Friday 26th October – Munich

October 30th, 2012

The Ds’ flight was delayed but they still plenty of time in the lounge. D seemed particularly impressed by the champagne and we all had a burger which also went down well. For some reason the tube line in Munich that went to the hotel closes early in the evening so we ended up with a taxi journey at a cost of €20.

At check-in we were told we had been upgraded but we weren’t sure to what as we had actually paid for a better and couldn’t tell the difference.



Sunday 21st October – 007 @ Graham Norton

October 22nd, 2012

Went round to the Turners to deliver George’s 18th birthday card. I remember when we took him at about 3 years old to his first gay bar in the Yumbo centre.

 Then off to meet MartinZ, Michael and Stephen and Justin at All Bar One  before queuing in the rain to get in to a special 007 recording of the Graham Norton Show. Guests were Daniel Craig, Dame Judi Dench and Javier Bardem (the baddie). Band was Of men and monsters – interestng Icelandic band. Good show; Michael’s pic of him coming out of the sea was shown – will it make it to the big screen?

Belfast – Sunday 14th October

October 16th, 2012

Breakfast was ok but, despite the number of staff, there always seemed to be something that had run out and several people were complaining about missing things – tea, fried eggs etc. Back out to the tour bus and a very windy day but well-delivered and interesting commentary covering the history of the troubles. Lunch at Pizza Express (free, courtesy of vouchers). Back to the hotel and then to the airport where we the first into the lounge. Flight was packed and I was in the middle seat in 1F where they had forgotten to change it back from Club formation so at first I was squashed in until the purser accepted there was a problem but didn’t know  how to fix it – someone else was summoned!


Belfast 2012 – Saturday 13th October

October 16th, 2012

Up early to get to LGW for flight to Belfast, with FlyBe! This time went to Number One lounge; nice enough but not that big. At least they had put breakfast stuff out which meant we didn’t have to wait to be served. Flight was surprisingly busy for an early Saturday morning flight. Only a short flight and with hand luggage it meant we were straight out to get the bus into town. Although it was still morning our room at the hotel was already prepared and we were able to unpack in our upgraded executive room before heading out into town for lunch) and then get a 48 hour ticket on the sightseeing bus which dropped us off at the Titanic exhibition. As we were early we had hoped to enter ahead of our scheduled time but it was fully sold out so we had to wait. To control the flow of people visitors are let in every twenty minutes but even so there was still some congestion. Much of the exhibition, understandably, concentrates on Belfast’s role in the Titanic; still makes it worth a visit. Tourist bus back into town and the hotel.




As is usual for European Hilton hotels the executive lounge offers free alcoholic drinks in the evening (6-8.30 in this one) which here is not self service; not that it mattered. I probably drank more than I would have done if I had been helping myself, which is saying something – my glass was never empty. Back to the room for an early night.

USA 2012 – Stage 6 – JFK-LHR-AMS-LHR

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

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

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

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

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

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.