Archive for April, 2012

Second Hilton this weekend – better service

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Crossed the Pennines by train to check into the Hilton in Sheffield. A bit out of the way and in a brand new part of town compared to when I was at university here. Not happy that our room wasn’t ready but they gave us a voucher for the bar and after a drink we checked into our comfortable rooms. The extra pillows we had ordered were there as well as a nice welcome gift of chocolate and cream:

Although the city centre has changed considerably the university is not that much different, apart from the students’ union which has been transformed. Pics here. The Supertram certainly wasn’t even thought of in my day but it took us smoothly to Meadowhall a mini-city of entertainment, shopping and restaurants. Back in the hotel we settled down for a quiet evening in the hotel with some wine.

TD at the Hilton Sheffield

How difficult is it to get a late checkout?

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Before breakfast at the Doubletree by Hilton in Manchester I asked for a late check-out (to which I am entitled). The young man behind the counter immediately switched on his “can do” attitude. Not. You can have until one pm after which there is a charge. He hadn’t even checked my room number at this stage, never mind my status. I advised him I was diamond member and therefore entitled to the extension. He just repeated the same mantra. Eventually he consulted with a colleague who grudgingly accepted that I was due the late checkout. No apology. They made it worse by saying the hotel was full that night. Not according to their own website which was still offering rooms.

Friday night to Manchester

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Good old BA from LHR-MAN. Having seen Patrick Stewart in the first class lounge I thought I would see how the plebs eat and drink so went upstairs to the commoners’ lounge. I was pleasantly surprised – jacket potatoes and beans! Smaller red wine glasses though 🙁

Being silver may not be so bad!

Got told off for getting in the wrong taxi at the airport. Apparently you have to be told which taxi to take by Mr Jobsworth. Checked in at the Doubletree by Hilton. Does it take much for them to know that we have been there several times before?

Fellow passenger annoyed me

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

I’m used to fellow passengers switching on phones before they should (I no longer throw a strop and chuck their phone into a vat of acid) and doing other stupid things but when they blatently lie to cabin crew, that’s another matter. As a gold card holder I boarded early and as  I settled into my seat in the front row I noticed that a lady (?) on the other side of the plane, but also in the front row, had dumped her hand luggage and coat in front of her feet – a no-no in the front as the floor area had to be kept free of luggage. She made no attempt to to ask crew to help her but when they did the check before take off she claimed that when she boarded there was no space available in the lockers! She was obviously extracting the you-know-what so the crew had to find space for her case in the wardrobe. It wasn’t even as if she didn’t have hold luggage  – she did. Ignorant mooing animal.

Pam Ann is back in London!

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Pam Ann’s back in town with a new show: You f’coffee? As usual the audience was mostly gay, working in the travel industry or both. Although I enjoyed the evening I don’t think it was Pam at her best. She seems to have dropped a lot of the set scenes and seems to be adlibbing more, albeit there were certain parts where she did stick to the script. She’s appearing at the Bloomsbury – near Euston station with plenty of leg room too, well at least in business class. Excellent digs at Virgin crew (ejaculating at Gatwick recently), horsey jokes about BA staff and Riverdance antics at the mention of Ryanscare. She’s been better but still worth a visit.

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Another year of “gold” with British Airways has started with a trip to Berlin. Bad weather at LHR meant there were several delays flying out. We were delayed about 30 mins which wasn’t so bad. The first class lounge at T5 has added another favourite of mine to their selection: mushy peas! So it was steak & ale pie with mashed potatoes and the mushies! Nicely washed down with Buck’s Fizz and then a nice red. It was nice to be back in the lounge again.

After a couple more wines on the plane we arrived at TXL (for the last but one time before the airport closes) but couldn’t get off the plane as the jetty had broken! Plan B was going to be to exit by the back door but they eventually fixed the jetty and we deplaned. I complained to the crew that I had been looking forward to using the slides!

Our friends were waiting for us and took us to the Ivbergs Premium hotel which is rapidly becoming our hotel of choice in Berlin: it is clean, comfortable, offers free internet and is near the gay scene in the west of Berlin. Breakfast is also good with a wide offering although it does finish at 10:30 which is a bit mean, especially at the weekend. Above all it is cheap!


Saturday was spent at the Panoramapunkt on Potsdamer Platz, a viewing platform, reached by Europe’s fastest lift,  with excellent views over the city. Good value at only €5.50 per adult and the cafe is not expensive either. Pics here.

The flight back on Sunday was my penultimate one from Tegel before the new Berlin airport opens in June. Uneventful flight but the journey home reminded me that the Olympics are just around the corner; we couldn’t board the train at Clapham Junction, because of the crowds caused by the London marathon. I think I’ll try and avoid central London during the Olympics.



Here we go again….

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Another attempt at a log by me, Travelduck. Flew back from TXL (Berlin – Tegel Airport) last night. Pics here Although I like the British Airways lounge, I don’t like the fact that it is landside so you have to be careful about leaving it too late. Before the lounge though I checked my bag in and, despite not travelling in Club, the nice lady stuck a “priority” tag on the case. Even more pleasing, it worked at the other end in T5 at LHR as my bag was out first (well nearly!). What didn’t work, though, was London transport to get us home. The bus was late, but so was the train we wanted to catch but that was a slow train and when we finally arrived at Clapham Junction to get the train to East Croydon there was not a train for quite a while and when it did arrive we had no chance of getting on! All because of the marathon. If this is what London is going to be like during the Olympics I am not going to be happy.