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Winners October 2011
The ten winning user reviews for the October 2011 Seatplans.com competition for the prize of a Contura Avantgarde suit carrier.
Remember to review your next flight on seatplans.com for a chance to win a prize.
BKK to LHR. Leaving BKK at around midnight after a visit to the shared BA/QF lounge meant that most business passengers were ready for a quiet flight and some sleep on this 12hr flight to London. I was seated upstairs in 18K, one of the favoured window seats with the handy side lockers. These lockers make a huge difference as your hand luggage is at conveniently at hand removing the need to get up mid-flight to access the overhead lockers or to disturb your sleeping companion.
Champagne, water and a nasty tangerine fruit juice was offered before take-off. Given that this was a night flight with an early morning arrival, Qantas has hotel-style breakfast order cards waiting at your seat so you can order in advance leaving more time for sleep. Menus for supper were also handed out along with amenity kits, pyjamas and noise cancelling headphones so that supper could be served straight after take-off into the humid night air.
On this flight the crew were much more friendly than my flight up from Sydney and the female crew members wore smart black pyjama style outfits. As the upper deck cabin was only half full supper was quickly served. There was a small supper menu consisting of a toasted foccacia with goats cheese, eggplant, dried tomato and pesto; Honey Dijon glazed sea bass; a Thai style duck; and a Lamb and red wine pot pie. Followed by Tiramisu, fresh fruit or cheese for afters. The food was of good quality and presentation, a pity the fish was a little bland.
After supper I settled down with the On Q IFE system. Plenty of choices to keep most people entertained for hours. As I usually do, I caught up on a couple of movies I'd missed out on at the cinema. The lie flat seat was not fully flat but when set at 80% it was at a decent angle for sleep.
Waking up over the Caspian sea at sunrise the view was a treat and quite mesmerising. An excellent breakfast of fresh fruit, yoghurt, with corn cakes and bacon followed while we flow over Poland and Germany. Then it was time to freshen up and change before landing at Heathrow.
Arriving at Terminal 3 was like a step back in time. Those low ceilings and narrow walkways give away its age. It appears that BAA are trying to freshen up the terminal in time for the Olympics but I'm not sure how much you can do with that building. Finally getting to immigration with a fast track card I expected to breeze through the barriers, but in fact we were kept waiting longer than passengers in regular lines thanks to the officials controlling the queues. Over 45 mins waiting in the fast track line was ridiculous, but at least the trip was almost over.
Overall a decent business product that ticked most of the boxes. Once they refit the 747's with the fully flat seats to bring them in line with the A380 this will be a much better experience.
Recently flew from Cape Town to Amsterdam with KLM on the 777-200 and then onwards to Edinburgh on a 737-700.
Shared lounge at CPT which was busy (wouldn't liked to have tried to find a seat if there had been more than one flight leaving at that time) but had a reasonable selection of drinks and both hot and cold snacks.
No priority boarding for business class passengers however once boarded my wife and I were offered a glass of chilled champagne.
Supper was served soon after take off and we enjoyed the beef, potatoes and assorted vegetables. There was not a great variety of inflight drinks served but we both found something to quench our thirst. A hot breakfast was served about 1 1/2 hours before landing which consisted of real orange juice (with 'bits' in), a fruit smoothie, cornflakes and an omelette- very tasty.
The only disappointment with this flight was the seat- comfortable enough for sitting but not lie flat and I kept slipping down while trying to sleep.
Our connecting flight to Edinburgh left on time. We were only 4 pax in business and during the flight a good selection of drinks were offered in addition to a particulary tasty chicken sandwich on a wholemeal roll (a vegetarian option was also available).
The staff on both flights were excellent in their friendliness and in the courtesy with which they offered the inflight service.
I attempted to fly to Mumbai on BA 199 on the 27th September.
Everything seemed fine until we were about to leave and the Captain advised us that we had a small technical problem. After 4 hours (now 2.00am) we were told that the fight was cancelled, we should deplane, and collect our baggage.
