This was a slightly last minute holiday but it was a very enjoyable and memorable one. After 20 odd years of travelling to Florida, I got to experience my first ever hurricane as Irma made her way right over us! It was slightly weird to experience such strong winds with temperatures around 25C - I can only compare it to standing in front of a fan heater....
This is a Trip Report from the Economy cabin
Food & Drink
Anyway, the time had finally come to return back to the UK. I checked in online 24 hours before - SEQ 1 again and my seat was still as I had booked (Yay!). Looking at the seat map this was not going to be the private jet experience I had on the way out. With only the one flight back, I had been expecting it to be pretty full.
As is routine for me I went to Disney Springs the morning of to drop off my bags. This was a rather disappointing experience. Despite me showing my Silver Card, they refused to tag my bags as Premium Economy. Apparently the new system prevents them from doing this and so I was told this benefit of Silver no longer exists. I tried my best to argue that this wasn't the case on the outbound flight and the website makes it quite clear that this is a benefit of flying Silver (about the only one!) but it made no difference. Apparently they can't even manually put the PE tags on as the computer at the airport scans them in as economy and then they would just be moved. After a few minutes of debating, I had had enough, so had to let it go but did say I would be complaining to Flying Club when I got back. It makes me concerned though as surely Gold members would also have the same problem if they are flying in a class less than Upper??
Anyway, I had a lovely last day at Epcot enjoying the delights of the Food and Wine Festival for the final time this trip. I headed to the airport a bit later in the afternoon. Security wasn't too bad for a Friday. About 10 mins all told to get through, but it was the full laptops out, shoes off and body scanner experience.
I never thought I would say this but I really missed not having access to the Delta Skyclub....the departure area was heaving and unbearably hot with so many people! Unfortunately both Thomas Cook flights had been delayed for several hours, so all those people who should have already left were still in the gate area. There was also the BA flight as well as three VS flights (all boarding at the same time). I hung around down the corridor a bit by the toilets where it was mercifully a bit cooler but I could still hear the flight announcements. This did require some careful listening to make sure I wasn't reacting to a Manchester or Glasgow announcement!
Fortunately being on the upper deck in economy meant I was one of the first to board which was a relief. Minimal elbows were required to get to the gate area actually as people were making an effort to leave some space for those trying to board.
There was water waiting for me on the seat - a small bottle again as on the way out. Unfortunately the IFE system wasn't quite as flash as on the way out. It was still Vera on Demand with a touchscreen but it was the one that required quite a bit of pressing to get it to respond. I was glad I had no one behind me and had to make a real effort not to disturb the person in front of me.
We pushed back and took off pretty much on time with a full flight of 450 odd people. The crew did do a drinks run before dinner which was good. Unfortunately my pre-booked veggie meal was no where to be found - I asked but I got the impression that no special meals had been loaded. Luckily for me, the vegetarian option for dinner wasn't too popular so I was able to score one of those instead. It had lots of mushrooms in it - I know how fellow VFlyers love those! In all fairness the dinner was perfectly nice. Once again I appreciated the cheese and biscuits served with it!
I actually had a fairly comfortable flight - dozed on and off right through to breakfast so can't comment much on the flight itself. There was at least one juice/water run during the night - but not having my eyes open all the time meant I probably missed some!
Breafast was served a couple of hours before landing and consisted of a yoghurt, some fruit as well as a warm pan au chocolat type pastry. I can't handle yoghurt for breakfast (especially on a flight) but the fruit and pastry were very nice indeed. Obviously tea and coffee were served too.
We landed on time and I was off the plane pretty quickly and through to immigration. Despite the horror stories I had read about on the BBC website a couple of weeks before, I was through the E gates in about 5 mins. My luggage was a different matter.... as is often the case with Disney Springs, these cases were pretty much last off the plane. I think they must load those bins first as everyone around me waiting had checked in there from what I gathered from the mutterings. The fact I felt my bag should really have come off with the PE luggage did not help! Fortunately I did not miss my bus as I had allowed plenty of time.
As promised, I did send an email to Flying Club on my return. I said overall it was a great experience and I am really pleased with how they have improved the economy product however two things let it down...the labelling of the luggage on the return flight along with my missing Veggie meal. After a couple of weeks I had an apologetic reply - not very personal and not that helpful. I got miles as way of an apology for both problems which were gratefully received. Yes, they confirmed my luggage should be labelled as PE as a Silver member, this is a benefit....no explanation as to how to get this to work in practice though! I did go back to them and ask how I should go about this in the future as it's all very well saying that it's a benefit but if the Disney Springs people say it can't be done then you're stuck. Arguing the point isn't going to help....I haven't had a reply to that.......I don't really expect to.
So yes, I would definitely consider flying economy again to Florida, especially as a cheap last minute holiday. Apart from the seat, there really isn't much between economy and premium nowadays which is a shame. Especially, as others have pointed out, there is a lot of competition from other carriers in this class.
Thanks for reading!