My fourth and final Boeing 747 ride of 2018, really think I've caught up with this aircraft type this year having not really flown it before…
My fourth airline of choice was VIRGIN ATLANTIC, my first time flying this airline as well.
My trip for this would take me on a "Boeing-Oddesey" as I would be doing LGW-LAS-SEA-LHR over 6 days on VS Boeing 747-400 & Boeing 787-9 (Classic vs Modern) and a staple of US Air Travel over the last two decades the Delta 737-800.
Beginning this trip, I had to go to London Gatwick from Bournemouth…. So I wasn't going to gamble on an early morning departure with works going on the M23, so I went the day before.
Got to Balcombe Road, a small side road sandwiched between Runway 26L and the M23, ideal when aircraft arriving into LGW pass over, and well….
The results speak for themselves!
After getting too dark to take anymore decent pictures, I went to the airport and checked into the BLOC Hotel. Paying a total of £80 for a room with an airport view window!
Money well spent me thinks!
Anyway after a night in the BLOC, it was time to shuttle to the North Terminal and catch my flight to Las Vegas!
My Boeing 747 that morning turned out to be G-VXLG "Ruby Tuesday".
Air China A330 & WestJet 767-300 occupied the next stands, both going to Toronto Pearson (YYZ) & Chendu (CTU)
I had the foresight to spend an extra £30 to secure a seat in the Upper Deck.
I took my place in Row 78 Seat K and had a great view out of two windows! The rear one is where I decided to keep my GoPro as it also could view the engines/wing.
The Upper deck hasn't got a middle row of seats due to the shape of the plane, but still 3-abreast seating. Unlike the Lufthansa A380….
However I was pleased to find that I was able to get access to a mini cupboard placed next to my seat! Huge bonus point there!
The plane was twenty minutes late leaving, but not a huge issue as we would make most of that up.
The taxi time must have been about 15 minutes tops as we were quickly on the runway and airborne having and began the trek up towards Northern England, Northern Ireland and Iceland over to the US!
As the plane flew at 30,000ft, the captain came on the intercom to ask us to participate in a 2 minute silence as it was the 100th Armistice since the end of WW1.
Once the silence was honoured I tuned into the "RAF at 100" documentary featuring Ewan McGregor and his brother. A very interesting documentary covering the RAF from the string bags of the Great War, to the Hurricanes, Lancaster and Spitfires that defended Britain in WW2, the subsequent missions of the Avro Vulcan during the Cold War and the modern Eurofighter Typhoon.
The first snack service came in the form of Pretzels which I chose to accompany with a Gin & Tonic.
After the documentary finished I put on another documentary about the "Grim Sleeper" crimes committed by Lonnie Franklin in the 1980s and early 2000s.
The main meal service arrived about 2 hours into the flight, I chose the Chicken Curry with a pasta side, crackers & cheese, passion fruit GU pudding and a Red Wine.
Whilst Economy Class meals don't always look appealing, the taste couldn't be faulted. I enjoyed it! Then I followed it with a cup of tea.
Some spare prosecco was being offered after the crew served the Premium Economy pax were given another drink service, most were asleep or didn't want the alcohol, so I decided to have one,
I chilled out with the cabin crew asking what they upcoming schedules were for the week and I spoke to a dead heading crew member, who got me one of these Irish Coffee drinks to try and it was amazing! Tasted better than Bailey's and this particular brand is South African.
Going down stairs I went to some of the windows (or exit doors) to get some shots of the 747s wing from different angles.
Plus some cabin shots from down stairs.
After a few minutes exploring about the 747, I went back to my seat in time for the mid flight Twister ice cream!
About three hours later the crew handed out a hot pastry, which I wasn't expecting. I took the meat option which was a steak pasty.
Watching some more documentaries on offer, eyeing up the In flight Map a few times, it was time for the pre-arrival meal of a sandwich, crisps, a drink and a chocolate cereal bar.
The wind was apparently not at its usual direction for Las Vegas and the crew had to pass over the airport and the strip, turn around and fly in towards the North.
It sure made for some nice aerial shots around Nevada!
We came into Las Vegas about 10 minutes later than expected, but it wasn't much to worry about.
I went to the Flight Deck to get some shots once we parked up, the crew were friendly and happy to talk about their time flying the 747! Sad that VS is retiring the plane that made them so famous, but the 787 will keep the airlines innovations going well into the 2020s and beyond!
Leaving the airport (having spent almost an hour at immigration) I took a public bus over to the University, then walked to my hotel "The Excalibur" and walking past the end of the runway, I took the big opportunity to get a load of aircraft going out! Especially getting a few Allegiant A319/A320 as I'd not seen this airline on previous trips that year, and a lot of the A320 fleet for Allegiant are ex-easyJet!
London - LGW
Las Vegas - LAS
Virgin Atlantic- They certainly lived up to their reputation! Really enjoyed flying with them! Definitely gave the other airlines I flew on a run for their money!
London Gatwick- Not easy to get to now, but always a pleasure to use! BLOC hotel was perfect for me! S*d the North Terminal, really not a fan!
Las Vegas- Nice airport, will have another flight with some more in depth details. Immigration wasn't too bad as my flight was one of two international services at the time (the other a Mexican A320) so an hour was nothing to cry over.
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