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#929817 by danflyer
07 Dec 2016, 20:04
Ground Staff
Food & Drink
Cabin Crew
This is my first go at writing a Trip report… hope it gives an insight into the flight…

After being in Florida for just over a month it was time to return home. Set off in light fog from our villa to Disney Springs check in. After not going to Disney for a number of years, how much has it changed! But parked up in the normal parking lot and walked over to a empty check in area.
Unfortunately, Swissport who provide the ground handling to VS, let down the Brand.
There was no need for me to use the PE dedicated line so walked to the desk to pay my fee to use this service. I understand it was 08:30 in the morning and was a tad chilly, but no smiles, no greeting of any kind. I handed the $10 to the agent, she filled in the receipt and stapled this to my e-ticket; then she just pointed at the scales for me to weigh my case, once done, again pointed to a empty desk. The rest of the check in staff were just chatting with each other, so I waited and held my ticket and passport on the desk, an agent came over, took my documents with out any ‘hello’ or smile. She entered details into the system, printed my boarding card, put on desk with my passport and she walked around the desk to put luggage label on my case. No goodbye or ‘have a nice flight’ etc.
This really let the Brand and the airline down, as I had no communication from them. I had said hello and tried to prompt conversation but this failed.
I went back to our villa and enjoyed the last day in lovely 90f heat!

Left for the airport, returned car to Alamo - very fast and attentive direction to bay and check in procedure, receipt given then up to security.
I had checked on the airport website and it stated 16-20 minute wait, so thinking on past experiences and the general feeling of MCO security I was preparing for a wait. Went through the initial Boarding card and passport inspection, very friendly TSA agent, BC stamped and joined the queue… one length of the snake complete another friendly agent opened the barrier and directed me onto an empty X-ray area. Hand baggage put into tray, removed laptop, shoes and belt, through scanner, picked up belongings and on monorail to the satellite terminal. From getting out of the car, walking from Terminal A, through security I was sat at Gate 85 in little under 25 mins!

I was a little early so had just over 1 hour 15mins to wait for the flight.

Boarding announcements given by the Ground Staff, very clear, descriptive and listed what aircraft would be taking us back. Excellent announcements and gave the clear image of the Virgin Brand.

I was on VS28, the boarding procedure was better than experienced before as no ‘scrum’ of people trying to board when the class system was trying to be adhered too.
Down the jet bridge to the Door, greeted by FSM and directed to my seat upstairs in the bubble. Settled into my seat 23A, pre-departure drinks and newspapers offered and a very friendly and detailed introduction by the Captain and FSM. Doors closed and total of 314 and 16 crew on board. Must of been pretty empty downstairs in Economy as FSM gave message for people to stay in assigned seats before departure. Departed more less on time in a Southerly direction, over Melbourne, before tuning North East and over the Atlantic.

Drinks and Pretzels served and then normal nighttime bumps started as crew were serving the meal.

I didn't pick up the menu, so cant list the items, but I had the beef stew - pretty tasty but the roasted veg were a bit raw still. Desert was a very rich Chocolate and Orange pie. After dinner drinks and Duty free was offered all within the first 2 and half hours of the flight.
Soon after the lights were dimmed and I continued watching ‘Don't Look Down’ SRB’s account of his Balloon attempts - very interesting and will try and watch again. Watched Suicide Squad and a double bill of The Big Bang Theory kept me occupied for the majority of the flight. Had a few moments of turbulence, enough to put the seatbelt signs on but nothing more than 15-20 minutes.
I had a wonder to the galley at the rear of the bubble and asked if the ‘Wonder wall’ was available or if was downstairs, the crew said they hadn't put it out yet but swiftly opened one of the storage containers and put items out in a basket on the side, had a good conversation with the two crew who were upstairs for a good 20 minutes.

Throughout the flight the crew did a many passes with water and juices and gave eye contact and a smile as I was travelling alone and had a spare seat next to me.

Soon the bumps started again and we descended to some clearer air. The Captain gave the top of the decent announcement and advised of the weather that would be awaiting us. Thick fog, low cloud and 2c temperature.

We came in over Cornwall along the South coast to Brighton and into a slight holding pattern to line up in an Easterly direction for Gatwick's runway.

We dropped out of the clouds on touchdown and it was extremely thick fog! (I could only just see the Runway / taxiway signage!)

Short taxi to stand, off the aircraft and down to Border control. Straight through the e-gates and up to the baggage belt. From Aircraft to the main arrivals area to ring friends to pick me up in 25 minutes!

Overall an excellent flight and experiences in MCO and LGW. Shame that Disney Springs check in let the experience down with a poor start but everything else made for a great flight back.

Now to wait for June to arrive for my next trip to the Sunshine State!

#929820 by Martin
08 Dec 2016, 07:05
Thanks for the TR, Dan.
A great first report, we look forward to many more!
#929821 by dickydotcom
08 Dec 2016, 08:59
Thanks for the TR.
I don't understand the bit about a little early and 1 hour 15 min wait.
A little early is getting to the airport before the Virgin check in staff, which we managed this year.
An hour 15 is cutting if fine in our book, I'd be panicking. No time for a shopping browse or meal at the Outback.

Glad you had a good flight

Dick D
#929824 by tomthumb
08 Dec 2016, 13:24
Thanks for a solid trip report

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