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#954343 by buns
18 Feb 2020, 19:07
Ground Staff
Food & Drink
Cabin Crew
After a fun packed six days in Orlando, where we attended the Universal Studios Mardi Gras Parade, Mrs Buns appeared in a YouTube Video (a particular goal of Mrs Buns), watched the Super Bowl for the first time and Mrs Buns enjoyed her favourite Stone Crab claws, it was time for us to return.

The day before we travelled back home, I had received texts, e mails and a reminder on line that our flight would be delayed by half and hour. However as we would be travelling on a Friday afternoon and MCO would be awash with Conventioneers, I decided to retain the pick up time with Mr Mears. As regular readers may recall, this was a Virgin Credit Card 2-4-1 deal, I was more than happy to splash out some miles for the CDC’s at either end of this journey.

True to form, the Mears car arrived ahead of the scheduled pick up and we were at MCO in no time as the driver speed along the 528 with a degree of haste I have not witnessed in a long time. Our driver dropped off outside the Virgin Check in area and we entered a fairly quiet Terminal, as there were only two flights on that day. There was nobody ahead of us and we quickly checked in and with our “TSA Pre Check” firmly gripped in our hands, we made our way through to the main atrium.

The TSA Pre Check entrance is now on the opposite side of the Terminal and on the side where the Virgin Check in is located. Although the line seemed incredibly long, this was deceptive, as once your ticket and passport was checked, you are right at the scanning area! We were through in less than 10 minutes and on the shuttle to “Gates 60 thru 99” (an announcement I always dislike hearing). With plenty of time on our hands, we poppsed into the Outback Steakhouse for a quick bite to eat as the on board menu did not offer particular relish on our part.

We then made our way to the Delta Sky Room. We avoided getting into the first lift as there was already a crowd waiting, when we arrived on the next left, the first group were still there trying to blag their way into the lounge with either Gold Amex Cards or expired Delta status!!

Our passage was not impeded, and we entered an absolutely rammed lounge. At first we managed to grab two seats adjacent to a blaring TV before the place emptied a bit as flights were called, finding two seats in the corridor leading towards the business area and toilets – which had some power charging points.

Signs promoting the forthcoming refurbishment are still there, but the furniture and layout remains the same.

As the Gatwick flight was the second of the two VS flights, I was not able to use any preceding flight to confirm we would be collected at the Lounge as promised at Check in. So at 5:15 I thought it best we make our way down to the Gate.

As expected, the Gate area was the usual scrum with no indication as to when boarding would commence. Indeed, the Manchester flight started boarding first and by this time, other passengers who had been in the Delta sky room had also made their way down to the Gate area.

Before too long, our flight started to board and after special assistance and passengers with children in wheelchairs, UC passengers were invited to board through the facial recognition gates.

Welcomed on board we made our way through to what would be a full UC Cabin, so much so, that some couples were separated (I presume these were late bookings or upgrades). There was one face in the cabin that seemed familiar and after racking my brain for a while I recognised a famous writer / columnist. During the lengthy boarding process, sleepsuits (new style) and amenity packs (new “enviro” style) were distributed. Menus and bottles of water were already on the seats.

The Flight Deck apologised for the delay, but promised we would be the beneficiaries of a quick flight home due to strong tails winds. We eventually pushed back just before 7pm.

Once in the air the very efficient crew set about their work and taking drinks order and in some cases making beds. The FSM personally came round to the three Gold couples in the Cabin, and I might be wrong, but I think he went down in priority and we were seen second after the writer. The FSM was both engaging and personable and both Mrs Buns and myself felt truly valued after the encounter.


Miso Corn Soup
Smoked Salmon Mousse
Heirloom Tomato Salad

Wild Boar Meatballs
Teriyaki Salmon
Seared Gnocchi in Pesto Cram Sauce
Chicken Breast and Roasted Squash Salad

Butterscotch Brownie
Flourless Vairhona Chocolate Cake

Mrs Buns and I both opted for the salmon starter and had pre-ordered the salmon main. The starter was quite tasty – if a little small and the main passable as it was a little “flavoured” for our palates. I went for the Brownie and Mrs Buns the cheese for desert.
During the meal, I watched “Farmaggedon” a better offering than the previous outing for Shaun the Sheep and as I was not that tired, I went on to watch “Judy”.

The only disappointment for the flight was my Duty Free Order was on the wrong aircraft. The Crew were very apologetic and the FSM was on the ball as I received an email from the VS Executive Office also offering apologies. One thing to note if this happens to you is YOU have to get your refund.

All too quickly it was time for breakfast and I went for the full English and Mrs Buns the bacon butty. As promised, the Flight Deck was able to report we would be landing ahead of schedule at 06:39 after a flight time of only six hours, 41 minutes!! We had encountered some turbulence, but nothing out of the ordinary on a homebound flight.

We disembarked fairly quickly and it was only a short walk to the automatic passport gates and then down the stairs to the carousel. By the time we got there bags were coming off and ours were some of the first. With Mr Tristar waiting for us outside, we were home within an hour of landing.

All in all a flight made all the better by an excellent crew and we are now looking forward to our next VS adventure to Orlando.

Thanks for reading

#954349 by buns
18 Feb 2020, 21:33
Sealink wrote:Great report!

What do you mean by too flavoured? Too hot? Too spicy?

Thanks Sealink

Yes, we both found the Teriyaki Salmon too spicy for our liking :-(

Why airlines just dont keep to serving plain and simple dishes that are not masked with spices and other stuff I simply do not know

#954353 by Murraymint
18 Feb 2020, 22:48
Thanks for the great TR Buns.

I can appreciate the Duty Free hiccup as it happened to us 3 times in a row. An aircraft swap at MCO is usually the reason given as the duty free orders have to stay on the original aircraft for bond reasons. The crews are usually very helpful though and will try to replace items from their own carts if they have them in stock.
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