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Virgin Atlantic Upper Class LHR - LAX

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class LHR - LAX

Old Apr 19, 09, 7:52 pm
  #1  
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Virgin Atlantic Upper Class LHR - LAX

This is my first trip report, so do go easy on me! There are only a few photos and they aren't brilliant quality unfortunately.

After having visited Los Angeles a year previously, my family and I decided we would go for a much longer period this time, and booked with our usual airline for transatlantic flights, Virgin Atlantic. We 'requested' the seats that we wanted (9GK and 10GK) and decided that if it was possible, we were going to check in online before we left for Heathrow. Online check-in opens 24 hours before the flight, I'm not sure when it closes. So as we were to be flying at 11.15am on Saturday 4th April, we checked in at 11.30am on Friday the 3rd before our taxi arrived to take us the three hours down to London Heathrow, and to the Hilton where we would be staying that evening, and managed to get the seats that we had selected. This was looking good, and a lot better than the last time that we flew and were completely separated on the plane - long story, no time now. Additionally, to contribute to the positive beginnings of the long awaited holiday, we ventured into London to see The Phantom of the Opera, which was excellent and a show that I would definitely recommend.

Saturday morning, we awoke and went down to the restaurant in the Hilton to have breakfast. I am aware that a lot of people are thoroughly enamoured by the VS Club House in LHR, but I fail to see why it is so excellent. Perhaps we have only managed to go on days when there are problems, but having frequented the CH several times, we haven't been so impressed. Anything from being treated rudely by the staff to items missing off every single one of our meals with no mention of why, to being completely ignored by waiters, it's just not been the great experience that we were promised. Therefore, we decided to make use of the breakfast facilities in the Hilton.

Afterwards, we headed over to Terminal 3 (20 taxi from the Hilton) and it was, what can only be described as, pandemonium! There were people everywhere at the check ins, no one seemed to know what was happening, I think there were approximately four parties in front of us at the Upper Class check in, and it took FOREVER. The two ladies behind the desk seemed to be a bit scatty, I don't really know what the problem was, perhaps there were people late for check in? I don't know. Anyway, when we were finally seen to, they were very nice and polite and apologised for the wait, and it wasn't worth getting stressed over really - the only person who suffers is yourself! So after that, we got in the lift to go up to the private security channel. That was empty, very quick, no shoes off or anything like that, I'm not sure if laptops were in or out. Straight through to the Clubhouse we went.

The Clubhouse was fairly busy, not busting at the seams, but by no means empty. We sat down on a nice settee and my mother and I indulged in a little champagne, and by a little, I mean...a fair bit.



The lady that served us was absolutely lovely. She was very attentive and so pleasant, it really was refreshing compared to various other members of staff we have encountered in the club house. All too soon the first call was issued for our flight. I went to the toilet, and when I came back we left the Clubhouse. When we were walking to the gate (can't remember which one but it was miles away which is definitely a bit of an exaggeration), I looked at the screen, and it said Boarding Closing. We were some of the later people to board the plane, but certainly not the last.

It took about five minutes for our tickets to be checked and for us to board, very nice and efficient, and the lady ripping the (awful home-printed) boarding cards referred to us all by name, which was a nice touch, even if she was only reading it off the boarding card. Boarded and my mother and brother took their seats in 9K and 10K respectively, while my father and I took the G's. They were welcomed on board straight away over in the K's and offered a drink before takeoff. It took, however, about 10 to 15 minutes before myself and my father were offered a drink. I was hoping this wouldn't set a precedent for the rest of the flight...unfortunately, it did. I took a glass of champagne and settled in, and the member of cabin crew looking after our section introduced herself and asked if I knew how to use the chair. She was very pleasant.

After take off, which I think was on time, or near enough, we were offered another drink, and the K members of the family got their food orders taken not long after. Again, it took a long time for my meal order to be taken, but I got what I ordered so it didn't really make much difference. I don't have the menu to hand, but I think the starter options were a blue cheese and pear salad or a spring vegetable broth. I, however, chose the vegetable pizza off the snack menu to start.



It was nice actually, and I'm glad I chose it, because I just did NOT fancy any of the starters. My mother had the salad and said there was no pear in it whatsoever. But she doesn't like pear. So that was a good result.

For the mains, it was a choice between coq au vin with pilaf rice, or cod, or pumpkin ravioli. I took the Coq au vin. It was about half an hour between my starter being cleared away to my main course, which I didn't mind too much because I wanted to drag it out, but I was the last one to get my meal, I wonder if no one else was having the chicken and they just forgot? Not to worry anyway. It was delicious!



But that is not pilaf rice! The chicken was beautiful, it really was, and I was not looking forward to the food on this flight at all after seeing the menu. My dad had the ravioli which he really enjoyed, and my mother loved the cod also. I then took the cheese which was okay. I can't remember what the desert option was, as I don't like sweet stuff.

I think it was a French white that I was drinking, but I don't recall the make.

After the meal, I watched some Flight of the Conchords which is my new favourite TV programme, I found it absolutely hilarious. I also watched Role Models. V-port was working great, I had no problems, it responded fast, and even Skymap worked this time, which has never happened to me before. My mum and dad's needed to be reset once each when they tried to access Sky News, but that'll teach them to mess around!



I converted my bed then and slept for a few hours.



