This trip report covers two flights as they are linked, the first being the VS29 to Barbados on 26th September 2019.
This is a Trip Report from the Upper Class cabin
Food & Drink
I’m not going to go into much detail as the flight was cancelled mid flight due to technical difficulties and we had to return to Gatwick until the following day. A brief explanation of what happened can be found here – VS29 Return to LGW
So, it’s a new day at Gatwick and after a cab transfer from the hotel we are back to check in again.
Check in staff were super friendly and very apologetic following the previous days disappointment and we were given another apology letter from Virgin, on checking in I was told that Virgin had laid on nibbles and the like on the other side of the check in area for customers of the delayed flight. As I was in possession of an Upper Class Reward ticket, I skipped this and headed straight for the Gatwick Clubhouse.
On reaching the Clubhouse the reaction of the staff was fantastic, some knew exactly what had happened and I was greeted like an old friend, a couple of the servers weren’t aware of all the details and did a double take as I sat down in the same seat by the window that I had occupied the day before.
Service again was superb, attentive, friendly, they couldn’t have done more without going over the top. A duty manager and I’m sorry for not getting the title exactly right was doing the rounds and I recognised her from the previous day when they were sorting us out on our return, came round and spoke to every passenger in the Clubhouse who had been on the previous days flight to make sure we were all OK – a nice touch I thought.
The flight is called, and I make my way to gate 571 for our flight which today was on an A330-300 which had flown in from Heathrow an hour or so earlier to operate our flight under the flight number of VS1029. Unfortunately, a few people probably hadn’t read the departure boards correctly and there were passengers for the days VS29 also trying to get on board only to be turned away. I hope their gate wasn’t that far away as there was only something like 30 minutes between the 2 flights departing.
Before getting on the aircraft we are handed a Mileage Claim Form for the previous days disruption, a nice touch but it would have been nice if all those who were members of the Flying Club had the miles automatically credited to their account rather than having to fill in the claim form and send it off along with copies of e-tickets / receipts. The miles being offered for the length of our arrival delay for adults were 25,000 for Upper Class, 18,750 for Premium Economy and 12,500 for Economy, with smaller amounts for child tickets.
On boarding we discovered that the crew from yesterday had all volunteered to do the flight again and had overnighted at Gatwick. We had 3 new crew members as 3 of the original crew couldn’t do the new flight due to other commitments. But the Flight Deck crew were all the same.
The flight itself was uneventful after the previous days one. However, it was relaxed and fun we were like friends reunited again as flight attendants recognised passengers from the day before and despite the delay everyone was in a good mood which was acknowledged by the FSM as he thanked us for our patience.
As for food offerings the options were:
Tomato soup, Citrus seared prawns, Cumin roasted cauliflower.
Braised beef, Seared honey and thyme chicken linguine, Vegetable tagine, Grilled salmon.
Raspberry sponge pudding, Chocolate hazelnut tart.
As I had pre-ordered the beef the day before which was OK, nothing really to get to excited over I decided to opt just for a starter and pudding. I had the Citrus Seared Prawns followed by the Raspberry Sponge pudding, both of which were really good.
The flight was nice and smooth and afternoon tea was served prior to landing.
This was my first flight to Barbados, and I was looking forward to the “amazing views” afforded from sitting on the left. I wasn’t to be so lucky it was thick cloud and rain as we descended over the island. My first real glimpse of anything was when we turned onto our final approach.
The landing was good, firm enough to let you know you had arrived without disturbing your fillings, and the cabin burst into a round of applause, more out of relief I think that we had made it.
One of the reasons I had always wanted to go to Barbados was to catch up with an old friend, namely British Airways Concorde Alpha Echo which I had the pleasure of flying on once and she is in the museum there. Now I knew that unfortunately the company that was running the museum had gone bust and that I wouldn’t be able to see her, but come on Virgin parking on stand 15 which was in touching distance of her was just cruel
Busses were provided for the short drive to the immigration and baggage reclaim areas and inside thanks to our early arrival ahead of the BA flight all was quiet. They now (I was told this was quite new) have automated machines for passports and immigration a bit like in the US, I just got a big X on mine so had to see what turned out to be the most miserable person I met in Barbados. A cheery smile and hello from me was met with “how long you here for?” before my passport was stamped and I was sent on my way with no further interaction.
Once I had collected my bags, I went straight through customs to be met by my pre-arranged taxi to take me to my hotel and was driven there by a slightly crazy but super friendly local guy and the start of a few days R & R in the warmth of Barbados.
Well done Virgin there were so many opportunities for this flight to have gone wrong after the previous day but it was handled exceptionally well.
NOTE: A few days after landing back in the UK I submitted an EU261/2004 Claim via Virgin’s website for the delay, mainly to compensate me for still having to pay the first night at the hotel in Barbados that I didn’t get to use. Within 3 days I had an e-mailed response from them agreeing to my compensation claim, which due to the delay and distance was €600. Well done Virgin for not even attempting to get out of it.