jwhite9185
Topic Author
Posts: 1581
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 10:34 pm

Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:52 pm

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/map.gif


For my first longhaul trip of the year, I’ll be travelling to New York's JFK onboard one of Virgin Atlantic's newly delivered A330's. I had been wanting to Visit NYC again for a few years now but the high accommodation prices had always put me off. Then, one March night whilst having a conversation with my dad, he mentioned that he had stayed in Brooklyn and, although still being quite a high price, was more reasonable than staying in the center of Manhattan, and a reasonable area too. I did a bit of research and found that hotels could be found in the region of £100 a night. In the end I opted for the Super 8 Motel in Brooklyn for a pricey £420.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/nychotel.png


It was then time to look for flights. A bit of searching on expedia showed that the likes of Delta, Continental and United were the cheapest coming in at around £400 return. I also looked at BA and VS - both were around £560 for the dates I was looking for. All options were more money than I had to spend on flights at the time so I held out and monitored prices. During the next month or so, the prices seemed to vary from £370 to £570 with VS who I wanted to travel with, so it was a case of catching them when they were having one of their cheaper moments. VS gave me 3 options to get me to and from JFK - The morning flights onboard their new A330-300, the afternoon flight on the 747-400 or the evening flights on the A340-600. I opted for the morning flights as I’d not been on an A330 before and by departing at 09:30 from LHR it meant I got more time in New York and less time waiting round all day for a flight at home! For the return, again I could have selected any number of options, but once more chose the earliest of the 3 flights from JFK. The reason being that I had logged many flights on VS' 747's and the A346 flight left JFK just a little bit too late for my liking and it would of meant hanging round without the use of a hotel for 12 hours. Although this was a difficult choice because if I’d chosen the 747 flight I might just be able to catch G-VROC and therefore would of flown on the entire VS 747-400 fleet. As it turned out, the 747 flights on the days I travelled were operated by G-VHOT and G-VWOW.

One rainy Saturday afternoon, I was again looking at the VS website and noticed the price had come down to £440. In the end I managed to bring this price down to £390 by spending a couple of thousand VS flying club miles I had lying around, and the booking confirmation was sent shortly followed by the E-Ticket.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/VSBookingconf.png

Interesting how VS still use the old logo on the confirmation and an older livery


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/VSetick.png



Do VS really expect me to believe that they're carrying me across the Atlantic for just £44? Yeah right... Although they all do it.


A few weeks before departure it was time to apply for my ESTA. The last time I travelled to the US this was free but now they charge $14. I guess they have to try anyway possible to make some money!

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/esta.png


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/Reminder.png

Handy for frequent flyers I guess...


Also of note is that this would be my first trip on VS in Economy since 2008 so it will be of interest to see the latest updates to the product.

The day before departure, it was time to check in online:

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/olci.png


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/olci2VS.png


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/vsbpass.png

I’ve noticed that VS are quite inconsistent with their branding - some things use their old logo where others use the new. Surely its not that hard to change a graphic?


The day I’d been looking forward to for more than a few months finally arrived. I'd been on many trips so far this year, but nothing beats a long haul! This was the most I had anticipated a trip since my first in 18 months to Frankfurt back in March. As usual it was the first coach of the day to Heathrow, at 06:20.

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The coach to the airport was a couple of minutes late but nothing major. More irritating was the couple sat the row in front - way too noisy and enthusiastic for this time of the morning!

Around half an hour later the coach had arrived at the central bus station and it was off through the tunnel to T3.

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Check in was no major hassle. There was a couple in front of me who were trying to check in what looked like the entire contents of their house, however one of the check in assistants saw this and I was invited to use the premium economy check in instead.

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Another sticker for the collection!


As expected T3 had changed beyond all recognition since I last departed from here back in 2006. Barely any shops landside compared to back then, as its nearly all a security area rather than just the one. However it works out better this way due to there being less of a queue. The queues at security that i remember from the old days had always put me off using LHR!

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Still managed to find somewhere for breakfast though.

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After this I headed through security and it was as expected - full of people who weren't quite sure of the rules! Then it was into the shopping mall.

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I found a window to keep myself occupied for a few minutes.

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G-VNYC can be seen in the background of this one being towed away from its stand.


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Then it was time to head down to gate 1.

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I was welcomed to the holding pen with a 'welcome back sir'. Although I was a VS flying club silver member for a good few years, that has long run out and I haven't actually flown VS for over 2 years - so I thought this was a nice touch.

Once inside I found G-VNYC waiting - which was pretty appropriate considering today's destination. Although I was a bit surprised by this as I had just seen this aircraft leave another gate further round T3 - maybe they decided to move it nearer to the active runway for a quicker taxi? Seemed strange to me.

This was about the best shot I could manage of the plane I was on, however there was a much better photo opportunity of our neighbor.

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http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps1b64bca6.jpg


And another one off in the distance

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpse2128ea9.jpg



VS003
LHR-JFK
15 September 2012
A330-313 - G-VNYC Uptown Girl
Off Stand: 09:31
On Stand: 12:12


Boarding started at 08:45, although nobody could actually understand the PA - maybe that's VS' way of stopping the mass stampede?

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Not for me today unfortunately.


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Interesting to note was that economy had the newer amenity kits, whereas Premium had the older type still.

Once on board, I actually found the legroom pretty decent.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps2ba924a8.jpg


Flight time was given as 7hours 24 minutes. Shortly before pushback, the crew confirmed there were 266 passengers on board.

This new A330 was certainly much better than the older LGW based 747's, although these are currently being brought up to a similar standard.

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Range of connection options


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Nearly time to go.


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Departure was made from 27L at just after 09:45.

Take Off Video

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Around 10 minutes later the crew started their service, first handing out headsets shortly followed by menus.

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One thing I did notice was that the legroom seemed a little bit more generous in these last few rows. And also that the A330 was very quiet compared to the 747-400 that I'm used to flying across the Atlantic.

It was then time to check out the Jam AVOD IFE:

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Erm… we appear to be going the long way round?


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps5494e4d9.jpg

That’s more like it


Then the drinks service started. It took a while to reach me and by time it reached the row I was in, they had run out of the welcome cocktail. So I went with lemonade instead.

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As soon as the drinks run had finished the meal service began. Although it was still a bit early for lunch I'm my opinion - only just 11:00AM in London. The choices were the usual chicken, beef or pasta.

It was around this time a few bumps began although it was nothing too major.

Once the meal service had reached the row I was in, I was informed by a slightly embarrassed stewardess that the only meal option left was the chicken - this didn't bother me though as that's what I was after anyway!

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Tasted quite good but could of been a bit bigger


Then around 50 minutes later the dessert was served, along with some pretty poor tea...

