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#935179 by Sealink
13 May 2017, 16:40
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Virgin Atlantic now fly from Manchester to Boston, and I was able to bag a return in Upper Class for £1k which was too good to miss.

Lovely flight times too, leaving Manchester at 2.25pm so a nice late afternoon arrival and time to hit my favourite pub - Tavern in the Square. It’s quite modern but all the staff are great and recognise me now, which, I have to admit, I love. #vanity

I was waiting at the airport to start my little inter-island adventure when I received a text from Virgin: Flight VS 121 to Boston was cancelled. 

There was a link in the text message to rebook, however the only options offered were in economy class with a note that no credit would be offered if I downgraded, which was puzzling. 

With my mind spinning at what to do next, another text arrived from Virgin. I had been rebooked via LHR, on a flight leaving Manchester at 2.15pm.

So all I had to worry about now was that my Loganair/Flybe flight from Kirkwall to Glasgow would be on time, and my train from Glasgow to Manchester Airport would also be on time. It turned out I had nothing to worry about on both scores, and I reached Manchester at 1050am.

I may have taken a wrong turn at the airport, the walk from the station to Terminal 3 was about 15 minutes.

Joeyc had already arrived and we had agreed to try and get an earlier flight with BA to maximise time in the Clubhouse. British Airways helpfully moved me from a 2.15pm departure to a 12.00noon departure. They explained this was possible because I was on a J class fare, which must have cost Virgin…

Manchester Airport is … grim. Queues everywhere, the whole thing felt a bit tatty, and Fastrack security was anything but fast. The security officer on duty was not engaging with anyone, which, when I think about it, is really unusual for a UK airport.

I was thankful to see the 1200noon flight was delayed 10 minutes, and I had a chance to see the Galleries Lounge, which was good for people watching the bar customers below!

The queue for boarding was very strange - it stretched back miles (not literally) and this was because it was automatic gate. Some customers seemed to struggle with the barcode scanner, but once through there was a sign for priority boarding which was enforced. 

Settled in to my seat, (1A), there would be enough time for a new Club Europe lunch and a G&T.

I’ve had a few Club Europe flights since the new menu was introduced and it tended to be a ploughman or a ciabatta, so was pleased that on this flight the options were Duck Salad or a Chicken & Tomato pitta bread. I thought the service on this flight was excellent with the manager (?) being very bright and bubbly, and offered me a few extra G&Ts which I sadly declined.

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Here’s something to remember: Fever Tree “Naturally Light” contains about 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, while Schweppes Slimline does not. So if you are diabetic be aware!

There was a nice view over Windsor Castle on the approach to Heathrow

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Heathrow, as usual, was a hive of activity.

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I think we arrived at Heathrow early, for a bus transfer which seemed to take ages, with queueing, driving to T3 and then reasonably fast security (I forgot to take the liquids out of my bag so had an extra search) and then Joeyc and myself both headed to the Clubhouse.

Into the lift of dreams…

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One interesting thing was that my flight was rebooked from Z to I class, and Joeyc helpfully pointed out that I qualified for a chauffeur. I thought it was only J and D so just goes to show you - always check! I had not even clicked that my next flight to Boston is I class outbound so have got a driver to the airport and to the hotel in Boston. Result. These V-Flyers are a font of knowledge.

Overall, the Clubhouse pretty quiet - finding a seat was no problem, we were served quickly and a few people checked in on us for top ups etc. I ordered the small beetroot salad (from the tapas menu) and a fruit salad as I planned on having something more substantial later.

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The library area is now an extension of the dining room.

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I never tire of the Clubhouse.

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Our flight was called just as I was tucking in but knew about the first call, second call etc. and had a leisurely walk to the plane. It was another bus to the plane that we could see just over there, definitely walking distance but airports can be busy places so safety first.

I had a lovely view of the the Dreamliner and went to get my phone to take a picture. Not in any of my pockets - surely it must be in my bag. I would check on board. As I was getting into my seat, and a quick glance in my bag showing my phone to my nowhere in sight, an announcement was made if anyone had lost their phone. I had indeed and I was reunited with it moments later. Top marks to the Clubhouse and Heathrow for getting it to me so quickly. 

