(Mini) Trip Report LHR-JFK EWR-LHR (A340 & A330)

Old May 14, 19, 4:44 am
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Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Hertfordshire, UK
Programs: Primary: BA Blue Member, Virgin Flying Club. Also Qantas, Air France & Emirates
Posts: 38
(Mini) Trip Report LHR-JFK EWR-LHR (A340 & A330)

Hi Guys,
Just thought i'd share my thoughts of our long weekend in New York, and some comparisons between the A340 and A330.
We got a Miles + Money return flight for 315 + 63,000 miles for the 3 of us (2x adults and 1x infant), it was a surprise trip for my wife's birthday.

LHR - JFK on VS137, Thursday 9th May

G-VFIT A340-600 at LHR before departure

I was quite excited about this flight as its possibily the last time I will get to fly on the A340-600.
Although we only booked the basic hand luggage only flight, the advantage of having an infant is that they assigned bulkhead seats around 12hrs ahead of OLCI.
We got 31 D&E which was about as good as we could expect for bassinet positions.

Something that struck me on entering the cabin was how clean it looked. The plane was 13 years old (G-VFIT), yet it didnt feel it. Maybe this is normal on Virgin? (I generally fly BA, and having recently flown on two of their 787s that were half the age, they showed alot of wear and tear).
The seats were quite comfortable, although obviously narrower due to the fixed arm rest, but overall it was a good flight. The meal was also pretty good, although not to the same standard I got on Qantas a couple of years ago.

As soon as the seat belt signs went off a few people started to use our area as a way to get to the toilets on the other side, so I got the crew to put our bassinet up.... another advantage of travelling with an infant!
The main disapointment of the A340 was the very old IFE, although at least it worked and I had sound, unlike a recent flight on a newer plane with another airline.

I was dreading arrival in JFK, especialy with an 8 month old, but it wasnt too bad and we were through immigration in a reasonable time. We got the AirTrain to the car rental area and we were on our way.

G-VFIT A340-600 at JFK after arrival

EWR - LHR on VS2, Sunday 12th May

Due to the flight times being more suitable, and the fact we were staying in New Jersey we flew home from Newark Airport on the A330-300 (G-VLUV).
Its been 13 years since I was last in EWR, and to be honest it wasnt a good experience. Returning the Rental car seemed to take for ever as the signs took us on a wild goose chase, and traffic was manic.
The Lounge that Priority Pass members can use is landside, and was not only tiny, but pretty grubby (although the food & wine was ok), and then when we went to pass security we queued for 90 minutes.... Apparently its normal Sunday evening rush!!
I've never flown out of JFK, but next time I think i'd rather take my chances than go back to EWR.

We boarded on time, again having an infant we were pretty much the first on. This time we had a window and isle seat (40H & K) which was nice.
First thing I noticed was how uncomfortable the newer A330 seats were compared to the A340. The fixed arm rest was even wider than on the A340, and the seat felt very tight, very upright and with very little lumber support.

The Virgin bassinet was quite good and allowed our son to sleep for a few hours.

The food was pretty bland on this flight, although the IFE was alot better than the A340's one.
The flight was uneventful, and we landed early at LHR.
We have always had delays when returning to the UK as my wife is on a South African passport with ILR and had to go through the non-EU passport queue, however yet another advantage of having a child is we can all go through the EU passport queue as a family, and they pulled us into a dedicated 'Family' queue..... when I say queue, there was just one other family in front of us!

Veiw of G-VLUV A330-300 wing around 1hr before arrival into LHR

I'd always said I wouldnt fly Virgin Economy again after having a couple of uncomfortable flights in the past, but I must admit with bulkhead seats it wasnt too bad. Having said that the flights were only 6-7hrs, whereas the last time I flew Virgin Economy (in 2012) it was an 11hr flight to Johannesburg.
Still, I was happy to get the chance to fly the A340 again, having only flown it once before in 2012 to South Africa
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