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After this I decided to settle down and watch a movie

After the film finished, I headed to the rear galley and made an attempt at having a conversation with the crew. They seemed more interested in chatting amongst themselves on this occasion though - oh well!

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No fuel dumping on this one


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Ice cream during the movie


By this time we weren't too far from the coast of Canada and the afternoon tea service had started.

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The sandwiches were pretty average really... in fact they didn't really taste of anything but bread! A bit more filling would of been a bit better. Although as they were the only choice I guess they couldn't do anything too fancy. The cake was good though.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps3a839d12.jpg

Boredom or a work of art?!


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps506d6f65.jpg

Land ahoy!


The remaining hour or so was spent watching the minutes count down on the sky map. The seatbelt sign was turned on for around 15 minutes or so although I suspect that was more to do with the crew wanting the parents of the screaming child that decided to run from the rear of economy to upper class to get it to sit down rather than any issues from the pretty minor turbulence we had hit.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsbfeb4067.jpg


Approximately 50 minutes prior to arrival, the cabin crew informed everybody that the seatbelt sign would be turned on in 25 minutes - and suddenly everybody on board decided they needed the toilet! I figured there would probably be more than a couple at JFK so didn't bother, and instead carried on watching the skymap.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps6002b667.jpg



Descent started at 11:30 local. It was quite a noisy descent too as the previously mentioned screaming child continued to scream at full volume, with it's parents continuing to not be bothered...

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps6b95a57d.jpg


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Not had sweets on landing for years!


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Landing video – if you can put up with a screaming kid!

We touched down at just after 12:00 local and made a fairly quick taxi over to terminal 4E. I thought this was unusual as VS normally use 4W, however the new VS clubhouse is now in 4E rather than before security so this might now be a permanent change.

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Then it was through to a very busy immigration hall.

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Almost an hour later I was welcomed to the USA by an unusually friendly immigration officer. He continually used my first name, made conversation about the hotel I was staying in and generally easy going - something I’d not experienced at immigration in the US before where they generally take the guilty until proven innocent stance. It was off to find the Air Train to Jamaica station.

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Once at Jamaica station, the next stop would be Atlantic Avenue. My hotel wasn't too far from here. The initial plan was to carry on to Coney Island before checking in, however as I'd inadvertently brought an unlimited metro pass I figured I might as well stop by my hotel as I was passing anyway.

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									<div id=@mytripreport
 
jwhite9185
Topic Author
Posts: 1581
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 10:34 pm

RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:54 pm

It was a short walk from Union station to my hotel.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsdae24423.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps314e9ee8.jpg

What’s behind door 414?


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsbd105fe9.jpg

Not bad.


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps4135c93b.jpg

View is Ok too


Then it was on to Coney Island

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps032bdca9.jpg


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At around 7PM I headed back to the hotel and watched TV for the rest of the evening.
@mytripreport
 
jwhite9185
Topic Author
Posts: 1581
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 10:34 pm

RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:55 pm

The next couple of days were spent exploring what New York City had to offer:

Sunday it was the empire state building, Rockefeller center and central park. But first off, it was breakfast at the hotel.

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On the way up the Empire state


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LGA in the distance


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EWR in the distance


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And finally JFK






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Grand Central Station


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsfbcc4e5b.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps90fb43ef.jpg

Slightly closer to LGA


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpse10f60da.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps73bc498e.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps51709592.jpg

Pretty impressive elevator


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps66400dd6.jpg


Monday included Times Square, Ripley’s believe it or not, which is always worth a visit, the USS intrepid. To be honest I thought the USS Intrepid was a little disappointing but the space shuttle pavilion was worth the visit. Finally it was on to the Staten Island ferry to get a few views of the statue of liberty.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpscb3d5f9a.jpg

Pretty good for the equivalent of about £4!


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps10cb38e1.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps111fa1d7.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps19645a33.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps593eec67.jpg




http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps8db953cb.jpg


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http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps95b4d846.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps53e1b99e.jpg

Seems like most of the Berlin wall has ended up in various Ripley’s.


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsdefb0a11.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsb2f5dcdc.jpg


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http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps0d3064cf.jpg

I also took a walk through the High Line Park


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps77615b5a.jpg

Waiting for the Staten Island Ferry


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps1a268c76.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps61f8134d.jpg




http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps2935c586.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps99ad05c3.jpg

SQ A345 seen approaching EWR


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpse82173a9.jpg

Making my way back to Times Square




http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps4ed8d1d3.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps6e5961e3.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsa901b2f6.jpg


Tuesday was spent visiting the 9/11 memorial and Wall Street. The 9/11 memorials were well worth the visit. It didn't cost anything but I've heard that it gets booked up a long way in advance. Luckily I went online the night before and managed to book tickets though.



http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsca1b7931.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps69c9c720.jpg




http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsf9c8dd9f.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps4e0960c2.jpg

couldn’t come to NYC and not get a hotdog from a cart!


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsd8f5f872.jpg

Managed to find a model shop near Times Square


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsc7db9111.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps52d6586f.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpse25fbcc0.jpg


Once I returned to the hotel it was time to check in for my return flight.











@mytripreport
 
jwhite9185
Topic Author
Posts: 1581
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 10:34 pm

RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:56 pm

On Wednesday I checked out of the hotel and decided to check out the NY Transit museum. Just before I left, I looked up which aircraft would be flying me home - G-VRAY.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsc464e2c4.jpg


Then it was on to the subway to the museum.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsdc5b09e1.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps506d8a7a.jpg


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http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsad2c3860.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps6c5af71f.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps27379c52.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsac8ca4bc.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps62a984cc.jpg


After an enjoyable couple of hours looking round the museum, I made my way to JFK. As I had plenty of time and it was more convenient, I took the subway to Howard beach and connected with the air train there.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps14a1d27f.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps46f5619d.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps8d05787c.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps908d7e6e.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsc022d3e2.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsb1d16287.jpg


Once at JFK it was off to check in to collect my boarding pass. This time I was invited to use the upper class check in - a nice upgrade over my check in experience at LHR. I asked the check in agent if the flight was full and she replied not at all. Then I followed up by asking if the seat next to me was free to which she said it was for the moment. She also seemed surprised that I'd spent 4 nights in New York and yet wasn't checking any bags in... Little did she know my rucksack was full to the brim and probably way over the 5lbs limit! It got accepted anyway though so no big deal.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsf327376a.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps58855565.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps97114af0.jpg


Then it was off to explore T4. It reminded me a bit of LHR T5...

