Well we had decided to stay near the airport the night before, as I was working nearby the night before and didn’t see the point in going all the way home to come back again in the morning. So at 06:45 we drove up to T3 and handed the car over to purple parking, nice and easy.
Over to the UC desks, there was a free agent so checked in straight away, I do prefer the new purple luggage tags. Boarding passes to hand, it was time to go up the lift. Through the glass door and quickly through security, BAA staff didn’t seem too happy but were efficient. Into duty free where we purchased a couple of items, unhelpfully the woman at the till was paying using pennies only… Off to the Clubhouse.
Up the stairs and welcomed back by name and given an apology that no-one was at check in to help us with hand luggage and through the airport. When asked if we would like someone to help us to the gate when the time came we declined. So straight over to behind the bar and offered drinks, which soon turned up. As we were both hungry we went and sat at a table in the Brasserie. Juice and coffee soon in front of us and breakfast order was taken. They have improved the Menu IMO and given a few more choices for breakfast. After breakfast, we went up to the roof garden (briefly) and looked at the new Grey Goose Loft, I know many like it, but I prefer the old Sky Lounge, it was a more relaxed place to just sit and rest. Back down to behind the bar, relaxed, massages and then time to board. Off to gate 19.
Priority boarding was clearly in place, with a nice long queue building up for economy, as only Upper were being allowed to board because they were still waiting for desert to be loaded for economy? Down the bridge onto the aircraft though L1, welcomed back by name and told to turn left. Settled into 18A, now we normally choose 16+17A, but as we booked quite late they were already taken so we chose 18+19A. I was prepared to be disappointed but I really liked it at the back of the A-zone, much more private. Offered a pre-flight drink, Orange juice taken. When our member of cabin crew was coming round asking if people had flown with VS before, we started to think they hadn’t looked at the manifest but when they got to us we were again welcomed back and asked if any more drinks were required prior to take off. Even with the delay to boarding Y and PE, they were soon loaded and it was time to depart.
Soon in the air and crew pounced into action, drinks order taken and a hot towel run. Then even before I had noticed that V-Port was on it was reset because apparently it wasn’t working in economy, I believe the reset fixed this. Lunch orders were then taken, when arrived at my seat the CC welcomed me back and thanked me for flying with Virgin again. (When they VS recognise status they do it well!) So time for lunch and I had the “Spiced carrot and lentil soup with natural yoghurt dressing”, it was defiantly spicy but it was very tasty (and HOT! CC must have burnt herself on it). For main I had the “Grilled fillet of beef with sautéed wild mushrooms, sweet potato mash and horseradish herb butter”, the beef was extremely soft and tender, and still slightly pink! I thought that was impressive for a flight on a plane. I did think there was too much mash though. Overall a very nice meal though. Finally for desert I had “Chocolate chilli tart with mango sauce”, a massive slice turned up, and u can defiantly taste the chilli. All gone and then washed down with some baileys. In all I thought there was a lot of flavour for an in-flight meal, someone has obviously worked quite hard on the menu. Also noticed on the butter knife, it says “finest stainless steal”, now either butter knives are the new salt and pepper pots or its a typo.
After dinner I watched a couple of films, but I was quite tired from work still so decided to head to bed, seat was quickly turned into bed and I got a bit of sleep. I do like being in bed when there is quite strong turbulence, its quite fun. I decided to have a mini burger as they have always been excellent in the past, and it did not disappoint! Not a fan of Greek salad, but quite a few people were trying it, but looked like they just picked at it a bit and left most. Next we were told we would soon be making our decent into SFO. So I got my belongings sorted for landing and made bed back into seat.
Nice landing, though landing over water won’t ever stop feeling wrong. The nose didn’t touch down for quite some time after the main landing gear and when it did the breaks went on quite hard. We were quite quickly on stand and disembarking through L1. A little bit of a walk to immigration as always, but it was empty and we were the first there, well a few were ahead of us but they had US passports so used the residents lane. Not so many questions this time, asked for occupation again and pulled a surprised face at the number of trips to the US this year. Priority luggage was in place, a fellow UC passenger asked for help getting her luggage off the belt, and seeing as she was also gold I assisted with her luggage and then we were through customs declaration into the arrivals hall, were a driver was waiting for us to take us to the MO.
On arrival at the MO our two favourite concierges were waiting for us outside, welcomed back, check in had already been completed so were taken straight up to our suite that they were keen to show us as they had decorated it with Christmas cheer, and we had our very own Christmas tree. It was lovely and such a nice way to be welcomed back to a wonderful city.