"I just shared a cabin with Jake yesterday on the VS024 from LAX to LHR. He flew Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, as did I. He was in row 4, but I was in row 17 - the last in the cabin. It was an A340-600 aircraft.
Regrettably, I didn't get to speak to him. I wanted to respect his privacy and wasn't sure how he would react to a fan approaching him during his stay in the Air New Zealand airline lounge or onboard the flight. Do you think I should have? Have I just missed an opportunity of a lifetime or did I do the right thing?
Virgin uses the ANZ lounge at LAX. I was sitting in view of the entrance when he arrived with two companions. One was a butch-looking security type and the other was a blonde female assistant-looking type. He was wearing a grey hoodie, perhaps to reduce recognisability and also seemingly to hide long hair - perhaps grown for a role - I need to look into that. He walked in and we made that kind of brief eye contact. I held his stare but forced myself to remain unreactive on the outside. God I wish I'd just let out a big smile and waved, but then I feared that may have been cheesy. He didn't appear to want to court attention anyway. After arrival in the lounge the three promptly left again to come back about ten minutes later. Perhaps there was something he wanted to buy at the shops. He went all the way to the back of the lounge - where I had been sitting but left because it's kind of boring and I wanted to sit near the TV in the end. While we waited for the boarding call I popped up to the back a couple of times to look down at the gate. I walked right behind him and I could have patted him on the head. Each time Jake was sitting on his own on his mobile to someone. Reece maybe? He must have stayed on that mobile for the entire time of his stay in the lounge. His minders did not sit with him. They hung around outside of the lounge mostly.
When boarding time came, I thought this was going to be interesting... how would they get him onto the plane... would he wait in an airbridge queue Turned out they timed it so that most of the plane was boarded before he came on. He came on without the minders. He seemed a little sad actually. Lonely perhaps? I leaned forward as he walked past me and tried to see if I could smell his cologne. I couldn't smell anything. He was mere millimetres away from me. He had a backpack and a smaller bag which scraped along the back of the seats to the starboard side of the cabin. He found his seat, which seemed miles away from where I was. As he sat down he looked back and again we appeared to make eye contact. Again I held any reaction.
So this was a 'sleeper' flight. Upper Class passengers are offered a set of PJs to wear. Jake didn't accept them and stayed in his clothes. I changed however. It helps you feel a little more fresher when you arrive.
I wondered if Jake was a seasoned Virgin flyer like myself or if this was his first time. I've had a few celebrity encounters on Virgin Atlantic recently. Madonna flies Virgin Atlantic, probably as part of her trying-to-be-green initiative and giving the private jet a rest. Madonna had an area of the Heathrow lounge sectioned off for Lola and her. So Virgin Atlantic seems to be the hot airline for the stars right now.
Jake wasn't using the in-flight entertainment system. He appeared to have his own little DVD player. I believe it is still possible for Upper Class passengers to get these from the crew, but it's still possible it was his own. It's ironic; a year ago the in-flight system had several of his movies. Right now it had none.
Dinner time came and Jake must have requested a special meal as he was served first with something which wasn't on the menu. Perhaps he went low fat? Would he go kosher? It looked like a salad. That was all he ate. I wondered if he had a anti-jetlag plan. They say you shouldn't eat on sleeper flights. Or eat very little.
The next unusual event was when he had half the Upper Class cabin crew searching for something in his seat. I overheard them saying he dropped something and lost it down the seat. The Upper Class suites are terrible for this. Jake spent the next 30 mins bent over looking for this... so was forced to stare at his ass for the duration. Such a hardship. I don't know if they found anything, but it was a serious carry-on. The FSM (Flight Service Manager) and two or three flight attendants were involved in literally dismantling his seat.
The hood never came down the whole flight.
I slept for the next six hours. Was quite shocked I'd achieved that actually. It was breakfast time and Jake appeared only to have OJ, which he never finished - in fact barely touched.
Read the whole story in Iheartjake.suddenlaunch.com