MAN -MCO , VA Upper class (Suite) Seats 6A-6K

Member for

12 years 11 months

Posts: 6

Check in. Short wait time but staff member not welcoming and when asked if we had still had our original seats we were told to “wait until I have finished this”!! She then gave us our boarding passes which is a rather good description as she appeared very bored herself. Escape Lounge. (Again a good description as we couldn`t wait to escape from it) We had been told by Virgin that we could take a guest each into the lounge as my daughter was travelling Economy with her friend. We walked in and were greeted by a lady on reception. We handed our boarding passes over and explained that we wanted to bring our guests in as well. “No you can`t” came the reply. I explained that Virgin said we could each bring in a guest. “This is not a Virgin lounge, they just pay us to allow their passengers in” was her reply. By now, there were people behind us and the people in the lounge were listening intently. I asked the lady to call the Virgin check in and clear our access. She dialled two different numbers with no answer. She then dialled a number and said in a very loud voice, “Yes I have two people here trying to get their daughters into the lounge”. The person on the other end then must have told her that she had the wrong Virgin dept as she said she would try another number. At this point, I told her to forget it and after explaining my thoughts to her (politely) we left. So far, the Upper Class experience was anything but. Boarding. Appeared unorganised. People standing around blocking the gate. When I asked when Upper could board, I was told 5 minutes, after 20, I asked again and was told 10 minutes. Call then came for people with prams/strollers/wheelchairs to board. I asked if we could board and the guy said, “Oh, yeh”. Flight. Champagne/Bucks Fizz/Orange juice offered. Glass was tall flute. When I looked around for a suitable place to put it, I found the small pop out table under the lamp. Unfortunately, this does not fit a tall glass without fouling the lamp. The lamp itself looks like the Predators shoulder cannon but when I switched it on, it is obviously not as useful. The small pop out table is also behind you so is not comfortable to reach. Took off about 10 minutes late. No personal introduction from cabin manager. No Carlos magazine, no amenity kit. Cabin crew came up and asked if we knew how to operate the seats. When I mentioned the lack of a place to put the glass, he popped out the TV screen and said that the gap that it left was the best place for drinks glasses. It was, but I am not sure if this is what the designers intended. Seat seemed to go up and down by itself . Crew said that it`s the bed changeover button that is very sensitive and if you just brush against it slightly, it can move your seat. Good explanation, but considering I was approx 3 feet away from this button, it would have had to have been a very, very slight brush on the button. After adjusting itself three more times over the next ten minutes or so, it never happened again throughout the flight. Drinks orders taken. Chardonnay was very good. Nibbles brought but were basically potatoe crisps/chips. Staff to me were professional, rather than friendly. Meal orders taken and we decide to test the "meal on request", we decided to delay our meal. This request was met by a pause, then “Ok”. After approx thirty minutes, a crew member asked if we would like another drink and if we were ready to eat. Yes and yes. My wife asked for the Loch Fyne Salmon with salad but as a main course rather than a starter. I asked for the Leak and potatoe soup and the salmon. The soup came and although tasty, the portion was pitiful. Bread roll choice was good. The salmon arrived and according to my wife was a bit on the dry side and the salad was just some lettuce. Cue the test for dine on request. As one of the crew passed, I asked if I could change the salmon I had ordered to the bangers and mash. No problem was the reply but it will take approx 20 minutes to prepare. I was given a regular update on progress. It duly arrived and was good without being spectacular. My wife had the Rhubarb crumble and ice cream which she said was exceptional. I had cheese and crackers. The cheese arrived along with some brittle cardboard pieces that I later deduced were the Carr`s water biscuits. A better choice of crackers would have been better as the cheese selection was good. A very large glass of good port was brought on request. Had coffee but it was only acceptable. I would have thought fresh ground was easily achievable. I know some people say that they do not look out of the windows, but I find sitting, having a drink and listening to music whilst looking out on the world very relaxing. This is just not possible without getting a stiff neck as the seat angle does not allow it. Also, the positioning of the Ottoman allowed the lady from 7K to regularly visit her husband sitting behind me in 7A. I found her sitting approx 2 feet away from me explaining to her husband for the following hour, how “ You must just ignore him, I know he gets on your nerves………….” At first I thought she was referring to me and just as I was going to offer to discuss the matter, she said “just let him drive and you can have a drink”. It turned out, they were going on holiday with her sister and he hated her brother in law! The seat positioning was not to my liking as I think it is too invasive of your personal space. The seat itself was comfortable but the narrowing of the ottoman foot rest meant that I had to cross my feet over if I wanted to stretch out. ( I am 6`3”, so would not be a problem for shorter people). After approx 2 hours, I asked one of the crew if there was an amenity kit, he handed them out. In my opinion it was not impressive. Entertainment system was Nova. Head phones were again in my opinion, cheap and not a business class product. Other airlines I have used had Bose head phones with noise cancelling feature. The Virgin offering appeared to be from economy class. The brightness of each channel was different and the sound poor. No mention was made of when the entertainment cycle was starting so we both managed to join the films in the middle, both times. I watched an episode of the Office, then gave up and read. I thought the audio channels were disappointing in the choice of music. I know that music is a personal preference and I like a broad cross section , but I couldn`t find anything worthwhile to listen to. Sandwiches and cakes were brought around and having reached the point where the couple next to me were planning how to murder the brother inlaw, I decide that to avoid complications of being a witness, the best option would be to join my wife at her ottoman to eat sandwiches. I found this impossible without putting my left arm over the seat wall. If I tried to eat normally at her table, I brushed the aforementioned “easily brushable” button that then started to convert my wife`s seat into a bed. As she had just seen chocolate cakes being offered further back in the cabin, I thought that it was more than my life was worth to entangle her in a mechanical bed, so I took the risk of re-joining Bonnie and Clyde back at my seat. Clyde was actually flat out with Bonnie stroking his head. I took it that there had either been a radical change of plan on how to solve the brother-inlaw problem or the Jack Daniels he had been drinking for the last three hours had done the trick. An interesting option that I noticed during my visit to 6K, was a fly entombed in between the window glass. Apparently this is available on Virgins website at no cost. We were the only people to visit the bar. Drambuie had run out, but the crew member disappeared and came back with one from somewhere. It was at this point that another crew member decided to top up her hair spray. She stood in the entrance way in full view and let loose with the laquer! Plane landed and after previous experience of Miami immigration I was delighted with the friendly reception of the lady immigration officer. I mentioned this to her on leaving. This report is meant only as my opinion. I think I read somewhere that Upper class is a First Class product at Business Class prices. This is way off. I think that there is a fine line between trying to be hip and being cheap. I think the seat has design flaws and the food is not business class standard on quality or quantity. The entertainment system was not good enough, headphones etc. The Manchester lounge is not a dedicated Virgin lounge and the checkin just did not feel special enough. To sum up. I went on this trip with an open mind and tried to make unbiased views, but this experience has not converted me to Virgin Upper Class, the cost is not justified for this level of product.
Original post

