Archive for September, 2012

USA 2012 – Stage 6 – JFK-LHR-AMS-LHR

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Having been reinstated to the upper deck by special services we boarded our flight back to the UK. Paul Burrell sitting nearby. Slept for most of the flight. At LHR just had time for breakfast and a shower in the Flounge as only one transit was working and we couldn’t get on the first one. Flight to AMS was from the dreaded A10, which means a bus transfer. Even though there were seven rows in club, all the seats were occupied. At AMS, collected luggage and then back to check-in, lounge, security and back to LHR.

USA 2012 – Stage 5 – ORD – BOS – JFK – Hotel

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Having finally understood the Chicago transit system we arrived at the airport. Check-in and security both quick and efficient. Straight to American Airways, so-called “flagship” lounge. No screens, no announcements, no power sockets. In First class on flight ORD-BOS. Very good service and food (wine served from bottle). At BOS there was no “flagship” lounge but the normal lounge was much better. BOS-JFK: meal was a bag of nuts, even in first. At JFK collected luggage (nice and quickly) and struggled with the transfer system to get to the hotel, which is next to the Port Authority Bus terminal not far from Times Square. Although it is a suite hotel it wouldn’t be fun for more than a couple of days, even though the room has a kitchenette. Ate at Heartland Brewery, typical American comfort food. After picking up some food at Subway and eating it in the hotel we set off. Shuttle to JFK was there waiting so we boarded. Six of us had to stand and it was only after a few blocks that the driver noticed so we had to get off, get luggage and wait for the next bus. Traffic was very, very slow but we had plenty of time. At the airport check-in was deserted so the staff had time to try and work what had happened to our seats, eventually giving up and referring us to “Debbie” from special services in the first class lounge. Reasonable lounge, but Wifi was not working. Ate in the Club lounge(barbequed, bone-free beef with smashed potatoes followed by a lemon slice. Both delicious.

Tried to check in at hotel for our flight to find we had been from the upper to the lower deck. Not happy, so phoned up but no-one could really explain what had happened. Decided to get to the airport early.  Before heading to our final shop at Macy’s we checked out the bus stop for the bus transfer. The ticket seller advised us to leave an hour earlier than planned as all the world leaders were in town for the opening of the UN session!

USA 2012 – Stage 4 – Chicago

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Picked up hire and took several attempts to leave the city as we had to cross six lanes of traffic in a hundred yards. Finally arrived at the shopping outlets. Sensible shopping. Outlet mall is smaller than others we’ve been to. Returned early to Chicago to do more shopping. Evening meal at Pizzeria Due, the home of the Chicago pizza. Good supermarket around the corner: Trader Joe’s.

Next day took a boat trip on the river/lake.

Pics of Chicago.

USA 2012 – Stage 3 – JFK-LGA-ORD-Hotel

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Arrived at JFK and phoned for the airport shuttle which was going to take 25 minutes so chose a taxi driver who didn’t know where we were going. Finally arrived at the hotel which is in the middle of Chinatown and therefore heavily influenced by oriental designs. Poor executive lounge ; no alcohol! Breakfast was equally poor in the lounge.

Hotel shuttle to the airport. Check-in and security both quiet. Boarding was good as, even though we were in economy we were able to priority board. In Chicago, luggage arrived promptly, as priority – why can’t BA do this? Bought a three-day pass (actually lasts 72 hours from purchase) and took train to Grand station. But it was the wrong one on the wrong line! No welcoming gift at the hotel as the staff member was busy doing other things. Evening meal at Su Casa an ok Mexican restaurant.

USA 2012 – Stage 2 – LCY-SNN-JFK

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Having landed at LCY we had to wait several minutes before the captain switched off the seatbelt sign. LCY does not a connections facility so we briefly entered the UK (no queue at passport control) before returning back upstairs to go through security (relatively pain free) and down to the BA “lounge”, a converted gate with enough seats for the capacity of 32 pax, and a small selection of drinks and snacks. Wifi is available (it is actually the airport’s which is available throughout and is free). Boarding did not take long (there were about 20 of us) and I took my seat. Each seat had a coat hanger with the seat number – I nice touch. All seats face forward and the privacy screen is a bit pathetic really, only extending about 6 inches out from between the seats. As you can see from the picture above you are provided with a comprehensive guide about the LCY experience. After take-off we were offered our starter (potted shrimp with melba toast or curried aubergine tart with onion marmalade. I declined both. At SNN we duly disembarked, cleared US immigration (very quick and efficient process), had our hand luggage screened (but not ourselves personally) and then had a short wait in a roped off lounge-like area, inhabited by very old and tired BA seating that had obviously been rescued from former BA lounges. ack on the plane and with washbags handed out, we were off. I declined the offer of an Ipad as I still had hours of TV to watch on BBC Iplayer. When lunch was served we were addressed by our name. Choice was bee, curry or ploughman’s lunch. My choice of wine (which was topped up regularly) was the Château du Moulin Noir 2009, Montage-Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux. Chocolates and cakes were also handed out.