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps46c1fa75.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsd81ce692.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps1d9bf0ce.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps7d9d9e0c.jpg


...Except with more building works!

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpse052d93d.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsd3d9d6b1.jpg


After grabbing an expensive and very spicy bite to eat, I headed through security. Interestingly this flight would also depart from the A gates. Maybe VS have moved? Although it appears the new clubhouse is here.

Security was hardly any problem apart from the guy in front that seemed more interested in finishing his lunch than actually paying attention.

After that I headed down to gate A5, but much like my trip to Amsterdam a few weeks back, something important was missing.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps1eae599b.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps524ab76f.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps88557db8.jpg


Luckily I found it a few minutes later, along with a few others:

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps6fba1823.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps36dc4af3.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps5b0f0fc0.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpse8c8bb9c.jpg

Interesting visitor – shame it was a bit far away


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsea31c23e.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps2958272e.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps2831883b.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsd49344d2.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsd36585ff.jpg

’Miss Sunshine’ on stand now



VS004
JFK-LHR
19 September 2012
A330-313 - G-VRAY Miss Sunshine
Off Stand: 18:10
On Stand:06:11


Boarding was announced pretty promptly at 17:20 local and the aircraft name, Miss Sunshine was given. At this point, as usual everybody seemed to have some need for pre boarding.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpscdf9e5b6.jpg

I wish all airports had gates like this!


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsbe7c045e.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps94eddba7.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsa1be4678.jpg


Once on board the cabin crew came over the PA and announced a flying time of 6 hours 11 minutes. A few moments later they came over the PA again and said that as there's plenty of room, feel free to move around - with the exception of the exit row seats and the extra legroom seats. If anybody did wish to sit in these seats, they would be charged £50 and £30 respectively. I had more than enough room as it was though as I had no seatmate.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps197f5ff2.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps4c37ca30.jpg

Bit grubby for a new –ish plane


The captain was on shortly after saying pretty much the same as the cabin crew had already said, however he mentioned that we couldn't land before 6:00am so that might cause a few problems due to the short flight time. He also said that we would be taking off to the North East and taking quite a Northerly track to take advantage of a good jet stream.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsdac6aadd.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps53834415.jpg

Time to go


Push back was a pretty long 8 minutes. Take off was at 18:30 into some quite nice looking skies.

Take off video from JFK

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsb0ce3853.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps80eb9301.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps65bfe0a0.jpg


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http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps55ba4770.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps0ecc6d7e.jpg


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http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps8391ceb0.jpg


Around 10 minutes after departure the crew started their service. I was happy to sit and admire the view for now though.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsf3a9171f.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps0980ad88.jpg


Literally a few minutes later we hit some moderate turbulence and the seatbelt sign was switched on again just moments after it was switched off.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsd28e19a5.jpg

Plenty of room


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps99fd9283.jpg


Once the seatbelt sign had gone off the crew resumed their service and I settled down to watch a movie. American Pie. I'd seen the original on board VS back in 1999 so seemed only appropriate that I see the latest on a VS night flight too. Much better than I thought it would be actually.

Then it was time for the dinner service. Once again the choices were chicken, beef or pasta. I went for the pasta this time, although I didn’t enjoy it as much as the meal I had on the outbound journey.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps7ebcf333.jpg

Bit of a retro looking dinner cart.


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsd457151b.jpg


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http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsfea834f8.jpg


And shortly after the hot chocolate was dished out. Not had hot chocolate offered on a plane before and it was quite good. Better than their tea anyway!



http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpse572b24f.jpg

Cruising altitude was 37,000 ft.


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsc1e09f59.jpg

Looks like we're going to be holding for a while over London.


There was a bit of turbulence over the Atlantic. The seatbelt sign stayed on for about an hour or so, although I think it was on for about half an hour too long in my opinion.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsd0d2fe38.jpg

Cabin Overview


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps54114ad4.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps45d055ae.jpg


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http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpscc0fdb9b.jpg

Time to wake up!


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps4e2cb43d.jpg

Nearly there


Just after the cabin lights came back on, breakfast was served. Thankfully VS seem to have got rid of those awful cheese muffins!

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps4eab1dc8.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps117a7bbd.jpg


Descent started at 05:15 local. As expected we were a bit early and did a couple of laps of the Biggin Hill hold. Then it was onto finals and some very good views of London. The pictures don't really do it justice.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps30b95cb3.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps3a53caf9.jpg


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http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps51cd5f90.jpg


Bit of a dark landing into LHR

Touchdown was a just after 06:00 and we made a pretty quick taxi on to stand, alongside G-VATL that had just arrived from Sydney.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsd1ec49ea.jpg


On my way out I asked for a flight deck visit, which was granted. On my way through I grabbed a quick pic of Premium economy.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps1c2a7e03.jpg


And the new Upper Class dream suite.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps98dcd54e.jpg


Unfortunately I was only able to visit the flight deck for a couple of minutes, as the ground crew wanted all passengers off ASAP due to the short turn around. This one would be heading back to JFK in a couple of hours.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpse56c3aa5.jpg


Then it was off for a long walk to passport control.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps36969c3d.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps2ffc9098.jpg


Luckily, I was towards the back of a reasonable queue but one of the officers saw it was getting busy, and shifted a few barriers which put me right at the front!

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps5bc6434c.jpg


Shortly after it was through the tunnel to the central bus station

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsf7c26bc7.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsf65a011a.jpg


http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zpsfe5a268e.jpg


There was a coach waiting, however the driver said this was the 06:45 coach and I was booked on the 07:15... But he'll let me on just this once - which made sense as I was the only person on the coach. If it was full I could understand but a completely empty one?? Why the fuss? Either way I made it home about an hour after pulling onto stand.

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps7e886ac3.jpg

Free paper on the coach


So that brings an end to another trip.

Virgin are starting to look promising again after slightly losing their way over the last few years. Their latest product is very good, however I'm not sure it's going to be rolled out across the whole fleet. One of the biggest complaints I've read across forums and Facebook is about the inconsistent fleet. They are making progress with standardizing the fleet, which should be complete by the end of 2012, however I'm led to believe no aircraft will have the new Upper Class retrofitted? Either way I was satisfied with the product. The crew was generally good - they more proactive on the return flight however by doing extra drink runs, where as on the outward sector they just let people help themselves from the galley. No big deal though. It was a bit annoying that they had run out of the welcome cocktail on the outbound flight but I guess that’s the downside of sitting at the back. The plus side however is that I was treated to a bit of extra legroom – so ill definitely be choosing these seats if I fly on a VS A330 again.

As always I welcome your comments!

