Go Back   FlyerTalk Forums > Community > Trip Reports
Sign in using an external account

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jun 28, 11, 3:16 pm   #1
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: London
Programs: BA
Posts: 1,166
Smile Our Honeymoon; LHR-YYZ BA in F, Fairmont Royal York; TheFalls & Boathouse (photos!)

Our Honeymoon - LHR-YYZ BA in F; Fairmont Royal York, Marriott Niagara Falls, Boathouse in Northern Ontario (lots of photos)

**There are loads of photos in here using Flickr, which may take a little time to load dependent on your connection and how friendly their servers are being**

I'm not making any apologies for the length of this trip report, but I genuinely hope you take the time to read through and enjoy the fantastic experience I've just had. I don't travel much (compared to the frequent flyers here), so each experience is always exciting for me, and I perhaps view things slightly differently to someone who spends most of their time up in the air.

A trip report 11 Years in the Making

I met future Mrs Malkie in mid 2000 while studying for my doctorate; she was studying for her undergrad at the same University in southern England. In Jan 2002 I made the crazy decision to move to Washington Dc to take up a 2-year post-doctoral position. We continued dating and both made regular trips LHR-IAD for two years, always in Y. I view this as my travel apprenticeship, and certainly contributes to my enjoyment of the comfort of premium cabins I find myself in these days.

Fast Forward to March of 2010, and I treat myself and future Mrs Malkie to a trip to China and Japan (TR) with the intention to propose while there. She accepted and the whirlwind of wedding preparation began. In the trip report someone suggested that seeing as she'd flown J for the proposal it was only 'right' she should fly F on honeymoon. Joking aside, it was clear that if I took out a BA Amex card and put wedding spend on the card I'd quickly achieve the threshold for a 2-4-1, and with my miles balance have no problem booking a long haul F.

So essentially I have FT to thanks for giving the push to use the miles balance properly, and getting myself and Mrs Malkie our first ever trip in F. (My company pays for J travel which is where I get my miles balance from).

Booking the flights

We had no idea where to go on honeymoon. We'd been to south east asia the year before, and while we'd considered the traditional spots of Maritious, we liked the idea of a break split between a city and a quiet spot. Eventually we decided upon Toronto as a city, and then a very quiet private boathouse on a lake in northern ontario as the quiet spot.

I refused to look at flight availability on BA.com until my 2-4-1 had triggered. I genuinely need not have stressed as BA was wide open in F throughout June when I booked back in February. Of note is that BA passes on Government taxes and surcharges to passengers when booking a redemption flight, something which has caught a few people out. I was fully aware, and I'm unwilling to complain about getting 10k flights for 750 and 150k BA Miles.

The Wedding

To be honest, most of the honeymoon planning was left to one side as we had the rest of the wedding to organise. We got married local to where we live in Hanbury Manor, which is owned and run by Marriotts (and hence earned me a significant amount of Marriott points and instant silver status - is that worth anything?!?).

I cannot fault them for the service we received, and I'd thoroughly recommend them for a wedding, a function, or a quiet weekend away. We had a thoroughly amazing day, and both really enjoyed the experience.

I really debated about including any photos of my wedding here because (a) it's private, and (b) it wasn't really a *trip*. However, I was so impressed by the venue that I felt compelled to share, and seeing as this is a mammoth TR I thought; why not!


Hanbury1 by malkie76, on Flickr
Hanbury Manor Exterior shot


Hanbury2 by malkie76, on Flickr
Hanbury Manor, Poles Hall (set for the ceremony)


Hanbury3 by malkie76, on Flickr
Hanbury Manor, Thundridge Room (set for the dinner)


Hanbury4 by malkie76, on Flickr
Hanbury Manor, Poles Hall (set for the evening)

These photos are not mine; they were all taken by our amazing photographer; Tavistock Photography. We are permitted to use these photos online providing we provide a reference to him directly. If you are into photography you may wish to visit his Project Site, with amazing photo journals taking Trains Across America and in Africa with Wells for Ipafu

We had a junior suite to stay in overnight after the wedding, which was far more room than the two of us needed at the end of a very long day. However, if you were staying for a few days and wanted to do a little work, or enjoy in room dining, then it's certainly the way to go.


