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#935534 by mitchja
26 May 2017, 12:48
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It's been a while since I flew VS direct from MAN, so thought I'd book myself on the first flight to JFK.

Originally the VS flight to JFK was due to depart at 10:40am but a few months ago that changed to 13:40.

I'd done OLCI the previous day. As you can now see the entire aircraft seat map, I could see then it was going to be a busy flight. Premium had no spare seats, Upper was showing 2 empty seats and Economy showed around 6 empty seats.

Not that it mattered at this point, but I noticed that my iOS PassBook boarding pass didn't show my TSA-Pre status, yet the boarding pass within the VS did. Neither showed Priority security entry which Premium Economy pax are entitled to use. I grabbed a printed boarding pass at check-in though and that did have Priority printed on it.

The TSA-Pre status doesn't matter anyway for flights departing the UK. Be interesting to see if it shows up on my return flight PassBook boarding pass.

I had contemplated upgrading to Upper Class, but didn't bother in the end, especially with it being still the old 1-2-1 A333 config.

Arrived at MAN T2 around 10:15. VS check-in was a breeze with just one person in front of for at the Premium Economy desks. Only 1 out of the 3 desks was open for Premium. Also collected my pre-ordered currency from Travelex which is opposite VS check-in.

Security was also a breeze and I was through in under 5 minutes :) Using the Priority lane didn't make any difference as all the lanes where moving through efficiently.

I'd pre-booked the Escape lounge. The flight time change did me a favour as I was unable to book the Escape lounge round the original departure time, but after it changed, I was then able to book the lounge.

Not that I'm a footy fan, but a certain very well known local footballer was in the lounge. I won't mention his name but he was happy signing autographs and taking selfies with with children in the lounge so credit to him for doing that.

One thing I like about MAN is that they have a smoking area airside (only in T1 and T2 though, not in T3). It's more like a cage and it's a bit of a trek to get to it next to gate 300....but anyway!!

The flight was called around 12:40 so I headed to gate 214 where G-VGBR (Golden Girl) was waiting:

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Priority boarding was in use and Upper Class where called to board first, followed my Premium Economy. I was warmly welcomed on-board and I was soon settled into seat 19C.

Pre-departure drinks where offered once the Premium cabin filled up. No empty seats in Premium today.

It didn't take long to get everyone on-board and the door was soon closed and we pushed back at 13:35. 262 pax and 12 crew on today's flight. Apparently there where just 4 empty seats in Economy. Not bad going considering DL where also operating their (final) flight today to JFK from MAN as well.

Today's flight time would be around 7hours 14 minutes.

Hopefully the MAN>JFK route is another one that works well for VS, it should do I think with DL establishing that route first.

Once airborne and the seat belt sign was turned off, the cabin service soon started. Drinks where offered in the Premium cabin. Menus where already on the seats, which have been posted elsewhere but it was beef and mash potatoes, Chicken and tagliatelle or a vegetarian curry.

Dinner was served around 90 minutes into the flight. I had the chicken which was pretty good.

VERA Touch worked well. I watched 3 films. The AeroMobile service was working (though this wasn't announced). Forget about using data services with that as it either doesn't work or it's so slow, you might as well not bother. You are also charged the roaming service rates too. EE (my carrier) have a separate roaming rate for Maritime/Aircraft networks.

Whilst my new EE Max plan now includes all calls/texts/data allowances for use within the EU and 5 other countries including the USA (the others none-EU countries which include all your full speed 4G roaming allowances are Canada, New Zealand, Mexico and Australia), Maritime/Aircraft roaming isn't included. No WiFi installed yet, which I guess will be installed during the Upper Class cabin refit.

The service on board today's flight was as good as ever. Several drinks rounds during the flight, dinner and the afternoon snack service.

It's been a while since I last flew Premium Economy but one thing I did like (not sure how long this has been in use) is the fact you now get your hot drinks served in a proper mug (the same as in Upper Class) :)

The afternoon snack service was served around 90 minutes before landing which was sandwiches and cakes, which was good and again another improvement since I last flew Premium.

The FSM seemed to help out a lot in Premium on today's flight.

One thing I did see was at several points during the flight, the Upper Class bar got very busy (the curtain between Upper and Premium was never closed). There where around 10 pax at one point!! There where several times when the seat belt sign was put on and I would be willing to put money on this that it was to get those pax in Upper Class back to their seats.

The cabin was soon secured as we approached JFK. There captain did say there would be a short arrivals delay as we did seem to circle JFK a few times before landing at around 16:15 (so 15 minutes early). We had a wait about 5 minutes for our stand to clear so by the time I got iff it was actually bang on 16:30.