Previous trip reports

A Night In Amsterdam - KLM F70/738 LHR-AMS-LHR (by jwhite9185 Aug 28 2012 in Trip Reports)
Trying Out Flybe - LGW-BHD-GLA-BHD-LGW (by jwhite9185 Jul 11 2012 in Trip Reports)
A Day Trip To MAN (by jwhite9185 Jun 21 2012 in Trip Reports)
Nice, Monaco And The Great British Lounge With BMI (by jwhite9185 May 13 2012 in Trip Reports)
EI237/182 LGW-DUB-LHR And 2 Lounges (by jwhite9185 Apr 18 2012 in Trip Reports)
LGW-FRA-BRU-LHR With LH And SN (by jwhite9185 Mar 27 2012 in Trip Reports)
BA906/8735 LHR-FRA-LCY (by jwhite9185 Mar 13 2012 in Trip Reports)
VS015/016 LGW-MCO-LGW June 2010 (by jwhite9185 Jan 20 2012 in Trip Reports)
VS006 MIA-LHR A340-642 June 2008 (by jwhite9185 Feb 10 2012 in Trip Reports)
Virgin Atlantic 747 To BGI - October 2007 (by

[Edited 2012-09-21 06:59:19]
@mytripreport
 
canadiantree
Posts: 137
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2006 1:29 am

RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:20 pm

Very enjoyable trip report. I love flying the A330, such a graceful and beautiful plane it is!
 
captainsloo
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:00 pm

RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:25 pm

Hi jwhite. Thanks for the excellent trip report! I had an amazing time reading through it. Lovely photos!

Virgin does look like they are offering a more promising product, and I agree with you from the photos that they look really good. However, the meal portion seems rather small. I might not be full after trying the chicken on your outbound flight. Having said that, I'll definitely like to try VS the next time I fly LHR-JFK.

Cheers!
 
patagon
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:42 pm

Really nice trip report, I enjoyed all your report and pictures of NY, thanks!
 
SInGAPORE_AIR
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:00 pm

Nice trip report !

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps117a7bbd.jpg


That's all they gave you for breakfast ?!
Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
 
sq_ek_freak
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:25 pm

Great report! VS do look much better from previous years, they have put together an appealing looking product. Their meal service concept is interesting, and presentation looks good, if only the portions were beefed up a bit.

Quoting SInGAPORE_AIR (Reply 7):
That's all they gave you for breakfast ?!

That's pretty much standard fare across the Atlantic to London these days...
Keep Discovering
 
eicvd
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:16 pm

Hi James

Great trip report, really got me excited about my next trip away. Im off to NYC in November & it shall be a trip of many firsts! Thanks for posting.
COYBIB
 
jwhite9185
Topic Author
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:19 pm

Thanks for the first of the replies,

Quoting canadiantree (Reply 4):
Very enjoyable trip report. I love flying the A330, such a graceful and beautiful plane it is!

I found the A330 quite a good aircraft - very quiet, but maybe a little bumpy on the ground when sat in the last rows. They seem to be pretty popular so hopefully ill get another one someday

Quoting captainsloo (Reply 5):
Thanks for the excellent trip report! I had an amazing time reading through it. Lovely photos!

No problem!

Quoting captainsloo (Reply 5):
However, the meal portion seems rather small. I might not be full after trying the chicken on your outbound flight.

It did seem like a small portion compared to previous flights - who knows maybe the reason why they reduced the size of the meal trays was to hide the fact the meals were smaller?!

Quoting Patagon (Reply 6):
Really nice trip report, I enjoyed all your report and pictures of NY, thanks!

Thank you.

Quoting SInGAPORE_AIR (Reply 7):
That's all they gave you for breakfast ?!

Yes, but having been given a ham and cheese muffin for years on end and not making any attempt to eat it, this was a step up!

Quoting sq_ek_freak (Reply 8):
VS do look much better from previous years, they have put together an appealing looking product. Their meal service concept is interesting

As i mentioned, they're going n the right direction. They just need to be more consistent across the fleet. I noticed a couple from my outbound flight waiting for the 747 flight back to LHR at JFK and I'd imagine they might of been a bit disappointed if this was their first experience of VS.
@mytripreport
 
JetBlueGuy2006
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:20 pm

Great report!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Almost an hour later I was welcomed to the USA by an unusually friendly immigration officer. He continually used my first name, made conversation about the hotel I was staying in and generally easy going - something I’d not experienced at immigration in the US before where they generally take the guilty until proven innocent stance. It was off to find the Air Train to Jamaica station.

Glad to hear that it was a smooth experience.
Home Airport: Capital Region International Airport (KLAN)
 
heebeegb
Posts: 117
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:20 pm

4 engines for long haul?

Ive always found VS to promote themselves as something special but in reality the same as every other main airline
 
FLIEGER67
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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2003 4:43 am

RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:45 pm

Hi, J.,

great story and pictures.
It seems it´s really worth it to spend, also when they are pricey, some days in these great city.

VS looks like good on the new A330. Also something for me maybe soon.

Greetings,
Markus(FLIEGER67)
Tripreporter.net
 
tjcab
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:28 pm

fantastic. breezed thru (at work) and will read in great detail and enjoyment when I get home. Love these reports with the inclusion of the destination images!
 
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airbuseric
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:54 pm

Hi James,

good to read about VS's latest A330 and the new product.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
I had been wanting to Visit NYC again for a few years now but the high accommodation prices had always put me off. Then, one March night whilst having a conversation with my dad, he mentioned that he had stayed in Brooklyn and, although still being quite a high price, was more reasonable than staying in the center of Manhattan, and a reasonable area too. I did a bit of research and found that hotels could be found in the region of £100 a night. In the end I opted for the Super 8 Motel in Brooklyn for a pricey £420.

I do prefer a downtown hotel though, no need to think about getting back by subway etc. Some 4* hotel does well, maybe I'm spoiled, but it's NYC all the way or not for me  
Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
More irritating was the couple sat the row in front - way too noisy and enthusiastic for this time of the morning!

Some people...

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Although it was still a bit early for lunch I'm my opinion - only just 11:00AM in London. The choices were the usual chicken, beef or pasta.

Not usual at all, 3 choices in Y. Airlines tend to stick to 2 options only.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Almost an hour later I was welcomed to the USA by an unusually friendly immigration officer.

Only positive experiences with immigration, customs and security staff at NYC at T4 and T8 (haven't used other terminals). I never waited one hour though. Mostly much shorter.

btw, this VS product really dissappoints me. Though legroom seems OK, I think I'm a bit taller then you are. I wonder how I would feel with the legroom. The colours in the cabin are really nice. But the meals are just bad. Very little quantity of food, it was definitely much better a few years ago when I flew them twice on LHR-NRT v.v., lovely flights on the A340-600 btw.

