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#954128 by buns
04 Feb 2020, 18:55
Ground Staff
Food & Drink
Cabin Crew
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 :-O

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 :D

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 :-D
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 :-O. 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 :-D

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

#954130 by Murraymint
04 Feb 2020, 23:52
Thank you for the detailed TR Buns and glad to hear that Mrs Buns had no real problems at immigration, although you were well prepared.

I’m disappointed to hear about the missing beef and burgers- hope that doesn’t last for long!

Enjoy your holiday.
#954131 by hiljil
05 Feb 2020, 08:23
Thank you for the interesting TR. I’m a bit concerned over the beef issue :-O

A relief that you had no problems at immigration but one wonders what would happen to some poor traveller who doesn’t read V-Flyer & wouldn’t be as prepared as you were ! :-(

Enjoy your stay. :cool:
#954133 by joeyc
05 Feb 2020, 10:14
Thanks for the TR Buns, a great read. I am glad that Mrs Buns has sorted the CBP issue, bizarre that the cause was due to your passport being scanned twice... I would think that could lead to a manifest issue the gate staff should have to manually check on before you left in November. I guess not.

Did you pay extra miles on top of the ticket cost for the CDC? I'd be asking VS to refund those if I were in your shoes ;-)

Ah the beef issue, noticed it when they replaced the burgers on all of the CH menus with a choice of plant or chicken.... Very bad form of VS and they should be giving people the choice as opposed to pushing their carbon neutral views on others (ironic for an airline isn't it!)
Perhaps a tweak to the supply chain might be more environmentally friendly and bring us our beef burgers back :cool:

Enjoy your time stateside.
#954136 by David1946
05 Feb 2020, 12:15
Thanks Buns for the Trip Report and glad everything was ok on entry. We flew on VS109 on the 3rd but must admit I hadn't noticed the lack of beef. Not sure VS should be taking sides on this issue I would have thought staying neutral would be better and just subtly adjusting the menus slightly. Our trip over was great so must do a report but it's so difficult when the beach is calling!!!
#954139 by buns
05 Feb 2020, 19:03
Thanks everyone for the comments!

On the beef front, we have just received the UC menu for our return - this is a very short trip btw :blush:

On offer is Wild Boar Meatballs, Teriyaki Salman and Chicken Breast with a Roasted Squash Salad.

Nothing really inspiring for us and the fact all the dishes are highly flavoured does not give me great confidence :-(

On the CDC front, yes, it was miles, but as this is the second time it has happened to us and we got a shed load the first time, I will let is pass.

Thanks once again

#954234 by Turquoise
12 Feb 2020, 10:03
I am disappointed to hear about the beef issue! This is really going to give me problems next time I fly as I am not vegetarian, don't eat pasta or curry or anything spicy! As an aside, I am not sure wild boar is more environmentally friendly than beef!!
#954275 by VS075
14 Feb 2020, 10:19
I remember SRB pontificating a few years about how he no longer eats beef. That's his personal choice and I have no issue with individuals choosing what they eat or not, but I have an issue with individuals imposing their food beliefs on others and I suspect SRB's views on beef consumption is at play here. Here is his blog post on the subject from 2014: ... ating-beef

Maybe VS should have taken up one of his suggestions and sourced their beef from farms that properly manage livestock and taken steps to be more environmentally friendly if environmental factors are an issue. Organic farms are supposed to be more sustainable for instance. That said, it's always going to be difficult for an airline to take the moral high ground over the environment given planes are known to be big polluters.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to my steak dinner tonight having bought some from a local butcher over the weekend. :D
#954288 by uktigger
15 Feb 2020, 12:41
Just a quick question.... how often do the menus change - We're going 20th April and was wondering if this would be the menu the WE get.
Not impressed at no beef though - especially the Burger !
#954290 by buns
15 Feb 2020, 14:43
uktigger wrote:Just a quick question.... how often do the menus change - We're going 20th April and was wondering if this would be the menu the WE get.
Not impressed at no beef though - especially the Burger !

Menus changed quarterly so a new one should be out in April to cover up to June.

Hopefully, Crawley would have received sufficient customer feedback by then :-D :-D

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