planesarecool
Topic Author
Posts: 3257
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2001 12:37 am

Virgin Atlantic LHR-SFO & LAX-LHR

Sat Aug 09, 2003 9:33 pm

Well it was 08:15 on thursday 10th July when we arrived at Heathrow's Terminal 3. We had been stuck in traffic for half an hour before even getting there. We headed to the Premium Economy check in desk and checked in our bags. We got our seat numbers - 71L/K and 72L/K (There were four of us - My mother, father, sister and me). Then we went and had breakfast at the TGI Friday's just after we'd gone through customs. When it was time to board we went up to the gate and had to wait for half an hour. We boarded our B747-400 "Tinker Belle" (G-VBIG). We were upstairs and when we sat in our wide seats we were very surprised at what premium economy had to offer. This was only the second time I had flown Virgin Atlantic and the previous time was in 1996! The seats configuration was 2-2 with a very wide gangway. Between the seats and the window was a compartment, much more convenient than the over head lockers (We had those too!!!). The seats had enough leg room for anybody normal sized to stretch out in. There was a foot rest and a leg rest! We were greeted with Champagne, Bucks Fizz (sp) and Orange Juice. Thinking it was Orange Juice i took Bucks Fizz, oops! It was nice though. Because we boarded first we were waiting in our luxurious seats for 45mins. To me the only down part of where we were was that the compartment made it hard to see clearly out of the window, but nothing to serious. Then we pushed back and rushed to the end of the northern runway. After waiting behind two BMI A320's, one BA B777-200 and a United B767-300, we went on to the runway and were away. With the engines in full throttle, it was so quiet it sounded as if they were in idle! We rushed past many enthusiasts at the visitors centre and were on our way to California. Rotating and lifting off we soared over the M25 which still had traffic jams! We knew we weren't going to see that again for three weeks. We turned north and went up towards manchester. Then they showed the news and how to use the v:port entertainment system. The we able to use our entertainment. Well you didn't get much choice - You could only watch 52 movies, play 16 games, watch about 100 programs, destination guides, look at a map etc anytime you wanted, including movies still in the cinema! Oh and did i forget 10 radio stations over 50 Cd's for the dukebox and surf the intranet, send text messages to other passengers and to the ground. Not too much then  Wink/being sarcastic And that was in economy too. More entertainment than you get at home!!! The flight zoomed by. I was making the most of Premium Economy as we knew we wee in economy on the return from LAX. After 10 hours we were on hour way down to SFO. We went over the Golden Gate bridge on our approach from the north. We flew past SFO and I saw a KLM MD-11 on finals. Then we turned steeply round onto our approach. I love the way the runways are parallel. It could provide some very interesting moments. Unfortunately there was not an arrival on our parallel and we touched down as a United B757 started it's take off roll on the runway oposite. We came to a halt and taxied into the International terminal.

Return Trip

Date: July 31st
Dep. Time: 17:45
Arr. Time: 11:45
Dep Airport: LAX
Arr. Airport: LHR
Airline: Virgin Atlantic
Flight: VS008
Class: Economy

We arrived at LAX at about 14:30. Went to see if there were any updrades available. None for VS008 so we asked if there were ny for VS024, nope! Darn, economy it is. LAX Terminal 2 was pretty much pants. Waiting for 2 and a half hours there with 3 shops and a couple of restaurants isn't a thing i'd do every day. But this was just the start of the bad return. Before i carry on i just want to say that this is easily the worst long haul I've been on. Our seats were 34 on the right hand side. Me, looking forward to my window seat so i can get a good view of London on arrival. We boarded the flight to find our window seat....didn't have a window. Then we found there was a big black box under my seat, enabling me to only stretch one leg out. I could see slightly out the window behind me, but not as much as i wanted. So just as they're still boarding we have a baby screamig it's head off behind us, only to find it had just dumped, and the smell was unbearable. I was starting to wish we had booked to fly on the A340 after ours. So, we pushed back, taxied the short distance to the runway, turned on and away we were. We flew out over the pacific. Then when it was time for our entertainment to come on. We found out my TV didn't work. I was so annoyed at this point I felt like having a fit. Luckily i didn't! Well we flew over the Atlantic, normal route, then was welcomed home into London at about 10:45 into low fog, how nice. We were almost an hour early which was bad as we had to wait 30mins for our gate.

Okay I have a question that I wanted to know about:

There were two Virgin Atlantic B747-400's at LAX at the time. One landed about 14:10 and took off at about 15:50. Anyone know what this was for?
 