VS would not be my choice anymore these days.

Regards
Eric
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
 
Carfield
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:45 pm

Thanks for the interesting trip report!

I am pleasantly surprised with the reintroduction of printed menus in Virgin economy class, but despite the new "enhanced" catering, I can't help to notice that the sizes of the main course has reduced 1/3 from previous. The salad though looks a bit larger than before. However the cupcake on the afternoon tea box looks great.

The UK airlines really like these boxes.... BA has the similar all day breakfast box and the all day deli box for pre-arrival meals.

I also can't help to notice the legroom seems to be a bit better than previous generation of economy class seats.

Thanks for sharing and the new A330-300 looks great.

Carfield
 
lychemsa
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:49 pm

The food on British Airways is great while VS is really pretty awful and insufficient. They follow the US airline example.

And the breakfast would make me sick.
 
jetblue777
Posts: 1200
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:49 am

Excellent trip report! Wonderful pictures!

The new VS A330 looks sleek.

However, I agree with you, those meals look terribly small. Although I tend not to eat that much on longhaul flights anyways. But I'm surprised that they had three choices, whereas, when I flew SQ this summer JFK-FRA-JFK, we only had two choices. (But then the FAs don't stop giving you extra beverages and snacks afterwards)

I'm glad that you visited my hometown! It was also great that you visited nearly all the major tourist attractions in just 5 days. The Top of the Rock is definitely great, and IMO better than the Empire State viewing deck. (Although I haven't been in the Transit Museum, which looks interesting)

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Managed to find a model shop near Times Square

I never knew this existed. I must visit soon!

BTW - Is the airplane model shop you visited called "The Red Caboose" ? at 23 West 45th St?

Regards   
- jetBlue777



[Edited 2012-09-21 17:56:57]
It's a cultural thing.
 
beeweel15
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:42 am

Quoting jetBlue777 (Reply 18):
Excellent trip report! Wonderful pictures!

The new VS A330 looks sleek.

I agree with that. Best report I have read so far.

Quoting jetBlue777 (Reply 18):
Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Managed to find a model shop near Times Square

I never knew this existed. I must visit soon!

BTW - Is the airplane model shop you visited called "The Red Caboose" ? at 23 West 45th St?

Yes where is it exactly
 
767747
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:20 am

Great report! It looks like you had some good flights with VS and a nice stay in NYC. The food served on Virgin looks to be a bit lacking from what it used to be - I remember their food being really tasty, but there seemed to be much more served on the tray! I do like their use of menus in Economy Class.

I'm always so amazing how every airline that flies an international flight to Europe from JFK usually serves an extremely small, and almost laughable "breakfast" prior to landing. granola bar, muffin, and OJ?! I just always find it funny! - Is this every airline's concept of "breakfast" ?

Best,

Matthew (767747)
I love to fly!
 
qf002
Posts: 3092
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 4:40 am

Awesome report!


Quoting 767747 (Reply 20):
almost laughable "breakfast" prior to landing. granola bar, muffin, and OJ?! I just always find it funny! - Is this every airline's concept of "breakfast" ?

To be fair, most people wouldn't have much more than this for their breakfast most days anyway... Once you've added a cup of tea/coffee, it seems reasonable on a 6 hour flight. I doubt you could find any airline that would offer two full hot meals on a 6 hour flight.
 
Burj
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:26 am

Very cool trip report! The food lucks much better than when I flew Virgin several years ago!

Glad you got to see so much of NYC!
 
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sultanils
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 8:48 am

Hi J,

Excellent report you made there! Lovely pics all troughout and nice to see the new cabin of VS. Looks modern and trendy but the meals are definitely too small of a size. NYC is booked here as well, next year in May with AC and UA ex-BRU.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
G-VHOT and G-VWOW.

Does mr Branson pay extra to get these exciting regs?

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Once inside I found G-VNYC waiting - which was pretty appropriate considering today's destination.

I was about to say the same  

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Boredom or a work of art?!

You seem to be the creative type  

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Boarding was announced pretty promptly at 17:20 local and the aircraft name, Miss Sunshine was given.

'Charles' would've been more appropriate!

Sultanils
In thrust we trust.
 
reifel
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:00 am

Great report, thanks for sharing. VS seems to have quite a decent offeri. Found the food a little too less for my taste, portions could have been bigger.

You have seen quite a lot of NYC!
 
Knightsofmalta
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:59 am

Hi James

Thanks for the interesting read, just the right thing to lift the spirits on a grey Saturday afternoon. I liked your pictures very much, they're so crisp and sharp! I particularly like the picture you took of the top of the Chrysler Building, that's really an excellent shot!

I've never flown Virgin so far but they look rather good in your report, although the portions of the food look a bit on the small side. It makes the tray look kind of empty.

I also think their latest livery is starting to grow on me. Initially I didn't like it much but over time I find that metallic red - or what ever you call it - looks rather sharp.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
I was welcomed to the holding pen with a 'welcome back sir'. Although I was a VS flying club silver member for a good few years, that has long run out and I haven't actually flown VS for over 2 years - so I thought this was a nice touch.

Now that is certainly very classy, I like that. It's a small thing but immediately gives the whole experience a personal touch.

Thanks for posting!

Cheers,
William
 
lukeyboy95
Posts: 1058
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:07 pm

RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:49 am

Hi James,

Your finest work yet! Really an excellent report, and beautifully illistrated by well-taken photos. Briliant stuff...


Also the most comprehensive report out there on VS and how their product has changed. I think all the elements seems to be there, it just needs a driving managerial force behind to get it tweaked. So, maybe that change of MD will help matters. Thought the A330 looked dashing, and the seats etc. comfortable. Bad crew you say on the whole? Or just indifferent? Young/ old? British?

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
A few weeks before departure it was time to apply for my ESTA. The last time I travelled to the US this was free but now they charge $14.

Crazy... the land of the free has started charing for Visa's/ It was 9$ when I crossed a land border.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
There was a coach waiting, however the driver said this was the 06:45 coach and I was booked on the 07:15... But he'll let me on just this once - which made sense as I was the only person on the coach. If it was full I could understand but a completely empty one?? Why the fuss?

Fairly standard, and silly, practise. However, it is fair enough to say that he might get in trouble if an inspector comes on and see's you on the wrong bus. And the fare isn't cheap for you either IIRC.


Like I said, really excellent photos of NY. Particular favourite was Central station, and steam blowing from vent. You also had nice sunny weather in all respect (LHR too)....