All BA were prepared to advise us was that we could have a hotel voucher and that after 5.30 am we could try and rebook either by phone (I do not live in the UK and roaming calls are expensive) or on the internet or we could come back to T5 and the BA desks would be open. The BA "management" just wanted us to get out of the airport and not be an inconvenience to them. We were given no news about future flight options and it was very clear to the 300 or so passengers that we were a problem to BA and should just go away (they even called the police as people started to get angry).
I chose to go to the BA Desks in T5 and wait through the night, I figured it was not worth trying to get to a hotel and I needed to know what was going to happen as I had clients in Mumbai waiting for me.
Fortunately the Airport Night Manager was not a BA Manager and he showed sympathy for the 150 or so of us camping on the floor in T5 and he tried to help and supplied us with some refreshments, he even tried to contact BA but he had no joy either.
During the night the line became longer as people returned from hotels that were full and so by 5.15 or so the Airport manager was trying to brief the BA Managers.
They were clearly annoyed that so many passengers were waiting for them. Finally he and his team set up lines as the BA managers were clearly not intetested in helping us. Eventually we were able to get to the BA desk where the staff (clearly not BA managers) did their best to help.
Moral of the story:
Do not expect BA to help if there is a problem when it is inconvenient for them (i.e at night). Many people wondered why BA could not find another plane or another crew or someone who could work their booking system at night; and we were at Heathrow!! They just wanted to get rid of us.
I will try not to be a inconvenience to BA in the future, whenever possible I'll choose another airline, much better for BA managers. I have been a BA Gold Card holder for 25 years and it's sad.
I hope other business travelers can benefit from my unfortunate experience.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS As we are both over 6’ tall, we had paid extra £240 each to fly in the Premium Economy cabin. This included a dedicated check-in and we were quickly checked-in having reserved our seats two months earlier online. There was no queue at the North Terminal security and just had to remove the lap top from my hand luggage. We were airside within 5 minutes of arriving at the airport which I was very impressed with on this Sunday morning.
BOARDING When Boarding commenced, they initially called persons requiring extra time such as those with children, and then the Premium Economy passengers were called.
THE SEAT Once on board it took some time for everyone to take their seats. Although the Premium Economy passengers were called first, as there were 9 rows of 7 seats, it took some time for all 63 to be seated. Thomson used the former First Choice Boeing 767 on this route, and had dedicated Flight Attendants for the Premium Economy.
Premium Economy is configured the same as Economy on this plane, but with 36” of leg room which was helpful on this 10 hour flight. In terms of the best seat, Row 1 seems to have more leg room but is by the toilet and galley. The plan is configured 2-3-2, so the middle seat in the centre section is to be avoided unless you know your fellow passengers!
Before the doors were closed, passengers in Premium Economy were offered a choice of Pink Champagne or orange juice. The plane pushed back on time at 10.30am and was airborne within 10 minutes.
MENU About an hour into the flight, a round of drinks was served. This was done by ordering in advance and the cabin crew then bringing the drinks with a small bag of pretzels to your seat. About 40 minutes later the meal was served which was chicken or beef! I had the chicken roast which was very tasty. A choice of wine was served with this. After the tea and coffee were served, a choice of liqueurs was offered.
Passengers were able to go to the galley throughout the flight for more drinks and they never refused! They always served you with a smile.
About an hour before landing, a snack of sandwiches and scones was offered with tea and coffee.
ARRIVAL The flight arrived 30 minutes early and we then walked to Passport Control. Each passenger has to pay a fee on arrival of $20 and there is a queue for this before Passport Control. This can be avoided by purchasing in advance on line from the Dominican Republic Embassy in London. There were 4 windows open so we were processed quickly before reaching the baggage carousel. The bags were delayed as an American Airlines flight from New York had arrived just ahead of us and their bags were unloaded first. After a further 20 minutes the bags appeared.
VERDICT A superb, professional and very friendly service by Thomson Airlines. The service was equal to a good business class service and the on-board team should be congratulated for that.
I returned two weeks later on a similar plane for the over-night flight back. Again the level of service was superb.
