2nd Post on V-flyer, Return from Barbados on VS30
This is a Trip Report from the Premium Economy cabin
Food & Drink
We completed online check-in 24 hours before our flight home and noticed that our seat allocations had changed from 17A and C to 17D and F. It irked slightly as our seats, which had been selected months in advance, had changed but we are grown up enough to realise that changes can occur. Holiday over, we were dropped off at Departures at about 1530 and check-in was very efficient for an 1815 departure. We overheard several conversations between check-in staff and passengers who were somewhat unhappy that their seats had been changed. We queried why it had also happened to us and was told nonchalantly that there could be several reasons, configuration of the aircraft etc but as it looked like “computer says no” and we clearly weren’t going to get anywhere with it, we just let it go. The airport was quite busy with AA, BA, TUi, Virgin and local airlines embarking passengers. Our aircraft “Daydream Believer” an A330-200 was on the stand and we embarked across the tarmac in priority order. It was a completely full aircraft which probably compounded the seating issues and because it was full felt slightly more cramped than the outbound flight. The seating in Premium on this aircraft was rows 14 to 18 in a 2-3-2 configuration. The passenger next to Mrs Jorrie5 was separated from his partner who was in Upper and there was a passenger in Premium whose partner was in economy. The passengers who sat in our original allocated seats were Mr and Mrs Average and as I expected. I had thought that we could have been switched to accommodate Virgin staff but it appeared not to be the case.
The welcome onboard drink was an even bigger fiasco than the outbound flight with CC asking colleagues to stop passengers embarking so they could get by. Anyway prosecco chugged we pushed back slightly late and before long Barbados disappeared into the darkness behind us. When the drinks service commenced we went with the Aviation gin and tonic which was ok but not a show stopper. Dinner followed and was: Starter, Apple and walnut salad, Mains: Guava pineapple pork with rice, spinach, onion and bacon, Balsamic chicken stew, mustard mash and steamed mixed veg or Gnocchi Alfredo. Pudding was Passion fruit cheesecake. I went with the Pork with a glass of white gargle and thoroughly enjoyed it. As most people either watched the IFE or bedded down after dinner the Premium cabin maintained a quiet ambience throughout. I watched a documentary about the journalist Marie Colvin called “Beneath the Wire” which I found totally engrossing. The air conditioning was working overtime and I had to wrap myself in a blanket. We encountered long periods of turbulence in the jet-stream which necessitated keeping our seatbelts fastened and disrupted the meal service in economy but the upside was it pushed us along shortening flying time. On a sortie to the toilet I went through the galley and disturbed several CC who were resting on makeshift seating. We got chatting and I enquired if they had a private crew space but I was quite shocked to learn that they had no facilities on this type of aircraft. Despite this the CC lead by the FSM, who was always very smiley, were fantastic in their “outward facing” skills. Just over an hour from landing breakfast was served comprising fresh fruit, yoghurt, granola and a warm cinnamon roll. I enjoyed it as it struck the right balance. We landed more or less on time and were quickly disembarked for the long walk round Gatwick to immigration which was fairly quiet. Our bags were amongst the first on the belt and we were off to find our taxi by 0645. When I got home I sent an email to Mr Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic pointing out the lack of crew facilities on this type of aircraft in support of a hard pressed crew that worked their socks off. All in all a very positive experience flying Premium with Virgin made all the more bearable by the staff we encountered.