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#950467 by Amo
16 May 2019, 23:30
Ground Staff
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Hi everyone,

It's been a while since I posted a trip report...... hope you enjoy this one!

A slightly unusual flight for me as I was leaving on a Sunday (normally I prefer Saturday to maximise leave booking at work but taking advantage of the BH plus the fact the fare was cheaper.....silly not to!). As is my usual routine I stayed at the Premier Inn North terminal the day before. I must say I was glad to be heading to Florida, that weekend before I left was bloomin cold and windy!

OLCI done at T-24 confirmed my original seat of 19C. I headed to the desks in the morning to drop off my bags. I was greeted very quickly by the Premium desks, documents checked and wished a very pleasant flight...all very efficient. I loitered by the 560-570 gate area to wait as I knew the VS flights leave from here, it had the bonus of being very quiet with plenty of seating. As a special treat I even saw our plane being towed to the departure gate (I think with the 027 early departure time now, they tend to use a plane that has been there overnight).

Because of this boarding was called promptly, we were allowed to board at anytime, despite the full flight so I wandered down the jet bridge to take my seat - I think I was the second person on the plane!

Unfortunately I was cursed with invisibility on this flight, as is often the case. I think travelling by myself and generally being quiet seems to have this downside. My cloak of invisibility meant that I nearly didn't get a glass of prosecco, the CC came down with the tray then promptly turned around in front of me to go back. I had to find my voice to get said CC to come back, great start!

Take off was more or less on time and we were promised a flight time of just over 8.5 hours to Orlando - perfect, the early flight time meant I had dreams of making it to happy hour with my sister who had traveled out the week before!

Drinks were offered soon after take off (the menu cards were handed out on the ground). Lunch was offered soon after. I had the vegetarian option which was a butternut squash risotto. I won't dwell too much on how appetising it looked in the dish (I 'll leave that to your imaginations.....!) however it was delicious. In fact the whole lunch was, and I found it to be a very substantial meal. I had the white wine with dinner which was also perfectly nice.

I settled down to watch a film and await my glass of brandy. This was served a little while after dinner and after the duty free had come round. Once again the cloak of invisibility descended as the CC sped through the cabin with the two bottles not making eye contact with anyone really and again walking right by me, despite me waving and smiling at them. Calling had no effect either and refusing to shout I resorted to walking after them. Oh yes of course you can have a glass..... yay!

The time passed quite quickly through the flight. The Fab lolly was handed out. I could find no sign of the snacks near the galley, nor were they being proactively offered like last time I flew in PE. I believe drinks were offered once more before afternoon tea.

About 2 hours before scheduled landing afternoon tea was served. This was the new Eric Lanyard offering. The roll was quite nice and the scone always a winner - I didn't care for the cakes though, those colours do not exist in natural food as far as I know so I was reluctant to try them! To be honest I was still quite full from lunch, so ate light. This would shortly turn out to be an excellent decision on my part.

Just over an hour before scheduled landing the captain came on to say that we would be taking a slightly indirect route to avoid some thunderstorms in the area. This instruction came from MCO ATC so nothing we could do about it. I had checked the forecast before I left and knew there was a risk of some storms. Unfortunately we never got any further than the space coast or any lower than 20K ft. We never started the final descent as ATC shut down Orlando air space. Manchester made it down on the ground....just. We sat circling (I was reminding of flying into Heathrow and waiting for a slot to land!).

We remained in a holding pattern for over an hour. I was getting more nervous as time went on...desperately checking the skymap for any inclination of us making the S'ly turn towards Miami. I think the flight deck were just as desperate as I was from the sound of it not to divert. I knew if we landed at Miami, we were unlikely to have enough crew hours to take off again to Orlando, especially given the time already spent holding.

Later the Captain, told us we were literally moment away from going to Miami, but as it happens those storms cleared MCO enough for us to have one attempt and one attempt only (due to fuel) to make the final approach and land. The Captain said the approach would be unpleasant as we had to break back through the line of thunderstorms to get to Orlando. He was not wrong, I was reminded of the approach into Sumburgh during a storm on those tiny planes.....which remains my worst experience to date.....I just said to myself that I was starting the roller coasters a day early, tightened my seatbelt and tried to enjoy the ride! A few people were ill (as I said, I was relieved I didn't stuff my face with tea!) but we did make it through to have a very smooth landing. The storms had cleared MCO completely by this point and the roads were in fact dry!

I really didn't care what immigration would be like as the relief at landing at the correct airport far outweighed any irritation at waiting! As it happens, the last of Manchester were clearing through along with a couple of Central America/Caribbean flights. I was first off the plane and waited 40min, it would have been horrendous further back as by this point the BA flight had also just landed.

My bag was just about waiting for me by the time I got through then it was off to the resort to meet up with little sister. We didn't make happy hour, I settled for a lovely strong cup of tea instead! I was hoping to see what difference this early flight time made....as it turns out with the delays, I arrived the same time as I would do normally!!

All in all, a solid flight. The CC were a bit of a miss for me (we always say it depends who you get on the day!) but that was my only quibble. Thanks for reading.

Thanks for reading!
#950468 by buns
17 May 2019, 05:01
Thanks for the TR - glad you got into MCO on the first attempt ;-)

So sorry to hear about the Crew. As always, if there is a good FSM then VS cannot be beaten.......

Hope you are/ have enjoyed Florida

Buns

PS. Yes I will be doing my TR for my outbound on 11 May when time permits
#950470 by hiljil
17 May 2019, 07:10
Thank you for your interesting TR. I’m still not sure if the anxiety of the holding pattern/threat of MIA is outweighed by the slightly improved conditions in the Immigration Hall :-O but at least you made it for a cup of tea with your sister !

Hope the rest of your stay had blue skies :cool:

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