I would definitely fly with Thomson Airlines again in Premium Economy, though I would like a couple of more inches of leg room. I very much look forward to the arrival of the Boeing 787 and how they plan to configure that.
DUB-LHR-DUB (Economy flexible)
Booking and check in
www.flybmi.com is an easy site to navigate and selecting flights for my preferred dates and times was no trouble. BMI do not charge for checked in baggage which gives them an edge over their rivals on this route.
On line check-in is available 24 hours prior to travel, and I used this facility to print my boarding passes for my same day return.
I arrived at Dublin Terminal 1 just after 7.00am for my 8.40am flight and proceeded straight to security. Since Aer Lingus and transatlantic operators have migrated to Terminal 2, there is a lower number of passengers using T1 which makes it far less crowded. One of the benefits of BMI economy flexible is use of the fast track security queue. The entrance leads directly to the xray machines and I was airside within a minute: the main queue was not terribly long, but the ability to by pass it is a valuable benefit for those in a hurry.
There is a good range of shops and cafes, most of which open around 5.00am to cater for the early birds.
The Diamond Club lounge is adjacent to the main shopping area and is furnished in the usual BMI manner: bright colour sofas with a section for those who wish to work.
There is a limited range of food: biscuits, sweets and packaged pastries. The coffee is good and strong (perfect for early morning!) with a good range of soft and alcoholic drinks.
The range of newspapers and magazines is particularly good.
Boarding is through an airbridge and rearmost rows are called first to minimize delays. Diamond Club Gold holders and economy flexible passengers are invited to board at their leisure.The gate was quite close the lounge, so I didn’t have far to walk. Servisair are BMI’s handling agents and are quite efficient. Boarding was delayed by 15 minutes due to late arrival of the incoming aircraft.
As I got to the gate, I was told that due to an aircraft change, my seat had been changed (from 1D to 4D). I had selected row 1 as I prefer not to have a seatback too close to my face. However, I was pleased to find that the new aircraft was a two class configuration.
The Airbus 320 was immaculate and cabin crew warmly welcomed passengers. This particular aircraft is used for mid-haul flights, and the first 8 rows are configured 2-2 and are large business class type which partly recline but perfectly comfortable for the short flight. There is ample storage for books, etc. The seat is upholstered in brown leather, with carpets a grey pattern. The seat pitch is circa 52inches, so space was not an issue. I noticed that the division between the economy and business cabins was decorated in a black flock effect: very nice touch.
The Captain gave a brief welcome and details of flight times, followed by a safety announcement from the cabin crew. We pushed back at 08.55 and were airborne quickly.
Economy Flexible passengers are offered a hot wrap (mine was scrambled egg, sausage & bacon), a muffin and drink.
We landed in Heathrow at 10.10am after some minutes in a holding pattern, but this was barely past the scheduled time so not an issue. After a short taxi we were on stand and deplaned into T1 through an airbridge.
Return Check in and security
Having my boarding pass already printed, I went directly to security at Heathrow T1 and was processed very quickly. I was airside within 5 minutes.
Being Diamond Club Gold, I visited the Star Alliance lounge. This is a large very comfortable facility with on site restrooms and excellent showers.
Unusually on this occasion I had an issue with a partially blocked drain resulting in the cubicle floor awash with water. I spoke to a manager (Anna) who was most helpful. Her approach was whether there was anything she could do for me? I asked if it would be possible to visit the First Class area and this was no problem whatever. Other service providers would do well to emulate this approach.
The First Class area is very much quieter than Business Class with more comfortable seating. PCs with complimentary internet access are provided along with printing and fax facilities.
The food consists of salads, sandwiches, cold meats, hot savoury snacks, rice crackers. A full bar service is available including Pannier champagne, a couple of glasses I enjoyed whilst reading the latest Lee Child thriller.
As this lounge is quite a long walk from the BMI boarding area, I went to the BMI lounge shortly before boarding. The Great British Lounge is very big with plenty of natural light.
The food is cheese, crackers, biscuits, crisps, nuts, good quality cheesecake and gateaux. I particularly like the jars of old fashioned sweets, always brings me back to my childhood!! There is a full bar service.
