Suites Review

Old Nov 13, 03, 12:28 pm
  #1  
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Suites Review

I spent this morning at Heathrow with some of the marketing team from Virgin. On the agenda was a look at the new Suites on G-VTOP. My report is now live on virginflyer at http://www.virginflyer.com/suitevisit.asp

Pix.
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Old Nov 13, 03, 12:44 pm
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Hi,

Thanks very much for the excellent report pixuk.

Hopefully they may have it on VS 19 to SFO on 1st Jan ( but not counting my chickens yet!! )

Regards

TBS
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Old Nov 17, 03, 1:08 pm
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d
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Old Nov 17, 03, 1:27 pm
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Hi all, long time without posting, but I've been reading....
A copule of things I have on the new suites.....

Travelled in them on the Vs3 4 times now and have the following:

All round positives.....but... (sorry to be negative, these are just my observations)


Don't expect to get too much sleep because people travelling together now find the need to shout at the tops of their voices to each other or across the cabin.....

While laying in your bed, expect lots of thuds and bags / wobbles from the person next to you if they decide to open their table or flip the bed.....the sides are not sturdy enough to cover for this....again, woken from your sleep.....

Bar now needs to be much bigger, every time i've been on board with the new suites people use the bar far more for the 'social" side....this means as soon as the seat belt light is off...the bar is full for 99% of the flight (see note re people shouting at each other)......Do not expect to eat or drink at the bar....again this increases the noise and disturbance of people gettin the bed set up then back to the chair for food...then bed..then chair for a drink........Grrrrrrr...

Air bag.....hmmm, really not comfortable in having an airbag this close to my body.....I'm not an expert, but any one know how much force / impact it takes to set this new airbag / seat belt? Vs3 last week had a passenger's arm badly bruised when the bag went off for no apparent reason......

The "sleep mat" amazes me, this is a lightly quilted under sheet, similar to many home / hotel beds have. If you are like me and toss and turn a little in your sleep, expect the sleep sheet to become wrapped all over the place and even hanging out over the floor.

Again with the duvet..... as you wriggle around or toss and turn,...expect to wake up and find the cabin getting a sight of your behind as the duvet always drift off you.....even with the belt fastened over the top....now don't get me wrong...if the cabin wants to look at my behind for the flight, it dosen't really bother me, but, not wanting to seem sexist.....I would imagine femail pax would have a problem with this. I know the duvets on the J2000 would wriggle away, but no one was staring directly at you, with the new config....the entire cabin is looking!!!! Don't travel in the nose cone if you are shy! As you change the bed / chair it's like having an audience as it feel the entire cabn waits to see someone else do it first!!!!

Eating food...the table is simply too low when opened up...this has been acknowledged and each seat has aletter for RB explaining they are working on this problem before rolling out across any more planes.

Now the biggest howler...I really don't get this one.....To your side is a sexy little hidden glovebox, illuminated in red...looks fab! Press it and it slowly opens to a suede / felt covered box containg the tv controls........ODDESSY SYSTEM!!!! So hold on,,,,they upgrade the cabins with the new suits.....but not to V Port....I'm confused...was it not the plan last year that all planes would be upgraded to V Port.....so why make a new seat that had Oddessy!!!

On the postive side, the cabin crew seem genuinley excited about the new suites...they take time to show every pax all about them.....very good.!

I really didn't want to be negative, I shall still stay with VS as it is my carrier of choice and I'm happy with their service, I just thought the above points may be of use.....
go ahead with the flaming!........
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Old Nov 17, 03, 1:33 pm
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Hi,

Thanks vey much for the comments, Meet Me in the Lounge.

If I'm travelling in UC , I make sure to ask for a seat either in the nose or on the Upper Deck ( to be away from the bar esp on overnight flights). Although I have never found the bar to be that crowded ( of course with the new design it will have fewer bar seats I think)

Thanks again

Regards

TBS
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Old Nov 17, 03, 5:35 pm
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Very informitive first hand comments, thankyou!

I look forward to trying them myself but its already clear that they are no where near a match for BA First (VS, please give up on this already...) but some of your comments make me wonder if BA NCW might still be a better product... I think I would prefer the privacy and rigidness of the NCW seat over the size/access advantage of UC Suite...
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Old Nov 18, 03, 4:04 am
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Interesting comments indeed, and somewhat of a disappointment after all the hype.

