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#951931 by mitchja
22 Aug 2019, 21:45
Ground Staff
Food & Drink
Cabin Crew
After a few days in Provincetown with friends, it was time to head back to Boston and fly home.

I used one of the 2 fast ferry services to/from Provincetown. The World Trade Centre MBTA Silverline stop is only a block or two away from the Seaport ferry dock. Traffic was building up as it was around 5pm so took 10-15mins to get back to the airport.

Check-in was quick and pleasant. VS check-in seems to move every time I use BOS as it's now at the complete opposite end of terminal E compared to where it was last year?

Even though it's not advertised BOS terminal E does have a full proper TSA-Pre lane which I was through in no time at all. So so much easier than trying to get through MAN!!! I headed down to the Clubhouse which to be honest isn't my favourite and never has been. It doesn't even have a shower which is just ridiculous IMHO. Service was good in there though even though the Clubhouse was pretty busy.

The flight was called around 19:20 for a 19:55 departure. Boarding was pretty chaotic as it always is at BOS. We boarding G-VLNM at gate E7. The same A332 that flew me out to BOS.

I was welcomed at the door. I was soon offered the usual pre-departure drink (I use the singular term here as well - one drink that was it). The cabin was once again very warm as it was on the outbound flight. There are no adjustable air vents in the J cabin (at least on G-VLNM).

Once again, lots of confusion over seat numbers with several pax. It was the same on the outbound flight. It's a very confusing seat number layout in J on the A332's. Quite a few pax seemed to be expecting to sit together and where not so there was quite a bit of seat swapping.

The old style sleep suits where still being handed out. Menus where handout after take-off but there where no breakfast cards?

As already mentioned on here and as with the Delta One seat, once you recline you’re seat, it starts to become awkward to get in and out of it.

Whilst the FSM was working in J most of the flight, she didn't seem to want to interact with any of the pax. As an AU, I got no recognition at all from anyone of this flight home, unlike the outbound flight where both the FSM and the CSS came and said hello and chatted with me.

We pushed back at 20:27 with 252 pax onboard (I think there where around 224 on the outbound flight). J and W where both full both ways.

The cabin service started after takeoff, but in all honesty there's where it also pretty much ended as well. I wasn't even offered a drink after takeoff. OK yes I'd gone to the washroom to change into my shorts/t-shirt to sleep in but there was nothing from any one of the crew from that point onwards until I woke for breakfast. Granted I didn't want anything to eat as I always skip the meal on the flight home (especially on shorts flights like this one) but I was never actually given an opportunity to order food even if I wanted to >-(

They seem to all be fussing over the pax sat in front of me because they had not got his pre-order meal choice right on this or the previous flights.

I managed a few hours sleep but that seat is not great in bed mode. It's noticeably narrower than the other VS J seats. A major design flaw is IMHO the (huge) metal table bracket takes up seat width when trying to sleep. The seat cover only covers the seat section and not the ottoman so if you switch sides when sleeping (which I do) you end of getting wrapped up in that cover. It feels like you are going to fall out of one side as well as there is a big gap between the seat and the cabin wall (I was in 3A a window seat).

I woke up about 90 mins before landing, got changed. At least I was offered breakfast, though not having a breakfast card I had to ask what there was. The bacon rolls are getting smaller now so ask for 2!

If you use your own headphones, the socket a strange 3 pin socket which I've never seen before and so you really have to fiddle to get standard single pin headphones to work with the IFE. A double pin aircraft adapter does seem to work a little better; but even that's not great.

After breakfast, the cabin was secured for our approach into MAN. We parked at one of the old terminal gates. Immigration was quick and my bag was the first one off :-D . That is the first time that has eve happened in all the years I've been travelling. My bag was off within the first 10 bags or so on the inbound into BOS as well :cool:

Overall a very poor VS flight. The FSM and the crew where just not interested on this flight. That was actually probably one of the worst VS flights I had in terms of crew and lack of service :-O (that was VS flight # 127 for me in the 21 years I've been flying VS now)

With that and the shockingly bad airport facilities at MAN, I'm done flying VS from MAN now and will stick to LHR every time now. My next 2 VS flights are FLL via JFK in Dec and LAX in Feb both from LHR anyway.
#951935 by buns
23 Aug 2019, 06:12

Thank you for such a detailed TR!!

So sorry to see that old ogre of consistency rear its ugly head again :-( I did think the I Pads issued to FSMs had resolved that old chestnut. It does appear that this FSM and crew were not on form for the return trip ;-)

Thanks for the tips about the 332 Cabin as it does look like these aircarft are going to be around for a little while longer.

Thanks for the tip about the bacon roll - Mrs Buns is grateful for the info prior to us returning from Boston to LHR in November

#951936 by David1946
23 Aug 2019, 06:46
Hi James

Thanks for a very full report and sorry to hear your trip wasn't up to standard. I travelled on a 332 last year , before the refurbishment, on I think G-VMNK and found as you the lack of air vents and the difficulty getting out of the seat when converted to a bed.
#951938 by CommanderB
23 Aug 2019, 09:29
Thanks for the TR James.

