Archive for July, 2014

British Airways (Club Europe) to Malta (Intercontinental Hotel)

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

This is a TR for a BA holiday so includes the flights (LGW-MLA-LGW), the airport/hotel transfers and the hotel itself (Intercontinental)

We flew out the day after the announcement of increased security on flights to the US. Nothing unusual at security at LGW. I hope they don’t introduce new rules about what is allowed in hand luggage as too many people still don’t understand the liquid rules after more than ten years.

After good service in the Flounge we went to the gate as soon as it was displayed and good job too: the boarding announcement was basically “we are ready for boarding so please proceed down the ramp”. Absolutely no announcement about priority boarding for Clue Europe, GCHs etc.

On board it was clear that whoever had tagged the hand luggage didn’t have a clue. Pax with only one bag had the tag for the overhead lockers, whilst pax in emergency exits had their bags tagged for under the seat in front.

Purser insisted that all the cabin crew took part in the safety demonstration as she didn’t “want people not doing anything”. No mention at all about the use of electronic devices.  Couldn’t fault the service on board especially as they had nine rows of Club to deal with. The crew were constantly walking up and down the aisle, making sure we were happy. The main course was a choice of Lamb navarin or Sweet chilli chicken. I went for the lamb and was surprised as I am a very fussy eater. Bus from aircraft to terminal but we had to wait while a Ryanair flight disembarked across the road before we could move forward. Our luggage arrived quickly.  As part of our BA holiday we had booked a private transfer to the hotel but we were told we had to share a bus, and only a phone call to the head office got us a taxi. Not a good start. We later phoned BA about this who were not at all happy and immediately offered to refund the transfer cost (which appeared in our bank account a few days later). BA said this was a new contract for them and they would follow this up.  However, the reception at the hotel was excellent, as our status was recognised and we were escorted to the club lounge floor where, whilst our paperwork was dealt with,we were given a free drink on the terrace. The paperwork for the holiday advised we should attend a “welcome meeting”. We didn’t

Excellent breakfast outside on the top floor terrace courtesy of the Club lounge. Later that day we had complimentary traditional afternoon tea with dainty sandwiches, scones, cakes and tea.

We had to advise the Club desk that our television wasn’t working but an engineer was there within minutes and fixed it. Club phoned to check we were happy. Very good service. Our room was a good size with a balcony which had a table and two chairs. Other rooms had larger terraces with their own sunbeds but we hadn’t seen this option when booking.  If staying at the hotel you should really book a “panoramic” room i.e. With a view of the pool. Otherwise there are some really awful views to be had (e.g. overlooking a courtyard or, worse, overlooking the busy street with noisy bars and restaurants. The staff, however, turned this from a four-star Trip Advisor report to five-stars. They were all extremely polite and helpful.  It was interesting to read in the local press that the government want to bring more affluent people to Malta but don’t know how to do it as the beaches are full and there is not much point in building five star hotels In three star areas.

Transfer back to the airport was a few minutes late and in a rickety old minibus, but at least it was only for us. Presumably the transfer was timed for their benefit rather than ours as we arrived at the airport about 2 hours 40 Minutes before our flight.

On the return leg we had hand luggage only (shock horror) and we were quickly through security, duty free and into the lounge. The lounge is quite pleasant with a reasonable selection of local nibbles.

Although we had to be bussed to the aircraft they still observed priority boarding with Club and status card holders on the first bus which meant we easily stowed away our hand luggage. Unlike on the outbound leg there was neither a pillow or blanket. Aircraft was one of the ex BMI A319s but I was happy with the setup of the plastic table in the middle seat. Cabin crew did their job but didn’t seem as proactive as the outbound crew.  I chose the roasted chicken with morel mushroom cream jus which was very tasty.The alternative was Haddock kedgeree.

At Gatwick the queues for passport control where pretty horrendous and after about ten minutes a member of staff (whose English was quite poor) started calling people from the back of the queue to go another little area where passport staff were waiting with no queues in front of them. We advised them that there were long queues in the main hall and they thought we were joking until one of them went to have a look! Overall a very good break. We were there for a long weekend which was about the right amount of time for me; I don’t think I could I could spend a week or longer. Malta 2014 (36)