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#950578 by nickw
25 May 2019, 10:57
Ground Staff
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I travelled on this service with my partner and two kids (4 and 1 years old) yesterday. It was my 1 year old’s first flight, and the first time in upper for my Mrs and 4 year old.

We did the twilight check in at Manchester which was a breeze, we stayed at the Radisson Blu at the airport before going through security around 9am.

Security was a joke and it took over an hour to get through due to the absolute idiots who work in there. Lots of kids and adults flipping out because of the incompetence of the morons manning the disabled/infant queue at the far end.

After our security ordeal we went to the Escape Plus lounge but it was looking near full and I couldn’t see how we’d get a double pram and two hyper kids in there without upsetting everyone else.

Ended up back down at the terminal, looking at the four Virgin Jumbos which were all in at the same time. Kids loved it!

After a short wait boarding commenced. As usual, people started queuing well before boarding was ready and people who weren’t in upper clogged up the premium boarding area. With a tonne of hand baggage and two kids in tow, I just let our brood in straight through the middle of the stanchion at the gate so we didn’t have to fight through the crowd of premium economy flyers who didn’t want to let us past. I never really understood why people swarm the boarding area, the plane isn’t going without you?

Once on the flight, it soon became apparent the upper cabin only had 9 of us (and the whole K side was empty aside from us). CSM came to introduce himself, bubbles were offered and consumed - an orange juice for my 4 year old who was most taken with the straw.

After take off the crew invited us to spread out, so we made two of the seats up into beds so we could pop the kids on them when they fell asleep, which they duly did. I had the fillet steak to eat, which was lovely. The Mrs had a chicken pie which she said wasn’t very nice, someone else sent theirs back too. My son and Mrs enjoyed the buddy dining thing, he had a bowl of pasta. After much hooha Virgin did, in the end, load baby food for my 1 year old - which was pouches like you’d buy in Boots. We very much appreciated it and our 1 year old was well fed the whole flight. The crew just heated it up for her whenever she became hungry.

Lots of drinks ensued throughout the flight and a good time was had by all. I was in 11K so just an arm’s length away from the bar and it’s food treasures. Lost count of how much/what I ate.

After a long flight and trying to pacify two excited kids for much of it, we were glad to land. Only when we were halfway through the immigration line (separate post on that coming up in the main forum shortly...) did we remember my Mrs had left her jacket on board as the crew had hung it up for her. Slightly annoying the crew didn’t check the closet and give it to her before she left, but ultimately it’s her fault. Never mind, I’ll buy her a new one.

We had 6 hold bags, two car seats, a double pram and a load of hand luggage - wasn’t sure how I would move it all myself, so I spoke to the Virgin lady in the baggage hall whose assistant had no hesitation in coming to help me with the baggage. We put them on the carousel to the terminal, then they popped out at carousel 8A about 35 mins later. Make a note of the carousel location (terminal A, level 1, carousel 8A) because the airport signage is WRONG!

Throughout the flight the crew were absolutely brilliant and the fact the upper cabin was half empty, meant this was probably the best upper flight I’ve ever done. I won’t bang on about the crew but they were 11/10 good. Took time to chat with us and the kids - but after flying Virgin a lot in the last 3-4 years I’ve realised this is par for the course and why I continue to fly with them. Always such a lovely bunch and they take the whole experience to the next level.

I expected the cabin and seats to look a bit tired and dirty but being honest, it was in good shape and our seats were all incredibly clean. IFE worked fine and my 4 year old enjoyed about 90 seconds of Happy Feet 2 before he decided he wanted to do anything but sit still and behave.

All in all a top flight and experience. The back of the plane was absolutely full according to the cabin crew, so glad we weren’t back there for 8-9 hours with our two tearaways. They also mentioned the other seats in upper in K had been paid for, reserved and checked in, but a family of 4 or 5 never turned up for the flight. Crazy, but their loss was our gain in this occasion as we had even more space to spread out.

Now for 10 days at Disney, before a few days in Boston and a flight back in the refurbished upper cabin on the A330-200. Will report back when I’m home!
#950658 by Fuzzy14
30 May 2019, 13:27
Thanks so much for posted, kids always make the journey more interesting!
We've been doing this journey with the kids since 2012 and have no plans to stop.

What a shame about the queues at MCO but we've found them to vary between 40 minutes to 2 hours it's just your luck. Tampa has proven to be no quicker.

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