Hanbury6 by malkie76, on Flickr
Hanbury Manor Suite photo


Hanbury5 by malkie76, on Flickr
View from the suite window

we took a couple of days after the wedding to spend time with family and friends who had travelled. This included one couple who'd travelled from PER to LHR on Royal Brunei in Y which I feel needs some sort of award for painful travel. We were then packing and off to enjoy our well earned honeymoon.
__________________
Most recent TR posted 12th Sept 2013 - [LHR-IAD-ATL;BA in J, lots of photos] (includes links to previous TRs)
malkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 11, 3:17 pm   #2
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: London
Programs: BA
Posts: 1,166
Outbound - LHR-YYZ, BA in F 747-400, 1A & 1K

While seat selection is open to non-status passengers like myself for F with BA, the prized seats of 1A and 1K are held back until T-24 for silver and golds only. As luck would have it they were available at T-24 so I moved us into them. They are the best seats for many as they are tucked into the nose-cone of the 747 creating an extremely private feel for those in them.

We headed off to T5 LHR, and parked up in the long-term parking; a short bus ride from the terminal. I've used valet parking at T5 previously, but took advantage of a deeply discounted rate on the long term parking. For a few pounds more I could have parked at the business parking and used their new driverless pods across to the terminal, but I didn't realise they were up and running yet.


CIMG2588 by malkie76, on Flickr
T5 drop off area

We were dropped off at the terminal and wondered inside to a busy, but not rammed terminal. We were met by staff as we walked in (which I've never have happen before), who ask where we were flying to, and politely which cabin. After we said we were in F she walked us personally to the dedicate F check-in area and wished us a comfortable journey.


CIMG2589 by malkie76, on Flickr
Dedicated First check in area

No queue at F, and perhaps 4 or 5 check in staff waiting to help. Sadly we were then exposed to the fast-track security which took about 15 minutes to get through at about 1pm on a Tuesday afternoon. Only 15 minutes of my life, but the lines weren't that big. This issue really annoys me when it can be so seamless at other airports.

So, then we get the first true advantage of flying in F. Rather than take the magical mystery tour of escalators to reach the J lounges we walk through a very subtle white door straight into the Concorde Room. It's the lounge almost exclusively for passengers flying on an F ticket. You will have to excuse me for saying that this lounge is utterly amazing as I don't do much travel and don't have a great deal of experience with top lounges (my work travel tends to be to the USA, which doesn't have a great reputation for comfort).


CIMG2590 by malkie76, on Flickr
Champagne time in Concorde Room dining area

There are a number of excellent lengthy picture reviews of the Concorde Room (try this one), so I'll limit my photos here. It was Very peaceful with lots of staff ready to help you or get you anything you need. We stepped into the dedicated dining area for lunch and was served two large glasses of champagne upon request. I had the signature burger, while Mrs Malkie had the vegetarian salad, and we shared a tapas platter. Staff were excellent, nothing was too much trouble, and everything was met with a smile.


CIMG2591 by malkie76, on Flickr
Simple stuff, but executed perfectly, which to me sums up BA overall.

We sat on the terrace for a while with another couples of glasses of champagne and I checked FT on my iPhone. Literally before we knew it we had to make our way to B-gates to start boarding, without really enough time to thoroughly enjoy the ambience of the Concorde Room.


CIMG2594 by malkie76, on Flickr
FlyerTalk on my iThing on the terrace


CIMG2595 by malkie76, on Flickr
Terrace view - quiet at 3pm on a Tuesday, and genuinely gives the feeling of being outdoors

I did manage to pop through Galleries First and the drop in class was obvious between the two. It's still a fantastic place with good looking food and choice of drinks, but the gap up to the Concorde Room is noticeable, and rightly so.


CIMG2597 by malkie76, on Flickr
Quick photo of Galleries First

So, we take the train over to B-gates and boarding is just about to commence. I was under the impression we could board at lesuire, but was told to wait to allow them to board passengers with children first. No great problem - we wait for a few minutes then go through fast track boarding, are then escorted to our seats and settle in. Jackets taken, and preflight champagne served. The staff on this flight were outstanding - the perfect balance of presence but leaving us to enjoy the flight. We had three cabin crew for a total of 6 passengers in F - usually I'd take a tour of the plane to check who busy things are, but today I'm staying firmly in my cabin.


CIMG2612 by malkie76, on Flickr
Backwards view in a very quiet F cabin

Washbags were deployed along with the offer of PJs and slippers - but no need on a short day flight (and the slippers will never get over my size 11s). Sadly we are in old version of BA's F seat - they are currently rolling out a new F seat across the fleet. In a way I'm happy to have experienced the old F before it gets replaced, and it gives me something new to look forward to in the future. I checked basource.com after our flights and found out I could have had the new F had I flown a day earlier or later!


