I had been looking for a suitable destination of a business class trip with mrs H for some time. Cost was a factor as I was funding the flight myself. In July I found an Upper Class ticket with Virgin from Manchester to StLucia at a bargain fare and so began a 3 month countdown.
Virgin's northern base Manchester, is rather the poor relation compared to Heathrow and Gatwick. The much vaunted Clubhouse has yet to make an appearance ( if it ever will) and the Manchester/Gatwick 747-400 fleet is not equiped with the up to date V_Port IFE system having to make do with an older version called Nova which is not AVOD. Despite this it was still a trip to be eagerly anticipated.
18th Sept 2008
We arrived at Manchester T2 at 10.15 for ascheduled 1.30 departure. The Upper class (uc) check in was deserted and we were given a Fast Pass through security. This is in a new part of the building and lines for all stations were virtually empty, very impressive. What is less impressive is that post security you appear to be in a shopping mall with almost no seating.
we decided to make straight for the 'Escape Lounge' which is used by Virgin and a number of other airlines. There was a decent selection of cold snacks , hot and cold drinks and newspapers and internet access. There were less than 12 people in the lounge and i should imagine that in the height of the season it gets uncomfortably busy, but today it was a pleasant place to spend a couple of hours
Boarding was called and we went to meet our transport
V-ROY 'Pretty Woman'
We turned left and were shown to our seats. beeing UC newbies we were given the seat demo, and a glass of Champagne and some nuts. The seat seemed well designed with plenty of storage. footwear could be stored in the otterman which could also be used to seat a guest for dinner
The UC cabin on this aircraft had 14 seats together with a small bar area. it felt very private and exclusive
legroom was amazing
a further drinks run resulted in a Tanquery10 and tonic
The UC menu was as follows
- seasonal leaf salad with fennel, beetroot, flaked salmon & a herb dressing
- soup of the day
- chicken breast stuffed with spinach & feta, braised lentils and buttered leeks
- steak and mushroom pie with potatoes and sauteed savoy cabbage
- yorkshire pudding with brocoli & stilton, sun dried tomatoes and parmesan
- dessert of the day (any 2 of the following)
- chocolate & toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce
- treacle tart with creme anglaise
- pear, apple, cinnamon & sultana crumble with custard
- rhubarb mousse
- sandwich selection, scones and cakes
my selections are revealed in the next few pics
The food was ok, better than economy , but definately not fine dining. The service however was first class and I cannot find fault with Virgin's Manchester based crew.
The flight passes quickly , the 8 hours being occupied by TV and film selections from the Nova system, the only downside being the wait for programmes to start again.
We landed in St Lucia 30 min early and had a short walk through the puddles to baggage reclaim where our cases came off first as promised
All in all it was the experience I had hoped for Virgin were very good indeed and I will definate;lt turn left with them again.
Return TR may follow later