Rgds

Luke!
Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
 
robso2
Posts: 158
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:58 am

Really enjoyed this report and the photos. THanks for posting!
733/4/5/6/7/8/9, 319/20/21, 752, 744, 772/W, 332/3, 343/6, E70/90, AT43, AR85/1, D38, D10, M82
 
Andriyko
Posts: 87
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:10 pm

Thank you for the excellent trip report and pictures!
Wow! VS seems to have a decent Economy product. I am tempted to try it! 
 
nethkt
Posts: 1014
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2001 10:27 am

RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:19 pm

Great report on much awaited VS new cabin interior.
The new Upper Class Suite looks even better and more glamorous! What a way to fly across the atlantic.
Your trip report is 5 stars, love all the photos.
Food could have been more generous as the portion always looks tiny on VS flights.
I have NYC coming this NOV with Swiss from DME via ZRH   A330-300 too!
Can't wait to be back in NYC again, a huge gossip girl fan here!
Thank you
and XOXO lol
Let's just blame it on yields.
 
sevenheavy
Posts: 927
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2004 3:30 am

RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:33 pm

Great trip report. Nice to see the new product seems to be an improvement.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 3):

There are no plans to retrofit the new UCS to older aircraft. To be honest it's really not much different in real terms, so the benefit of refitting is minimal, and the cost would be huge.

Believe it or not the new economy meals are the same size as before (by weight). The shape and depth of the plastic dish has changed which saves space on the tray, but makes them look smaller. That said, I never thought the old meals were big enough, although they were the same standard used by most other carriers.

At least it looks like VS are improving. By year end they will have 8 A333 in service, and all the LGW B744 fleet will have been upgraded.
So long 701, it was nice knowing you.
 
jwhite9185
Topic Author
Posts: 1581
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 10:34 pm

RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:53 pm

Wow thats a lot of comments overnight - thanks! Hopefully i don't miss replying to anybody out - apologies if i do.

Quoting eicvd (Reply 9):
Im off to NYC in November & it shall be a trip of many firsts! Thanks for posting.

Hope you enjoy!

Quoting JetBlueGuy2006 (Reply 11):
Glad to hear that it was a smooth experience.

I'd heard rumours of it taking a couple of hours and after being greeted by a very strict officer in MCO a few years back i was expecting the worst.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 13):
VS looks like good on the new A330. Also something for me maybe soon.

The product certainly was very good on the A330. They're currently being used on the LGW/MAN-MCO, LHR-JFK, LHR-ORD and LHR-DEL routes. Then when the ORD route terminates for the winter in a few weeks that A330 will go to IAD instead.

Quoting TJCAB (Reply 14):
Love these reports with the inclusion of the destination images!

Well i like to give myself something to remember the trip by!

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 15):
I do prefer a downtown hotel though, no need to think about getting back by subway etc. Some 4* hotel does well, maybe I'm spoiled, but it's NYC all the way or not for me

The hotel i stayed at in Brooklyn wasn't too bad - only around 20 minutes on the subway, and it was a direct line. Plus Brooklyn was interesting to look round too.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 15):
Not usual at all, 3 choices in Y. Airlines tend to stick to 2 options only.

Interesting... last time i didn't fly VS on a longhaul flight was back in 1997 with BA - and the airline industry has changed a lot since then!

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 15):
Though legroom seems OK, I think I'm a bit taller then you are. I wonder how I would feel with the legroom. The colours in the cabin are really nice. But the meals are just bad. Very little quantity of food, it was definitely much better a few years ago when I flew them twice on LHR-NRT v.v., lovely flights on the A340-600 btw.

As i mentioned, the legroom was better in the last rows. The guy sat next to me did a test with the safety card and where it didn't fit between the front of the seat and the back of the seat in front in the rows further forward, it managed to fit in our row with a few inches to spare.

Of all the flights i've done with VS - probably 20+? - I've only managed to get on one A346. Don't remember it being a bad experience though, although the legroom wasn't as good.

Quoting Carfield (Reply 16):
However the cupcake on the afternoon tea box looks great.

Had a very creamy topping! Although keeping with the theme of the rest of the food, it was a bit on the small side.

Quoting Carfield (Reply 16):
A330-300 looks great.

Definitely the new flagship of the fleet it would seem.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 17):
And the breakfast would make me sick.

As i mentioned it was better than the soggy microwaved cheese and ham muffin they used to dish up a few years back. Just looking at that made me feel sick!

Quoting jetBlue777 (Reply 18):
The Top of the Rock is definitely great, and IMO better than the Empire State viewing deck.

Agreed! Not as busy and cheaper too!

Quoting jetBlue777 (Reply 18):
BTW - Is the airplane model shop you visited called "The Red Caboose" ? at 23 West 45th St?

Thats the one. Hidden in a basement. Mostly train models but had a few rare Gemini Jets.

Quoting beeweel15 (Reply 19):
Best report I have read so far.

Thank you very much!

Quoting 767747 (Reply 20):
I do like their use of menus in Economy Class.

They were reintroduced about a year or so back when they launched their 'enhanced' food offering in Economy.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 20):
I'm always so amazing how every airline that flies an international flight to Europe from JFK usually serves an extremely small, and almost laughable "breakfast" prior to landing. granola bar, muffin, and OJ?! I just always find it funny! - Is this every airline's concept of "breakfast" ?

Maybe the idea behind it is that its easy to take away for later if you don't want it?

Quoting burj (Reply 22):
Glad you got to see so much of NYC!

Still plenty i missed though.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 23):
Does mr Branson pay extra to get these exciting regs?

Well if he does then it would have cost him a fortune so far. Some of the others are G-VFOX, G-VRED (A346), G-VSXY, G-VGBR (A333), G-VAST, G-VBIG, G-VFAB (744),

Quoting sultanils (Reply 23):
'Charles' would've been more appropriate!

Ahh but its not a female name...

Quoting Knightsofmalta (Reply 25):
I've never flown Virgin so far but they look rather good in your report, although the portions of the food look a bit on the small side. It makes the tray look kind of empty.

And it was a smaller tray than before... theres a pic of the old style economy meal tray in one of my older reports.

Quoting Knightsofmalta (Reply 25):
I also think their latest livery is starting to grow on me. Initially I didn't like it much but over time I find that metallic red - or what ever you call it - looks rather sharp.

I feel the same - saw 4x 744's in the new livery lined up at LGW over the summer and thought they all looked pretty good compared to the mix and match of liveries they had previously.

Quoting Knightsofmalta (Reply 25):
Now that is certainly very classy, I like that. It's a small thing but immediately gives the whole experience a personal touch.

Made a positive impression on me thats for sure.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 26):
I think all the elements seems to be there, it just needs a driving managerial force behind to get it tweaked.

