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Tuesday 10 October 2023

Unexpected Flight Change: From Delta Airlines 767-400ER To Virgin Atlantic's A330-900 NEO From Boston To London Heathrow

 Welcome to this unusual trip report featuring Delta Airlines and Virgin Atlantic!

Until next time, N829MH! (Photo: Rainer Bexten)


For those who have been following my flights will know that this was supposed to be my Delta Airlines flight from Boston to London Heathrow. However, due to a mechnical problem with Delta's 767-400ER, the flight was delayed for almost 6 hours and because there was no suitable replacement aircraft at that time, the only choice was to wait. I believed that a spare part was flown in from somewhere to replace the faulty part of the engine. I didn't want to wait for this long as I already have plans to spend on my last day for my vacation before heading home. More details coming up in later parts of the trip report. So, this will be my 2nd trip report on the Virgin Atlantic's A330-900, this time you get to view the cabin at night. So without further ado, let's begin! 

Flight changes 

After meeting up with my friend at terminal A, I went to collect my boarding pass at terminal E and this was my original boarding pass. 

Boston terminals are connected by bridges so to get from one terminal to another is not a problem. 

This is the Delta Airlines check-in counter for international flights. 

Flight DL 58 flight was supposed to depart at 1920 but was delayed to 2300 hours according to the monitor screen and later on, it was delayed further to 0100. When I saw the flight being delayed to 2300, I started looking at alternatives. 

I noticed that Virgin Atlantic had some vacant seats on the 2250hr flight and at that point of time, I wasn't sure what aircraft type was operated on this route. I was hoping for 787-9 but after checking with Flightradar24, the flight VS11/12 was operated by the A330-900NEO and G-VEII (The Queen of the skies) was operating this flight (new aircraft registration for me) so I went ahead to get myself rebooked.

The airport Wi-Fi connection was good but I had some trouble changing my flight as the app (Delta) kept crashing. However, I am not sure how but I received an email about my flight change. That was great news so next thing I need to do was to select my seat, however I had to settle for an aisle seat as there wasn't any other seats available at that time. By then, I switched over to Virgin Atlantic's mobile app and the process of viewing my itinerary was better. Before I left for the Virgin Atlantic check-in counter, I did one more check and Lady Luck smiled on me, a couple of window seats were available, one was 68A and the other was 51K, the exact same window seat I flew in this aircraft type (LHR-ATL). I decided to stick to the same seat as I wanted to recline my seat and prefer to have no one sitting behind me. 

Traffic at the airside was quite crowded as there were a good number of European bound flights departing around the same time. 

This is where my original flight supposed to depart from. 

After chatting with the Delta's airlines desk, I made my way to the landside to check in again. I didn't like going through security and immigration check twice but it is better than getting stuck here and not knowing (at that time) when will my original flight depart.

After a short wait, the friendly ground staff gave me my boarding pass and I was on my way. 

The boarding pass of my new flight. I was excited to be flying on the A330-900NEO once again. 

At that time, this aircraft was the newest in the A330NEO fleet. 

The other seats were blocked out probably for Virgin Atlantic passengers.

Once my ticket was settled, I went back to the airside to grab some food. 

This is where my flight was departing from. 

Plane spotting and photography are possible at the international airside as the windows offer unobstructed clear view of the tarmac and you get great views like these photos below. 

Air Canada Airbus A220-300 

Iberia Airbus A330-300 

ITA Airways A330-200 departing

Jetblue Airbus A321CEO 

3 Airbusses in a photo, can you identify them? 

Air France Airbus A350-900

Lufthansa Airbus A380 

The old and new livery of Lufthansa (A330-300) at the gate and the A380 taxing in. 

British Airways A380 being prepared to return to LHR. 

I haven't had chinese food for a while, I thought why not try the American version. It tasted not bad. 

Some of the seats have charging ports. 

Notice some overhead panels missing? I wonder why. 

I feel for the ground staff as they had to deal with the passengers on my original flight with the delay as some of them probably had connection or other commitment. Fortunately for me, I managed to change my flight as there were other passengers also attempting to switch over. I wonder how many were successful.  