Unusually the Dublin bound flight boarded at gate 8, almost beside the lounge. Heretofore it used to be gates 72-78, adjacent to the Aer Lingus departure area and quite a walk from the lounge.
Boarding was by rows, and was quite efficient.
This Airbus 320 was configured in full economy mode, all seats 3-3. The first rows were reserved for economy flexible. Seats were in the newer BMI brown colour, and very attractive. As I had chosen row 1, the bulkhead ensured that I didn’t have a seatback close to my face.
After a welcome announcement from the Captain, the cabin crew gave a safety demonstration.
We pushed back shortly after our scheduled time of 6.40pm, and were airborne shortly afterwards.
I was offered a steak and ale wrap which was quite tasty, along with Pringles and a cold lager which was most welcome.
A very impressive return flight. Excellent service, punctuality and pleasant lounges make BMI a very pleasant airline to travel on the Dublin-London route. The unexpected visit to the Star Alliance First Class lounge was a much appreciated and unexpected surprise and was thoroughly enjoyable
We travelled with Thai to Paris via Bangkok on 31/8/2011 and returned on 30/9/2011.
Boarding in Brisbane and transfer in Bangkok went very smoothly. Service on board both flights was excellent with very good food and beverages. The glass of champagne on boarding is a nice touch.
The seats on the two flights were as different as chalk and cheese. On our first leg their "new" business class seats that don't fully recline are only good for watching their IFE - which was quite good. They are almost impossible to get a good nights sleep on. They are too narrow to turn in and being semi-flat at only 160-170 degrees you consciously feel as if you're slipping out. Transfer arrangements and their Royal Silk lounges in Bangkok are very modern with the opportunity to have a relaxing shower in-between flights.
The flight to Paris (TG930) may be on an older configured 777 but the business class seats recline fully flat and thus provide you with a good nights sleep. The food and service was again excellent and I just wish they'd use those type of seats in all their long haul aircraft. For the price Thai provide a very competitive business class service.
Manchester - Dalaman Return September 2011. 757-200 Aircraft
We had pre-booked seats and meals which means that you get a choice of seats from the first 10 rows of the aircraft. Seats pre-bookable online about 12 weeks before departure. We sat in seats 7c and 7d. These were chosen specifically because my mum prefers the aisle seat and I hate the middle!
Outbound flight from Manchester did leave slightly late, but it seems that hardly any flights I go on recently ever seem to leave on time we always make it up on route. The same occured on the inbound, flight late in taking off from Manchester departed Dalaman over 30 minutes late, but arrived on time.
Seats were cramped as we have come to expect from all 'package' holiday flights these days. 757 aircraft seem to be by far the worst they pack them as tightly as they can get away with.
Cabin Crew friendly enough on both legs, although there was an accident during the meal service involving hot liquid. The stewardess involved was clearly very stressed but dealt with the incident appropriately. The cramped conditions on aircraft also affect the staff.
Food was usual fare, nothing really that edible. Thomson will not be offering pre-cooked meals from 2012 but will have a larger selection of sandwiches etc. on board to purchase. My advice go to Boots, buy a meal deal and eat that on the plane. As for water, an announcement was made that Dalaman airport is very expensive and we were advised to purchase water on board before landing as most people have long transfer times. Good advice - in theory bur for £1.60 a bottle, to then be offered water on board the transfer bus for 1 Lira a bottle (roughly 40p) I was a little peeved. Oh and they want you to buy all your alcohol on the outbound flight as they say they don't stock up upon arrival in Turkey and there is limited availability on inbound flights.
Inbound aircraft was old First Choice 757, space seemed even more limited, no comfort whatsoever for night flight, head and neck position on seats is awful. Who on earth designed the seats? A car seat gives higher levels of comfort.
Would I fly with Thomson Airways again? Probably, as we are all looking for the cheap deal on our holidays in the current climate and this is the price we pay. Is it right to treat people like cattle? No but for £535 11 nights 4* All Inclusive in Turkey I cannot complain too much.
