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#939637 by buns
17 Nov 2017, 19:10
Ground Staff
Food & Drink
Cabin Crew
I start with a small apology for the tardiness of posting this TR - my lame excuse is that since our return from Florida we have been blighted by slow broadband (so much so we have the man coming out next week to provide the proverbial kick up the *****)

So as regular readers may recall, the last VS experience Mrs Buns and I encountered was so bad that we thought long and hard before biting the bullet and upgrading to UC. As a bit of a spoiler, I am so glad we did :-D

Anyways, back to the TR proper. We had made the most of the extra hour in bed as the clocks went back and were up and ready in time for the Tristar car to pick us up at 7:30 - I should add we were on Z fares and I now use Tristar to take us to Gatwick as it costs only a little more than local cab companies yet gives peace of mind for nice car and good driver!!

It being a Sunday morning, 20 minutes later we were at Gatwick and one other bonus of using Tristar is they now have access to the ramp adjacent to the North Terminal, so we were dropped off just outside the Terminal doors

It being so early, the VS area was extremely busy with many of the flight times being brought closer together because of the clocks going back. After the usual "You are early" comment from the Check In Agent, we made our way through the Premium Security and with the minimum of fuss we were through to Airside. Fortunately, or unfortunately for some ;-) the new exit from security takes you through the Duty Free Line up which then deposits you in the middle of the Terminal.

A few moments later we were welcomed back into the Clubhouse. This was our third visit to the new location and it is slowly growing upon us, although I do miss the shoeshine man as I always used to have a lovely chat. As is our usual routine, we took a table in the bistro and Mrs B had the full english, whilst I opted for a couple of poached eggs on toast with some baked beans - not on the menu, but they will always be happy to oblige with the stock items. Needless to say, some champers was called for and after we retired to the comfy seats nearest to the entrance.

The usual beauty therapists were not working that day and some former IFBTs (who are now flight crew) had been summoned in to fill the gap and we both booked a manicure (now a paid treatment) for later than morning. We both separately ventured back into the main Terminal and now that it is predominately Easyjet, it does seem a lot, lot busier than the South Terminal. My advice to anyone travelling through Gatwick is to book a lounge as well as booking premium security as it is worth it.

Four hours later :blush: we were called to our flight, so bid farewell to the excellent team there and made our way to Jersey Girl. Welcomed on board and made our way through to what was a full UC. Some decent Canard-Duchenne Champagne to welcome us and a very attentive crew throughout the cabin. Pushed back slightly early but with the clocks going back, i knew it would be a later arrival in Orlando.

Shortly after take off, the FSM came round and introduced himself, thanking us for loyalty!! We knew were in for a great flight and along with the rest of the cabin, the crew worked throughout the flight to look after us and the full PE Cabin behind us.

The all important bit - Grub :-D :-D

Tomato and mozzarella carpaccio
Louisiana crab cakes
Carrot and fennel soup (v)

Fillet steak
Roast chicken
Paneer taw masala (v)
Wasabi roasted salmon

Apple bread and butter pudding
Salted caramel verrine

I went for the soup and then the steak, Mrs B the crab cakes and steak. Both felt they were good and well presented.

Settled down to watch "Captain Underpants" and was giggling through most of it :blush: I did try Despicable Me 3, but a combination of it having been a long day and the Gentlemen Jack got the better of me, so a nap was called for.

For afternoon tea, I opted for the burgers - OK but have had better.

As we arrived at Orlando I looked at the mass of VS aircraft, the BA plane and just thought "here come the nightmare" Although as we walked down the passageway we were directed away from the automatic machine room, I was pleasantly surprised to to see a almost empty Immigration Hall. Albeit there were only a few officers on duty, we were through relatively quickly and picked up our bags almost straight away!!.

Up the escalator and into the Terminal we were away from the Airport in just over half and hour :-O :-O

All in All, this ranks as one of the best flights Mrs B and I have ever had and after such a poor experience last time, it goes to show it is not only the Immigration Hall at Orlando that can be a lottery.

Thanks for reading

#939640 by marshy11
17 Nov 2017, 19:20
Wow, sounds perfect (apart from the film choice!).

Your "tardiness" has reminded me I need to get pen to paper.....
#939642 by hiljil
17 Nov 2017, 20:11
Thank you for an enjoyable read. So pleased you had a much better experience this time. What a wonderful finale after a great flight to find an almost empty Immigration Hall. Hope you had a good holiday too.
#939651 by Hev60
17 Nov 2017, 22:12
So glad your experience was positive this time, amazing how things can be so different from six months ago.

Hope you had a good trip to Orlando, it’s a lovely time to visit now the wet weather has almost gone. Trust your return flight was also good.
#939743 by Trax
20 Nov 2017, 19:09
Cheers Mr Buns, great write up, as always.

Glad your immigration 'experience' was a bit better than ours. Seems strange that we had to use the 'self service' machines, and then have to queue again to do the exact same with a real human..... Only the yanks eh?
#939751 by Kraken
20 Nov 2017, 23:19
Great TR Buns - glad the VS experience was more on-par with what it should be this time round. Sounds like a solid flight, with the added benefit of the empty immigration hall, which is always a bonus after any flight to the USA.

As to the security exit leading you straight into the duty free lineup - I thought that was pretty much standard modus operandi for all UK airports nowadays?
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