Said my goodbyes to the crew and headed to Immigration. You need to follow the left hand lane for Global Entry which was completely deserted and I was through in less than 2 minutes (the length of time it takes you to use the machines basically). I actually had to wait longer for the VS flight details to come up on the baggage carousel screen to know which carousel to head to!!

Bags came off pretty quickly. I was first there and by the time my Premium Economy tagged bag came off, the rest of the pax where starting to arrive at the carousel. Used the Global Entry Customs exit which again was deserted and I was soon outside getting a nicotine fix before heading up to the AirTrain/E Subway line to get me into Manhattan.

The AirTrain / Subway is by far the quickest (and cheapest) way to get into Manhattan at that time of day.

Short walk from the Lexington/53 st. subway stop to my hotel. I was settled into the Intercontinental New York Barclay by 18:45. It was wet and windy here too yesterday when I arrived. It has stopped raining now though :)

All in all another excellent flight from VS with a great crew :-D

Whilst I'm here in New York, I'm doing a couple of DL JFK>BOS tier point runs tomorrow which will get me back to Gold status.
#935543 by Seyre1972
26 May 2017, 18:23
Cheers James - booked VS127 for October - so glad to see a positive trip report. for what will be my wife and daughters first NYC trip (always been on my own before both work and pleasure) I think my usual routine may involve more shopping than usual !!

Enjoy NYC, and say hello to Boston for me - (spent a lot of time there with work)
#935548 by David
27 May 2017, 06:13
Morning James

Sounds like a great flight and a success for virgin. Hopefully it continues that way and they might look at taking over one of the EDI or GLA JFK flights. That would be great.

David
#935594 by tomthumb
28 May 2017, 09:06
Many thanks for the TR - always nice when the flight is a success
#935701 by horburyflyer
02 Jun 2017, 20:53
Fantastic TR James, great to see a vflyer on the 'inaugural JFK' :-D

JFK is selling very well for VS over the summer which is great news along with SFO. Seems the fantastic MAN team looked after you well. They are a great bunch aren't they....!!!!

Jon
#935917 by modo
11 Jun 2017, 17:09
Very interested to read your report James! we are on that flight 21 June (although in economy :-( ) We are supposed to be getting a yellow cab to our hotel - Empire Upper West side - but I was wondering how easy the airtrain and subway
was to use?? We will have a large case each plus small hand luggage, Do you think it is doable on the airtrain/subway
rather than taking a yellow cab?? When we booked our original departure was 10.40 a.m so arriving in NY at 13.40 ish
Now I am thinking the later arrival time means we will be hitting all the traffic in a cab?

Any advise would be great!!

Thanks

Maureen
#935920 by mitchja
11 Jun 2017, 18:57
Maureen

I go for the AirTrain + Subway option every time I fly into JFK.

I have a 75cm 4-wheeled Samsonite Spinner suit case + backpack as my carry on. It's very easy to navigate the Airtrain and subway with those. Pretty much all the subway stations do have lifts and/or escalators.

Once you reach arrivals in T4 at JFK, head right and walk to the end of the terminal building (you will see the yellow cab lines there as well), just before you reach the exit, turn right again and then either use the lifts or head up the escalators to to the Airtrain on level 2 (level 1 is departures). It is clearly sign-posted.

The Airtrains just run in a loop between each terminal. The airtrains run every few minutes with one going to Jamaica (the red line which you need to get into Manhattan) as well as another one going to Howard Beach (green line).

They both use the same track so if you do get on the green one, you will need to get off at Federal Circle (the car rental stop) and then wait for the next red line Jamaica airtrain. The over-head monitors do tell you which airtrain is approaching next.

You pay for the Airtrain once you get off it at Jamaica (~$5.00 each). It gets a bit congested there as you have to pay for the Airtrain via the ticket machines before the barriers to either exit the station or walk to the E line subway station. If you buy a MetroCard though the Airtrain fee is taken from that and then you can carry on using the same MetroCard on the subway system. You can add $5, $10, $15 or $20 (not sure the maximum) to the MTA Metrocards. If you add more than $10 at a time, you get a small bonus added too.

It's maybe a 5 minute walk from the Airtrain to the subway station platform. It's all signposted and is indoors. There's either a lift or an escalator down and then a very short walk to the subway barriers and the platform.

You see plenty of other people with luggage using the subway.

You can top-up Metrocards as and when needed using the ticket machines in stations. It's $2.75 per journey. MTA Metro cards also last 18 months so keep hold of them in case you ever go back to New York!

Have a look at http://www.mta.info as you can plan your route on there and it tells you which lines and stations you need to use.

I *think* you would need the E line and then the D line subway to get to your hotel.
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