Well Steve Ridgeway is rumoured to be retiring early next year so maybe some fresh ideas is all they need.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 26):
Bad crew you say on the whole? Or just indifferent? Young/ old? British?

I wouldn't say they were bad, just a little bit wrapped up with themselves on the outbound at least. Even when you went to the galley and asked for a drink they said 'its over there help yourself sir'. Then when i tried to make a bit of conversation they made a bit of a brief reply then went back to chatting amongst themselves. Mostly your typical young blonde early 20's girls! On the return the (mostly male) crew were more proactive with the service - In addition to the initial drinks run, they came round twice more with a drinks run which i hadn't seen for a long time on VS. Then when i went to the rear galley to get some water they were more than happy to get it for me.

Quoting Andriyko (Reply 28):
Wow! VS seems to have a decent Economy product. I am tempted to try it!

The new product is good, although if you read their Facebook page its full of people complaining about the tatty dirty 747's used on the LGW run. Must admit i have a few worries that these new A330's will end up in a similar state before long - As seen in the pic i posted, G-VRAY is starting to get a bit grubby already. In addition to the pic i posted there was also a black smudge on the wall. And that one only entered service in April. G-VNYC on the outbound was spotless though and this one entered service in July.
@mytripreport
 
anstar
Posts: 2870
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 3:49 am

RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:03 pm

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
That's all they gave you for breakfast ?!

What more do you want on a 6 hour flight? You would have eaten about 1.5 hours in and then breakfast 3 hours after that!

Quoting heebeegb (Reply 12):
4 engines for long haul?

I believe that was a marketing slogan 10 years ago.... time to move on! Or perhaps you could say its 2 engines for midhaul as that is what the 330's are doing  
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 15):
But the meals are just bad.

Meals look small - but then look at what you get in economy on other airlines across the atlantic these days and unfortunately it is pretty standard fare.
 
jwhite9185
Topic Author
Posts: 1581
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 10:34 pm

RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:23 pm

Quoting nethkt (Reply 29):
The new Upper Class Suite looks even better and more glamorous! What a way to fly across the atlantic.

Yeah the diamonds with LED's in really set the tone well - shame it was all a bit rushed as i'd of liked to get a few more pics of that too.

Quoting nethkt (Reply 29):
Your trip report is 5 stars, love all the photos.

Thanks!

Quoting sevenheavy (Reply 30):
There are no plans to retrofit the new UCS to older aircraft. To be honest it's really not much different in real terms, so the benefit of refitting is minimal, and the cost would be huge.

I was aware that the LGW 747's were only getting a 'refreshed' UC suite but wasn't too sure about the LHR fleet. Maybe they can just do a light refurb to make it at least look the same?? Guess they will just let it naturally phase out then with retirements. Although by that point the current product will probably be outdated!!

From reports I've read on v-flyer, the new suite isn't going down too well anyway - people are complaining its actually narrower than the old one.

Quoting sevenheavy (Reply 30):
By year end they will have 8 A333 in service

I was under the impression it was going to be all 10? Although i guess it all depends on when the 2x leased to China Airways will be back.

Quoting anstar (Reply 32):
I believe that was a marketing slogan 10 years ago....

Even then it was an Airbus slogan to do with the introduction of the A346's i believe, as it was never used on the 744's - or even the 343's if i remember correctly?

Maybe now they could use '2 engines 2 many'?!
@mytripreport
 
globalflyer
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 4:15 am

RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:04 pm

Awesome pictures James. I missed you by two days. I was connecting DL-LX on the 17th! Looks like the same planes I saw as well at T-4! I just love the MetLife building because it was the World HDQ for Pan Am back in the day. Did you know that at Rockefeller Centre the building next door which on the Lobby Level host Studio 1-A for the NBC Today Show, that building was the original HDQ for Eastern Air Lines way before they moved South to MIA. Since I am an EA alum, it is also a special place for me! Thanks for sharing! Cheers, Will
Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
 
deltamartin
Posts: 981
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:48 pm

RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:10 pm

Hi James!

Nice report, and good to see that VS didn't disappoint. I'd love to fly them some day!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
The morning flights onboard their new A330-300, the afternoon flight on the 747-400 or the evening flights on the A340-600. I opted for the morning flights as I’d not been on an A330 before

I'd have made sure to get at least one flight on an A346, as it's the only one of those I haven't flown, and I love the A340 in general. The A346 also is a very unique bird.  
Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Once on board, I actually found the legroom pretty decent.

That legroom looks great!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Tasted quite good but could of been a bit bigger

Yeah, the meal does look good, but a bit lacking.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):

Then it was on to Coney Island

Nice to see you go to Coney Island! I was there this summer. Did you take a ride on the Cyclone?

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Then it was onto finals and some very good views of London. The pictures don't really do it justice.

Some great views there.

Martin
 
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:21 pm

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 34):
I missed you by two days.

Yeah i saw that you were in JFK on Monday.

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 34):
Did you know that at Rockefeller Centre the building next door which on the Lobby Level host Studio 1-A for the NBC Today Show, that building was the original HDQ for Eastern Air Lines way before they moved South to MIA.

They had a piece on the way in about it being the NBC studios but made no mention Eastern. I didn't know they were based in NYC.

I remember seeing PanAm on the MetLife building in older versions of Flightsim though. I noticed theres also a newer building with MetLife on it too near Times Square. Wonder if they're going to be moving out at some point? Still interesting to walk through there on the way out of Grand Central though.

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 35):
I'd have made sure to get at least one flight on an A346, as it's the only one of those I haven't flown, and I love the A340 in general. The A346 also is a very unique bird.

I was tempted but i wanted to get on the new one! With regards to the A340 though, stay tuned!

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 35):
Did you take a ride on the Cyclone?

I didn't no. Probably not the best idea after the meal id just eaten at Nathan's!!

http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x35/jwhite9185/New%20York/file_zps120b7669.jpg
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:28 pm

Hi again,

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 36):

I was tempted but i wanted to get on the new one! With regards to the A340 though, stay tuned!

Sounds exciting, will do!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 36):
I didn't no. Probably not the best idea after the meal id just eaten at Nathan's!!

Well I did too when I was there, so that's no excuse!  

Martin
 
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:37 pm

Hey jwhite9185

Great report, must try virgin sometime on LGW-ANU in the future, they seem to have an interesting offering. Thanks for sharing your report, great pics as well.
Please let me know... If you know this is the end of the world, Let me know... If you know the truth...
 
MSS658
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:03 pm

Hi James

Great trip report, thanks for sharing.
Nice to see the VS 330 product, looks pretty nice. Seats look nice and comfortable.
Overall service seems to be better than it's competitors as well;
NYC looks great as well, looking forward to be there in a few months.

