I rolled up to drive through check in at 06:40 for my 14:50 flight and after a little bit of seasonal jesting with the check in girls who were amazed about how much time I wanted to spend in the Clubhouse, I was through security and into the Clubhouse by 06:50 with my first mimosa in hand.
This is a Trip Report from the Upper Class cabin
Food & Drink
The staff were generally extremely attentive and friendly for the whole time I was in there especially a member of crew who was working on the bar in the Clubhouse today. I didn’t get the name of the bar lady who was working with him, but the pair of them were fun, sassy and friendly, and more than willing to make a few bespoke cocktails at my request!
The spa was good. I had the head massage as a complimentary treatment and took the full facial as a paid for one. Was a blissful 40 minutes.
I took dinner at the brasserie, Clubhouse burger and a few bits from the tapas menu as a starter. I had the stew and dumplings as a starter, that was amazing, such lovely comfort food, I was tempted to ask if they would have done it as a main!
My now normal routine reestablished, back to the bar for a quick glass of champers ahead of boarding being called.
Boarding from Gate 20 today with 340-600 G-VFIZ Bubbles. Now I had originally booked this thinking it was going to be a 787 now don’t get me wrong, they are a fine aircraft, but when it changed to a 346, I was like a little child. I absolutely love these birds and I don’t know if this will be the last chance I get to fly on one with VS so I I was going to enjoy it.
Priority boarding was called and straight onto the aircraft, my only comment here would have been the fact that as the aircraft was a 340, it was a shame that L1 door wasn’t used for boarding for Upper Class passengers, it does always make your feel a bit more special having your own jet bridge, but you know, I suppose it is a first world problem!
The crew were fantastically attentive throughout the FSM was seen at all phases of the flight but she wasn’t actively engaged in the service, but was available if needed. The crew in upper were all former seniors, and it did make a difference a comment that a few of us shared at the bar.
Service from the rest of the crew was excellent, the food and drink were great, and the main meal was very tasty indeed! I had the pear and walnut salad and the beef and mash for main. I will try and post pics and the menu when I get to LA.
One really strange feature of this flight and one I couldn’t get my head around was the fact that we went from day to night, back to day and back to night as we landed. Seeing the sunset twice in the same day was pretty unusual. I have emailed Virgin with my comments, but I shall copy them below regarding some of my minor niggles with the flight:
1) The choice of snacks in the UC Bar - I have to declare I am a commuter with Virgin Trains and I noticed that VS have switched the same horrible bland Corkers crisps that Virgin Trains use - big mistake, they are much inferior compared to Tyrells, and it would have been nice to have had a few more flavours.
2) IFE - I know the long term strategy is to replace the 340s, but the IFE on these old girls is a bit shocking, the quality of the image on the screen on 5K was so bad it was virtually unwatchable which is a disappointment, thankfully I had my own iPad fully loaded with my own stuff as I am well aware of how poor the 346’s are for this , but its the second time this year I have been on a VS flight with either defective or unwatchable IFE.
3) InFlight WiFi - this is less of an annoyance and more a suggestion , the service is excellent - purchased a full flight max pass and when connected it worked fantastically, i really couldn’t believe that I was able to stream from YouTube, broadcast live on Facebook (yes, I am one of those people who likes to show off I’m in Upper Class, I think I do more advertising for you than your own PR teams haha) however, it should be made clearer where the WiFi is available with my flight being a west coast flight and taking a very northerly route over Greenland, a good 3-4 hours of the flight had no coverage. Now there is a map that shows the coverage, but it doesn’t make it clear how far north the flight goes, or that your flight will be flying over an area with no coverage. My idea would be that certain flights, ei the 7,23,19,41 and their return sectors, and the Hong Kong & Shanghai where you are flying over China, have a pop up to alert customers that they will loose coverage for a percentage of the flight.
I know these systems are basically dependant on not everyone using them or they would not be able to support the fantastic speeds I got, but some kind of basic access for Upper Class pax even if just for 30 mins, would be appreciated.
We landed a few minutes ahead of schedule into SFO, and going through as a returning ESTA and with a limo transfer waiting for me, I was in the hotel room in Union Square an hour after the wheels had touched down! Never entered the US so quickly, very impressed.
Had a fantastic 6 days in San Fran now sat in the SkyClub at SFO waiting for my Delta flight down to LA.