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#938584 by mitchja
22 Sep 2017, 12:52
Ground Staff
Food & Drink
Cabin Crew
Arrived from ORD on the VS4632 (DL3965) at JFK in T4 so very easy to transfer to VS flights as they also depart JFK T4. My bag had been tagged all the way to MAN from ORD.

Do be aware though which terminal you are in as some DL flights do use T2 at JFK.

I had a ~6 hour connection so plenty of time to spare. I headed landslide for a while so I could get a nicotine fix or two (there are no smoking areas airside at JFK or at ORD in any of the terminals that I am aware of).

Decided to head back through security around 17:00. The TSA-pre line was pretty easy.

I wish VS would consolidate their departures to all use the A gates in T4. Whilst some VS flights do depart from the A gates (close to where the Clubhouse is located next to gate A5), others including the MAN flight use the B gates which can be a 10 - 20 minute trek from the JFK Clubhouse.

I was very warmly welcomed by the Clubhouse staff. I couldn't remember if I'd used this version of the JFK Clubhouse before (turns out I had as I'd done the early morning departure a few years ago). This is the 3rd germination of Clubhouse now at JFK that I'm aware of, having used the other 2 many years ago. The previous one was landslide (still in T4 I think) and the other one before that was in a different terminal altogether I seem to remember?

I was asked if I'd like a tour, which I declined. Found a seat near the Spa area. It wasn't too busy and the wait staff were all very on-hand and eager to help. I seem to remember from my previous flight that the Spa isn't open for the early morning departure, I may be wrong though?

I was quickly served a drink and was given time to absorb the food menu. I decided to eat here rather than on-board so I started with the soup, followed my some chips and the Mango Sorbet to finish. I booked a head massage (which is complementary for VS pax). That was booked for 19:15. Use the shower before that to freshen up.

My head massage was excellent. Whilst I was in there, the VS46 and the VS138 flights where called (along with a couple of SQ flights). I believe the VS128 flight to MAN is the last of the VS flight to depart JFK. I did notice a VS 346 still parked on stand at the A gates in front of the Clubhouse. Turns out it was a charter flight with a VS9xxx flight number going somewhere in the US (cannot remember where exactly sorry).

The VS128 flight was called around 20:45 and we where departing from gate B22 so it's a 10min+ walk to that gate. Said my goodbyes to the Clubhouse staff and made my way around the terminal. No waiting at the gate and I was able to walk straight onto the A/C which was G-VWAG this evening so another 1-2-1 config A333. Immediately I could see the bar was in a much better condition on this A/C as I walked past it to my 7K seat.

Pre-departure drinks where soon offered and I jokingly mentioned why this seat was still in use and why it was taking so long to re-fit the A333's. The crew member had exactly the same opinion as me in that MAN flights would be the last to get the new config. The stats so far pretty much confirm this as in general it's only LGW and LHR flights getting the new config with MAN flights only getting a small handful of refitted A333's so far >-(

The FSM very much on-hand and pro-active on this evenings flight and she soon came and introduced herself to me along with welcoming me back on-board etc. I have to say, I love it when VS recognise Flying Club Gold status :cool:

Dinner orders where taken before we departed. I just ordered a hot drink and handed over my Retail Therapy pre-order form. Turns out that VS had done a last-minute A/C swap and so my pre-order was heading back to LHR on a different A/C. Not an issue though as the crew did a recovery order with them selling one-board what I'd ordered anyway.

This evenings flight had 239 with 13 crew. We pushed back a few minutes early at 21:25 and even though the captain did say it would be anything up to an hour taxing, we actually rotated at ~22:00. The VS 346 charter flight I mentioned earlier was actually in front of us. I had been tracking it using the Flightradar 24 app.

That seat is just rubbish when in bed mode. There's nothing else you can say about it. It's hard work to convert (I always do it myself but I did see a few crew struggle converting the seat to bed mode and vice versa in the morning).

