#930019 by TimCrawley
14 Dec 2016, 13:02
Flight was booked with BA as the VS equivalent in UC was simply too much more expensive all around the dates we wanted. Selecting seats in advance of OLCI was charged at £71 per person per seat per leg unless you had BA Exec Club status – so the saving on BA versus VS did take a £142 per person hit at that point!

A quick taxi ride from Creepy Crawley to the North terminal put us at checkin where queues were short for all classes and bag drops, service was welcoming and friendly so I would certainly say it was as good as VS (before they recently got disrupted for the checkin works at LGW S ready for airline moves in January).

Security was a breeze with negligible queues at priority (and regular) lanes and they do seem to have more space at N terminal compared to S terminal for folks to get their shoes back on / repack laptops etc.

Again, as part of January airline moves, we were directed to the No 1 lounge as the BA lounges closed – this was very busy as a result but no problem finding seats. Staff were under pressure but service was still good – clearly not as good as the VS LGW S CH (and hopefully the new VS LGW N CH when it opens) but this lounge does have a nice view out onto the airport and a decent range of snacks etcetera (we were too early for lunch so enjoyed a couple of the bacon rolls each – these were small but each had two rashers of back bacon inside so worth the 10 minute wait to get them). Wasn’t expecting much from this lounge so I was very pleasantly surprised and the staff deserve credit for their hard work under pressure.

Boarding was smooth and with this being the 4 class aircraft they had moved plenty of CW passengers into the First seats (still getting CW food but get to enjoy the nicer seats) leaving more space in CW for us non-status passengers. I had booked 15J (in the hope that the ‘blocked’ window bassinet seat 15K would come available – which it did) as I like to try to bag the seats where the climbing over legs to get in / out doesn’t take place.

Crew round with a welcome drink promptly, amenity kits followed.

Push back was on time but a long taxi / wait of around 35 minutes left us a little late getting up – but time made up en-route so we landed a few minutes early in Antigua.

After all the changes to the VS website I’m obviously hoping that now includes what has long been the nice touches on the BA website – you can preorder your main course for the standard meal on the outbound as well as see the full menu for your flight (doesn’t apply to return leg where just the usual choices of vegetarian, kosher etc applies). Food was decent enough (though the beef was tough enough to have come from the VS kitchens) and service was friendly with plenty of top-ups offered for drinks / bread rolls.

Settled down for a smooth flight (seat belt lights only on briefly a couple of times). Seat very comfortable and equally comfortable in flat-bed mode so got a nice couple of hours snoring done. Obviously I got told off at both take-off and landing for having recline not quite right so the CC had to push my seat ‘reset’ button on both occasions. Reasonable IFE choices but seemed no better / worse than VS with my impression of the flight map being fairly poor compared to VS, I thought (cue experts weighing in to tell me I’m wrong for the following 12 reasons!).

CC were through the cabin every 30-45 minutes it seemed to check if anyone needed anything, I nipped up to the galley a couple of times and was served quickly enough back at my seat.

Afternoon tea served around 90 minutes before landing, served on a tray but otherwise seemed very similar to VS offering. Refills of drinks served right up until 30 minutes before landing.

Bucketing with rain on landing so glad this was a gate and not the old tarmac walk / sprint of years gone by. The new arrivals hall was spacious and nobody queuing ahead of our flight so through in 10 minutes and baggage arrived within a few minutes after that.

Got suitably soaked having an emergency cigarette (or 3) before getting our transfer to Jolly Beach.

All in all a good experience with BA (certainly better than the uncharacteristically bad outward leg Marshy had on this route with VS recently). Would I still pay a little extra to travel VS? Yes I would, for 747 UC, given the quality of the current VS LGW CH experience and the free VS seat reservation but a bit more marginal on the non-747 routes for my tastes.

Thanks for reading!
#930025 by marshy11
14 Dec 2016, 14:07
I'm pleased you had a good flight as I know I shall be focussing more on BA in the future. When VS are good they are really good, but when they are not, they are just poor.

Thanks for the TR, it certainly helps give a balance to what's on offer (in the mainstream). I hope you had a great time at Jolly Beach.
#930053 by TimCrawley
15 Dec 2016, 11:49
Enjoying Jolly Beach a lot, thanks Marshy, despite the whining reviews of the food online it's still a great resort for the price they charge (got it on a special $78, or might have been $79, a night all inclusive deal, which was very nice!).

I'm sure there are lots of pics of BA amenity kits etc on Flyertalk but I'll try to remember to post a description on the return TR.

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