Coincidentally I had bought the crew some sweets to have on board, and it was nice to hand something back!

Priority boarding was in place at the gate but I think most people had already boarded and I knew it was going to be a good flight from the welcome on board. Because of the last minute nature of my booking I was in Seat 10K, (originally 11K but 10K became available that morning) and I liked the view it offered of the whole cabin.

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I didn’t really feel any lack of privacy in that seat, and in fact it was nice seeing other passengers reacting the Upper Class experience. I had a great chat with the people in the seats on either side of me, and I think the people opposite were having the first UC flight.

Welcome drinks were offered, amenity packs were on the seats and hot towels were handed out.

I had ordered a diabetic meal, and was delighted with it.

Starter was a nice lentil soup, while watching Count Arthur Strong

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Followed by this chicken stew thing…

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which I cleared!

And then fruit salad

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both accompanied by You Rang M’Lord (a comedy I find hilarious. From the writers of Dads Army, Hi-De-Hi etc.)

I then went off piste and asked for a tiny piece of cheesecake ‘that you’d hardly see’ (my words) and my wish was granted. Then went all out for the cheeseboard.

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Later on I headed to the bar where a family was having afternoon tea. They were off to Nashville - a destination that so many people have told me is worth a visit. It’s on the cards.

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I settled for a burger.

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The rest of the flight was really nice, landing in Boston it was trying to rain. 

There were long queues for Customs with Boston’s Angriest Women shouting at passengers. The signage for Global Entry was not clear so rather than fix that, she opted for raising her voice to all the arriving passengers. Not good. Global Entry was fast though.

Our chauffeur was waiting and before long I was at my current favourite hotel, The Godfrey

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#935181 by buns
13 May 2017, 16:55
Sealink

Thanks for the TR.

That cheese course on the BOS Flight looked splendid.

I agree, the first text saying downgrade with no compensation was rather strange, but glad of your final result ;-)

buns
#935183 by tontybear
13 May 2017, 17:59
mmm cheese course

nom nom nom
#935188 by SlimpyJones
13 May 2017, 20:19
Thanks for a great TR, glad it all worked out in the end. I'm off to BOS with my Dad on the 23rd, very much looking forward to treating him to the CH and seeing a new city :D

I class fares are also worth 200TPs for each sector, instead of the usual 100TPs for Z, so hopefully you get that credited correctly too! :)
#935246 by tomthumb
15 May 2017, 20:28
Cracking TR and glad it went well
#935272 by pjh
16 May 2017, 20:50
TR of the standard we've come to expect....

Nashville as a destination? Our experience was yes, if you're willing to hire a car and get out of town during the day. At night it's a party town, but during the day once you've done the Country Music Hall of Fame and the park with Parthenon there's not much to detain you. There are some places worth visiting outside though, including Franklin for a (literally) bloody slice of the Civil War and Lynchburg to see where a favourite of JoeyC and Buns is distilled.
#935665 by starquake
30 May 2017, 19:36
I'd just add that also drivable easily from Nashville is Mammoth Cave national park (north about 3 hours I think), and the Huntsville Alabama Nasa site (3 hours south, and you can easily do this and Lynchburg in a day with an early start), which is absolutely amazing on a Sunday morning when it's open (as it's probably the quietest Nasa museum/site I've been to). Theres a corvette museum on the way to Mammoth cave alongside a few other tourist sites!

There are many good Barbecue places in Nashville - I'd Reccomend Martins and Edleys BBQ - Edleys make sure to take a cab too as the bar on site is amazing - just be aware, it's not table service BBQ - it's order at a window get a number to identify you, and expect to queue for a table at peak times - the food gets delivered to the number (they queue out the door reguarly) - but the food is worth it, and then eat/drink at the bar.

Princes Hot Chicken Shack is a legendary Nashville eatery as well - expect to queue! It's a landmark and has been on a few TV shows.
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