I also hate the fact that those stupidly placed seat buttons remain illuminated all night (I always stick the safety card over them as I cannot cope trying to sleep in an area where there are blazing LED's etc. Anything at home in my bedroom with an LED get's covered up!!)

The aisles are stupidly narrow as well and it's pretty much impossible not to bump into someone's feet if you move along the cabin.

I did manage to sleep pretty well as I woke up as the cabin was beginning to stir ready for breakfast. There where no breakfast cards handed out with the menus so I had no real idea what was for breakfast, though it was the usual. Eventually managed to get the bed back into seat mode. I went for the bacon butty and some fruit where where both nicely presented. Managed to spill some of my mug of tea though with that ridiculous spring loaded table as well ;-(

Once breakfast was clearly away we weren't far off from MAN and the cabin was soon secured for landing. We landed at 09:10 and yep, we where on a remote stand with buses again FFS. I said my goodbyes to the crew and got on a bus. An American pax stood on the bus next to me commented on this so I just told him that thankfully MAN had just upgraded from the previous horse and carts only last month!!!

Sorry, but MAN is cr*p-hole of an airport now and the new terminal 2 cannot come quick enough!

Immigration was a breeze this morning. Those e-gates worked though the member of staff monitoring the queue was the right gobby sort, telling people to take their glasses off to use the e-gates, er no........if your passport photo has you wearing glasses, you leave them on as the e-gate matches you against your passport photo. She also shouted at someone for standing at the worn gate. 'I said gate 6 not gate 7'. What a complete muppet and jobs-worth though there's usually always one somewhere at MAN!!

As you can probably tell I don't like that old A333 seat and the sooner it goes the better. I've managed to avoid sitting in the middle section so far touch wood and that looks even worse.

It's also taking far too long to re-fit the A333's with VS only managing to get 4-5 done so far and not to mention that MAN pax are getting shafted with old config A333's on most routes >-( :-(

The crew where all excellent on this evenings flight though and this is why I keep flying VS :cool: :-D

One thing I do like if your booking contains a mix of VS/DL flights, if you get and use the DL app, that actually lets you track your checked luggage at various points during your journey including the time the bag is loaded onto the A/C.

Hopefully this will be added to the VS app in time as it looks like the back-end systems are already in place for VS flights and it just needs the front-end bit adding to the VS app:

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#938588 by SlimpyJones
22 Sep 2017, 13:33
Cheers for the TR James! Nice to get some Manchester based reports here and there. Sounds like the route is doing very well (even if it was established by Delta) as 239 is nearly a 90% load factor which is healthy, especially for a Wednesday night. It'll be a shame to see the service scaled back over Winter but I do hope that we see an expansion perhaps next year or after, as VS will be the sole business carrier on MAN-JFK.

With the old seat and the lousy situation at T2, I guess it's one of those "things can only get better" situations - and they will of course. At least in six months the seats will all be replaced. I'm glad that the crew made the flight more enjoyable too.
#938589 by buns
22 Sep 2017, 16:40

Thanks for your TR - as usual full of useful details to aid fellow V Flyers :-D

I never saw the original Clubhouse, but Version 2 landslide I will always remember for the conveyor rollers from the security check opposite and the birds flying around!

You are so right about status being recognised. When it happens it lifts the entire flight experience. When it doesn't it leaves a feeling of disappointment and like your outbound, making you wonder whether your loyalty to VS is really appreciated

Thanks once again

#938596 by horburyflyer
22 Sep 2017, 20:00
Thanks James, a great TR. Sounds like a fab MAN based crew on board and a very proactive FSM, MAN does have thankfully quite a few who are outstanding.

The JFK route for VS has certainly exceeded expectations and more. They are absolutely thrilled with it by all accounts. Shame it's scaled back over the Winter and I've already noticed quite a few in November and December are already sold out in J and W.

I agree about T2. The re-development cannot come soon enough but thankfully work is underway, we'll have a Clubhouse before we know it (here's hoping!) ....well maybe in 2019.


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