Member for

13 years 3 months

Posts: 234

fantastic ,no pics :(

Member for

16 years 4 months

Posts: 1,089

Interesting to read. I had the absolute pleasure of flying to Shanghai and back with Virgin Atlantic a week ago. Those of you on the forum who know me know that I rate VS very highly as an airline, and my PVG flights only served to back this up. The aircraft were stunning and immaculate, the V-Port IFE system provided everything needed for a twelve hour thirty flight time, the food was excellent (relative to an aircraft if not a restaurant) and the crew were great. If I had to say one thing it would be that the Chinese crew were a little routine driven, but in fairness I think perhaps something gets lost in translation, and they were very pleasant. I don't remember Virgin ever claiming that Upper Class was anything other than a very good business class product, although I'm happy to be corrected on this point. I think it is easy to have expectations which are set higher than is reasonable. Also, with the greatest respect, I suspect that the refusal (rightly or wrongly) to admit your daughter and her friend to the lounge may have set your opinion in stone long before you ever saw the aircraft. 1L.

Member for

12 years 11 months

Posts: 6

Virgin Good? Try flying the Manchester/Gatwick aircraft. If you had Vport you will have been on Heathrow equipment. There is a definate difference between the two services. Virgin actually agreed with my complaints as they gave me 20k free miles, but as I said in my post, it was only my opinion.
Profile picture for user G-PIK

Member for

13 years 7 months

Posts: 274

Strange, as most reports I have read from Virgin are top-notch. Sounds to me like the lady at the check-in lounge upset you enough to put you into a negative frame of mind for the rest of the flight. Surely the experience wasn't THAT bad, although I do appreciate you are paying top-dollar for this service.
Profile picture for user Oasis747

Member for

13 years 3 months

Posts: 429

Nice report. Just as others have said it cant have been as bad as you outlined. Ive flown on Virgin a couple of times from LGW and ive had no problems. But it is your opinion.:)

Member for

12 years 11 months

Posts: 6

Sounds to me like the lady at the check-in lounge upset you enough to put you into a negative frame of mind for the rest of the flight. You are forgetting the check in lady, she came before the lounge. :eek: We are flying Qatar Airways to Cape Town in February so I will let you know how they compare to Virgin. Of the airlines I have flown long haul BC I rate,again, my opinion folks. 1.Singapore 2.Delta 3.BA 4.American 5.Virgin. Just out of interest, we have used Thomas Cook Airlines twice this year and paid an extra £30 for legroom. Crew were consistantly good on all flights, clean aircraft, on time and very acceptable meals for the price. Good for sub 4 hour flights as far as me and Mrs. C are concerned.

Member for

16 years 4 months

Posts: 1,089

If this thread proves one thing it's that we all have different expectations and opinions. I would agree with you that SQ should be up there in the top 5 somewhere although I have had better flights with other carriers. I get comments every day from pax (interestingly usually British) who have transferred from AA who say never again, and I don't know anyone who has flown DL and thought it was good. It'd be a funny world if we all liked the same things though. 1L. ps: Enjoy CPT!
Profile picture for user gpb_croppers63

Member for

16 years

Posts: 316

If this thread proves one thing it's that we all have different expectations and opinions. I would agree with you that SQ should be up there in the top 5 somewhere although I have had better flights with other carriers. I get comments every day from pax (interestingly usually British) who have transferred from AA who say never again, and I don't know anyone who has flown DL and thought it was good. It'd be a funny world if we all liked the same things though. 1L. ps: Enjoy CPT!
I have flown with Delta numerous times in both Business and Economy class and have always found them excellent. The crews are among the friendliest in the skies in my opinion and the ground staff have always gone above and beyond the call of duty to help me (especially during abnormal operations). I would take DL over other carriers any time. As yo say though, it's ll eprsonal opinions!

Member for

16 years 3 months

Posts: 939

Very interesting report - I have wondered what the service was like although I flew economy with them some years back and it was OK. I know what you mean about the rudeness though as my youngest daughter and I had a similar experience with a BA woman at check in flying LA to Heathrow back in February. There is no need for it and my attitude is that if you don't like dealing with members of the public then find yourself another job. A little courtesy to other people does not cost anything.