Greetings
Marc
Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
 
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OA260
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:13 am

Hey James  

Great report and love all the photos from NYC . Have not seen a TR with such detail on NYC for ages so well done.

Nice to see a FID with GEO on the boards  

Regarding VS I have never warmed to their product as you know. They do seem ok but dont know if I would personally choose them but who knows. I quite like their PE seats they look very comfortable. I wonder what the difference in service is ? As you stated small portions for dinner so maybe eat before boarding .

Thanks for the pleasant read.

Philip  
 
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:16 am

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 39):
Great trip report,

Thanks Marc

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 39):
Seats look nice and comfortable.

I actually found them a bit upright, and a little hard on G-VNYC but i guess thats because they're still new and not worn in yet. And as soon as i could recline a little they were fine.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 40):
I quite like their PE seats they look very comfortable. I wonder what the difference in service is ?

Having only flown PE from LGW in recent years, I've not been able to try out the new purple leather seats. They provide an upgraded meal service in PE from what i can remember. And by upgraded it was the same meals as economy but in china bowls instead of plastic and metal cutlery. At least when i last flew PE 2 years ago, although this could of been enhanced when they did economy too?

Quoting OA260 (Reply 40):
As you stated small portions for dinner so maybe eat before boarding .

Which i did before both flights, so no big deal.
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PlaneHunter
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:47 pm

Hi James,

great report with many nice pictures. VS' new interior is okay, but I had expected it to be a bit more advanced. I'm not a fan of the seat colors either.

What I find nice is the new red color used for the livery - but I miss the nice winglets with the Union Jack.

Here's a report from last year:
Exploring A Virgin: VS A343/A346 & Dubai Delights (by PlaneHunter Aug 8 2011 in Trip Reports)

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Once the meal service had reached the row I was in, I was informed by a slightly embarrassed stewardess that the only meal option left was the chicken - this didn't bother me though as that's what I was after anyway!

The portions are indeed small.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):

Then around 50 minutes later the dessert was served, along with some pretty poor tea...

How was the dessert? My GÜ dessert was very tasty last year.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:08 pm

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 42):
VS' new interior is okay, but I had expected it to be a bit more advanced. I'm not a fan of the seat colors either.

I think the major change is in Upper Class with the diamonds, LED's and new bar area. Premium economy is identical to the rest of the fleet. The new economy seat wasn't bad as it was the type that when you recline, the bottom part also moves forward. Although I'm led to believe the newest 3 A346's have this seat too. And i agree the brown wasn't the best choice in colour. Maybe purple would of been a better choice? But still better than the mustard yellow, red and blue just randomly thrown in a few years back. The reason behind the beige coloured seats was that they were the extra legroom seats.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 42):
I miss the nice winglets with the Union Jack.

Thats a common opinion, and i thought the same at first but as I've said previously the new livery has grown on me, and to be honest i think the union jack winglets might look a bit out of place now.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 42):
How was the dessert? My GÜ dessert was very tasty last year.

Not bad, but in keeping with the theme of the rest of the meal service it wasn't big enough. The dessert on the return flight (tiramisu) was a better size.
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:04 pm

Quoting SInGAPORE_AIR (Reply 7):
That's all they gave you for breakfast ?!

= That is far more generous than other airlines on TATL YCL actually. Worst offender is AC which gives you a silly and nasty muffin ... irrespective of if the flight is from YYZ or YVR!

Thanks for sharing. I echo comments that VS YCL actually looks rather decent and is still one of the better products out there in YCL TATL. The new system looks great!

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
karan69
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:47 pm

Hi James, nice report showcasing VS new product on their 333s ,

I read this with keen interest as VS will be relaunching flights to my home city BOM from Oxtober with these very same aircrafts and would be in my consideration if I fly to the UK and beyond

do you think VS do seem to give a much fuller service in Y class than the competition on the same route like BA DL AA etc? It does seem so from your report

I have only flown on VS 346 s in 2009/10 from LHR to LAX and back from SFO in Upper class thanks to some miles and I found them " there but not quite there" when it came to the J class service I received on 9W on their 77W service from bom to LHR and back

I specially liked your pics of NYC as your experienced virtually mimicked mine last year and was also for 4 nights,

Do share the address of the model shop you found at Times Square , I'll pay them a visit next time I visit NYC

Thanks for sharing

Karan
 
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:57 pm

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 44):
Thanks for sharing.

No Problem!

Quoting karan69 (Reply 45):
I read this with keen interest as VS will be relaunching flights to my home city BOM from Oxtober with these very same aircrafts and would be in my consideration if I fly to the UK and beyond

Thats true, plus VS also use the new A333's to DEL also.

Quoting karan69 (Reply 45):
do you think VS do seem to give a much fuller service in Y class than the competition on the same route like BA DL AA etc? It does seem so from your report

Cant really comment on that as the last time i flew longhaul with anybody other than VS was 1997! Although compared to previous trips on VS they seem to be going in the right direction.

Quoting karan69 (Reply 45):
Do share the address of the model shop you found at Times Square , I'll pay them a visit next time I visit NYC

Their website has all the details - http://www.theredcaboose.com

Not a huge place but has a lot in it - the sort of place where every time you turn round you worry about knocking something over!!
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anstar
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:01 pm

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 33):
Maybe now they could use '2 engines 2 many'?!

haha I like that one!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 41):
And by upgraded it was the same meals as economy but in china bowls instead of plastic and metal cutlery. At least when i last flew PE 2 years ago, although this could of been enhanced when they did economy too?

The premium economy meal service is now quite different to economy... My last flight had smoked salmon for starters, lasagne (or thai curry or chicken and veg) for mains and the lasagne was quite tasty... it then had a chocolate cake type pudding which was also tasty.
 
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:36 pm

Fantastic trip report- the A330 looks very impressive! I much prefer traveling with VS transatlantic.
My last flights were back from San Francisco and we were in premium economy and it was very nice.
Lots of room, nice food and great service. On the 747.
Definitely will try them again soon! Thanks, your trip was very inspiring!  
- Alec
 
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RE: Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR

Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:21 pm

Quoting anstar (Reply 47):
The premium economy meal service is now quite different to economy... My last flight had smoked salmon for starters, lasagne (or thai curry or chicken and veg) for mains and the lasagne was quite tasty... it then had a chocolate cake type pudding which was also tasty.

Interesting - cant say i remember off the top of my had on my last flights. Ill have to dig the menu out! All i do remember though is having the same Gu dessert as in economy, except it was all on the one tray.

Quoting raffik (Reply 48):
Lots of room, nice food and great service. On the 747.

The new A330 is light years ahead of their 747's.

Quoting raffik (Reply 48):
Thanks, your trip was very inspiring!

Glad to be of service!
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