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#935684 by David
01 Jun 2017, 23:18
Ground Staff
Food & Drink
Cabin Crew
After a brutle start to this trip caused by BAs melt down the day before, it was a little bit of good judgement plus a little bit of good luck and no help at all from BA that had me leaving the Sofitel at the North terminal early on Sunday morning.

Although only really using the bed after arriving around 11.30 the night before, it's definitely a hotel we will use in the future. You basically leave the hotel, cross what used to be the road in front of the terminal and veer left a bit and your at Virgins new checkin desks.

Check in was very quick, a paper boarding pass was issued (don't know why, as I presented her with my phone and it's electronic pass) and directions given to the fast track security and the new Clubhouse.

Security was very fast and it took more time to but stuff back on / away than the whole security process took.

Then it was into Gatwick call the departure lounge - said it before, will say it again - its dire and in great need of some redevelopment. I know the South Terminal departure area took a while, but it is very nice now. Please, please, please start on the North.

Onward to the new clubhouse and to be honest, it was kinda a disappointment. I really liked the old one and the new one didn't really sparkle.

The staff, as always, (because they are the old staff :-D ) were great, but there was nothing that made me think "nice".

Whether it's because some of the other lounges, No1, Aspire etc have really upped their game of late or it was maybe just the fact that I'd had a poor journey down and was really expecting something special. If a pool table, that was being climbed over by a 3 year old is special, that's maybe not for me.

The service was second to none however, the food great as usual and the cinnamon toast with strawberry compote very nice after a breakfast, a bacon roll and a sausage roll and of course I had one of those champagne flutes that never seemed to get empty.

The flight was called, the last of the day and it was a walk through departures to the other end to the gates.

Straight on and into my fav seat 10k - don't know why, just is :-)

It was a very full flight 451 plus 9 which we found out was due to a few BA flyers that had been caught up as well.

Mentioned before but the FSM seemed genuinely concerned what some of the passengers had been through to get here but reassured them that the only problem now was "that some kids meals hadn't been loaded, but they checked the economy menu and it was pretty child friendly with pasta, meatballs and chicken available so sit back and relax" He also went on to say that " even though you might want to start smoking after the last 24 hours, smoking is still not allowed on any Virgin flight " :-) A wee note was dropped to HQ. Well done

Our menu in Upper was as follows


Green Thai Chicken Kebabs
Butternut Squash salad
Organic tomato and basil soup


Grilled fillet of beef
Roasted free range chicken
Spinach and ricotta tortellini
Seared salmon fillet


Warm chocolate salted caramel pudding
Let lime pie

Cheese n Biscuits

Aged Gouda
Cornish Blue

Extra bites

Classic gourmet beef burger
Smoked salmon blinis
Chicken Tikka
Selection of sandwiches
Trio of cakes
Scones and clotted cream

The food was lovely, I had the soup, the salmon, the key lime pie and squeezed in some cheese and biscuits. :blush:

Watched a few films and really missed the bar as this was the 747 that had originally been a Heathrow spec. Of course this meant the IFE wasn't touch screen and is really quite clunky compared to,what is in the other jumbos.

It was a full plane and the staff were keep very busy, but worked really hard and kept everyone well watered and feed. All to soon, it was time for afternoon tea, which has changed a bit since September last year. They now proactively offer food from the extra bites menu although you can still have sandwiches and cakes and of course a scone if you want.

I went for the chicken tikka followed by a scone and a cup of tea which, again was very nice.

I really like the change to this part of the service and it seems to work really well

The end was near and we landed pretty much on time. Global entry helped negate the queues as well as the long queue at customs ( which I haven't really noticed before) and a quick trip to Hertz to pick up a monster truck after a free upgrade meant we were leaving the airport around 25 mins after wheels down. Pretty damn good.

Considering there was a few mins on Saturday afternoon that might have had us heading home, we arrived at the hotel in a bit of a daze and 94 degrees near the end of memorial weekend.

The only slight mark downs being the lack of bar ( you never realise how much you / it's used until it's not there) the older IFE and the new clubhouse that kinda lacks the Virgin sparkle a wee bit but that only really knocks half a point of full marks.

If your still here and reading thanks

#935688 by hiljil
02 Jun 2017, 06:59
Thank you for the TR. I was so pleased to read that things certainly improved after your worrying beginning.
Good to hear that, despite a full plane, the service was spot on and you enjoyed the flight.

Have a great time in Florida :cool:
#935696 by Shirley Heights
02 Jun 2017, 13:55
Hi David,

Thanks for your TR as there are a couple of things we both agree on:

OMG, I thought I was the only person who doesn't like the new LGW North terminal Clubhouse. I much preferred the more intimate South terminal and some of the staff also agreed when I commented on this. Yes, the new Clubhouse has much nicer apron views but, IMO, it has lost the great atmosphere. The old staff are as great as always, but I can't say the same of some of the new ones. I kept having to walk to the main service station to ask for a refill, whereas in the old Clubhouse the staff could easily see when service was required.

I had the same UC menu on my outbound flight (VS034 04 May LGW/ANU) and agree with you again about the 'Extra Bites' menu - far more preferable than just 'Afternoon Tea' - I don't have a sweet tooth so it is nice to have a choice of small savoury dishes - I had the salmom blinis.

Enjoy your holiday and I wish you you a safe a pleasant trip back home.


PS I've never done a trip report before so must try to do (two!) very soon - your TR has prompted me...!!!
#935700 by horburyflyer
02 Jun 2017, 20:47
A fantastic TR David considering the bumpy start in actually getting to LGW so I bet that special champagne flute was more than welcome......I always seem to get one of those these days (but mine is onboard!) so we must be sharing it between our trips!

Have a wonderful time stateside and hearing the weather in Florida is steamy right now! Haven't had the pleasure of the new CH at LGW yet, in fact it's nearly a year since I was last at LHR as I'm a committed Manchester boy these days!


#935737 by tomthumb
04 Jun 2017, 14:27
Many thanks for the TR and enjoy your break
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