but not with three huge suitcases!!
I am a Gold Passport member, so I try stay at Hyatt's, but last time I was in NY I found a really nice Brasserie opposite the Sheraton on 7th ave, so i decided to stay there this time. I checked into the hotel and spent the rest of the day sightseeing and shopping.
18th July, 2007
Z4 Flight 102
Depart JFK @ 5:30PM
Arrive LGW @ 6:00AM
Class PREMIUM ECONOMY
Spent the day at the hotel. My Zoom flight was at 5:30, so i booked a car to the airport for 1pm. Arrived at t4 at about 2:30 (I am so taking the train next time). The Zoom check-in was right at the back next to JetBlue, behind the normal lines. There was no line for premium economy. This time I was charged $50 for the extra bag. The check-in staff were courteous, but didn't seem to care. The agent casually informed me that the departure time was now 8:20pm because of an operations issue with the aircraft. I assumed this was a maintinence issue and accepted that with only one aircraft, this kind of thing can happen.
Terminal 4 at JFK is ok when it is empty, but at this time of day the retail area was jam packed. As I had six hours to kill, i went and sat down at the bar. Sadly I couldn't drink because I had to drive in the morning. I met a couple of college girls that were going to London for a few weeks. We chatted for a few hours about sightseeing and clubs in London until their VS flight was called.
An annoying thing about Terminal 4 is that there is very little to do past security, so at 7:30 i finally went through. Our gate was B17 I think. Security took a long time (maybe something to do with the ELAL flight that was going at the same time). I got through at around 8 o' clock and bought a chocolate bar for the plane in case we were stuck on the ground for too long.
Gate B17 leads to the remote stands, and there was a bus outside for the premium passengers. After boarding the bus, we were taken to our aircraft G-UKZM.
I was unsure what to expect from Zoom, as it was a budget airline. (I had an awful experience on a charter from SFB and I decided that I would never go on an English charter airline again). I was expecting it to be like Ryanair, with plenty of BOB advertisments. I only hoped that it wasn't full of the vest wearing English budget tourists who never seem to wear deodourant (I don't mean to sound snobby, but it is almost unbearable to have to smell BO for 7hours!!).
Upon entering the aircraft I was very pleasantly suprised. The premium cabin consisted of plush blue and grey leather seats, with plenty of legroom. The plane soon filled up, and there was only 2 seats left in PE. The FA's came around with water bottles which was a nice touch. Also it was nice to find that there wasn't and pax that were wearing no deodourant!
The captain announced that the flying time would be 7hours and 20mins, and that we would be arriving at about 9am local time. The safety demonstration was played and there was a lot of emphasis that ''Zoom Airlines have a zero tolerance policy'' and that ''Violoence and drunken behaviour will not be tolerated''. I have never heard an announcement like that before.
We started taxiing at 8:40 and we were only no.8 for takeoff (I have been no.57 at this time in the past). The take-off was one of the longest I have experienced on a 767. It was dark by now so I couldn't really see much. At 10,000ft the FA's passed out an amenity kit (containing a blanket, an inflatable pillow and eyeshades in a really neat drawstring bag) and menu. About 5 minutes later there was a drink service. I had a diet coke, it was served with a pack on mini pringles.
The choices for dinner were; beef or pasta. I had the beef which was quite edible. It was served with a puff pastry thing, fruit cake, cheese and crackers, grapes, and a mini box of chocolates. Quite a bit more than I expected.
By this point I was so tired that I went to sleep. I woke up just as they were serving tea and coffee about 90mins prior to arrival.
Breakfast was something very similar to a Bacon McMuffin that you would get from McDonalds. It was quite tasty.
It was soon announced that we had begun our descent into London Gatwick, we actually went right out over Brighton before turning back towards the airport. I have flown into gatwick loads and never done that approach.
We touched down at 9:03am and taxied to the old satelite at the South Terminal (I say old staelite because they have removed the monorail Why?). After the long walk to immigration that is standard for uk airports, the EU line moved very quickly and I was welcomed back to the UK. I can't wait until next year when I can become an American citizen (then I know i'm only there for a short bit).
My bags were the first off and I went and picked up my rental car. I was reminded how inconvinient LGW was when it took me near three hours to get to my parents house in Cambridge. (please CO & DL come to Stansted!!!)
Overall, this flight gave me a good impression of Zoom. For the price of the ticket, it is excellent value for money.
As for the cabin crew, you could tell that some of them must have come from top-tier airlines by the way they spoke and presented themselves. However I found a few of the younger ones to be quite rude and superior-acting. The check-in and gate staff were average, I guess they use a handling agent in JFK.
The IFE was just overhead crt's, which is fine for a NYC-LON flight, but if they are really considering South Africa and Asia, this should be addressed, at least in premium. The aircraft was absolutely spotless inside and out, and athough it featured the old style interior it was in good condition.
Judging by this flight alone, I would definately reccomend Zoom to a friend. Howvever, after the return I don't think that I will ever even look at them again.
Hope you enjoyed and sorry for the lack of pictures. Next time i'll chain my camera to myself. Ill post the return as soon as i'm finished.