Flight-Report

Review of Virgin Atlantic flight London New York in Business

Airline Virgin Atlantic
Flight VS45
Class Business
Seat 12A
Aircraft Airbus A340-600
Flight time 08:10
Take-off 03 Jan 17, 14:35
Arrival at 03 Jan 17, 17:45
VS   #21 out of 128 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 36 reviews
rbix
By GOLD 2778
Published on 20th July 2018
Hi everyone! Welcome to the second leg of the Winter 2016-17 travel series! Well, after a nice couple of days exploring London and catching up with the family, it was time for me to head back to New York flying on Virgin Atlantic. I have to say, this trip was one of the best trips that I've ever been on and just as I predicted, I had an amazing time! Even though it was a bit cold, it was worth it as I finally experienced the Christmas season in London. It's amazingly beautiful, especially with the visit to Winter Wonderland which is a must-do during the season. Anyways, without further ado, let's get to this report! ;)

Inbound flight can be found here!

Pre-flight


So, the original plan was to arrange for the chauffeur service from Virgin Atlantic to pick me up so that way I could go through the Upper Class terminal and enjoy the facilities. However, my relatives were keen on seeing me off. So, I ultimately went with them since I couldn't resist such a sweet offer! Anyways, it was a 20 minute drive to Heathrow Airport, and there was hardly any traffic while on the way. We made it at around 12:00 PM, which gave me just enough time to do everything such as checking in, going through security, and spending time at the lounge.

Car park
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Heading towards the terminal through the underground entrance


Terminal 3 Forecourt at London Heathrow Airport
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Time to check-in!
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Check-in counters
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The process was very smooth, with the total time of 5 minutes.
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Before I knew it, I entered the Upper Class wing which I missed out. However, I was glad that I was able to enter and see what it was like. Also, security was really quick!


Post-security



Once I passed through security, I found myself at the extensive duty-free area to check out some good deals. Afterwards, I finally made it to the airside


FIDS
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Time to do some sightseeing around Terminal 3 before I head to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse


Now, time to head to the lounge
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Lounge area and entrances
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List of lounges and directions
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Before I headed to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, I thought I'd head back to my roots for a little bit and check out the entrance of the recently-renovated CX lounge!
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Hopefully I'll have the chance to explore the lounge in full detail soon!
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For now, let's try the Virgin Atlantic lounge!
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Lounge entrance
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Just like every lounge, it's accessed through a staircase or an elevator. I chose the former
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I had high expectations for this lounge, and it met every one of them!!
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Few shots of the lounge
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From a first impression, it felt like entering a new dimension. I mean, it was one of the best airline lounges I've ever been to! This lounge is quite spaced out, has a variety of seating area, and a ton of amenities such as pool tables, salon, as well as buffet or à la carte dining!
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Boarding pass
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After exploring the lounge, I eventually found a seat next to the bar area as it was quite crowded today.
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Then, I decided to order a glass of champagne as a perfect end to my holiday in London
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Menu in the lounge
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Let's see what's there to eat!
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Once again, I got myself a light meal prior to my flight. This time, I opted for a caesar salad
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After spending less than an hour at the lounge, I finally headed towards the gate
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I have to admit, it was quite a long walk!


Finally making it to the gate area
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Gate 16 holding room
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Plane to JFK: G-VGAS (this is the same plane that brought me to LHR and is now flying me back home), with a special appearance by British Airways Boeing 787-800, G-ZBJB, which had just arrived from MAA as BA36
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It took about about 20 minutes for the gate to open, primarily due to all passengers to get through secondary security. I could tell that the flight was going to be full today.
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I love priority boarding! ;)
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Some pre-flight information:
Date: 3 January 2017
Airline: Virgin Atlantic
Flight Number: VS 45
Route: London (LHR) - New York (JFK)
Aircraft: Airbus A340-600
Registration: G-VGAS
Distance: 3440 miles
Scheduled Departure Time: 2:35 PM
Actual Departure Time: 3:03 PM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 5:45 PM
Actual Arrival Time: 4:56 PM
Flight Time: 8 hrs 10 mins
Departure Gate at LHR: 16
Arrival Gate at JFK: Remote Stand 61

Inflight


Upper Class cabin
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My seat, 12A
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The narrow legroom
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Menu and amenities found as soon as I boarded
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Pre-departure beverage: Orange juice
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Menu for today's flight
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Entertainment handset
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View from my seat: a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-900, G-VCRU, which will serve as VS11 to BOS along with the view of LHR's iconic air traffic control tower
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I excitedly took this photo as soon as I spotted a Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER, B-KQZ, which arrived from HKG as CX257.
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Prior to pushback, the crew were going around the cabin taking orders for the upcoming lunch service.

