This is our first trip out of the new Virgin set up in the North Terminal. We travel to the airport the night before to avoid last minute delays and have in the past stayed in the Hilton. This time we chose the Hampton because of the ease of walking to the terminal. Although the hotel can be described as OK at best it is a really simple and short walk into the terminal so I was happy with our choice.
This is a Trip Report from the Upper Class cabin
Food & Drink
I had problems trying to check in on line because we had booked each leg separately and the two were not linked. So, we walked over to the twilight check-in and had to wait a little while for staff to arrive and set up. Once they opened it was a quick process to get the boarding passes and head back to the Hampton to open our bottle of Lanson.
Morning of the flight we were up early and over to drop our bags off and head up to the Club House. Directions were not clear and after security we ended up going through the shopping area, up a flight of stairs and then back down again some other stairs before we found the lifts to the lounges. We were the first in the clubhouse at 7.05 and had the place to ourselves for half an hour. Service was excellent and the whole place was has that lovely crisp new feel to it. We found ourselves a cosy corner with a couple of high back chairs and ordered breakfast with tea for Mrs D and coffee for me. After a couple of hours it was time for a second breakfast and a cocktail. Redhead for Mrs D and Lanson for me. Followed a little while later by a Redhead each.
We did not wait for boarding to be called and headed down to the gate just before 11 a.m. On arrival it was already boarding and we went straight on. In 6A and 6K, but had no problem getting a locker for our one bag. We were served drinks sadly no Lanson so I opted for a Prosecco. In the past as an early boarders we have sometimes been offered a top up but not this time. The Upper cabin was full but sadly I wasn't paying attention to the load in other cabins but expect it was high since our original choice of the 1300 flight was cancelled and the two merged. We were lucky to keep row 6.
We were away on time and after a short hold taxiing we were off. There was quite a strong headwind so no time made up on the flight. Once settled in flight we had pre lunch drinks. The captain came down and introduced himself which I thought was a nice touch. Lunch; I chose the haloumi starter followed by crab cakes. The starter was good but the crab cakes were not like the Maryland crab cakes we have on holiday. Too much filling and not enough crab. Wine was served and topped up through out the meal. I finished with cheese and a glass of port.
I think I watched a film, but I struggle to hear well these days and probably dozed more than I watched. I do recall reading about changes in the afternoon tea set up and asked if there was an afternoon tea and was told there was. When it came to time for tea there were no sandwiches left so both Mrs D and I had a burger. These were a big disappointment as the outside bun was very cold and the burger luke warm. We did manage to get a trio of small cakes each.
We had a smooth approach and landing at Orlando and were soon at the gate. Disembarking of the upper cabin was slow but once off we headed for the Immigration hall.
Are you on the ESTA program? Yes.
Have you been to the US before? Yes.
Then join this queue. A massive queue looping back in eight lanes waiting for automatic kiosk. Meanwhile others were walking straight through to be vetted by a real person. Half an hour later we get to a kiosk and answer all the questions we have filled out on our card. Have our prints and photo taken, only to be sent off to see and immigration officer and answer the same questions and have our prints and photos taken again. We collected our cases and went straight through customs with no trouble. Up the stairs to the train and into the main terminal. A short walk later we are in the Hyatt and this time they have heeded my request for a kettle and tea bags in the room.
Overall it was a good flight with excellent service throughout.