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MON8104 – Manchester to Kittila

Santa Sisters 1This review is part of a series about my experience of my first ever package holiday – a trip to Lapland. You can find out more about our trip here.

I had driven down to Manchester the night before our flight. Due to a number of factors, we arrived at the Hilton Manchester Airport a lot later than planned. It felt like I had only been asleep for 15 minutes when the alarm woke me up at 05:00 – it’s probably fair to say that I was a bit grumpy.

The hotel shuttle dropped us off at Departures (which makes sense as we were departing…) but a glance at the departure board informed us that our check-in desk was infact downstairs – in arrivals.

I managed not to moan (out loud anyway) and took the elevator down a level. As soon as the doors opened I worked out where we were going… there was a [person dressed up as a] reindeer in the departures area!

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One World Sapphire benefits with BA? Not much it seems

BA looking after the £'s!I received a last minute request to meet with a client in London last week.  Looking at Skycanner, it seemed that an EasyJet / BA combo from Edinburgh to Gatwick was the cheapest that matched the times I needed.  There was a BA option (returning from Heathrow) for an extra £16, which seemed to make sense – my EasyJet Plus membership recently ran out and I expect I would have spent that much on Speedy Boarding.

I booked my flights with BA and added my Cathay Pacific Gold card details.  This is One World Sapphire, which is equivalent to Silver Exec Club.  I should have lounge access along with the ability to select my seats at the time of booking free of charge along with using business check-in counters.

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Why my love affair with CityJet is over

Broken HeartIt started back in 2010.  I was working with a bank at Canary Wharf and the day rate was high enough to allow me to fly into London City airport.  Initially I assumed it would need to be BA that flew me back and forth each week, however when I went to book I noticed there was another airline who also operated the EDI – LCY route; CityJet.  From what I could gather from the Internet, CityJet seemed like a small airline that operated short-haul routes to major business centres.  Their target customer was the business traveller and the service they offered seemed to match that.  They had a ’15 minute’ check-in guarantee at LCY that seemed infinitely better than using any of London’s other airports.

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AF3046 – CDG – LOS

I had flown in to Paris from Edinburgh on AF5051 that had clearly been allocated the cheap landing space.  The bus ride to the terminal (2E) took 15 minutes which gave me less than 20 minutes to get on my flight to Lagos which departed from terminal 2F.

There was a mass of people waiting for the bus and I wondered if I would manage to get on the first one.  I did indeed manage, albeit just – I was last on and had the door against me.  The bus took my fellow passengers and I to terminal 2C first.  Nobody got on here and no one got off.  Talk about wasting time when it’s such a commodity!  Eventually the bus got to terminal 2F, although it took a lot longer than the three minutes that was displayed on the board back in 2E.

A security check welcomed me to the terminal, which luckily I breezed through and before I knew it I was at the departure gate – with a whole three minutes to spare before the departure time.  I wasn’t quite last on the plane but I was pretty close!

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Cheers to KLM!

I recently flew with KLM to Cologne.  Full review to follow shortly but for now I will summarise – there were a few issues with my return journey.  My connecting flight from CGN to AMS was cancelled so I had an extra night (albeit with a seemingly endless supply of lovely Kölsch) and when I finally got back to EDI (a day late) my checked bag was completely destroyed.

This was a business trip and was booked on my behalf by a corporate travel company.  Due to a short-sighted change by Amex (Check out details here) I wasn’t covered for anything other than emergency medical treatment.  I went to the KLM website and found the link to lodge my claims.  I lodged them separately yesterday, and attached my receipts and luggage damage report.  I was more than a little surprised when my phone rang today to discover it was KLM’s Luggage department.  They were sorry about my bag and asked me to provide a receipt for my bag.  I explained this would be difficult and was informed to buy a replacement (up to the value of my old one) and send the receipt to them – they would cover the cost.  So far so good – I was impressed at the speed of the response.

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FR 6266 – EDI – BCN

OK so what can I say about a Ryanair flight?  ‘Not much’ you might say.  I can’t tell you about the business class product, as there isn’t one.  I can’t describe the amazing food offerings, as they were very limited.  There are however a few things I can say, and believe me – I was just as cynical about using Ryanair as you are.