I remember the pushback occurring at around 2:45 PM that afternoon. I could tell that it was going to be a long taxi to the runway, but it gave me more time to see if I could spot some planes!
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Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-900, G-VNEW, which will serve as VS41 to SFO
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Emirates Airbus A380-800, A6-EES, which landed from DXB as EK29
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Terminal 2, which is fairly new
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Two Aer Lingus Airbus A320-200s: EI-DEJ and EI-EDP
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Air Canada Boeing 777-300ER, C-FNNU, which will serve as AC855 to YVR
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Got a lot of tails here:
Avianca Boeing 787-800, N792AV, as AV121 to BOG
Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300ER, ZK-OKO, as NZ1 to AKL via LAX
British Airways Airbus A380-800, G-XLEF, as BA209 to MIA
Ethiopian Airlines Airbus A350-900, ET-ATQ, which will prepare to go back to ADD this evening as ET701
Air Canada Boeing 787-800, C-GHPV, which will head back to YYZ this evening as AC859
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Taxiing to Runway 27L
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Etihad Airways Airbus A380-800, A6-APG, preparing to go back to AUH as EY20
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We finally took off half an hour behind schedule

Sights of Britain
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A beautiful sunset
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Thanks for everything, London! See you soon!
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Planned flight route
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Hot towel
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Surprisingly, the captain finally came on with his pre-flight welcome as soon as we reached cruising altitude, apologising at first about the late departure as this aircraft had arrived late from a previous destination, but had promised us that we would make it to New York City on time.

I headed on to the bathroom with the amazing mood lighting
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Once I got back to my seat, I was time to explore the inflight entertainment!
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After browsing through the entertainment selection, I started my list with yet another comedy, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates!
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Before I knew it, the crew came around with drink orders. I settled for a glass of Coke with some kettle cooked chips
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Table setup. Note the interesting design of the salt and pepper shakers
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The appetiser: Halloumi salad. It was not that bad
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For the main course, I went for the Louisiana styled crab cakes with salad, which were actually better than I expected.
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For dessert, I decided to get some chocolate cake (another one of my favourites)
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To end the lunch service, I ended up getting some cheese, crackers, and fruits. One of the cabin crew noticed me taking pictures, knowing that I'm an aviation geek. I remember him telling me "This setup will look great for your review!" ;)
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The whole service didn't take too long, as the crew cleared out the tables within half an hour.

Cabin view
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Once I was done, I decided to check up the progress of the flight
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Right in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean
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Bar area, which was pretty much deserted.
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One difference about this flight was that this flight had a few bumps of turbulence and the seat belt signs went on and off during the flight, compared to the inbound flight to London where it was smooth throughout the entire journey. Nevertheless, we were making good progress in terms of the flight.

Since I couldn't really sleep, I settled for another movie. This time, I went for Neighbors 2
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I watched the first half an hour of that movie until I started to feel a bit tired. Hence, I asked one of the cabin crew for the turndown service.
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Time for a quick nap!
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I woke up only to realise that we were already nearing JFK
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Cabin with darker mood lighting
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Just as I expected, the captain came on again at that time announcing that we were now starting the descent into JFK, and had 45 minutes before landing.

The seat belt sign came back on giving the indication that we had to prepare for landing, which didn't take long.
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While descending towards New York, it was not surprising to see poor visibility as the captain did note that the weather was not going to be pleasant due to rain. However, it didn't stop us from landing there!

Final shots before landing
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We landed 50 minutes ahead of the scheduled arrival time into John F. Kennedy International Airport. The taxi was quite long, but it gave me a good chance to spot some planes while waiting for the plane to stop.

