Ryanair01
Topic Author
Posts: 468
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:27 pm

TWA Hotel and Virgin Economy Delight aboard the A350

Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:43 pm

Virgin Atlantic A350
G-VPOP
JFK
LHR
Economy Delight
Flight time: 5:27
1 hour early




Many years ago for my 21st I flew from JFK-CDG on TWA. Before that flight I had a small meal at the Paris Cafe in TWA Terminal 5. The Paris Cafe was a very sad little place by 2001.

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Today that is not the case. As part of the TWA Hotel development, it has been transformed into a very stylish eatery.

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On a Sunday afternoon the place was pretty quiet, which surprised me as I thought the brunch set might have been out in force. I sat at the chef’s table, which was nice as the waitress station was located nearby and they were in a chatty mood.

Rather interestingly a Jetblue captain was sat with a junior pilot. He had worked for TWA and explained about the old TWA operation at JFK. I enjoyed overhearing his memories.

I opted for steak and eggs with a very nice glass of California Red.

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All up it was very tasty and I would recommend the Paris Cafe. Having said that, I have to agree with the reviews which found service standards are unpredictable.

After my meal I grabbed a coffee and found a nice quiet spot in the Ambassador’s Club. For many jetset era years this was TWA’s flagship lounge. It saw the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra on their way to Europe. Now anybody can come in and relax.

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I was very impressed with the quality of restoration, which really is glorious. The PA system plays sixties era music, which maybe a little kitsch for some, but in my view works really well.

I then wandered out to “Connie”, a cocktail bar. Unfortunately the staff were so bad I simply walked out. None the less it is a beautiful addition to JFK.

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Back inside I wandered around admiring the restoration.

2020
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2001
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2020
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2020
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2001
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2020
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2001
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At around 6pm I decided it was time to head towards Terminal 4. That turned out to be a good idea as half of humanity was queueing at security. Despite every check being operational, the queue stretched all of Terminal 4 five times. Thankfully I was selected to be sniffed by a dog, which meant I then got fast-tracked. Even with this, it all took almost an hour.

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Boarding commenced about 50 minutes before departure at 1910. Economy Delight gives Priority Boarding, but Priority is then subdivided into groups. That created confusion as priority passengers, who had already formed into a line as requested by the staff, were unsure if they could board or not.

That aside, there was no queue on the jet bridge and I didn’t need to fight anyone to reach my seat. Headphones, a pillow and blanket awaited on each seat. I especially liked the blanket which was tailored to wrap around one’s shoulders.

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My window seat 54A had unlimited legroom, although neighbouring 54B/C have seats in front of them. There are a couple of downsides, firstly that the armrest (with tray table and PTV) is a little wider, plus there is very limited and shared storage. That notwithstanding, I think it’s an excellent seat.

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It was notable that the crew made pleasant small talk with passengers during boarding, which is not necessarily common in economy from my experience. Also, they worked hard to reseat passengers who requested it.

We pushed back on time before a slow taxi to Runway 13R. After a moderately fast take-off we climbed straight to 39,000 feet, a fact the captain proudly announced over the PA. The Economy Delight section offers 34-inch seat pitch, which is very comfortable. The adjustable headrest is upholstered in leather and I found it to be much more comfortable than the unadjustable equivalent aboard Virgin's 787s.

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I got comfortable and started to watch Chernobyl on VERA, Virgin’s inflight entertainment system. It offers a huge selection of TV boxsets and movies.

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Within about 15 minutes of take-off, a welcome drinks service started. I was very impressed just how quickly the crew got through an almost full cabin. I took a G&T and mini pretzels

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Just before the drinks service, cabin crew handed out menus. Here are the options:

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My preordered Asian Vegetarian Meal arrived shortly afterwards. It was fairly tasty but nothing like as good as BA. I did very much enjoy the cheese and crackers.

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I was offered a red wine when the main meal service took place.