I've got a LAS and SFO trip in February to come, so hoping to get these new suites for the SFO leg. Have taken note of the noise, so will attempt to acquire seats away from bar.
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Old Nov 18, 03, 4:08 am
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Thanks for the informative post MMITL. Some good points and some not so good, time will tell but is is good to learn that VS seem to be taking notice of customer opinion.

Guess the best thing is to try them for ones self. Better keep saving those miles

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Old Nov 18, 03, 8:37 pm
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After so many years of being behind the rest and having the chance to peek at them it's a real dissapointment to read this, it's going to take a lot of tweaking to make it anything near decent competition for the rest...
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Old Nov 18, 03, 10:11 pm
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Nice review, but only one pic?
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Old Nov 19, 03, 3:48 am
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I had the chance to play with them last night at the party in London.

First impressions - very cool. However, I can see a bit of a problem if you're travelling with someone.

Personally, I tend to travel alone. I'm 6'2, and lying flat in them was no problem at all. The shoulder area is fantastic, and the whole setup seems a lot larger than NCW. The sitting configuration if very comfortable, and there appears to be more space generally than the J2000 offering.

The downside to them is that it seems completely impossible to accomodate two people travelling together...

Apparently, Virgin's research shows that "only 4% of travellers were travelling with someone in UC", so they seem to have (wisely) opted to accomodate the 96%, if that figure is correct. Unfortunately, when friend of mine and I worked through the possible scenarios for if we're travelling/working together - none of them seemed to be a real solution.

You can either sit one-in-front, and peer over the mini-wall, or you can sit opposite and scream accross the cabin. The ottaman/chair opposite the seat was obviously suggested as a solution to this, but the space is really not big enough for two people to comfortably sit with each other.
We couldn't actually sit straight, as we had to tangle our legs together to be able to squeeze in. Having put it down to the fact that both of us are reasonably tall, it was quite disappointing to see two ladies (at approx. 5'4) trying exactly the same thing, and failing also.

Overall - the suites are fantastic, and for me personally, I'm now really looking forward to flying with them as a result of last night. Since I tend to travel alone most of the time, the partner/couple problem won't really affect me, but be warned, and prepared, if it will you.


Incidentally, the staff last night were stating that VS19/20 will be kitted "before Christmas", with 7/8 very shortly after that... Here's hoping... :-)
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Old Nov 19, 03, 4:14 am
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I don't buy that 4% figure. On the bucket and spade routes at least 80% of UC passengers are couples, in my opinion. Even on the recent flight back from JNB, half the UC passengers were either couples of two business associates.

BC
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Old Nov 19, 03, 5:10 am
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I agree with BC 4% seems way too low from my observations.

My wife and I are going to book UC for our visit to LAX next year (Sep) and expect VS7/8 will be equipped by then but we are not sure what seats to go for, guess we need to wait for the seat plans to be published but currently we feel upper deck or in the nose where it is 1 - 1 config.

We are flying LAS in March and MIA in June, so will hopefully get a look at the layout if we end up in a 744 but it does seem from the posts I have read that travelling with a partner is going to be a problem.

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Old Nov 19, 03, 8:25 am
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Dunno if they will have much of a cabin mockup at the party tonight (maybe preiffer can let us know) but if they do then myself and the Kitten will try and work out what is best.

I would guess that the front couple of rows in the nose would be best candidates for "side by side" rather than one in front of the other.

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Old Nov 19, 03, 8:52 am
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Hi BC,

They have a "sheep/sleep" room (with an entrance from the dance-floor, and also from the Massage/Bar area to the right as you enter the club).

In there, are three seperate mock-ups. One "left-sided" set of two seats, one "right-sided" set of two seats, and a "center" set of 4 seats (two each side, as in the 1-2-1 config on the 747s)

Some are made-up as beds already, and some are there to be changed/played with at will. Each rig has a member of cabin crew there (all the ones I spoke with had already flown with the suites on VS3/4) to answer any questions.

It's not a cabin mock-up as such, and the seats are far apart, so you can't get the feeling of the cabin itself. There is, however, a huge screen displaying clouds flying by to try and give the in-the-air impression though!


Give 'em a try...!

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