I flew on BA001 on Thurs 22nd Sept 2011 from LCY to JFK. The lounge at City is quite small, but is restricetd to BA001 passengers only. There was champagne, wine, soft drinks, tea, coffee and a small selection of warm canapes and buscuits.
Boarding was very smooth and the interior cabin was clean and bright. The cabin crew on the flight were wonderful. They were friendly and helpful. The food was among the best I've had in the air. I would normally avoid steak on a flight, but seeing as the contract for the supply of catering is with Roast I gave it a try. I was not dissapointed.
The seat is much wider than the regular CW seat and I think it is also a lot more comfortable. The controls are easy to reach and operate and there are plenty of options to choose from to get comfy. The seat folds down to a completely flat bed.
The IFE system was an iPad. I had read some iffy reviews of teh previous system and the cabin crew confirmed that the old system was not up to scratch. The iPad was pre-loaded with lots of films, TV shows and a couple of games. I was perfectly happy.
The short stop at Shannon was fine and we were back on the plane in no time. There was no queue in the immigration hall and for the first time I saw a US immigration officer smile!
The flight over to JFK was smooth and went by too quickly. The high tea that was offered before landing could probably be improved on. The scones were nice, but I didn't like any oif the sandwiches. The alternative salad was very small. However, as we were not in New York for business we were not too bothered as we knew we'd be going out for food in the city.
Disebmarkment was hampered by a fault with the airbridge, but once the ground staff had finally rememembered how to work the thing we were off and skipped past the 100's of people queuing in the immigration hall, as we had already pre-cleared immigration.
All in all I would definately recommend this flight. I did worry before hand in case it was too forcussed towards business passengers, but I needn't have worried. The crew tailored their service accordingly.
I am saving for my next trip!!
This was the first time I have tried Easyjet in over 7 years and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. We flew from Gatwick to Seville and back 3 days later, both ways on the Airbus A319.
As we had already checked in for the outbound flight we proceeded straight to the Speedy Boarding bag drop (We had already paid this in advance), which had no queue at all and were on our way through security within 5 minutes.
For our return flight we had to check in at Seville Airport (online check in is not available here), this was the real benefit to us as they only had two check in desks for the flight, one of which for speedy boarders which saved us a lot of time.
Both flights were comfortable despite being relatively full, we got seats 1 A and B, for the outbound, lots of space here at the front of the cabin and had benefit of being first off the flight at Seville. On the return sat in 1 E and F, not quite as much room but still plenty of space. The fact the seats do not recline is a godsend as it means the small space you have is yours and you will not lose it due to another selfish passenger.
Food and drink prices were the norm for low cost but the quality was ok with the Hot drinks being Starbucks branded and quite nice. The bacon roll, whilst soggy had plenty of bacon and was hot and did the trick on an early flight.
Cabin crew were fantastic on both flights, they were friendly and professional on both flights and were a credit to the airline.
Punctuality couldn't be faulted either on these flights and we were over 30 minutes early getting into Seville and 10 early getting into Gatwick.
Easyjet did what we wanted, got us away for a few days and back safely, ontime and made the journey quite pleasant, more so than previous experiences with their big irish rivals ever have, so will get more business from us going forward.
I flew from LHR to LAX on the 747 High J, and I was seated in the upstairs cabin (Club World).
I must say I was quite surprised with the quality of the product. I have heard so many negative comments about the BA Club World, but I really enjoyed it, and actually did not want to leave the plane when we arrived in LA.. 11 hours just flew by in no time at all..
I connected to this flight from OSL, and the transfer was quick and easy in the Fast Lane.
The lounge was huge, and because of this not very pleasant. The VS lounge is just so much better!
My onboard experience was excellent, ecxept for one thing. I was sitting in the last row upstairs, so I was the last one to choose my meal. And they did not have what I wanted.. And this was the case for all meal servings.. This was very disappointing.
The cabin crew were excellent! Very service minded.
The upstairs cabin is very private and quiet, and this makes the experience so much better than the downstairs cabin.
Arrived LA on time, and I really didn't want to leave my "mini suite"! Immigration in the US took 2 hours! So not a very good end of a great flight..