CIMG2607 by malkie76, on Flickr
Washbag, menu and champagne (needs a top up!)

More champagne and nuts were served, along with menus and the promise that we could eat whatever we wanted at whatever point in the flight we chose. However, sticking with tradition we enjoyed lunch after take-off, then afternoon tea about an hour before landing!

I've spent a bit of time in J with BA, and thoroughly enjoy the experience. The J seat is an industry leader (imo), and while the food can be hit and miss at times I wouldn't swap to another carrier. Moving up into F with BA was a leap in my opinion. The seat is far more comfortable and spacious (I'm 6foot4, so even the J product with BA is 'snug' for me). Extra personal space to leave my 'stuff', and importantly a 'buddy seat' where your flight companion can come and join you during the flight. The staff are more attentive, and you get a personal feel to your flight which is missing in J.

Mrs Malkie came over for lunch, and it was genuinely a nice experience to sit face to face at 37,000 feet. We both enjoyed an appetitizer of asparagus and cream cheese before the main event.


CIMG2616 by malkie76, on Flickr
Our appetizers (slight turbulance causing blur! - note the angle of the water in my glass)

I started with quail eggs and Mrs Malkie tried the salmon terrine. We followed this with the beef for myself, and the risotto from the 'bistro menu' for Mrs Malkie. This certainly was the best food I've had at 37,000 feet, and a credit to BA. I finished with a trio of deserts which Mrs Malkie declined. (I can scan the full menus if anyone really wants ?????)


CIMG2617 by malkie76, on Flickr
Starters - very, very tasty


CIMG2619 by malkie76, on Flickr
Mains - airlines don't do steak well, but this is the best I've had (sorry for drinking white with it)


CIMG2621 by malkie76, on Flickr
Trio of deserts - perfect finish to an outstanding (in the air) meal

Cabin crew top up our wine then leave us with water and the promise that nothing was too much trouble at any point during the flight. I settle down with the AVOD to catch a couple of movies and snooze my way through 'The Mechanic' and 'I am Number 4', to be honest the combination of a hectic weekend, and a few glasses of champange resulted in me snoozing for a few hours through the movies. Mrs Malkie curled up into a proper sleep and actually stayed that way until 20mins before landing when I woke her up for the descent.

About an hour before landing I tried the afternoon tea. Finger sandwiches, warm scones and delicate cakes accompanied with the best coffee I've had in the air. At this point the turbulance was pretty intense,as you can tell by the wobbly photo - I actually gave up, hence the missing photo of the cakes and scones.


CIMG2626 by malkie76, on Flickr
I'm more including this photo as evidence of the turbulence

Landing was smooth as I've ever enjoyed, and contrary to what I was expecting we breezed immediately through immigration into Canada with no waiting. The only wait was for our bags, and despite being 'priority baggage', and only 6 passengers in F we were far from first on the cauorsel. However I did notice several bags with 'quick transfer' or similar on their tags coming out before ours. Again, it's no big concern as we are in no rush. [of note here is that cabin crew held back J passengers to let initially WTP passengers leave then the F ones - it's a 'design' flaw in the 52J 747 config]

We jump into a cab outside the terminal and pay $50 to get us to downtown and the Fairmont Royal York in about 20 minutes.
__________________
Most recent TR posted 12th Sept 2013 - [LHR-IAD-ATL;BA in J, lots of photos] (includes links to previous TRs)
malkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 11, 3:17 pm   #3
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: London
Programs: BA
Posts: 1,166
Fairmont Royal York, downtown Toronto

This is a hotel with a very rich history, and until recently was apparently the largest in the British Empire. You enter the hotel through a very grand lobby, and it's easy to imagine people 100 years ago stepping off a train to this fantastic hotel. We had paid for a room with a view of Lake Onatario; a view which is somewhat now ruined by the high-rises directly opposite.


CIMG2628 by malkie76, on Flickr
View from the window

The room was spotless, and certainly more than enough space for the pair of us. Reasonable sized bathroom with Miller Harris ammenities.


CIMG2635 by malkie76, on Flickr
I seldom use the stuff they put in bathrooms, but often take some home when away for our guest bathroom at home should we get unexpected guests.

In the lobby of the hotel there is fine dining in EPIC, a japanese steakhouse, the Library Bar (a cocktail bar), and on the avenue level there is an Irish Pub, deli and a collection of shops. The hotel is connected directly to Union Station, and to a large part of the downtown area via underground walkways.


