Review of Virgin Atlantic flight London Vancouver in Business

Airline Virgin Atlantic
Flight VS95
Class Business
Seat 2K
Aircraft Airbus A340-300
Flight time 09:30
Take-off 03 Aug 14, 15:35
Arrival at 03 Aug 14, 17:05
VS   #6 out of 121 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 39 reviews
VSflyer16
By 7134
Published on 12th August 2014
Before I begin, a little context to this report (which is my first ever so be kind!). The fam and I were heading to Vancouver to visit some relatives who live over on Vancouver Island, and also to visit Seattle and Whistler. The process of deciding which airline to choose was a difficult one, with my dad suggesting BA, which I refused as I think their long haul WT/WT+ products are very inferior. Then my dad realised he had enough VS air miles left over from previous trips for us to fly Upper Class for the round trip (through VS’s Miles Plus Money Scheme) so our 3 Z class tickets were confirmed.

A little before a week till departure I realised that if our BA shuttle flight from LBA to LHR in the morning was delayed or cancelled, then we would have a serious problem as the next BA departure was not till 3:45 (VS 95 departure time was 3:35) and our VS tickets were non refundable. So I persuaded my dad to rebook us on the BA 1343 leaving on the 2nd August at 3 45, and we would stay at the Park Inn Heathrow for the night.

So the 2nd of August finally arrived and after navigating an unusually busy LBA we boarded G-EUPR with a 10 minute delay due to the late arrival of the inbound aircraft

photo IMG_1255

I won’t say much about this flight other than it was a short hop with the regular snack and bar service before early arrival into LHR at 16 46.

photo IMG_1256photo IMG_1258photo IMG_1261

Not much to say about the park inn other than that the room was clean and the beds were comfy, as usual ;).

The next morning we woke up at around 9 am and had breakfast in the hotel, before catching the shuttle bus over to T3 for about 10 30. Arrived at the VS check in in Zone A and we turned to the right towards the UC counters which were all but deserted.

photo IMG_1269

The check in agent wasn’t as friendly as she could have been (a minor issue) and interestingly she didn’t place upper class luggage labels on our bags (a bigger issue), maybe she had run out? She printed our souvenir boarding passes even though we already had mobile ones, which was good :).

photo IMG_1279

Anyway we were directed to the elevator which took us up to the private security channel in the upper class wing.

photo IMG_1271

Security was smooth and efficient as usual and soon we were on our way to the Clubhouse, VS’s pride and joy.

We arrived to find quite a packed Clubhouse yet we managed to get a nice seat in our usual spot by the window behind the bar (I say usual, but we’ve only actually been twice before!).



Managed to get some good spotting down from both our seat and from the roof garden.

A TG 744 to BKK pushing back (HS-TGB)

photo IMG_1273

A DL 763 pushing back to SEA (N176DN)

photo IMG_1283

All too soon the boarding call for VS95 was given and we bid the Clubhouse farewell and made our way down to gate 13 where G-VFAR (Molly) was waiting for us.

photo IMG_1289

The first thing I could think was ‘Damn!’, the bird without AVOD would be our chariot for today. I was hoping to get VSUN with Vera On Demand, but I guess this was a first world problem, so i just hoped that the excellent crew would make up for this.

photo IMG_1295

1st boarding call for families with small children and those needing special assistance was given, at which point a huge stampede of non of the above rushed to the gate door. Not much was done by the VS staff to stem this flow, but a quick flash of our UC boarding passes and the gate agent waved us through, just in front of the unwashed masses (just kidding!).

We were the first people into the cabin, and after turning left a friendly Chinese FA showed us to our seats 2, 3 and 4 K.

photo IMG_1298

Upon reaching the seat I was told by the FA that my screen was not working, but that this would not matter as we would be given preloaded tablets for today’s flight.

photo IMG_1296

We were handed our champagne almost immediately and settled in for what was to be a good flight. The captain came on 20 minutes before departure and informed us that 'today we have a full flight in all cabins, so not much room to stretch out, but I have a nice big seat!’, which made most passengers chuckle. Our routing today was to be up over Iceland and Greenland on a northerly path before dropping down and approaching Vancouver from the East. Safety video was played (which I couldn’t see!) and we pushed back for departure from RWY 27R.

After a long takeoff hot towels were given out along with the aforementioned tablets, followed by an announcement to the Upper Class cabin which described the features of the suite. (I later overheard 2 FAs saying that the announcement had accidentally been broadcast to the whole plane and that the PE and Y pax would now be expecting a lot. Oops!)

photo IMG_1301

After watching Anchorman 2 lunch was served, and I chose the beef fillet, which was excellent (Sorry, no pic of the food!). Then i had the sticky toffee pudding which was also delicious.

Love these little guys, which (with the permission of not 1, but 2 FAs) somehow mysteriously fell into my bag!

photo IMG_1302

For much of the flight I had my seat flipped into the bed position (which is softer than I remember) and I used pillows to prop myself up against the wall, which was actually very comfortable!

photo IMG_1321photo IMG_1328

I also chose to stretch my legs for a while and did a circuit of the plane, depicted here is the economy class section, which was full to bursting.

photo IMG_1318

Just a quick comment, I have never had a team of cabin crew that was almost entirely male! Literally in the UC cabin there was only one female FA, which i found interesting. Also I did wonder why VS had deployed one of the Mandarin speaking FAs on this YVR flight, as these cabin crew normally work the Far East flights, but then I noticed that the couple across from me in 1D and 2D spoke only Mandarin! Kudos to VS for this, talk about customer service!

