A Dreamtour with Virgins

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Merlin, Aug 19, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Merlin
    Original Member

    Merlin Gold Member

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    In June Norwegian Air Shuttle announced they would use their first Boeing 787 on regular routes from Oslo to five different European destinations between 4 July and 4 August. I knew I had to catch at least one of the flights. With a tight schedule I had to fit it in to the last part of July and the question was which destination to select. I landed on a flight to London Gatwick and very bought cheap one way ticket for Thursday 25 July. I knew I had to be back in Oslo on 29th, but I hadn't got a clue what to do in the UK in between and how to fly back home again, but at least I had started a process.

    One week went without any progress. But then I ended up in a heated discussion about train versus plane on domestic travel on the British Isles. Then one day was clear London to somewhere and back again. Hey, Virgin Trains has trains going to Manchester and Virgin Atlantic is flying their Little Reds from MAN to LHR. Then the title was sorted out and what to do on a Friday. What to do on a Saturday in London? Shopping? Yeah, shopping - Waterstone's at Piccadilly (Europe's largest book shop), Fortnum & Mason just down the road, ...

    The only thing left now was to find a flight back home. SAS from LHR? Are they crazy - a premium ticket price for LCC service, no way. BA from LHR? They are even worse than SAS price wise, but you do get decent cup of tea at BA and something to nibble on for free. No, I don't think I go for BA. EasyJet is flying to Bergen, but with their late departure I had to stay over night to catch one of the early flights Monday morning to Oslo. The only not sold out on BGO-OSL started mid Monday, and I had a meeting in Oslo two hours before this flight departed. What about Ryanair? No way!!!

    To cut short this search. I ended up with an one way ticket LGW-OSL on the same Dreamliner I came with, but this time in a Premium seat - not the "cattle class" seat I would have to Gatwick. With that the theme for for the train rides was set: First Class on Trains, how first class are they?

    I have only prepared the first part - the flight from OSL to LGW and the Gatwick Express in to Victoria Station. On Wednesday I think I get time to prepare the rest since I will be out flying and one of the legs is will last 14 hours and 15 minutes.

    Thursday 25 July 2013
    DY1310 - Boeing 787-8 EI-LNA
    OSL - LGW 1810L - 1930L

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    The Dreamliner waiting on us at OSL gate 48

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    The front tourist class cabin seen from seat 10J. The second door only was used for boarding.

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    I'm six foot long but still enough space to survive without hurt knees. The seat was perfect for my back.

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    A silent Rolls Royce over the southern part of Norway.

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    Since I had three to my self I had the 3D map running on the neighbouring sceen while Jamie treated me with delicacies on my own screen. This new IFE system is the easiest I have ever operated!
     
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  2. Merlin
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    Merlin Gold Member

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    [​IMG]

    Test of the electrochromism-based smart glass - full suppression of outside light, but still possible to get decent photo with my Canon S100 though it.

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    Somewhere over Kent - the wing bend amazed me at times.

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    Landing on 26L (Gatwick has only got one runway, but still it's called runway 08R/26L) means a long taxiing back on 08L/26R. This taxiway consists of a number concrete slabs and taxiing over the edges between the slabs is the best test of how well an aircraft is put together. Sorry to say it, the middle luggage racks did shake so wild that I wondered if they fall down. Plastic against plastic noises were very noticeable - worse than any Airbus I have flown in.

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    Only a right turn left to dock at gate 17 South Terminal - the Dreamliner didn't fall in to pieces.
    Gate 17 is perfect with only a short walk to the UK Border check point. After I had finished my usual zig zaging I was number two in line to show my passport. The lady at the counter said: I see you are a frequent visitor, have fun in London sir. I just answered Wilco and that was it. A new brisk walk and a few minutes wait later and I got my suitcase. Time to find my e-ticket printout for Heathrow Express in First Class to Victoria Station.

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    This evening the temperature was close to 30°C but inside the train it was like a sauna - in other words a train without air conditioning. First Class no way, Express no way with 30 minutes to Victoria - and added to that you both is shaken and stirred ... and I didn't mention the noise. Is it worth £56 for a return ticket? No way again, it's a robbery.

    To be continued - Virgin Trains to Manchester
     
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  3. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    I had to stop by and say, wow what a misleading title. :eek:
     
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  4. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    Very nice trip report. Thank you for sharing!

    Had the pleasure flying with Elna a couple of weeks back. A fine aircraft. Like the droid based IFE, but it lacks a good premium product, but Norwegian is a LCC, so to be expected
     
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  5. Merlin
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    Merlin Gold Member

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    I'm right now at FRA heading for MAD, SCL and PMC with LAN. I hope to continue the story somewhere over the Atlantic if I don't get any sleep ;)
     
  6. Merlin
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    Merlin Gold Member

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    I did a full night sleep over the Atlantic, and these two days in Puerto Montt has been busy. But let me continue with the first Virgin - a two hour and 8 minutes ride with Virgin Trains from Euston Station in London to Manchester Piccadilly Station.

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    Since my ticket said First Class the lounge is an option for you to use. Obviously this facility had to be test, but I selected not to use the camera inside. The lounge is very much work related, and you'll find superb working desks that sort of protect you from sideviewers. If you are feeling little bit peckish, you will always find something to nibble on. Since my hotel was so close to the railway station, I had only a few minutes to spare before go to platform was shown on the information board.

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    Well on board the Virgin Pendolino for Manchester I was ready to order my breakfast (on all departures before 10am serves breakfast in First - later trains has different meal service). The environment on board was top notch, seating, temperature, no noises and then there is the crew - very friendly that knew their trade. I would say the First Class with Virgin is better than the bureaucrat class with Eurostar to Brussels. The full English breakfast I ordered is one the best I have had on the isles. With free wireless on the train 2 hours went in no time. Here is one picture taken at Stockport.

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    2 hour and 8 minutes after departure we arrived Manchester as scheduled. Manchester Piccadilly Station is bursting out of its seams - too small a railway station for so many departures, and since it's not a ride through station it's bound to be chaotic. But more on that in next posting that will come later today.
     
  7. Dozer

    Dozer Silver Member

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    I'm not gonna lie, not what I was expecting to read either. Lol.
     
  8. bachelorarbeit

    bachelorarbeit Member

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    That's how to catch attention for a norwegian flight report ;) thanks for sharing though
     

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