I am always amused by importance.  The BA and bmi flights depart from gates near the lounges, shops and bars.  AirFrance and KLM flights depart a little further away from the bars, but they have their own shop beside the gates.  The Ryanair and Flybe flights always depart from the furthest gates possible.  I am not sure if this is a subtle ploy to encourage their customers to drink a little less before the flight?

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Emirates Business and First Class Lounge – Kuala Lumpur

Business and First passengers share the Emirates lounge at KL. Skywards elite members also have lounge access irrespective of the travel class they are in.  As the lounge is shared with First passengers, they make it pretty cool.

I was greeted at the desk with a smile and a welcome.  My ticket was checked and I was invited to enjoy the lounge.  This lounge was bigger than I imagined (although by the time to left to board the lounge was almost full) with lots of staff waiting to look after someone.  Service was important here – there were two staff members (one male and one female) to assist you in the bathroom…  I am not sure what they could do for me other than leave me alone in there!

Anyway – I took a seat and was immediately welcomed by my server and asked if I wanted anything to drink.  I opted for some champagne that was served at once with all of the Silver-service you would expect.

There was a fair choice of food here – pasta, curry, snackage and some other goodies along with some pretty good wines (which are nigh impossible to obtain anywhere else in KL).

I wouldn’t rush to be here any earlier than you really need to be – it is after all just a lounge.  However, if you are here then you will certainly not want for anything.  Free Wi-Fi and lots of international power points are available.

Enjoy yourself.  And if you have a blue tag on your carry on, try not be upset by those who have a red one; you could have a green tag instead.

AF5150 – EDI – CDG

This was the first leg of 3 to get to Phoenix.  I had booked a car to pick me up which arrived on time.  I had booked the care a bit earlier than I needed, as I knew there were road works on the way; these road works didn’t cause as much of a problem as I thought they might and I arrived at Edinburgh Airport too early to check in my bags.

A cheese and ham Panini and some orange juice from Costa Coffee at the airport killed some time so I could check in.

Two check-in agents were available, one being fed passengers from the business lane.  There wasn’t much of a queue to skip here; the main line only had 3 passengers groups in it.  I was called forward and handed over my printed boarding pass and passport.  When I checked in online the system would only allow me to check in for the first two legs of the journey so I didn’t have a boarding pass for the final leg.  I asked if I could have one and the agent tried, even calling someone else, however I was instructed to collect my boarding pass from CDG.  I asked for the bags to be checked through and was reminded that I would need to collect them at Atlanta as it was my first port of entry to the US; I really don’t know why the US need to be different to every other country in the world.
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Emirates Business Class Lounge, Dubai

I had arrived into Dubai just after 1:00am and by the time I had made it to the Emirates Business class Lounge it was almost 2:00am.  Time of course, is a very funny thing when travelling and the Lounge was certainly not quiet.

I should add that this review relates to the main Emirates Business class Lounge (the enormous one).  I understand there is a smaller lounge by one of the gates (will look out next time and report back!)

Anyway – first things first; this lounge is enormous.  When I arrived at 2:00am there were 6 members of staff checking tickets.  This is a big lounge.  This is also a very busy lounge around the clock.
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EK0036 – Newcastle to Dubai (Business Class)

My complimentary chauffeur car had picked me up on time and so I arrived at the airport with around 2 hours to spare.  I caught up on some work in the unremarkable (but perfectly functional) Aviator Lounge.

I was clock-watching for a while and eventually gave up and went to the gate which was about 10 minutes away.

My ticket was checked and I was directed into my boarding area which seemed to be made up of passengers travelling in Business Class, the elderly and the immobile.  It later turned out that elite members of Emirates frequent flyer program Skywards were also here.

Time passed slowly and we hadn’t even started boarding by the time we were meant to take off.  No announcement was made and nobody asked.

Eventually, they sneakily let the ‘old dears’ on first and then announced boarding for Business and elites.  Off I went.
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