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#953589 by mitchja
06 Jan 2020, 11:32
Ground Staff
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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.

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.

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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.

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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:

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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!!

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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.

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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.
#953593 by VS075
06 Jan 2020, 14:07
Thanks for the TR. That's bad about the crew. How would you say they compared with your bad experience on your BOS-MAN flight back in August?

Off-duty staff really ought to be leaving spaces such as the Loft free to other passengers unless it's vacant, though it's a tricky one to enforce if they're travelling for leisure for instance.
#953594 by Murraymint
06 Jan 2020, 14:21
Thanks for the TR James and sorry to hear that you had a poor experience with the crew. You would think that they would realise that it is highly likely that they could have an experienced traveler on board (especially in UC) and possibly a V-Flyer and would act accordingly. Of course, it shouldn’t matter and they should be excellent ambassadors for everyone. Hope you get a decent reply from Customer Service.
#953595 by mitchja
06 Jan 2020, 14:44
It was worse than the VS122 flight as with that one, I was just ignored / invisible, that I can handle.

However on this flight I felt I had been marked by the crew and that one particle crew member . I’d like to think I’m not a DYKWIA type of passenger. I never mention my AU status nor do I ever mention V-Flyer on any flight I fly on (unless it comes up in a conversation).

That flight was my 128th VS flight since I started flying with VS in 1998 and I’ve not flown in any other cabin apart from Upper Class now since early 2018. I maintain my yearly AU status flying in Upper Class these days (albeit usually on Z fares). I only know this as I maintain a spreadsheet LOL :blush:
#953667 by LREDI
11 Jan 2020, 12:52
This is really disappointing. The crew member who asked if you were a UC pax I would be writing into VS about. Now where I experience service like this from the staff I slate them via NPS and VS get straight on to it (even before your return flight). In my book there is no excuse for it, similar with the lack of FSM interaction. They all have their iPads for a reason, use them.

Glad to see the table place mat has been redesigned so its not as slippy!
#953692 by CommanderB
13 Jan 2020, 11:11
Only just got around to reading this TR, well written James, but a shame about the bad crew. No excuse for this kind of behaviour. It aligns with my personal belief that a great crew really make the experience and a bad one do the exact opposite.

A few dozen flights ago, I began a habit of making notes on my phone about flights. I'd take down the FSM, CSS and cabin crew names (some of which get mentioned on the post take off announcement, so it's easy) which meant i'd be able to reference this for praise/complaints post flight. I'd also list down any deviation from VS SOP and anything that I felt had added or subtracted from the experience that we've come to expect in the various cabins.

One thing I did learn last year, is that the FSM's are ranked internally and some of this ranking comes from the post flight survey that gets sent out 24 hours after landing. The ground staff (I guess the Lounge Manager & Check in Managers among others) get the airport/lounge/boarding portion and the FSM gets the flight portion bit this feedback on their iPad. So I use this to maximum effect now and will make sure I fill it in, for both good and bad crews. I'll go as far to name and shame in there as well. In this case, I doubt the FSM cares, but at least it would affect their ranking. I like to take whatever issues happen onboard on the chin nowadays and resort to using that feedback form.

I've said it before and i'll say it again... if we wanted bad service, we'd fly BA :D
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