This is only half of the story - I have tried to keep this short.
Having enjoyed the outward flight (747-400 top deck PE) so much we were not anticipating any issues with the return flight. Far from it, for once we were looking forward to it and the extra comfort and attention we expected. Sadly this was not to be..
Once again we looked at the internet system to reserve decent seats. All we wanted was two together, not a big ask. We have suffered too many times with the "aisle syndrome" where someone you don't know and have absolutely no wish to know ends up sleeping beside you.
We therefore tried again and again to access the VA booking system for decent seats - only to be told, once "in" that our seats had been pre-allocated!!!!!.
Ok, let's review that for a second.
The seats had been PRE-ALLOCATED and we had been BOOKED IN.
Do we all understand what that simple statement actually means?
Think about it. We could have died, changed identities, been the "T" word or anything but hey, we already had our seats booked on the plane out!! Now I know that Barbados is hardly the destination of choice for "T" types but come on, what is going on here???
It's all very well and good to pre-allocate for the economy seats because you just don't get a choice anyway do you? Want a window seat sir? yes? well that will be (a) xx pounds or (b) sorry they're all taken. Been there, got the miles.
And so we - or rather I - had to suffer an elderly and rather large gentleman beside me for the duration of the flight home. And my dear wife got an aisle seat with all that entails. Lovely way to end a holiday. I appreciate often there's little choice but we simply didn't get one, which is why I am so annoyed.
And the flight was late. Very late.
We left after sitting on the tarmac at Barbados for over an hour, in the tropical heat, due to the APU not working. This also meant that the plane stayed hot for a good hour after takeoff.
Additionally the flight was particularly bumpy for miles, more than usual and more obvious probably as the Airbus is a much smaller plane than the 747.
While I remember, there was one cheeky chap who clearly knew the male steward in PE very well. He kept batting back and forth from economy to "our" galley and could be found hanging around gaily chatting to the aforementioned male member on numerous occasions. Quite often he would return to economy carrying quantities of miniatures or bottles of wine. (And possibly the odd champagne.) It was very annoying.
Then there was the food service. A complete disaster. Dinner wasn't anything to write home about and breakfast was horrific. It looked suspiciously like lunch or dinner warmed over but was supposed to be bacon and eggs? Wouldn't have served it to a dog.
Our landing was two hours late and we missed our connection to Glasgow. That'll be £60.00 each to change. Thanks VA.
So, anyone have any ideas why this deeply flawed system exists?