Shamrock_747
Posts: 1499
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2002 3:25 am

RE: Virgin Atlantic LHR-SFO & LAX-LHR

Sat Aug 09, 2003 10:29 pm

Great report! I flew on G-VBIG from Heathrow to San Francisco last year, though not in the posh seats upstairs Big grin I have to agree with you that the v:port system is great.

What did they do about your PTV not working on the return flight? On a MCO-LGW flight a couple of years ago both me and my Mum's PTVs didn't work so they gave us £100 Virgin Holidays vouchers which I thought was a really nice gesture. They offered to get us an individual video player from Upper Class as well but I had a good book so I wasn't too bothered.

Declan
 
Ikarus
Posts: 3399
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2001 10:18 pm

RE: Virgin Atlantic LHR-SFO & LAX-LHR

Sat Aug 09, 2003 10:54 pm

Nice report!

Gosh, sitting in the Upper Deck - it's one of those things I really, really want to do again...

The return trip sounds unpleasant, but for me, that's typical. I've never had a single overnight flight I enjoyed, and transatlantic ones always get me down. On the last one I had indigestion as well, just to throw in that extra bit of suffering...  Big grin and on the second-to-last one, they only came around with a single drink service after takeoff and left me yearning for water for 8 hours...

But overall it sounds as if the airline performed well, just bad luck with babies & sh*t, nothing they can do about that (apart from stuffing babies in cages and putting them in the cargo hold with cats and dogs - just kidding!!!)

Regards

Ikarus
 
Sabena 690
Posts: 6065
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2002 12:48 am

RE: Virgin Atlantic LHR-SFO & LAX-LHR

Sat Aug 09, 2003 10:54 pm

Nice report!

Where you glad with the service? Large meal portions?

Regards
Frederic
 
SafetyDude
Posts: 3654
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2001 10:02 am

RE: Virgin Atlantic LHR-SFO & LAX-LHR

Sat Aug 09, 2003 10:57 pm

To find out about those planes, use http://www.flightarrivals.com
 Smile/happy/getting dizzy
-Will
"She Flew For What We Stand For"
 
planesarecool
Topic Author
Posts: 3257
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2001 12:37 am

RE: Virgin Atlantic LHR-SFO & LAX-LHR

Sat Aug 09, 2003 11:11 pm

Oops forgot to mention the meals. Yeah the meals were ok, On the outbound we had a choice of honey mustard chicken, pasta or beef and yorkshire pudding. On the return there was barbeque chicken, pork or some vegetarian meal. I can't remember what the second meal's were.

Well, I just swapped seats with my dad when my PTV didn't work. He wasn't bothered and just slept most of it. We have complained to Virgin for the return flight for the window (Yeah i know it was just bad luck, but we did reserve a window seat so they could've given us a window) and the TV and they haven't replied yet. I doubt they will.

Ikarus, they weren't serving us many drinks either. In premium economy on the outbound they served us two drinks in half an hour after take off then the next trollry came about 4hrs later. Admittedly you could go up and ask for one but they really should've come round. Return flights get me down to. I can never sleep on them and i end up jetlagged for ever (I still am, a week after my return).

The airline performed very well. They got us up on time both ways. It was a bit of a bummer that we had to wait on the apron outside T3 for ages when we returned. We just wanted to get home. But you can't help it when you're an hour early.

I suppose the TV system is new so they can't help it breaking down. It was actually my hand set that didn't work.

When we arrived at SFO we were staying at the Westin hotel which offers a great view of all four runways. Being an enthusiast I'd get up at 6:00am and watch the early morning departures. It was great. Especially laughing at all the English people taking off back to LHR. I'm a meany aren't I  Wink/being sarcastic
 
Sabena 690
Posts: 6065
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2002 12:48 am

RE: Virgin Atlantic LHR-SFO & LAX-LHR

Sun Aug 10, 2003 1:09 am

Thanks!

One more question: are the seats in Y comfortable?

Regards
Frederic
 
Jaspike
Posts: 4843
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:40 pm

RE: Virgin Atlantic LHR-SFO & LAX-LHR

Sun Aug 10, 2003 2:51 am

Nice report - I might be going LHR-SFO-LHR with VS, though it could be BA. Haven't booked yet. Didn't sound too nice with a big black box and a screaming baby.. babies are always annoying Laugh out loud But they can't help it Laugh out loud

Upstairs.. I've never been upstairs, would like to try it sometime though Big thumbs up

Josh
 
artsyman
Posts: 4516
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2001 12:35 pm

RE: Virgin Atlantic LHR-SFO & LAX-LHR

Sun Aug 10, 2003 3:17 am

Are you sure you were in premium economy and not in upper class ?, the reason I ask is that any time I have ever been on or heard about Virgin, premium economy was the same seats, same service as economy, just a little more pitch then the standard coach seat. They did not have foot rests, they did not have leg rests, and the seating was the same 9 across as it is in economy, not the 2-2 you describe, so it seems odd that yours did.