USA 2012 – Stage 1 – LHR-AMS-LCY

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Part of our trip in the USA

So, I have finally got round to doing the promised BA1 report. The reason we are doing this convoluted route is to (a) save money (it is considerably cheaper to fly to New York from Amsterdam via London than simply from London) and (b) it’s a tier point run.

On our flight to AMS we were not greeted by name (not an issue really but it has been commented on here before). Food was sandwich fingers containing salmon (my partner’s were stale), followed by scones, cream and jam. I could remember the correct order in which to apply the sam and cream and to avoid CornishSimon’s wrath I tried both ways. On arriving at AMS we collected our “priority” bags which came off the belt numbers 49 and 65. Stayed overnight at the Hilton there where we were upgraded to an Executive room. At AMS our first bag was given a “transfer at T5” tag until we pointed out that we were flying via LCY. We were the first for her doing this route. On board meal was a ploughman’s lunch: not bad, considering I don’t usually eat salad-type stuff.

Getting ready for stage 1 of the trip to Chicago

Monday, September 17th, 2012

The day before we start our trip to Chicago, BA write to us to advise that due to “operational reasons” our flight from LGW to AMS will be operated by Titan Airways, with no business class so we are now flying from LHR. So, the route now is:


I am a camera

Sunday, September 16th, 2012
Went to see “I am a camera” last night at the Southwark Playhouse. It’s the play based on Christopher Isherwood’s “Goodbye to Berlin” and the inspiration for “Cabaret”. The theatre is in a railway arch near London Bridge and the trains passing overhead made it feel like we were in Nollendorfplatz. It’s a good job they left the songs out or it would have been very long…..

Salzburg – Day Three

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Sunday 9th September

 After breakfast we set off to return the airport but en route we visited the local museum where The Flying Bulls  have a museum (free!). A good way to waste an hour before checking in at the airport. BA don’t have a lounge here so C and I were given a €10 voucher each for drinks which we spent on the open air terrace overlooking the runway.


When we saw the BA plane arrive we went through security and, after buying some vodka, walked onto the bus to be transported to the airplane. As on the outward journey I was greeted by my name. At LGW I left C to take H back to Glasgow and headed home to sort out my photos from the weekend.


Museum and airport pics

Salzburg – Day Two

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Saturday 8th September

Today, H was early as he had forgotten what time we were supposed to be meeting. Tonight he will be issued with a written note of  tomorrow’s itinerary! Breakfast was, on the whole,  good but noisy (Spaniards). Sometimes, however, it took the staff a long time to replenish food that been scoffed. Today we headed south from Salzburg into Germany, which is strange but true. Main destination was the historic Eagle’s Nest (Hitler’s summer residence). This involved a drive half-way up a mountain followed by a bus ride the rest of the way to the top (the road is narrow so only the buses can use it and only to a strict timetable as there is only one place where they can pass). Getting out of the bus we chose our time to return and then entered a dark tunnel to wait for a lift into which they crammed 30+ of us for the final stage of the journey to the summit, where there are fantastic views of the surrounding mountains and a great café for relaxing.

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Driving back down the hill we heard a tremendous screaching and then C noticed in the rear-view mirror that a motor-bike rider had come off. Following German law, we stopped the car, told H to stay where he was and walked back to see if we could help. By the time we got there several other people had also stopped so our assistance was not required. Obedient as usual, H had got out of the car so we bundled him back in and resumed the next stage of our journey to the Königssee, a lake in the middle of the nearby national park with more stunning scenery.


The long queues for the trip on the lake were worth it, especially to experience the echo off the rocks (a crew member just happened to have his trumpet with him). Back on terra firma we didn’t have time for the nearby Jennerbahn and so returned to Salzburg. Too tired to go back into town we settled on a local café and had a pleasant meal outside.

Eagle’s Nest pics

Königssee pics