LHR/SFO/LHR with VS

Profile picture for user Duesseldwarf

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19 years 9 months

Posts: 748

WOW!!! What a trip! LHR/SFO 26/08/04 Virgin Atlantic B744 G-VHOT In short, a great flight with a great airline. Our flight took off more or less on time at 1100. It looked about 40-50%full, which gave us all plenty room to spread out. We sat in our assigned seats of 60A/B but had 60C as a buffer to help us spread out a bit more. We had 10:20 hrs ahead of us before getting to SFO and I knew it would be fun. Since I last flew Virgin, they have introduced a new 'entertainment on demand' system called V-port. This is nothing short of fantastic and a great way to help people kill a 10-11hrs flight. Over 50 movies on demand whenever you want them. Play, pause, ff, rewind, stop whenever you like. A selection of various drama tv programmes, comedies etc whenever, albums you can listen to whenever, games you can play whenever and even an on board trivia game that you can compete with your fellow passengers on. As well as the amazing IFE, we each had blankets and pillows on our seats and the well stocked amenity packs were distributed soon after take off. Drinks very plentiful as was the food. Lunch was served about an hour after departure, then an ice cream a couple of hours later, then a snack consisting of a very nice chicken curry sandwich a few hours later again and then finally another sandwich and a cookie about an hour and a half before landing. We landed satisfied. The staff on the outbound flight were top notch and great fun. Virgin staff always seem to be happy staff. Approaching SFO, we had amazing views over a very clear Bay area. The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the city itself and the Bay Bridge were all clearly visible from the aircraft. We landed in SFO 40 mins ahead of schedule. I already knew I'd love this city. I wasn't wrong. Anyway, when we landed in SFO, we realised it's quite a busy port. Nice to see airlines we can't see eveyday going about their business. SFO/LHR 02/09/04 Virgin Atlantic B744 G-VFAB Check-in at SFO was speedy and we headed more or less straight to the gate to see if we could watch the movements. It wasn't too bad. The runways were within view and there was lots of activity at that time of the day (1400-1630hrs). I was looking forward to the flight again. We had seats 51A/B assigned to us. Again, we took off on time. This flight seemed more or less 100% full and the conditions were less comfortable than the outbound flight as a result. Although the leg-room on Virgin is acceptable, the seat width isn't fantastic and I was more comfortable with my arms crossed. I don't think that the seats are any narrower than other airlines to be honest, but being at the window and having the other two seats next to me occupied, I was somewhat restricted. Anyhoo, I just got on with it and made myself as comfy as poss. Again I had a great time on the IFE playing games and watching movies and tv programmes. The inflight map is pretty impressive too. The crew were again very efficient and friendly and humourous. No complaints there at all. Meal and drink service was very good again and seemed frequent. Drinks are available as and when you want them from the galley. After about an hour and a half into this sector, we had the seatbelt signs come on as we experienced a small amount of turbulence. An announcement was made that we could be in for a rough ride for a few minutes. Well, before the sentence was finished, down we went! Rough it indeed was!! We heard the engines thrust again and we made our way back upwards. It didn't last long, but it wasn't nice! As much as I do fly, I still hate turbulence and still panic and worry when it gets severe. Just a natural instinct I guess. Apart from that, it was a fairly uneventful flight. We landed back in (sunny, would you believe ) LHR 15 mins early and had to wait in a looooooong queue to get through customs again. On the outbound, clearing US customs was a slow-ish process too. It was a shame to have to leave SFO after just a week. We hadn't quite managed to tick everything off our list but we gave it a good go and had a great holiday, with some very kind weather and saw some great views and scenery. SFO was much different to what I had expected having been to NY previously. It is much more chilled out and less in your face than New York. These things I love about NY, which thrives on being hectic, but this would not be suited to San Francisco. The location of the city is enviable. It truly is gorgeous, especially when the fog rolls in from the Pacific over the Golden Gate, which simply has to be seen to be believed. Yosemite National Park was nothing short of breathtakingly beautiful and extremely hot and dry. I recommend a trip there to everyone. Alcatraz was less frightening and eerie than I expected but totally fascinating and most certainly worth the visit. The city itself was lively until about 10-11pm and then it quietened down, even in the touristy parts. This was not a problem for us as we made the most of each day by getting up by 7am and were ready to retire at about 10pm anyway. There is a lot to see and do in and around San Fran. Well, it's just a great pleasure to come back and have to go to Luton everyday (for those of you not familiar with Luton, believe me, this is sarcasm in the extreme).
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Profile picture for user Bmused55

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16 years

Posts: 10,625

Superb report and fantastic pics!
Profile picture for user LBARULES

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16 years 5 months

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Fantastic report and Brilliant Photos!
Profile picture for user RIPConcorde

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15 years 7 months

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Excellent reoprt, I'd kill to go to San Francisco! I really would! ;)
Profile picture for user Duesseldwarf

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19 years 9 months

Posts: 748

Thanks very much lads. Oh, I must add that the Air France photo has not been colour enhanced in any way and the aircraft actually was that clean on the outside. :diablo:
Profile picture for user EAL_KING

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16 years 4 months

Posts: 2,114

brill report and pics dean glad u had a brill trip :D

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16 years 5 months

Posts: 12,842

San Francisco is one of my favorite cities in the world, glad you had a good time
Profile picture for user Airline owner

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16 years

Posts: 5,019

A good city San francisco. Great report and photos. The one of the Golden gate bridge is spectacular.

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15 years 6 months

Posts: 73

I'll be doing the SFO-LHR-SFO leg of the trip in about 3 weeks. Will post my experience.