I find it so much easier to sleep on this leg of the journey because they don't hike the heating up and it's not uncomfortable. I had a lovely sleep, didn't use their pyjamas as I'd brought my own, I feel so much more comfortable in my own clothing.

When I woke up, it was afternoon tea time. I had a ciabatta with cheese and tomato, and it was nothing short of amazing. Lots of nice cheese, warm and there were two of them! Good times. Not so good times was that they completely forgot to ask my dad if he wanted anything and as he doesn't like to make a fuss he didn't press the call button. It wasn't until everyone else's were being cleared away that they remembered him. No apology, but he was swiftly brought what he asked for.

Quick flight, think it was about 10 and a half hours. Only got a small amount of turbulance over the Rockies, and we had to put our belts on, but it was barely noticeable.

Immigration was quite long and arduous but what can you do? We were in LA! We didn't care.

So in conclusion...the food was good, better than it usually is on VS.
The cabin crew were very pleasant, but nothing out of the ordinary. I also felt a little bit forgotten about in the G row, which isn't a nice feeling when everyone around you is getting good treatment, but it wasn't anything to get upset over.
Inflight entertainment was good...a great selection and the system worked fine. Although I'm not happy that I got thoroughly thrashed by someone on the Trivia game, but that's not V-ports fault.

So it was a great start to a great holiday, and it wasn't long before I was indulging in some fruity cocktails!



The Potted Parrot at Trader Vics.


Thanks for reading!
lorelai is offline  
Old Apr 19, 09, 8:10 pm
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Welcome to FlyerTalk, and thanks for the trip report!
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Old Apr 19, 09, 10:20 pm
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Wow. Welcome to FT. Hope to try out VS one of these days. Thanks for sharing.

- Pat
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Old Apr 19, 09, 11:02 pm
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Great report -- keep them coming....
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Old Apr 20, 09, 12:11 am
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Welcome to FT! Nice trip report and big props for being a FotC fan
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Old Apr 20, 09, 11:46 am
  #6  
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Thanks for taking the time to post your trip report. I am looking forward to doing my first in a couple of months time if all goes well.

Out of interest did you have a "window" seat?

If so how did you find it? I'd like to try the Virgin UC product at some point but I've been hugely put off by the window seats facing inwards away from the windows. It looks like you need to do a Linda Blair impersonation to look out

I notice Air Canada appears to have gone with this layout as well.

Was it easy to get used to?
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Old Apr 20, 09, 12:19 pm
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Thanks for the TR, I also love Flight of the Conchords!

It's disappointing about the service you received on board and your previous experiences in the Clubhouse. I've heard a bit about their on board service not being the greatest, but their ground services made up for it.
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Old Apr 20, 09, 1:21 pm
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Thank you everyone.

Originally Posted by pb3 View Post
Thanks for taking the time to post your trip report. I am looking forward to doing my first in a couple of months time if all goes well.

Out of interest did you have a "window" seat?

If so how did you find it? I'd like to try the Virgin UC product at some point but I've been hugely put off by the window seats facing inwards away from the windows. It looks like you need to do a Linda Blair impersonation to look out

I notice Air Canada appears to have gone with this layout as well.

Was it easy to get used to?
On the way out I wasn't on a window seat, but on the way back I was. In the seat I was in, it was difficult to see out of any windows...the one behind me did indeed require neck action akin to the girl's in the exorcist, and the one in front was too close to the other seat for me to see out of. I'm not sure about any of the other seats though and their view. I'm sure if you strained though..!
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Old Apr 20, 09, 1:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Curious_George View Post
Thanks for the TR, I also love Flight of the Conchords!

It's disappointing about the service you received on board and your previous experiences in the Clubhouse. I've heard a bit about their on board service not being the greatest, but their ground services made up for it.
I'm probably being especially critical and picky...the Clubhouse really is nice and certainly better than no Clubhouse, I just suppose I don't think it's <i>that</i> amazing. But nevermind, the champagne numbs the 'pain'.
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Old Apr 20, 09, 1:37 pm
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Thanks for the report lorelai.

20 for a taxi from the Heathrow Hilton to T3!!!! Wow, that's a bit steep...
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Old Apr 21, 09, 1:30 am
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Thanks for the trip report.
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Old Apr 21, 09, 10:53 am
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Originally Posted by Rickshaw View Post
20 for a taxi from the Heathrow Hilton to T3!!!! Wow, that's a bit steep...
Especially when the red buses are free...

---

Great trip report lorelai!
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Old Apr 21, 09, 11:30 am
  #13  
pb3
 
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Originally Posted by MatthewLAX View Post
Especially when the red buses are free...

---

Great trip report lorelai!
It all depends on the OP's circumstances - loads of luggage, mobility issues, time pressure etc could all make a taxi the best option.

Also If I remember correctly there is a tunnel leading from the Heathrow Hilton directly into T4. From there you can take the Heathrow Express free to T5 or pay around 3 to take the tube.
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Old Apr 22, 09, 12:18 am
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Nice report and welcome to Flyertalk!

Hope to be able to visit the VS Clubhouse at LHR one day...
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Old Apr 22, 09, 3:10 pm
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This question is a bit random...Did you and your family eat at Benihana in Beverly Hills on the 7th or 8th of April?


Cheers!
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