USA ROADTRIP – COMING SOON

USA ROADTRIP – COMING SOON

I will be giving you top tips on the destinations and attractions we visited and honest hotel reviews too.

I also have lots of pictures to share with you.

Look out for the post on driving tips for the USA.

We’ve been driving in the States for over 20 years now and we learnt a few things this time from the local sheriffs!!

Watch this space….


  

Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Service

Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Service

Ever wondered if it was worth paying the extra to fly Upper Class with Virgin Atlantic. Well read on and I will tell you what I thought.

The whole Upper Class experience begins the moment you set foot in the Airport. We travelled from Gatwick Airport, and as soon as we began to head towards the Upper Class check in desks we were greeted by a Lady In Red!! Our passports were taken by the Check In staff and our cases taken from us, there was NO queue, there was NO stress, there was NO weighing our luggage or hand luggage. We were given our fastrack boarding passes, asked if we needed directions to the Clubhouse and away we went.

Fastrack at Gatwick is by invitation only and should by the name be fast. Unfortunately not this time. The queue wasn’t too bad when we entered but ten minutes later when we were still waiting to go through the turnstile, they were suggesting passengers go to the normal departures as it was quicker!! Suggestions to improve this, definitely more staff showing passengers how to use the gates, nobody was standing correctly and the machine sensors couldn’t pick them up.

We eventually headed to the Clubhouse. You can read my review of this here, it was so great it needed its own post!!!

When it was time to board the aircraft Upper Class passengers and Gold Cardholders boarded first. We had our jackets hung for us, our carry-on suitcases stowed in wardrobes and were offered champagne or juice before we took off.

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The cabin does have a more personal feel to it, its more casual and relaxed.

The seats which can fold down to make a flat bed were very comfortable. There was a large soft pillow and duvet stowed behind your seat. As soon as we took off my Daughter tested out the flat bed and stayed there for most of the journey cuddled in the duvet!!

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There is a 10″ entertainment screen that pops out the side of your area. Its on an easily moveable arm and the remote control is easily accessible too. You have a power point and a large sturdy tray to eat, work or play at. My son’s goal was to watch as many movies as possible. You get to use a nice pair of headphones.

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The seats on the aircraft we travelled on, a 747-400 are arranged in a herringbone shape allowing lots of privacy. It is so nice to have direct access to the aisle and not have to worry about climbing over your neighbour. You have an ottoman at the end of your seat to either put your feet up on or have a companion come and join you for a drink. I stowed most of my belongings in the ottoman as its hollow.

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Food, yum yum in this case I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

A few pictures of the views outside.

One thing I would say that dampened our experience and I must strongly advise you to check this every time is your seats numbers. I ALWAYS prebook our seat numbers beforehand if this facility is available. We did this months in advance and got four seats together. As we had an informal check in at the Upper Class Desk it never occurred to me to recheck the seat numbers and it wasn’t until we got onboard we realised our seats had been changed and we were split up. After being in contact with Virgin Atlantic Customer Relations I must warn you that that is NOT a Virgin Atlantic policy to advise customers travelling in ANY class if they change your seats for any reason. We are all aware especially those who have worked in the Travel Industry that when you book an airline ticket you are booking a seat not a seat number but out of courtesy it would be nice to be advised. Maybe its time for this policy to be changed? It would have certainly made a difference to the start of our trip. Nobody wants to spend a 9 hour flight split from their family!!

Overall we once again loved the Upper Class experience. Is it worth the extra? I would definitely do it again, if I can get a great deal on the fare or use our flying club miles. I never buy a full fare ticket, but who does nowadays??

Have you ever flown Upper Class? Was it worth it for you? Have you ever had your seat numbers changed by an airine? I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts.

The Clubhouse @ Gatwick Airport

This isn’t the first time we have used the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Gatwick, however it’s the first time as a family.

Who can use The Clubhouse? If you hold a Gold Card with Virgin Atlantic you can use the Clubhouse no matter what class of travel you are flying. If you are flying Upper Class then you automatically get to use the Clubhouse and you can fast track through security too.

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Our first stop once we had stored our carry on luggage was to book in our complimentary treatments, as these are purely walk in on the day appointments. The express hand treatment, the express foot treatment, a Radiant You facial and the seated back massage were chosen and booked in.

Breakfast for the four of us was a selection of Apple and Orange juices, Tea’s and coffee and various different versions of the full breakfast and Eggs Royale. It was lovely, it must have been cooked and then served immediately as was still very hot. All the breakfasts were as exactly as requested (even though we did keep changing our minds!!)

