Hello Flight Report community. This is a continuation of a fantastic RTW trip I took in January 2015.
I will dissect the journey as follows: Planning, Virgin America Loft LAX, VX LAX-JFK (First)http://flight-report.com/en/report-10395.html Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse JFK and SQ JFK-FRA (Suites) (This report) Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge FRA, Lufthansa Senator Lounge FRA, and SQ FRA-SIN (Suites)(Coming Soon) The Private Room SIN and SQ SIN-PEK (First)(Coming Soon) Air China Business Class Lounge PEK and CA PEK-NRT (Business)(Coming Soon) Delta Skyclub NRT and DL NRT-LAX (Business)(Coming Soon)
I spent the day walking around Manhattan but I was really only able to think of the flight that night. This segment of the trip would be a couple of firsts for me including: First trans-Atlantic flight from JFK and first visit to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.
I took the shuttle from the Sheraton JFK/Jamaica and it drops you at Federal Circle where you can board the Air-train. In my excitement I was probably among the first to check in as the staff was still laying out the rugs and vacuuming. The agent was a contract worker of German descent and she was very friendly. At the time I did not have a Chinese Visa so there was some confusion among the agents. I told her I intend to Transit Without Visa (TWOV) at PEK for less than 72 hours. She was not familiar with this. I showed her my Air China itinerary for onward travel but she was still having problems. It wasn't until she was able to get help from an SQ manager that I was issued my boarding passes and sent on my way. She apologized several times but I assured it was no worry as I can tell this was a new encounter for her. I obtained a 10 year Chinese Visa upon my return to avoid such delay in the future.
The premium security line at JFK T4 is rather non-existent. I was told to go all the way tot he left and ended up in a crew/diplomat type line. It was marginally faster but still dumped you out at the front of the regular line. Singapore Airlines doesn't participate in TSA Pre-check so that was of no advantage. I was through in about 10 minutes.
Before proceeding to the lounge I took a walk to see if our aircraft was here. It was.
Nice comparison here
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse JFK I have read several reports on this lounge so my expectations were high going in. It did not disappoint. Like the TK lounge in IST I had to remember that this is a Business Class lounge, it's that good.
The lounge is located one floor up from the departure level in the B pier of terminal 4
I was welcomed in after an inspection of my boarding pass and a note was made. I was asked if I had been in before and when I responded no I was given a tour. Let's look around.
Seating area facing west
Central seating/bar area
The billiard table
Seating on the east side
I settled into a seat on the west facing side as the evening sky was lovely and the there was a good view of the ramp. I was greeted almost immediately by one of the wait staff and shown the menu and drink list.
I ordered a sparkling water and a cocktail of some variety from the list
View from my location in the lounge, the A pier of JFK T4.
I read many reports with favorable reviews of the fried squid so let's have a go at those. Nice presentation and fine and tasty version of calamari.
Some Lanson is in order to mark this special place
I was impressed by the service in my area. The young woman helping me had several tables and a great rapport with her guests. She seemed to even have a few that were regulars. My Lanson was topped up as needed and water too.
After my snack and champagne party I decide to go have a walk around the terminal. With the recent addition to the A pier it's a huge space. I walk all the way down tot he RJ gates on the Delta side and back to the end of the B pier. It's probably a 30 minute journey all told.
Upon my return I request a shower and a glass of Lanson. Both are granted and off we go to freshen up before the flight(s).
In keeping with the Virgin brands nightclub theme there is colorful lighting in the hall towards the WC
The shower room is spacious and clean
After freshening up I decide to have seat in the dining room and sample a few more of the menu items.
First up, The Red Carpet (Prosecco, Bombay Sapphire Gin, St. Germain, Creme de Framboise and fresh lemon) wonderful!
From the menu I select the cheese toast with Worcestershire, deviled egg, and olives
This is when something rather remarkable (to me) happened. Please bear with me on this aside. I am a die hard San Francisco Giants baseball fan. Yeah, it's a good time to be one. The pain of the 2002 World Series is but a distant memory after what has transpired in the past 5 years. Anyhow I follow the team closely, even in the winter, and I was taking note (via twitter) that team officials were in NYC showing of the three World Series trophies (the triplets) as the SF Giants were the NY Giants prior to 1958. I thought to myself what a coincidence that I am in NYC today too. Anyhow, upon entering the lounge today and receiving my tour I noticed a group with several SF Giants hats among them and made note as I always like to see the orange and black when traveling about. From my vantage point in the dining room I was looking directly at this group right now. An airline official (presumably Virgin America) approached the group and appeared to inform them it was time to board. At that time they rose, parted a black curtain, and had all three SF Giants World Series trophies in their possession. Needles to say I shot across the room like a dog after the postman and had a picture made with the 2014 World Series trophy.
