Many of you will have read about the disappointing experience on our outbound trip to Orlando, but to corrupt the title of a famous song - "What a difference a flight makes"
This is a Trip Report from the Premium Economy cabin
Food & Drink
After an eventful trip (some not for the right reasons) where the highlight was to treat Mrs Buns to a surprise VIP Tour to Universal (some husbands buy flowers of chocolates for their wives on Valentines Day, I instead splurged out on the VIP Tour which she had no ides about until we got there!!) it was time to set sail for home.
The evening before, I was able to check in on line using the app and thereby comforted to know we were indeed in the bubble for our return. One dislike (as if there is only one ) of the new system is you do not get an e mail confirmation, but was satisfied things had gone through. The next day we had a leisurely (but cold) day in Orlando before setting off to the Airport. I normally book the later flight, but Mrs Buns had a medical appointment to get to so I had opted for the earlier one and this threw me a little as I ought to have left just a little bit earlier, but hey ho, 20 minutes later we were at Terminal A of MCO which is currently undergoing some major works at the kerbside, so parking is at a premium. As is our usual routine, I dropped off Mrs Buns together with the bags before returning the rental car and making my way back up to the kerbside.
UC Check in is still in the place as before, across from the main check in. I thought it was just an off day, but Amo's experience two days later seems to suggest things have changed. I have always been a staunch supporter of the Ground Team at MCO, especially how they cope with so many passengers in such a short space of time. However, this time around there just was not the sparkle of old (and this was continued through as you will see later). The regular check in agent at first was perplexed as to why we had TSA Pre Check and i had to remind her that as Au Passengers we had access to the Delta Lounge.
Anyways, we were quickly through the TSA Checkpoint (thanks to TSA pre check) and it was here i realised i had got my timings wrong, so no visit to the Outback on this occasion We had a quick look round the Duty Free, but smarted at the prices - given the dire exchange rate - so I did not pick up a bottle of Gentlemen Jack as I had intended.
We made our way to the Delta Lounge and handed over our invitation and managed to find a couple of spare seats. Once settled, i went to the entrance podium to ask whether VS passengers were still collected and was told this had not been happening for some time So armed with this information, I made sure we went down before the flight was called.
Our experience at the Gate was exactly the same as Amo two days later - as I said before, something has changed the once sparkling enthusiasm and i can only put this down to there being a reduction in staff. Once priority boarding was announced I made sure Mrs Buns and I were off like whippets and were the first to get up to the bubble
This time, amenity kits, blankets and bottled water was waiting for us and we quickly settled down. Once again, the economy section upstairs was full and it just goes to show that VS can sell these seats even when the flight is nowhere near full.
Pushback was a littler delayed but the flight time was going to be such the pilot anticipated an early arrival. As soon as we were airborne, Mrs Buns and I were approached by Natalie (permission given to use her name) and welcomed back!! This is the first time since the changes that our status has been recognised and goes to show how an efficient FSM and Crew can source the information about passenger status and not solely rely on the numbers. We were asked if there was anything we needed, but to be honest, just to be recognised in this way goes an awful long way to retain customer loyalty and does not cost VS a bean.
Now this is one for you budding Agatha Christies' out there. Menus were distributed but I quickly noticed it was a menu for VS 401 from Dubai How a Dubai menu managed to get onto a aircraft from Manchester (where this 747 had come from) beats me! The menus were quickly collected so all i can tell you is we both had the beef and pasta option which was exceedingly good.
After dinner service, the cabin was put into "sleep" mode and we had a rather bumpy journey - but i think by this time, i must have been coming down with my chest infection as I slept through most of it.
Breakfast was fruit and yogurt with granola, together with a warm croissant. After breakfast the CSS made a point of coming up to us as he had heard of our disappointing outbound flight - again a little touch which goes a long way to retaining our loyalty.
We landed early and one good thing is the relatively short walk to Immigration - not so good was the wait for the bags, but this is just one of those things and did not detract from such an excellend flight experience.
All in all, one of the best flights in PE we have ever had and rates with some of the great V Flyer experiences - I am in the process of writing to Crawley Tours to give credit to the FSM, CSS and the two marvellous Cabin Crew.
Thanks for reading