While waiting for my new flight, I received an email from Delta with meal vouchers to compensate for the delay and I used it to purchase these 2 items and gave the remaining to my friend. At least the airline didn't neglect the passengers so for that I give them credit. While the mobile app was buggy, I was given options so I knew what to do instead of having to go over to the busy gate agent to trouble them, so for that I have to give the airline some credit for it.  

After unexpectedly spending a longer time at the airport, I was on my way. 

My ride: G-VEII (Photo: Dn280)

Airbus A330-941
Leased from ALC 
Name of aircraft: Queen of the skies
Delivered on March 2023
Configuration: C32 W46 Y184 
Engines: 2 X Roll Royce Trent 7000 
2029th A330 built 
Age: Less than 1 year old (June 2023) 
Built in Toulouse (TLS)

Flight route: BOS-LHR 

Miles: 3,265 

Date of departure: 13th June 2023 
Original Flight: DL58 (Delta Airlines) 
Replacement Flight: VS12 (Virgin Atlantic) 
Route: BOS-LHR 
Aircraft type: B767-400ER changed to A330-900NEO 
Seat: 51K 
Registration: G-VEII 
Airport Terminal: E 
Gate: E12 
Load: 100% (Y Class) 
Schedule departure: 2250 
Boarding: 2205 
Doors Closed: 2253 
Push back: 2257
Take off: 2308
Flight Duration: 6 hours 20 minutes 
Actual flight time: 6 hours 23 minutes
Schedule arrival: 1035 
Touch down: 1030 
Departure runway: 15R 
Arrival runway: 09L

Welcome on board Virgin Atlantic's A330-900NEO! 

This is the Loft, the seating area for Upper Class passengers to relax. 

The crew's working area. Let us appreciate them for their hard work ensuring the safety and comfort of the passengers. 

Premium Class 

This is the Premium Economy class in a 2-3-2 seating configuration. 

The bulkhead row seats 

My in-flight experience 

Boarding took place in order and I was greeted by this set of lovely crew who were friendly and one of them even posed when I was taking photos of the cabin. There was an announcement about a passenger with peanut allergy so on this flight we won't be served with the peanut snack. 

Once I was settled down on my seat, I notice some familar faces from my original flight, I was happy for them as they managed to transfer to this flight. I know some of you might not agree with me but I find the cabin atmosphere especially in Economy Class to be one of the best, the calming effect of the mood lighting does help a lot making the cabin looks luxurious and in my opinion, one of the best out there, even better than the likes of Emirates and Singapore Airlines. Of course there are some improvement can be made such as having a drink holder at every back of each seat and foot rest for the Economy Class passengers. 

I have always been a fan of these Recaro CL3710 seats, finding it to be more comfortable than the others and once again I enjoy this 6 hours 20 minutes ride as I slept for most parts of the flight. Fortunately I was awake during the meal time, the dinner and breakfast. 

What else I noted about this flight is the cabin crew made a birthday announcement wishing a 17 years old passenger, a happy birthday (I wonder whether she received anything from the crew - SQ does offer birthday cakes but you need to request in advance) and our first officer on this flight was a female. I love to see more female pilots flying out there, you girls rock! Overall this was a great flight, the flight attendents were always around with smiles and helpful and I was satisfied with the meals and had a good rest on this flight. 

My seat for this flight (seat: 51K) (Photo: Seatmap.com)

Honestly speaking, it isn't as bad as what was feedback on this website. The recline is ok, the lavatory noise - I could hardly hear it and the wing window view is absolutely fine. 

Economy Class 

This row of seats offers a generous legroom space of 34 inches. (bulkhead row)

Do note that the Economy Delight seats have 3 inches more legroom space than the Economy Classic. The Economy Class seats comes with 31 inches of legroom space. 

There are lavatories between the Economy Class cabins. 

Sitting at the emergency row window seat may be troublesome due to the obstruction of the door which takes up some of your legroom space. 

One advantage about flying on this aircraft type is there is no middle seat. 

This is my seat, 51K. Only difference between this and my previous flight is I was experiencing this product at night. 

I am certainly a fan of this combination of colours of the cabin interior and mood lighting. 

More photos of my seat 

31 inches of legroom space is ok for me. 

It would have been better if I had no seat mate but checking the seat map, I wasn't surprised when he turned up. 

The universal power plug which you need to share with your seat mate. 

What's provided for each passenger?

