Well this was another eagerly anticipated trip - especially after a Mrs Buns received an e mail from CBP the week before telling if she did not leave the USA by February 4 she would be an overstayer
This is a Trip Report from the Upper Class cabin
Food & Drink
As you can imagine, this added a a degree of stress and a shed load of work collating documents, contacting Virgin (very helpful) and CBP (not an easy task by any means) and just the general worry of whether we would actually be admitted to the US.
So double checking we had all the relevant information, we eagerly awaited our Tristar car to pick us up at 6:15am. Sure enough, a half hour beforehand got the text to say the driver was on his way, but noticed it would be a Ford Galaxy. The driver turned up on time and sure enough he was an Addison Lee driver who we have had before for a trip to London. A fairly uneventful quick journey to the airport, but of course we were not dropped off at the ramp.
In the North Terminal by 6:30 and quickly checked in - one thing to note being you are now asked for the Zip Code of the address you will be staying at, so be prepared!
Premium security was a breeze and we successfully negotiated the winding Duty Free maze with not too much distraction
Welcomed back by the Gatwick Clubhouse staff who are simply fabulous and we had quite a long chat before even making our way to a table to order some breakfast and adult beverages
The Clubhouse Manager was concerned to hear about the transport switch and said she would write to the VS Executive Office. Sure enough I have received an apology but as this was a Virgin Credit Card 2-4-1 mileage trip I did not get any miles. (As an aside, it shows you can get G’s to MCO )
Once again a splendid time in the Clubhouse and with all the flights leaving within a hour of each other, it was fairly busy. I again was able to have poached eggs on toast and they kindly agreed to let me have one of the smashing hash browns they serve in the V Room. I can certainly recommend these if you get the chance.
All too quickly our time was up and we made our way to Gate 54 (not the usual 500 range that the Clubhouse overlooks). This being a full flight, boarding was quite chaotic as there is no signed priority boarding. However our Upper Class boarding passes were recognised an we were escorted to the jetway were there was a long queue to board. Eventually made it on board and whilst we were not 5he last, most of the overhead bins were already full. A full UC cabin kept the staff busy with serving beverages and storing bags and coats etc.
Although boarding was completed virtually on time, push back was not until 10:30 and we then spent an absolute age waiting for our turn to take off. So much so, it was not until 11:30 that we took off!
No personal welcome from the FSM to any of the 5 Golds in UC, but the crew did a sterling job of taking drinks orders as soon as service started. Two intrepid passengers made a bee line for the bar and promptly started to go through the card
The menu was slightly different from the pre order menu sent out beforehand with the addition of Cumberland Sausage and Mash. We discovered from the Crew that in VS’s attempt to become more environmentally friendly, beef is no longer served . Let’s see how long that lasts until customer reaction takes hold.
I opted for the tomato soup to start followed by the pre ordered Crabcakes. I have say neither were spectacular, but then again not bad. Followed up with the chestnut and vanilla spounge and the cheese course.
This was a long flight as we battled headwinds and a fair amount of turbulence which of course got the bar users back to their seats.
Had a little nap, but did not convert my seat as I cannot sleep lying down on an aircraft- but as I said earlier the flight did drag.
With the absence of beef, the burger is no more, so I just went for the afternoon tea with the rolls offered.
We did not land until 3:30 by which the Manchester flight was already in. That said the Immigration Hall was not too busy and with Global Entry we got through very quickly before making our way to a Supervisor to again raise the issue of Mrs Buns.
The supervisor was able to go to the records which showed my passport was scanned twice when we left in November and Mrs Buns not at all. Hopefully we have now done enough to get the records straight.
Despite that delay, we were able to meet up with our driver at carousel 8A and make our way to the Hard Rock Hotel in time to see the first Mardi Gras parade of the season and even appear in a YouTube video
All in all, a solid performance from VS, stellar in relation to the Clubhouse, but not as exceptional on board as we have had in the past.
Thanks for reading