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About 90 minutes after takeoff the crew started a hot drink after dinner service. I dozed off before they reached my row and awoke 90 minutes before landing as they started to serve breakfast.

Considering breakfast is just a box and coffee service, I felt 90 minutes was a little excessive. That left very little sleep time on was already a very fast overnight flight. None the less, breakfast was tasty.

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We flew directly into Heathrow, as so many flights had been cancelled due to storms. Final approach was pretty bumpy as the winds gusted. However the A350 proved a pretty stable aircraft.

After landing we taxied to Terminal 3’s far pier and docked next to a Virgin 787.

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I really enjoyed the TWA Hotel and recommend it as a place to hang out before a flight. Overall the Virgin A350 offered friendly crew, a wide range of entertainment and sleek design. The downside was pretty mediocre catering.
 
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allrite
Posts: 2595
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: TWA Hotel and Virgin Economy Delight aboard the A350

Tue Feb 18, 2020 10:51 pm

Fascinating to see the contrast between the years and the way that history has been preserved. Great report!
I like artificial banana essence!
 
N415XJ
Posts: 887
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:04 pm

Re: TWA Hotel and Virgin Economy Delight aboard the A350

Wed Feb 19, 2020 12:16 am

Great report- I loved the "Before and After" shots. Really interesting how due to the architecture the old shots look like they're from the 60s or 70s while they're really only 19 years old.

I then wandered out to “Connie”, a cocktail bar. Unfortunately the staff were so bad I simply walked out. None the less it is a beautiful addition to JFK.


Can you expand on what happened? For me, service has to be absolutely awful before I walk out of a place. Was the service really slow or were there other issues?
 
cwa2toa
Posts: 40
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:50 pm

Re: TWA Hotel and Virgin Economy Delight aboard the A350

Wed Feb 19, 2020 3:37 am

My dad was part of the group responsible for choosing the flip board announcement board when he was the western regions communication director for TWA. It was one thing that he was very proud of. Great to see one up and running. I was in/out of the terminal during the early 70's. One of my favorite places.
We’ll pick a star
in the twilight canopy
and search the world
for the sights you long to see.
Your heart is young,
you’re alive, so come with me.

TWA, up, up, and away!
:airplane:
 
shamrock137
Posts: 355
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2005 7:10 am

Re: TWA Hotel and Virgin Economy Delight aboard the A350

Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:33 pm

Ryanair01 wrote:
I then wandered out to “Connie”, a cocktail bar. Unfortunately the staff were so bad I simply walked out. None the less it is a beautiful addition to JFK.


Interesting! Cranky flyer made a similar remark in his recent trip report. I had great service when I visited last year. Cool to see the comparison from 2001 and today.

cwa2toa wrote:
My dad was part of the group responsible for choosing the flip board announcement board when he was the western regions communication director for TWA. It was one thing that he was very proud of. Great to see one up and running. I was in/out of the terminal during the early 70's. One of my favorite places.


Very cool!! I remember reading a company thats trying to revitalize these signs, bring them back with some more reliable and less complex mechanical components. I have memories if seeing these style boards in New Haven and Grand Central on the Metro North lines.
Time to spare? Go by air!
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1863
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

Re: TWA Hotel and Virgin Economy Delight aboard the A350

Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:14 pm

LOL Virgin no longer give that disgusting Aussie Bar. However just a yoghurt and fruit is measly. I prefer the US airlines that give a croissant with jam. The legroom on the regular economy was actually OK. How much do they charge for the extra legroom?
 
Ryanair01
Topic Author
Posts: 468
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:27 pm

Re: TWA Hotel and Virgin Economy Delight aboard the A350

Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:40 am

lychemsa wrote:
LOL Virgin no longer give that disgusting Aussie Bar. However just a yoghurt and fruit is measly. I prefer the US airlines that give a croissant with jam. The legroom on the regular economy was actually OK. How much do they charge for the extra legroom?