I was quite filled with excitement now and back in the dining room I called my wife to say goodnight and share my story. The server brought me another Red Carpet, unsolicited, but welcome.
After snack time I moved over to the bar to order a cappuccino and enjoy the last few minutes before boarding.
I noticed a gentleman sitting one seat away at the bar wearing shorts and a golf shirt. I remarked that I assume he's going the same direction as I am as we are the only two who don't have New York / London winter attire. Indeed he was. He has business in Thailand but takes this longer duration two-stop route specifically for the SQ experience. My kind of traveler. After swapping travel stories we looked at the clock and decided to head down to the gate.
Boarding was well underway when I arrived at the gate. I proceeded to the Suites queue and was on board in no time.
View of the cabin from 3A
3A - Not the refreshed product but no complaints;)
Welcome aboard refreshments
It appeared the load was 10/12 but it's awfully hard to tell in a cabin with so much privacy.I beleive 4A and 4F went out empty.
Looking out above 3A
The IFE screen set to my preferred channel
I was welcomed aboard by numerous crew, always by name. My Book the Cook meal was confirmed but I was reassured I can enjoy anything from the menu if I prefer. I took note of the couple sitting in the center section as I recognized them from being seated next to them in the Clubhouse. They were in their pajamas very quickly and were making arrangements to have their beds made right after takeoff. I thought it must be nice to make this trip in Suites to the point where you're not even interested in the service. That is not the point where I find myself today. A couple of refills on the Krug and we were off the gate.
There was a 20-30 minute push back and taxi. A nice break in the onslaught of food and beverage and time to just reflect that this is really happening. I still marvel that someone of average means can have this experience that is normally reserved for the 1% all through points.
Once aloft drink orders are taken. I select the Dom, not because I prefer it to he Krug, but because I can.
I am also offered nuts and I request a class of sparkling water. Once your drink preferences are known to the crew they never run empty.
The table is set for dinner. I like the Givenchy plates. Staying with the Dom for now.
The fish egg course among my favorite part of any first class service
The other starter was a rather sad looking salad but under that wilted rocket is some divine salmon.
At this point I would like to branch out and explore the wine list. Lovely dry Chablis
Let's enjoy some soup. I can't remember what it was. I think sun choke. It was rich and warm, a great soup.
The blue cheese wedge salad was up next. Fresh crunch and rich cheese.
A red to pair with the main.
Pecan crusted veal via book the cook. It was underwhelming and I only took a bite or two.
I am not much of a sweets person but this dessert was fantastic. It is called the Gotham Pineapple and it has pineapple mousse with curry ice cream, caramelized pineapple and pineapple cream. Absolutely stunning.
Some cheese because, well, I have no idea why.
To pair with the cheese a nice late harvest sauternes.
Dinner is an involved affair on Singapore Airlines. There are a variety of staff conducting various parts of the service. It's complex but comes off perfectly, as if I was the only guest on board. I would like to see a guide, or write one myself if one doesn't exist, that tells the roles of the various crews based on the color of their kebaya.
After all of that food and booze it's time to get some sleep (pass out). The bed is made.
All snuggled up
I had no problem going to sleep. When I awoke from my nap we were approaching London. That was fast. I spend almost all of my flight hours on the TPAC so these short flights are new to me.
Time for some refreshments. The blue Mountain coffee is divine.
I appreciate the light morning meal here. Really no food is needed but I suppose they have to offer something.
About to dive into the cloud layer on approach to FRA.
Low vis day here.
No remote stand toady. :(
Virgin Atlantic Virgin Clubhouse
New York - JFK
Frankfurt - FRA
I may have run out of superlatives at this point. The whole experience is the pinnacle of what my image of air travel can be. The lounge is everything you need, nothing you don't. The airplane is outfitted with both a comfortable seat and bed. The crew is well trained and operates with grace and precision. The food and beverage are of high quality, great selection, and generous portions. It's all very enjoyable. Also, at this point, I have two more segments with this stellar airline. Thanks for reading.
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