Just a quick pic of the bar, which was manned for most of the flight, yet not many people used it.

photo IMG_1330photo IMG_1325photo IMG_1315

All too soon afternoon tea was served on these cute little cake stands, and I opted for scones and a small vanilla rose cake, which were all delicious.

photo IMG_1340

Soon enough, it was announced that we would begin our descent shortly, which took us down over the beautiful mountains of British Columbia, which many of the FAs were interested in and talking to us about!

photo IMG_1334

We made our approach just south of downtown Vancouver (which gave us some excellent views) and made a soft landing on runway 26R, followed by a short Taxi over to gate 64, where priority disembarkation took place.

photo IMG_1338

Overall this was an excellent flight, complimented by the wonderful, attentive cabin crew, the great food and friendly service. I think VS’s hard and soft products go hand in hand in providing the optimum passenger experience! Can’t wait to fly the return leg!
See more

Verdict

Virgin Atlantic

8.6/10
Cabin9.5
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Meal/catering9.0

Virgin Atlantic Airways London Heathrow Clubhouse

9.0/10
Comfort9.0
Meal/catering9.0
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Services9.0

London - LHR

7.8/10
Efficiency8.5
Access7.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness7.5

Vancouver - YVR

9.2/10
Efficiency8.5
Access9.5
Services9.5
Cleanliness9.5

Conclusion

Excellent flight. Excellent crew. Excellent airline

Related

11 Comments

  • Comment 114985 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5307 Comments

    Very nice first report! Good thinking to leave a day early from LBA--when you have separate tickets, especially with delay prone LHR, it was the smart thing to do for sure. I love the Virgin Clubhouse. It's one of the best lounges, if not the best, I have ever been to--the rooftop is especially cool. Nice planespotting at LHR--the diversity of traffic is always nice to see at Heathrow. Too bad about the IFE, but it was definitely nice to get a tablet instead--the only thing missing is the moving map. Too bad you didn't get pics of the catering; hopefully next time. Having the text before the pics would make it a bit easier to read on this site since the pics are large. All in all a very good first report! Looking forward to more!

    Welcome to Flight-Report!

    KevinDC / Community Manager & Mod

  • Comment 114986 by
    VSflyer16 AUTHOR 3 Comments

    Thank you so much for your feedback! Your advice has been taken onboard and the appropriate changes have been made ;)

    Thanks Again.

  • Comment 114991 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Thank you for this report and welcome to FR.

    Smart move to take an earlier flight and overnight in LHR. I am very paranoid when it comes to missing connections on different carriers and my motto is an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    It seems that the VS ground experience needs some polishing. For an airline of that size, they should pay more attention to their premium customers. I find the lack of enthusiasm from the agent and failure to provide premium luggage tags troubling.

    It would have been interesting to see more of the layout and food offerings from the famous VS Flagship Clubhouse. In addition, I am curious to see how you justified such a high mark for their catering.

    YVR has a large Chinese population, especially in Richmond. They also tend to be quite affluent and demand the best. It's been rumored for some time that the Chinese food in YVR is of the same quality or even better than that of HKG due to the exodus of big talents from HKG and China.

  • Comment 115064 by
    pititom GOLD 10703 Comments

    Thank you for this first contribution and welcome on board !

    Nice flight and nice report. You could have provided more pictures from the Clubhouse as it's really a wonderful lounge. VS product in general is good but you can't really compare WT+ and Upper Class (you could with CW though) and the problem with Upper Class is the herringbone layout...not so good when travelling with family members or friends. Too bad there are no pictures from the catering :(

    Thanks again and hope to read you soon :)

  • Comment 115135 by
    redadeco 48 Comments

    Thank you for the report about this seasonal route that has started a year ago.

    Also I did wonder why VS had deployed one of the Mandarin speaking FAs on this YVR flight

    I believe once you landed in Vancouver and got the chance to see around here you should've realized that half of the city's population is actually Asian, with the majority from mainland China and HK. Totally smart to put a mandarin speaking FA on YVR bound flights :)

  • Comment 115199 by
    lagentsecret GOLD 12428 Comments

    Thanks for sharing your first FR and welcome aboard.

    It's lacking of pictures of the Virgin ClubHouse which is certainly one the top 5 business lounges in the world

    Unfortunately you haven't take pictures of the meal

    Is the tray for the afternoon tea in plastic ? it doesn't look great

    See you soon for a next report

  • Comment 115231 by
    VSflyer16 AUTHOR 3 Comments

    Hi all

    Thanks for the feedback, sorry about the lack of pictures of the food! Ive just realised that i have a few more clubhouse pics that I forgot to upload to this FR. I'll put these up now!

  • Comment 115390 by
    KL651 TEAM 4492 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.

    I wish it were easier to fly VS when you're not living in the UK, but with the lack of code-share on PAR-LHR routes it's risky.

    Too bad to get the only plane without AVOD and a non-functionning seat as well...

    I like the way the afternoon tea is served on the traditional plates.

  • Comment 151885 by
    Sealink 67 Comments

    Great report. One of the Virgin Planes in your pic (viewed from the clubhouse) is now in the desert, awaiting scrapping? It's the 747 which was repainted for their 30th Anniversary.

  • Comment 161432 by
    skyteam_iran 48 Comments

    hi, thanks for your report. I'm wondering, were googleglasses in use at the reception of the lounge?

Login to post a comment.