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#937364 by walesflyer
09 Aug 2017, 13:34
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Trip report – LHR-SEA

After a lovely afternoon and evening in London sightseeing and catching up with by brother, checked out of the Hilton Paddington for a quick hop on the Heathrow express to T3. The virgin area was very busy, but only had to wait a minute or so to be checked in at the UC desk. Security channel very quiet so straight through and in to the Clubhouse. A warm welcome at the desk, we headed straight for the spa to book treatments – a pedi for me, and facial for hubby.

Took a seat in the extended bit of the dining area, did wait quite a while for someone to serve us, but then delicious breakfasts of eggs benedict and eggs royale were delivered promptly.
Took a comfy seat and ordered the first bubbles of the day while waiting for our treatments. A leisurely hour was spent before heading to the spa. On my return, I tracked hubby down to a cosy corner – he found the fact that I was padding around the clubhouse in disposable slippers with tissue between my toes as I waited for the polish to dry very amusing.

We had a couple more drinks and enjoyed the ambience of the lounge, which was quieter than I expected. At about 11.00 we felt a bit peckish and so wandered up to the deli for some food. We also ordered our favourite sausage rolls from the tapas menu at 12. Even though we had got there at least 5 hours before our flight, the time flew by and it never seems enough!

Priority boarding was announced at around 12.35 and we headed straight to the gate, it seemed most passengers in UC were already on (how do they do that?!). A warm welcome and we took our seats in 1A and 2A, which we also chose on our previous flight and really like due to the privacy and you get served first. Drinks were swiftly offered and we enjoyed a glass of champagne which is no longer the unpopular Gardet but Canard-Duchene.

We pushed back just a few minutes late, there are 243 on board plus 1 infant. Maybe just 1-2 seats free in UC, including couple of children who behaved impeccably. (there had been a few very young children running around the clubhouse screaming for a short time!).

Drinks orders taken within minutes of the seat belt sign going off, an elder flower Collins and bowl of crisps arrived rapidly. The CC who looked after us was an absolute dream – always greeted us by name and with a huge smile on her face.

Lunch orders also quickly taken – I chose the Parma ham and asparagus to start, followed by the mushroom risotto. Dessert options were chocolate pudding or Eton mess, but I skipped these as usual to save room for the cheese and port.

I have to say, for aeroplane food, it was absolutely delicious and we both devoured every single bite. Cheese was also very good. The crew were around very regularly for top ups of drinks.

We both finished the films we were watching, then popped up to the bar or a couple of drinks. We had some very interesting conversations with a Yorkshireman and a Seattlite on the parallels between brexit and trump. The crew kept popping by to serve drinks, one of them reminded us to keep the volume down as people were sleeping – slightly perturbed by this as we had been chatting quietly anyway, and by no means had any of us been loud or gregarious…. Plus this is a day flight and Virgin make a big thing about having the bar but then don’t seem to want people to use it. Also find it a little ironic that on the inaugural flight to Seattle earlier in the year they had a live musician playing at the bar and a bit of a party going on!

We headed back to our seats as I always feel that’s fair in case others want to have a seat at the bar, but whenever I looked it seemed empty. Watched another film and had a little doze. Was feeling peckish again so ordered the sandwiches when they came around a couple of hours before landing, washed down with two mugs of tea.

We landed slightly ahead of schedule in to a very warm but hazy Seattle, which is due to the smoke from wild fires further north in British Colombia. We got down the jetway and then were instantly funnelled in to two queues in the corridor, one for US citizens, and one for the rest of us. There were huge queues from other flights also lined up from each jetway. I overheard one lady say that when she landed a couple of weeks ago they had been stuck in the queue for 2 hours so my heart sank a bit… in the end we were there for about half an hour, before they started to move us in batches downstairs to the immigration hall. They explained we were kept waiting as it was too crowded down there, so they were letting us in one flight at a time. There were people handing out bottle of waters and keeping us informed, so despite the delay it did seem well organised. People entering the country for the second time on the same ESTA and passport were called forward, which included us, so at last we were through to the automated machines, which take a photo and finger prints, and print out a form which you they show to get out. Mine had a cross on it though, something to do with my fingerprints not scanning properly, so we had to join another long queue for manual checks. After about an hour, we were through, our bags already waiting on the carousel. We were straight in a taxi and in our hotel within a short time thanks to a speedy driver and light traffic,

After a much needed nap, followed by another much needed nap, we had a coffee and listened to some Nirvana to get us in the mood, then headed out for a wander around pike place market area, grabbed a bite to eat and then off to bed. Jet lag hit so wide awake at 4.30am so thought I’d finish my trip report.

All in all a great trip, fantastic service and I was very impressed with the food. Comparing the flight to my recent business flights to Manila and back on Emirates, VS wins hands down for the clubhouse, food, service and even the seat in my opinion…. VS made us feel special, whereas on Emirates I feel the service is more like economy.

The seats were 2x G’s which we nabbed before the mileage increase in January.
Will do another trip report when we fly back later in the month, In the meantime, I will be blogging about our US west coast trip at: https://www.warrenontheworld.blog
#937368 by SlimpyJones
09 Aug 2017, 14:20
Thanks for a lovely TR and glad to hear the flight delivered as well!

Very much agreed with your thoughts on using the bar during a daytime flight. Sure it's courtesy to keep the noise down for those who are asleep, but for a day flight I think there has to be a level of leeway given. It sounds like the crew were fair about it though.

Pleased to hear the loads (or at least, the one on your flight) are healthy for a new route, albeit a swapped route. Enjoy your trip! :)
#937378 by hiljil
09 Aug 2017, 15:28
Thank you for your TR. Glad you had an enjoyable flight. After seeing a couple of not so positive VS TR's it is nice to read a good one !
#937382 by buns
09 Aug 2017, 16:20
Thank you for such a super TR - clearly you are a seasoned V Flyer by getting to the Clubhouse with plenty of time to spare ;-)

I did wonder whethe rthe additional seating in the LHR Clubhouse would be a significant issue, but it seems like the staff are getting to grips with things.

Intersting about the arrival experience; when we flew into LAS last month, we were through in no time. I suppose it is down to the vloume of flights arriving.

Do have a splendid trip and I look forward to the return TR

buns
#937416 by mallin
10 Aug 2017, 10:10
Thank you for the very detailed trip report. We were going to use our remaining miles on a Seattle booking before the extra miles needed came in, but as we had already booked our Denver trip for September with our 2-4-1 hubby could not manage two straight after one another, (age thing).

So we decided to put it off for another year, as the BA flights are released a few weeks before Virgins, booked with them for next year, the Virgin ones have just been released for when we are going and they now come into their peak times so we would have been short of nearly 95,000 miles so in a way glad we went with BA. (just have to burn those Virgin miles on something else)

You will have to let us know what you are doing in Seattle as we have only tentatively looked at places to stay and things to do as its nearly a year away now. Linda
#937463 by tomthumb
12 Aug 2017, 19:05
Great trip report and glad you had a great flight
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