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#936315 by spacedog
27 Jun 2017, 23:23
Ground Staff
Food & Drink
Cabin Crew
First, this is a TR for SFO - MAN--I think the drop down menu is wrong as it's saying VS126 is JFK-LHR :)

We spent three great nights in Sausalito despite a hotel hiccup the first day. We weren't informed via the third party booking site of some considerable renovations being done to our hotel, so when we arrived exhausted at 4pm, there was jack hammering going on right outside our ground floor window because they were digging up the courtyard and work ran from 8:30-17:00. The noise was unbelievable but the hotel couldn't move us until the following night. In my opinion, that room should never have been sold considering the amount of noise. That and the fact that the courtyard was covered with a tarpaulin, so there was no natural light, and that you couldn't even open your curtains because workmen were literally standing right by our window, meant there was no privacy, and what was otherwise a lovely room ended up feeling very claustrophobic. We were eventually moved but the staff were at pains to let us know that they were basically doing us a huge favour. :roll: The room we ended up with was equally nice and very peaceful. We were in a great location looking out onto the harbour. We saw the band live in San Jose on Wednesday night, spent Thursday in San Francisco walking around Pacific Heights, visited the Japan Center, and spent time with friends in the evening, then saw the band again in Sacramento on Thursday. On Friday we went overnight on the tour bus (I can now say I had had a "lie flat" experience on a plane, a boat and a bus... I got the least sleep on the bus!!) and then in the morning got an early check in at The Mission Hotel in Riverside to grab a couple more hours sleep. It's a fabulous hotel if you like something a bit different. It's a converted Spanish Mission with great features and excellent service. We then saw the band again live that evening in San Bernadino, and went back to the hotel that night.

We checked out on Sunday and got a car to LAX. We had a short DL connecting flight between LAX and SFO. Check in at Delta was a little confusing as there wasn't much clear signage since their big move from T5&6 to 2&3... we went to T2 but actually needed to be in T3. It's not much of a walk. The lady at check in was very friendly and we were assigned seats in the first row of Economy Plus/Comfort, and given our boarding passes for our PE seats for the VS flight (21A & C respectively). We went into the terminal and checked the app and noticed that our VS flight was delayed by about an hour. The DL flight was also delayed by about 40 minutes, so it made no difference over all. We didn't bother with the Sky Club and just grabbed breakfast in the terminal. There were two seats in First available but we were 8&9 on the list, so I knew that wasn't going to happen! Haha. It's such a short flight that it really was of no concern. The flight eventually boarded and arrived early. We transferred to the International Terminal at SFO via the Sky Train. You have to exit and there doesn't seem to be anyway around this, so you need to go back through security again.

So! Our outbound experience with the extra leg room in the bulkhead seats made us greedy :D As a result, we decided to visit the Virgin check in desks to inquire about availability. The lady at check in was really nice, but said they wanted to hold those seats back for people with children and a couple of disabled passengers, which was perfectly understandable. So my OH asked if there were any paid upgrades to UC. Bear in mind that we were on K class tickets, so we weren't expecting much. Anyway, much to our surprise, she said they had two seats available, and the price was $570 per person. At that price we grabbed them because on an overnight flight having a bed is really worth it. A few minutes later and it was all sorted. My OH was a bit worried about the Clubhouse being landside, but as we've never been before I really wanted to see it. We spent about 45 minutes there and it's really nice; very similar in feel and layout to the LAX one, it's sort of long and "galley style". We didn't eat but I had some lovely green tea :)

We decided to leave a bit before boarding was announced which wasn't a bad idea--there was a bit of a delay with security so it took about 25 minutes to get through. We went to the gate and boarded fairly soon afterwards onto Miss England, an aircraft yet to receive a refurb. The UC cabin was completely packed, especially as at least four seats were blocked off for a crew rest area. My OH and I were originally given seats 6D and 6G in the middle, so we were sort of back to back, which wasn't ideal. However, a family soon boarded who had been seated in a similar configuration (7A, 7D and 7G). After a brief chat my OH switched with the husband to 7G and everyone was happy :) Now, the pilot made an announcement and I heard one thing and my OH heard another--either he said there were 71 passengers on board or that there were 171 passengers on board, but we're not sure which. It's a bit worrying as I love that route (we're flying it 5 times this year alone), so I really hope it's a popular one that they keep going.