All the staff were as friendly as ever, helping out with wi-fi problems on my kindle and magazine choices. We didn’t have to ask once for a drink or food, it was offered before we needed to even think about it.

There’s plenty of newspapers and magazines to choose from, and a nice basket of chocolate chip cookies next to them. (Biscuits at the airport don’t count towards your calories especially free ones do they??)

We left the Clubhouse just long enough to spend a fortune in Duty free!! Perfumes, a Kindle and several pairs of headphones were on the list. Then as soon as possible we escaped the hustle and bustle and returned to the peaceful haven of the Clubhouse.

We took it in turns for our Spa Appointments and while we were waiting the kiddies decided that Bacon butties would be nice and I couldn’t refuse the Bucks Fizz offered!! Nothing is too much trouble for the staff here they actually seem to enjoy their jobs not like a lot of staff who in general work in airports. Don’t you agree??

It was busy in the Clubhouse, customers were actually being turned away for Spa Treatments (always book as soon as you arrive like we did) and the seating area was filling up although there was still seats available. There are also a couple of smaller, quieter seating areas that were less busy when we were there.

Our time went quickly in the Clubhouse and soon it was time to board the aircraft for our trip to Orlando.

Next time we fly with Virgin Atlantic our route will probably take us from Heathrow. Now this Clubhouse is something special, especially The Viewing Deck loved by the Hubby (Mr Planespotter!!)

I find it makes such a difference to start your trip away from the crowds and to use a lounge. It starts the holiday in style and certainly helps you to relax and get in the holiday mood. Do you like to use an Airport Lounge when you travel??

If you don’t qualify to use the airlines lounge don’t worry there are other lounges that you can pay to go into. Let me know what Airport your travelling from and I can give you a list of available Lounges.

Coming soon Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Cabin, Orlando’s Theme Parks, Recommended Orlando Restaurants and lots of shopping tips!!

 

The Clubhouse, Gatwick Airport

This isn’t the first time we have used the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Gatwick, however it’s the first time as a family.

Who can use The Clubhouse? If you hold a Gold Card with Virgin Atlantic you can use the Clubhouse no matter what class of travel you are flying. If you are flying Upper Class then you automatically get to use the Clubhouse and you can fast track through security too.

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Our first stop once we had stored our carry on luggage was to book in our complimentary treatments, as these are purely walk in on the day appointments. The express hand treatment, the express foot treatment, a Radiant You facial and the seated back massage were chosen and booked in.

Breakfast for the four of us was a selection of Apple and Orange juices, Tea’s and coffee and various different versions of the full breakfast and Eggs Royale. It was lovely, it must have been cooked and then served immediately as was still very hot. All the breakfasts were as exactly as requested (even though we did keep changing our minds!!)

All the staff were as friendly as ever, helping out with wi-fi problems on my kindle and magazine choices. We didn’t have to ask once for a drink or food, it was offered before we needed to even think about it.

There’s plenty of newspapers and magazines to choose from, and a nice basket of chocolate chip cookies next to them. (Biscuits at the airport don’t count towards your calories especially free ones do they??)

We left the Clubhouse just long enough to spend a fortune in Duty free!! Perfumes, a Kindle and several pairs of headphones were on the list. Then as soon as possible we escaped the hustle and bustle and returned to the peaceful haven of the Clubhouse.

We took it in turns for our Spa Appointments and while we were waiting the kiddies decided that Bacon butties would be nice and I couldn’t refuse the Bucks Fizz offered!! Nothing is too much trouble for the staff here they actually seem to enjoy their jobs not like a lot of staff who in general work in airports. Don’t you agree??

It was busy in the Clubhouse, customers were actually being turned away for Spa Treatments (always book as soon as you arrive like we did) and the seating area was filling up although there was still seats available. There are also a couple of smaller, quieter seating areas that were less busy when we were there.

Our time went quickly in the Clubhouse and soon it was time to board the aircraft for our trip to Orlando.

Next time we fly with Virgin Atlantic our route will probably take us from Heathrow. Now this Clubhouse is something special, especially The Viewing Deck loved by the Hubby (Mr Planespotter!!)

I find it makes such a difference to start your trip away from the crowds and to use a lounge. It starts the holiday in style and certainly helps you to relax and get in the holiday mood. Do you like to use an Airport Lounge when you travel??

If you don’t qualify to use the airlines lounge don’t worry there are other lounges that you can pay to go into. Let me know what Airport your travelling from and I can give you a list of available Lounges.

Coming soon Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Cabin, Orlando’s Theme Parks, Recommended Orlando Restaurants and lots of shopping tips!!