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VS023 LHR-LAX 18 DEC 19 (Upper Class)

PostPosted: 20 Dec 2019, 01:03
by ColOrd
Ground Staff
Food & Drink
Cabin Crew
So my final outbound VS flight, after a total of 8 trips, this would be my 15th VS flight in the last 12 months.

It also was special as LAX was the route on which I first flew in Upper 4 years ago, so I was looking forward to this. There was some shuffling around with this trip again due the aforementioned issues with my knee. I was going to do LA and Vancouver, but decided against it and cancelled my Delta Flights and have instead opted for a few days extra in LALA land, at Mickey's Californian hangout!

DTCI was prompted and great staff at check in. It really felt like this was going to be as magical a Virgin experience as my last flight (if not ground experience!) had been.

Through security, bit of Duty Free shopping picked up and into the Clubhouse.

"Service has changed no longer serving food anywhere other than the brasserie"
Coat check/luggage area no longer manned.

I wasn't impressed!

Managed to get a seat in the Brasserie and welcomed back by the team, who were equally not happy with the new service, apparently it's to speed things up. It did, but it seemed very silly to have to take one seat for breakfast and then another to go and have a drink.

I went down to my normal area by the windows at the back and I have to say that without food orders, drinks were quicker. One of the duty managers popped by to say hello and I had a moan about it, he said they are regularly seeing 700 Pax through in the morning and the changes, which included beefing up some of the stuff from the deli was designed to help speed up that process, and that "normal" service was resumed in the afternoon.

Although if you do not wish to eat in the Brasserie, they will still serve you elsewhere, but they will push people who WANT a full ala carte experience into the brasserie. It was a single experience this morning, but from what I saw, both service in the brasserie, and service outside WERE faster, and when I wanted an eggs Florentine as a second breakfast about 11, I had no issues in getting it to my seat!

He did say that VS would like to take over the AA lounge downstairs to expand the current lounge, not sure what if any plans AA have to move, but it was certainly an aspiration on VS's behalf.

For the first time ever I had my hair cut in the Clubhouse which was a really nice experience, and something I will definitely do again. I took the full Radiant You treatment and fully enjoyed it. A few drinks and banter at the bar and off to Gate 16.

GVNAP was waiting for me, seat 1A. Greeted warmly on board. It did feel like going backwards a bit after 2 350 flights. 198 Passenger with Upper full bar 1 seat. No gold welcome from the FSM, although the crew were proactive to used names.

My cocktail table wasn't working, and my handset was also unresponsive. I wasn't too fussed about either.

Service was delivered very efficiently. Mains swapped for started almost immediately, good run through of drinks and then wine and water which was topped up. The crew seemed in good spirits.

And then it stopped!

I spent the first few hours at the bar, chatting to one of the crew who was excellent, and she was really proactive, but her and the crew member serving my aisle went on their break and it just collapsed. The FSM was barely seen after the meal service, other than going for his break with his tie off.

The crew who were on their breaks first, really didn't seem to be bothered when they came back .

Light Bites was reluctantly served 4 hours out, I had the Veggie Chilli which was nice but very small there was no drinks service in the J Cabin after that. I went to the bar and found someone for a drink and at two hours out to grab a round of afternoon tea.

We lined up and landed at LAX and I was through landside waiting for the hotel shuttle in 6 minutes from the aircraft door opening.

If you feel that this report was short, sharp and delivered what it should but lacked any soul, this is exactly how this flight was. The more I reflect on it, It was like going through the motions for the crew.

I was really excited for this flight, and sadly, it has been a major disappointment, and feedback will be going back to Crawly towers!

Re: VS023 LHR-LAX 18 DEC 19 (Upper Class)

PostPosted: 20 Dec 2019, 06:54
by buns
Thanks for the TR.

Firstly, congratulations on your stamina for all those flights, but so sorry that the last VS flight of the year proved so disappointing. These days there is no excuse for the FSM not to know who is on a flight because of their iPads, so it must have been doubly gaulling to see such a service deficit ;-(

Thanks for the info about the servcie changes in the Heathrow Clubhouse. I had heard that they have been grappling with trying to improve the ways things are done there and if it improves the end result to the vast majority (who are not regualrs like yourself) then I suppose it must be a step in tthe right direction.

Thanks once again and have a nice time with the LA Mouse.


Re: VS023 LHR-LAX 18 DEC 19 (Upper Class)

PostPosted: 26 Dec 2019, 19:26
by David
Hi Col

It doesn’t seem to have been a great experience overall. Probably fly from Heathrow once in every 3 or 4 flights but part of the draw to LHR is indeed the clubhouse, although there is nothing at all wrong with Gatwick and it’s team. It will be a shame if this is the start of various “enhancements” at its flagship lounge.

Usually the outbound, for me anyway, is the better half of the experience but this one seems to have been a bit meh.

Hopefully the inbound turned out to be better.