Safety Card 

June's issue of the in-flight magazine 

Disposal Bag 

The airline's in-flight retail therapy magazine 

The headphone - one issue is whenever an in-flight announcement was made, I could hardly hear what was spoken. 

A pillow 

In-flight meals 

My favourite in-flight drink 

This little snack - crunchy corn nibbles is not bad. 

Dinner time - I chose the Chicken option. This is the chicken pastry with potato and vegetables. It comes with bread, biscuit, salad and cheese. I chose a cup of water for my beverage. I find it to be alright, nothing special about it. 

Later on, a second round of beverages was served and I chose a cup of orange juice. 

A couple of hours before arrival, we were given a breakfast box and a choice of drink. I chose coffee. This box contained yogurt, a packet of energy bar and muffin. 

In-Flight Entertainment 

I was able to use the complimentary wifi for 20 minutes and did a brief check on my flight's progress. 

Finally, my original flight (DL58) was on the way after 6 hours of delay. 

The impressive IFE system 

I was able to watch a movie and check the flight's location on the same screen. 

At this time, we started descending. 

Window shot photos 

Goodbye Boston and U.S! Thanks for the memories. 

This is the aircraft I was supposed to fly on, N829MH. 

Rolling down the runway in this gloomy weather. 

4-5 hours later, we were almost done with our flying over the trans-alantic. 

At this point we have entered the UK airspace and started our descent. 

Speedbrakes were applied as we have to slow down below 250 knots when we are flying at 10,000 feet and below. 

The ride was smooth, hardly any bumps so far. 

The flaps are all out this means one thing, we are on final approach. 

We touched down smoothly at London Heathrow Airport. 

Welcome back to the U.K! Somehow I like to fly out of London from a different airport for a change. Stay tuned for my February 2024 trip as I am planning something special. :) 

With that, that's the end of my transatlantic flight! Thank you to both Delta and Virgin Atlantic! I think you readers know which airline is my preferred choice. No prize for guessing. 

In Feburary 2024, I will be flying Qantas A380 to LHR. Stay tuned for the trip report! 

We parked beside fellow company's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, the aircraft that I hope to fly in the near future with this airline. 

My flight summary 

Arrival in London Heathrow! 

What a beautiful day, don't you agree? 

The immigration took about 10 minutes and I was out, I made my way to my mum's place where I spent the last day with my family before heading home the following day. 

My rating (Based on this flight experience with Virgin Atlantic) 

Airline's mobile app/website: 4/5
Airport Staff at BOS Airport: 4/5 
In-Flight Service: 4/5 
In-Flight Experience: 5/5
Cleanliness of the cabin: 5/5
In-Flight Entertainment system: 5/5
In-Flight Meal: 4/5
Punctuality: 5/5
Seat Comfort: 5/5 
Cabin interior: 5/5
Overall rating: 46/50
Percentage: 92%


Flight delay is part and parcel of travelling and if that happens, it is always good to do some research and NOT press the panic button and vent out your frustration at the gate agents. There is this much they can do. Don't forget they have to handle many passengers and that is not an easy task. 

Comparing my flights between Delta and Virgin Atlantic, my in-flight experience with the British airline is better but for the in-flight meal, I would vote for Delta. However, it won't be fair to compare with them in other areas such as the in-flight product as the Virgin's A330NEO which offers newer cabin products than Delta's A330-300 and Boeing 767-400ER. I am glad Virgin Atlantic has improved the quality of the in-flight meal comparing last year's experience and there are more contents too. While the quality of the food is not quite there with the top airlines, I am sure the airline will look ways to improve. Overall, Virgin Atlantic is definitely in my list of recommandation.

I need to fly on the airline's competitor to compare both airlines, the competitor is British Airways. I used to fly with this airline often in the past on the SIN-LHR route and the last time I flew with this airline was when it was still operating the 747-400. So yes, times have changed and let's see what happens in the near future. Possibly my next LHR flight after February 2024, I can consider flying BA's A380 to London. Watch this space! 

Thanks for reading! 

For my previous trip report with Virgin Atlantic's A330-900NEO (LHR-ATL), click here.

For my previous flight (Delta Connection ERJ-175) trip report, click here.

For my next trip report (Emirates A380 ride from London Heathrow to Dubai), click here.

Have a good one!


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