What you desribe sounds more like Upper class

Jeremy

[Edited 2003-08-09 20:19:28]
 
planesarecool
Topic Author
Posts: 3257
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2001 12:37 am

RE: Virgin Atlantic LHR-SFO & LAX-LHR

Sun Aug 10, 2003 5:04 am

I think i can explain...

Well i think they've got rid of business class and upgraded Premium Economy. Because i'm pretty sure there was a business class, but now there isn't. There's just economy, Premium economy and upper class. I guess they've taken out business class and upgraded Premium Economy, probably for extra capacity. The 2-2 configuration was because it was upstairs and the fueselage narrow's out up there.

Unfortunately it wasn't upper class. Upper class has fully flat beds, Tvs that come from the side, a bar, a massage room (That's what it says on their website!), and more!

Premium Economy was almost like British Airways' business class from what i remember when i flew on the B747-400 LGW-MCO before they changed it to the Triple 7.
 
Jetstreamer
Posts: 324
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2001 5:52 am

RE: Virgin Atlantic LHR-SFO & LAX-LHR

Sun Aug 10, 2003 7:05 pm

Premium Economy has always had a larger seat and a different seating configuration to the main Economy cabin.

The Premium Economy seats on the B747-400 all have leg rests and foot rests.

Upper Class is priced at a Business Class fare but has many extras that other airlines do not offer to their business class passengers.

Virgin Atlantic have had three classes since 1992.
 
Ikarus
Posts: 3399
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2001 10:18 pm

RE: Virgin Atlantic LHR-SFO & LAX-LHR

Mon Aug 11, 2003 12:11 am

Jetstreamer: BTW: Beware, a certain member with an affection for Singapore Airlines is about to give Virgin a full review, inclusive of flight attendant smile tests and more... better be ready for him!  Big grin

Regards

Ikarus
 
Shamrock_747
Posts: 1499
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2002 3:25 am

RE: Virgin Atlantic LHR-SFO & LAX-LHR

Mon Aug 11, 2003 3:11 am

I've been in Virgin Premium Economy downstairs on a 742 (2x4x2 seats) and upstairs on a LGW based 744 (2x2). Both aircraft had the large seats with legrests that you describe - maybe they're Alitalia Business Class seats on the LGW 744s.

Declan
 
planesarecool
Topic Author
Posts: 3257
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2001 12:37 am

RE: Virgin Atlantic LHR-SFO & LAX-LHR

Mon Aug 11, 2003 4:02 am

Is there a difference between a LGW based one to a LHR based one? I fly to MCO at easter and i hope its the same kinda service (like will i have v:port?)
 
Ikarus
Posts: 3399
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2001 10:18 pm

RE: Virgin Atlantic LHR-SFO & LAX-LHR

Mon Aug 11, 2003 6:04 pm

Planesarecool: The LGW ones are originally Alitalia orders that Virgin picked up, so their IFE is a bit crap (no games, less channels, no V-Port on any of em). It's called Nova. Also, I'm not sure, but someone suggested their Upper Class and Premium Economy etc are different, too...
 
planesarecool
Topic Author
Posts: 3257
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2001 12:37 am

RE: Virgin Atlantic LHR-SFO & LAX-LHR

Mon Aug 11, 2003 7:27 pm

Really?

That really sucks. Has anybody flown from Gatwick on Virgin Atlantic recently, as i want to know what to expect at easter!
 
bmi
Posts: 317
Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2002 5:01 am

RE: Virgin Atlantic LHR-SFO & LAX-LHR

Mon Aug 11, 2003 10:14 pm

hi,
i done VS19 and VS8 back in the Summer of 2001 and had two really good flights, premium both ways of course - prolly why! I flew on G-VTOP outbound and G-VXLG inbound. What 744 aircraft operated you're inbound route?

Glad to see you had a nice time on Virgin
Mark
 
planesarecool
Topic Author
Posts: 3257
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2001 12:37 am

RE: Virgin Atlantic LHR-SFO & LAX-LHR

Mon Aug 11, 2003 10:42 pm

VS008 was Cosmic Girl (G-VWOW). We booked our flights just 3 months in advance and we tried to book Premium Economy both ways but VS008 was fully booked premium economy.

We visit friends in California every year and next year we hope to see Vegas. So we may be flying into Vegas next year and out of Los Angeles. We'll just have to see what the LGW based B744's have to offer. If not it'll be either LAX return or San Diego return (BA).

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