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#931903 by whiterose
25 Jan 2017, 21:05
Ground Staff
Food & Drink
Cabin Crew
We were originally booked to return on 8 January but our son subsequently decided to go snowboarding in Switzerland with friends, meeting them in the UK first, but couldn’t book himself on our flight so we rebooked on his flight the following day. Greater love etc., as it meant giving up a 789 for the dreaded UCDS but we all liked the idea of flying together.

VS2 is a flight we all (OH and me, son and/or DIL) use a lot and we always plan to arrive at EWR between 1630 and 1700 not just to spend extra time in the CH but to avoid the rush hour traffic which can be bad. It was still bad at the time we chose, and we didn’t arrive till 1650. To find to our astonishment a sign on the check-in desks that VS check-in for VS2 would open at 1730. None of us have ever had that before. Not good to be standing around for 40 minutes and particularly when we (and lots of other pax) were wearing bulky padded coats which were too hot to wear or awkward to try to hold.

Eventually 1730 arrived and check-in opened. We’d all done OLCI, we had baggage to check and as there are two of us but only I have a phone (OH can’t see one), I always assume I can’t get both boarding passes on my phone so we needed those as well. Son had his BP on his phone so just needed bag drop for his snowboard. And the woman at bag drop couldn’t get her screen to work, hamsters not turned up on time maybe. Son had to join the queue behind us. Eventually we all got through, off to fast track security which is a joke at EWR as that line and the non-fast-track finish up at the same passport person who takes from the lines alternately. Much easier through the scanner with son to help OH with his sight problems (he can’t see the security guys waving at him).

Finally we were through and off to the CH for much needed glasses of Lanson. As usual we decided to eat in the CH to maximise sleep time on the plane. We all chose the curry and it was wonderful, one of the best curries any of us has had. Beautifully presented on large metal tray with the curry, rice, chutney and salad in those small, cylindrical dishes and poppadums flanking naan bread and standing up between the dishes. Very impressive presentation. We all finished with cheese and then sat in the business area which suited very tall OH and son as there are deep banquettes, less so me with my feet sticking out as I couldn’t reach the floor. Not my best look.

We were to board at 2040 but the CH staff said wait, there’s a slight delay. They advised us to go down at 2055. And at the gate it was mayhem, utter chaos. Everyone was milling about, crowds and crowds of people, interspersed with wheelchair pax, families with buggies, others with small children, total pandemonium. No information at all so we were unable to decide whether to go back to the CH. Eventually we were called to board at 2135, after the time we should have departed.

Definite crew cutbacks apparent as I saw only two crew for the UC cabin even though it was full and they were as a result very rushed and hurried, no time to engage with passengers. Usual problem of all other pax having to make their way through UC to their cabins, crashing their luggage and backpacks against your feet, ottoman, suite wall. Sometimes wonder if I’m the only passenger observing permitted luggage sizes!

Ghastly Gardet refused (crew member howled with laughter at the description she’d never heard before, the only light moment of the flight) and Prosecco requested and served. Took ages to board, no PA announcement about the delay. Took off an hour late but made up a lot of that on the flight.

As we had eaten in the CH, none of us ate on the flight but this was the menu:

Fennel & mandarin salad

Beef fillet with port wine sauce
Chicken breast wrapped in bacon
Sayur kari (a Malaysian curry)

Pear & almond tart
Cheese & port

Had our beds made up as soon as possible, son’s seat wouldn’t convert but as there was no other seat to offer him, crew fought with it and eventually got it to work. All of us found the beds very narrow and didn’t sleep much.

In a stack over LHR but eventually we landed and were off very quickly, made our best speed to immigration which was almost empty, quickly through. Ages to wait for luggage arriving, then ours took a long time. Eventually we had everything except son’s snowboard so at his suggestion we went to Revivals. Very welcome shower, change and breakfast. Son’s snowboard took another 20 minutes. He went for shower, stepped in and found it didn’t work. Got dressed again, reported it “Oh yes, we’ve had problems with that one, thought it had been fixed….”

Visit to CH was very good, every other aspect, check-in, unexplained delay at gate, paucity of crew, UCDS were unfortunate and didn’t reflect well on the Virgin brand.
#931905 by hiljil
25 Jan 2017, 21:19
Thank you for your TR which left me feeling very disappointed on your behalf. Thank goodness you at least enjoyed the curry in the CH ! Otherwise, sadly, a very mediocre experience all round.
#931963 by Hev60
26 Jan 2017, 18:20
Oh dear after reading that list of problems and issues, all I can say is I agree with hiljil "thank goodness you was able to enjoy your CH curry".

Really from the moment you arrived at the airport to find the desks weren't open, your evening went from bad to worse. Shame as the outbound flight wasn't that spectacular either.

I know what you mean about oversized luggage. When we travelled on Jet Blue last year, I noticed that some of the luggage/bags being taken into the cabin as 'carry-on' was bigger than outs, which we had paid to have put in the hold. It's never going to change though as the crew do not want the confrontation if they tried to deal with it ;-)
#931970 by marshy11
26 Jan 2017, 19:40
Adding my condolences. Having been on that flight and that aircraft and having (only too many times) sampled that sort of service I can only empathise.

I will continue to post here but fly on the dark side (and beyond). Such a shame. But the curry DOES sound good.
#931972 by pjh
26 Jan 2017, 20:16
Not the best of experiences all in all. We didn't notice any shortage of crew on our flight back from JFK (TR to follow), and the bar was staffed for much of the (night) flight.

Hev60 wrote: It's never going to change though as the crew do not want the confrontation if they tried to deal with it ;-)

On my trip out to AMS earlier this week the EZY gate staff were utterly ruthless in that regard. Anything that looked vaguely over the allowed size was put into the size bin and the passengers given the choice of reducing the size, paying the hold fee or not flying. One man was carrying a huge sports bag, way over size. After ranting and raving that he'd been allowed to carry it on the flight into London, he chose not to fly...
#931977 by tomthumb
26 Jan 2017, 21:20
Never good when the trip homes ends up the like a horror story- on the positive - sounds like a nice curry
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