I do want to try the 332's and the MAN departures, just for the sake of it, but every time I read something like this it put's me off! Maybe when the have a Clubhouse, i'll brave it.

I think bad FSM's come with bad crews. You can usually tell as soon as you're onboard and their attitude propagates to the rest. I've become quite militant on this kind of thing and won't hesitate to ping Crawley an email with names and explanations, because frankly, it's just not on. One of the main reasons I choose VS over BA is for the crew, and when they aren't up to par the whole experience just falls apart.
#951941 by VS075
23 Aug 2019, 12:19
Thanks for the very detailed TR. It's a shame to read that you didn't enjoy your flight and you won't use MAN going forward.

I would definitely write in and complain about the service. As a frequent traveller, they should sit up and notice if it's coming from yourself, plus there's no excuses for the lack of consistency. For what it's worth, after my flight to JFK last November I wrote in to praise the FSM in particular for his cheery attitude and I got a phone call from VS a few weeks later personally thanking me for the complementary note and promised to pass my comments on. If they can do that for praise from a lowly red FC member who hasn't flown VS for 2 years before then, I'm sure they will also do that for the opposite end of the spectrum from a gold member.

It's good to hear the high load factor on the return flight in particular. Hopefully once the redevelopment works are complete you will consider giving MAN another try. Like I said in your other thread, there are some issues VS have no control over, but they can use their growing clout to bring about improvements. If you do complain about the service I'd slip that in as well as you would like to think they would also sit up and take notice if frequent travellers are opting for LHR over MAN, particularly northern-based travellers who are a lot closer geographically to MAN.
#951942 by mitchja
23 Aug 2019, 13:14
Thanks for the replys. Email already sent.

One thing I forget to mention was rubbish being left in the seat pocket from the previous flight. On the outbound there was an empty crisp packet left in the pocket (the one near the floor where the safety card lives) and on the return a menu had been left in the same pocket. I know it's not a deal breaker but sorry the seats should be cleaned in-between flights and things like that should be removed.

One thing that does annoy me is the way VS sell and advertise Upper Class on the A330-200 A/C on their website. I knew exactly what I was going to get on that particular A/C type but I suspect many do not.

VS are using the wrong stock cabin photo on their website for Upper Class on the A300-200's for a MAN based flight when you click on cabin/flight info during the online booking process:

Screenshot 2019-08-23 at 10.11.51.png
Screenshot 2019-08-23 at 10.11.51.png (2.36 MiB) Viewed 6494 times

I have pointed this out in the email I sent as well.

On a positive note, the IFE screen is very good HD quality and nice and large and is without any doubt the best on the fleet so far (lets see what the A351's have). It is touch-screen or you can use that pointer that's built into the handset.
#951955 by LREDI
24 Aug 2019, 17:44
How disappointing, I would 100% write in and comment on the service.

It's a strange one with the iPads, I have always had a person AU greeting on my VS flight BAR those heading from Boston/NYC to LHR - it's almost as if the crew feel they have too much to do getting dinner ready, they want everyone asleep. Not great. I am trying out the A332 refit in a couple of weeks to BGI. I used it to BGI last year before the refit and got 10k miles back so I'm actually looking forward to seeing what they've done.
#951972 by VS075
27 Aug 2019, 08:37
mitchja wrote:One thing that does annoy me is the way VS sell and advertise Upper Class on the A330-200 A/C on their website. I knew exactly what I was going to get on that particular A/C type but I suspect many do not.

VS are using the wrong stock cabin photo on their website for Upper Class on the A300-200's for a MAN based flight when you click on cabin/flight info during the online booking process:

I suspect that side of things isn't going to be resolved quickly given the A350's are about to enter service with a different type of seat again. They could argue that a/c allocations can change between the point of booking the flight and it actually operating.

Perhaps links showing which aircraft have which type of seats may help as there will soon be three types of seat all with different features and other amenities such as whether there's a bar or social space or nothing at all. Until the A330ceo/A346/744's leave the fleet and until the 787's are ever refitted with the new seats, there isn't going to be a consistent product.
#952785 by VS075
23 Oct 2019, 12:36
mitchja wrote:Thanks for the replys. Email already sent.

Hi - forgive me for being nosey, but out of curiosity did VS ever get back to you about your complaints about this flight and your take on the facilities at MAN?
#952791 by mitchja
23 Oct 2019, 14:46
All VS did was throw 15,000 miles at me with the usual 'we'll pass on your feedback' response. I also made a complaint to Manchester airport directly as well but they didn't bother to respond despite numerous attempts via their website complaint form and their Twitter account.

No more VS to BOS now anyway from MAN as the seasonal service ceased the other week and DL take over that route from May 2020.
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