Check in and clearing immigration was quicker than I thought it would be at Oliver Tambo Airport, although there is no fast track available. I arrived three hours before my flight and there were no queues at immigration or check in which was a surprise.
This is a Trip Report from the Upper Class cabin
Food & Drink
The friends I was staying with in Johannesburg suggested getting my suitcases plastic wrapped before check in and I was glad I did as at the arrivals lounge the following morning I sat next to a man from South Africa whose suitcase had been rifled through and lots of things were missing. There was no wifi in the arrivals lounge at Heathrow so I let him camp off my iphone which is how we got chatting.
The flight number is VS0450 although this is not an option when posting on this forum.
After a brief stop in the duty free shop I made my way up to the Virgin Atlantic lounge on the first floor. The escalators were not working and I could not see a lift (I found it later at the other end of the first floor). The lounge is smaller than I remember and as the flight was full and people were paying to get in, it was very busy. Not all of the toilets seemed to be operational either as there was a queue and only two seemed to be working out of five.
The drinks and food offer in the lounge was fine. I had eaten lunch shortly before check in so chose a dessert (apple and pecan crumble) and some cheese and biscuits. They also have the classic Virgin Redhead cocktail so I had one of those too. Despite Covid there did not seem to be anywhere for solo travellers to sit, and everywhere I sat someone else came and sat within two metres of me which was irritating. I eventually moved the second chair away from the table I sat at. Service was good and the lounge appeared clean. Apart from it being too busy for my liking, I had no complaints.
Boarding was quick - the gate (A04) was underneath the lounge and I made my way down before the flight was called. Upper and Premium class customers were allowed to board and I was the first passenger in Upper class. I had the same seat (5A) that I had on the way out. I find it more cramped than the old configuration, the table is very close to the chair when the chair is slightly reclined, so at meals I had to sit upright again.
I was not that hungry so asked for a starter, dessert and cheese course. The starter was chicken breast in tikka spices with raita and the dessert was cheesecake and again both were good. There was the usual champagne on boarding and wine with dinner.
Unfortunately I did not sleep as the man across the aisle from my seat was like a human yo-yo opening and closing his overhead locker about 20 times an hour. He then kept his reading light on and I switched it off as he fell asleep with it on and none of the cabin crew seemed aware of this.
Having mentioned the timing of the outward flight (10 pm to 10 am) this flight leaves at about 6pm and gets in at 5 am, which is not that convenient. However this is was obviously the first large plane into the terminal at Heathrow as I cleared UK immigration in about 5 minutes. I had a lovely shower in the arrivals lounge before heading to Paddington and a train home.
Last edited by mitchja on 19 May 2022, 22:59, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Updated the flight number