I'd booked my annual New Years trip to Fort Lauderdale via JFK again. I was pleased to the A/C change to an A351 a few months ago. With this being an early morning departure, I did my usual and came down on an LNER train the following day. I managed to grab myself a bargain prepaid £135 club suite room at the T4 Crowne Plaza as well.
This is a Trip Report from the Upper Class cabin
Food & Drink
As usual on the morning I travel I was awake before both my alarms had gone off. Checked out and made my way to T3 which was a bit of a task in itself as the HEX was out of service so I had to use the tube instead. I was able to use the free HEX transfer tickets though the barriers at both ends of the journey did not recognise these tickets so staff had to manually let everyone through.
VS check-in was very calm not too busy and I was checked in in no time at all. My bag was checked all the way to FLL. The Upper Class Wing was also smooth sailing that time of the morning.
Straight up to the Clubhouse where I was very warmly welcomed back. I was also introduced to the new breakfast service which in all honesty was no different to my usual breakfast / early morning Clubhouse flow. I passed on a treatment this morning and so after eating breakfast at one of the tables I found a seat by the windows behind the bar. Service was great the entire time I was there.
The VS3 flight was called around 08:10 so I made my way to gate 17. The gates in this section of T3 still don't improve any. G-VPOP was on stand waiting for us.
I was welcomed onboard and directed to my seat 7A but in all honesty from here on, this is where things went downhill......the crew working in the J cabin where pretty surly with me (one in particular). It started after I'd put my bag in the overhead locker and not closed the door. A crew member came up to me and asked me to close my hatstand (her term, not mine?). I had no clue what see actually meant hence my blank expression where she immediately got cross when see had to repeat herself and point to the overhead lockers. So I got up and closed it.
There was absolutely no interaction from the crew regarding the brand new seat. I was not even aware that there is an instruction video on the IFE about it (this video was only pointed out on the return flight a week later). There was no interaction what so ever from the FSM at any point during the flight. Whilst the on-board service was operated that was as far as it went. Very little pleasantries from most of the crew the entire flight.
The new seat is pretty easy to operate. It's very comfortable and it's good you now get a window view. The IFE screen is a huge step up from other VS A/C (it's similar to the A332 IFE screen though I think a little bigger). Bigger and clearer IFE screens have been a long time coming on VS!
If you have flown on the Delta One seat to/from the UK, it's quite similar to that in many ways though VS have given it their usual polished extras.
Once in the air and the WiFi is enabled you can link your handset to the seat to remotely operate the IFE or lighting. You can also track the flight progress:
The onboard WiFi system allows Boingo log-on so anyone with a VS Rewards+ card can use the WiFi at no charge.
The tail and belly cameras are an amazing addition. I probably actually spent more time watching these than any other part of the IFE!!
I had pre-ordered the crab cakes which where delicious. A started with the soup and had the chocolate cake for desert which IMHO was way too heavy and stodgy. The meal was generally good though.
As already mentioned, the current Upper Class seat table is currently an issue depending on which position you have the seat in. It is still usable though in its current form.
I used the loft briefly as it seemed to have been taken up by what I could only guess where off-duty staff by the way they where talking. They where sat there for pretty much the entire flight so no-one else got a look-in
Whilst I was sat in the loft the same surly crew member who I'd encountered at the start of the flight asked me if I was an Upper Class passenger? To which I very bluntly replied yes
Wow in all the years I've been flying VS (since 1998 now), this was without any shadow of a doubt the WORST crew I had ever encountered. It doesn't get much worse than this!
The other crew members working In J where not as bad but it was nothing more than the basic level of service being offered, nothing over and above that from any one of them.
The afternoon snack was offered about 90 mins before landing. I opted my usual burger which was pretty good.
it was mentioned at the end of the flight that this flight had 2 members of crew missing. That was no excuse though IMHO. This has already been written up and reported to VS.
We landed at JFK about 30mins early and where soon on stand. Global Entry was supper quick as usual and the longest wait was at the luggage carousel which took quite some time.
Overall a truly bad VS flight, one of my worst, spoilt entirely by the crew
In complete though predictable contrast; my return flight a week later was one of the best.