While taxiing to the terminal, I got a good opportunity to spot a Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 777-200LR, AP-BGZ, which will prepare to go back to LHE this evening as PK722
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Terminal 4
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Sister-ship Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340-600, G-VFIZ, currently on remote standby. It will prepare to go back to LHR this evening as VS138
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Docking at remote stand 61. I found it quite weird that we were docking here. I guess the gates were taken up at the terminal, but I don't even know to my recollection.
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It took about 10 minutes to disembark as we had to wait for the stairs
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Taking the bus to the terminal via the air stairs


Post-flight


I breezed through immigration and customs as always. However, it took 1 hour to get my bag unlike LHR where I waited for 5 minutes. As soon as I was done, I was on my way to the crowded arrival hall where I met my private cab driver outside, and then headed on home.
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Terminal 4 Arrival exterior
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See more

Verdict

Virgin Atlantic

8.8/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Meal/catering9.5

Virgin Atlantic Airways London Heathrow Clubhouse

10.0/10
Comfort10.0
Meal/catering10.0
Entertainment/wifi10.0
Services10.0

London - LHR

8.9/10
Efficiency9.0
Access7.0
Services9.5
Cleanliness10.0

New York - JFK

8.4/10
Efficiency8.0
Access7.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness9.5

Conclusion

Overall, I would say that this was an average flight on Virgin Atlantic. As always, VS has an outstanding pre-departure experience as well as the lounge at LHR. The only drawbacks I would remark were the seats which were extremely narrow, and the crew. I've noticed that most of the crew members of this flight were less interactive with passengers unlike the inbound flight to London. The only exception was one of them who was served me cheese and crackers during the latter portion of the flight. Also, I hope I get the chance to try out Virgin Atlantic's other aircraft such as the Airbus A330-300 along with the Boeing 787-900, and see how it compares in terms of overall service. In particular, the seating.

Nevertheless, thanks for reading this trip report as this is the end of the Winter 2016-17 trip report series. I hope you enjoyed reading it. I will be posting more trip reports in the near future. So, be sure to tune in next time for the Summer 2017 travel series which I'll be posting very soon! ;)

Information on the route London (LHR) New York (JFK)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 33 reviews of 4 airlines on the route London (LHR) → New York (JFK).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Virgin Atlantic with 7.9/10.

The average flight time is 7 hours and 30 minutes.

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6 Comments

  • Comment 455096 by
    bgboiflyer 30 Comments

    Wonderful service. Seems the Boarding Pass was very Delta-style. Also great job talking about all those planes, and I believe "CollegeAviator" on airliners.net also did a review on A6-APG, so nice to see that!

  • Comment 455303 by
    707Bob 6 Comments

    I flew on the the Airbus A340 (Virgin Atlantic) back from New. York last summer. Albeit on economy plus. But found the aircraft decor very tired. The USB ports had to be connected via a plug pack from under the seat. The screens were of poor resolution and so on. I’d flown out in a 787 and the difference was like night and day.
    Nice report though. I enjoyed reading it. But I’d be very interested to see if you flew on the 787 with Virgin Upper Class how different the experience would be.

    • Comment 455506 by
      rbix GOLD AUTHOR 62 Comments

      Thanks for the comment! I couldn't agree with you more about the A340. The seats, features, and aircraft are pretty old and worn out. However, I'd like to fly on the 787 and compare both aircraft in general, that should be interesting. Happy travels!

  • Comment 455941 by
    socalnow GOLD 839 Comments

    Thank you for the report Rbix. The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at LHR is a lounge I surely wish to visit. It's unfortunate the A340-600 is in better condition but I understand it's on the way out at VS. Shame too, such a beautiful aircraft. Thank again and happy flying.

    • Comment 456350 by
      rbix GOLD AUTHOR 62 Comments

      Thanks for the comment, socalnow! The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is definitely one sight to check out! I definitely agree with you. The A340-600, no doubt, is a beautiful aircraft, but it has seen better days. Although, I can't wait to try out the Upper Class service on different aircraft such as the A330-300 and the B787-900. That would be something to experience. Happy travels!

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