I can't remember how much extra it was, I did it because I upgraded to Upper Class on the way out and with points Economy Delight to Upper was within my balance. Not too sure I'd bother otherwise.

shamrock137 wrote:
Ryanair01 wrote:
I then wandered out to “Connie”, a cocktail bar. Unfortunately the staff were so bad I simply walked out. None the less it is a beautiful addition to JFK.


Interesting! Cranky flyer made a similar remark in his recent trip report. I had great service when I visited last year. Cool to see the comparison from 2001 and today.

cwa2toa wrote:
My dad was part of the group responsible for choosing the flip board announcement board when he was the western regions communication director for TWA. It was one thing that he was very proud of. Great to see one up and running. I was in/out of the terminal during the early 70's. One of my favorite places.


Very cool!! I remember reading a company thats trying to revitalize these signs, bring them back with some more reliable and less complex mechanical components. I have memories if seeing these style boards in New Haven and Grand Central on the Metro North lines.


N415XJ wrote:
Great report- I loved the "Before and After" shots. Really interesting how due to the architecture the old shots look like they're from the 60s or 70s while they're really only 19 years old.

I then wandered out to “Connie”, a cocktail bar. Unfortunately the staff were so bad I simply walked out. None the less it is a beautiful addition to JFK.


Can you expand on what happened? For me, service has to be absolutely awful before I walk out of a place. Was the service really slow or were there other issues?


The service was very rude and staff were just ignoring customers while stood at the rear, backs turned, gossiping. At one point the queue for seating was halfway down the stairs but staff wouldn't even walk down to seat them, when they weren't doing anything else. It was really terrible.

allrite wrote:
Fascinating to see the contrast between the years and the way that history has been preserved. Great report!


Thanks, I think they've done an amazing job. It really is a great facility, I think between that and the marine air terminal New York has done a great job of protecting their aviation heritage.

cwa2toa wrote:
My dad was part of the group responsible for choosing the flip board announcement board when he was the western regions communication director for TWA. It was one thing that he was very proud of. Great to see one up and running. I was in/out of the terminal during the early 70's. One of my favorite places.


It must be great to have a family connection to such an iconic place.
 
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Domthepax
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:31 am

Re: TWA Hotel and Virgin Economy Delight aboard the A350

Mon Mar 09, 2020 6:14 pm

I also enjoyed your photo comparison. Nice report.
 
Av8rDAL
Posts: 361
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2004 1:41 am

Re: TWA Hotel and Virgin Economy Delight aboard the A350

Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:42 pm

Great report, especially the Then and Now of the TWA Terminal / Hotel.

I also visited the TWA Hotel for the first time in June 2019 prior to a trip to Europe. The restoration of the building to the 1960s time warp was well-done and impressive. The new additional hotel buildings are also quite nice and chock-full of reminders of that era. Unfortunately I also found the operations and service aspect of the hotel & restaurant severely lacking and nonsensical. I really hope they get some professionals to run that place, or it will not survive as a viable business. The "drinks with a view" novelty will wear off and patrons will simply not go through the effort to leave the airside terminals during layovers. They'll just go to the closest SkyClub, AAdmirals Club, or any number of well-run airline lounges for better food, service and mostly the same view.
Maintain thine airspeed, lest the Earth rise up and smite thee.
 
crownvic
Posts: 2588
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2004 10:16 pm

Re: TWA Hotel and Virgin Economy Delight aboard the A350

Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:32 pm

Great report, but I have one question, what is with the picture of the flight attendant?? She almost looks like a mannequin, what is with the plastic piece in the back??
 
Ryanair01
Topic Author
Posts: 468
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:27 pm

Re: TWA Hotel and Virgin Economy Delight aboard the A350

Sun Apr 05, 2020 2:18 pm

crownvic wrote:
Great report, but I have one question, what is with the picture of the flight attendant?? She almost looks like a mannequin, what is with the plastic piece in the back??


Thank you. It's a torch.

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