Anyway, the seats were OK. I know most people are very excited about the refurbishments and I totally understand that, but for me the seats are perfectly serviceable as I am quite small! However, this seat was looking quite worn, there were holes in the leather at the side were the mechanism had rubbed it. It worked fine, though, and was comfortable (for me). My OH was also pretty happy and slept for most of the flight. The CC were very nice but it seemed like the full cabin threw them and there were a few issues. They forgot to give about three people on our side (me, my OH and one other person) crisps! I know, cardinal sin ;) We asked once we realised it had definitely been overlooked and they were brought out swiftly. It seemed like they were doing everything out of order which was messing them up as they kept forgetting things. They also didn't hand out breakfast cards. I was swiftly offered a refill on my drink when I asked for the crisps, though. Our meals were pretty good. I had a seaweed salad which was refreshing, followed by a salmon nicoise style salad, which was also very tasty. They then forget to take our dessert orders (again, us and a different third person were ignored for a long time). Eventually I had to ask and they looked surprised and then hurried to sort it. I had the lemon pudding, which whilst not quite reaching the great heights of their bread and butter pudding, was still pretty tasty. Sadly my OH ordered it but was brought a chocolate cake in error and decided not to complain. He said it was OK, but not what he wanted. He had a pancetta and melon starter and ribs for his main, both of which he said were good, but not amazing. The service for the meal was very spotty, everything came out at different times and there seemed to be a long wait for certain dishes.

After eating we made up our beds quickly, CC were very helpful with this! I was given a sleep suit... well, the member of CC handing them out only had M and L available, and said "oh, you're tiny, you'll need a smaller size". She returned two minutes later and literally threw a set into my lap... which were a M and way too big! I wore them anyway and looked pretty hilarious. My OH slept really well, I got maybe three hours of sleep on and off; I was restless but at least comfortable. I decided to get up about three hours before landing. When CC came around the take breakfast orders they still didn't have any cards of menus, so were trying to remember what was available and verbally deliver the menu (somewhat unsuccessfully). I asked for porridge which they didn't know if they had (they did). My OH had a bacon butty which he said was delicious. Despite setting off late, the flight was only about nine and a half hours, so we landed not much later than scheduled at around midday. Immigration at T2 was totally dead, we were some of the first people through and our bag followed about ten minutes later at baggage reclaim. I'm usually pretty impressed with how well DL and VS interline baggage as it's always out very quickly when marked priority by DL or Upper by VS.

Overall, a good flight, and the upgrades were worth it even with the old school A330 seats and the slightly off service. We're doing this route in UC again next month on full G tickets there and back, so I'll be interested to compare.
#936319 by DocRo
28 Jun 2017, 00:26
Thanks for the review
We are on the SFO>MAN in the middle of next month and still hoping for a refit. I'm 6'2 so it will matter to me
Glad that immigration was quick as we have a tightish transfer
#936322 by hiljil
28 Jun 2017, 08:01
What a happy end to your enjoyable trip ( well apart from the noisy hotel room :-O ) to get UC at a reasonable price ! :-D
Thank you for your interesting TR.
#936343 by buns
28 Jun 2017, 18:35

Thanks for the TR (I have given Pete a heads up on the drop down menu BTW)

Very envious of the upgrade price - shame you missed out on the SFO Clubhouse - once cited as the best by V Flyers!!

Shame also about the spotty service, but there again, getting that sleep was a plus for you both

#936344 by pjh
28 Jun 2017, 19:14
C'mon, spill the beans...which band?
#936351 by DocRo
29 Jun 2017, 00:28
pjh wrote:C'mon, spill the beans...which band?

I was thinking that as well
#936352 by honey lamb
29 Jun 2017, 01:02
DocRo wrote:
pjh wrote:C'mon, spill the beans...which band?

I was thinking that as well

Me too!
#936360 by HWVlover
29 Jun 2017, 13:29
honey lamb wrote:
DocRo wrote:
pjh wrote:C'mon, spill the beans...which band?

I was thinking that as well

My guess is Tool.
#936371 by spacedog
30 Jun 2017, 01:57
Sorry to keep you all in suspense! HWVlover is correct--great detective work :D The band are hugely popular in the US, but here it's often only fans of alternative music who know them, which is why I didn't mention it.

We're looking forward to our second visit to the SFO Clubhouse at the end of next month... two invites going to anyone else on the SFO>MAN flight on 30/07 :) I'll be trying the food next time for sure.
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