CIMG2631 by malkie76, on Flickr
View of the lobby


CIMG2634 by malkie76, on Flickr
Second lobby shot


CIMG2633 by malkie76, on Flickr
Random corridor shot


CIMG2636 by malkie76, on Flickr
We walked into one of the ballrooms - very impressive!

Worth a visit is the mezanine level where there are photos from throughout the history of the hotel, and various photos of famous people who have stayed there.


CIMG2632 by malkie76, on Flickr
Mezzanine level
__________________
Most recent TR posted 12th Sept 2013 - [LHR-IAD-ATL;BA in J, lots of photos] (includes links to previous TRs)
malkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 11, 3:18 pm   #4
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: London
Programs: BA
Posts: 1,166
Around Toronto


CIMG2665 by malkie76, on Flickr
Inside Union Station


CIMG2666 by malkie76, on Flickr
Fairmont from ground level


CIMG2667 by malkie76, on Flickr
Skywalk to the CN Tower (in the background of this shot)


CIMG2677 by malkie76, on Flickr
View of Fairmont from the CN Tower


CIMG2678 by malkie76, on Flickr
View of Toronto Island Airport from the CN Tower - it's not often planes are flying below you


CIMG2649 by malkie76, on Flickr
Scuplture Garden entrance

We managed to catch most of the tourist locations we wanted during our stay here. CN Tower (obviously), but also the Art Gallery Ontario, Royal Ontario Museum, and the Museum of Inuit Art (recommended). I particularly enjoyed a walk through the historical distillery area, then on to St Lawerences market. There is plenty we missed, but we can always return.


CIMG2704 by malkie76, on Flickr
Amazing Inuit art


CIMG2777 by malkie76, on Flickr
Art Gallery Ontario


CIMG2780 by malkie76, on Flickr
Me outside Royal Ontario Museum (I try to make one appearance in my TRs)

One odd point of interest is Honest Eds store on Bloor St. It sells a load of utter crap, but the Honest Jo also owned a number of Toronto threatres, and the inside of his store is a tribute to the shows and acts he has entertained over the years. Floor to ceiling signed head-shot photos and show advertising posters fill large parts of this otherwise uninteresting shop.


CIMG2650 by malkie76, on Flickr
Outside Honest Eds


CIMG2652 by malkie76, on Flickr
Inside Honest Eds

About a block east from there is a bar with a roof terrace looking out across Toronto - we found it totally by accident but had a lovely hour or so there enjoying the view.

Food throughout the trip was great - I particularly enjoyed a surf-and-turf in a steakhouse a block from the Fairmont, and the quality and selection of the food to be found in Chinatown. The people of Toronto were friendly and welcoming without exception. As our time in Toronto drew to a close we agreed it was somewhere we would like to return to, and could genuinely understand why people from the UK move there.


CIMG2724 by malkie76, on Flickr
Steakhouse surf and turf for me, while Mrs Malkie enjoys a salmon salad


CIMG2778 by malkie76, on Flickr
Far too much chinese food for two people

Next steps were to collect a car from Avis, with a pick-up point essentially next door to the Fairmont.
__________________
Most recent TR posted 12th Sept 2013 - [LHR-IAD-ATL;BA in J, lots of photos] (includes links to previous TRs)
malkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 11, 3:19 pm   #5
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: London
Programs: BA
Posts: 1,166
Marriott Falls View, Niagara Falls

We jumped into our Dodge Avenger, and immediately had a fight with the Sat Nav who was struggling between the high-rises. Luckily we'd walked around the city a little and knew roughly where to head to get to the express way. About an hour and a bit later we were rolling up to the front door of Marriott Falls View for an over-night to experience Niagara Falls.

Checked into this reasonably new hotel and got a room on the 18th floor with a view directly into the Falls. You could genuinely sit and watch the view for hours of this amazing natural formation. I'd been here as a child, but it was Mrs Malkie's first visit - she was very impressed!


CIMG2788 by malkie76, on Flickr
Yes, this was our view from the hotel room - fantastic stuff!


CIMG2789 by malkie76, on Flickr
Panoramic hotel room shot using Mrs Malkie's camera - not sure if the resolution will work on a message board


CIMG2790 by malkie76, on Flickr
Shot from ground level on the way to behind the falls

We did the usual tourist activities of walking along the side of the Falls, then taking the 'Journey Behind the Falls' to actually get as close as you can - it's really just as well they give you waterproofs for this experience. The rest of Niagara is a bit too 'plastic' for us, so we hopped into the car and drove for 20minutes to reach Niagara-on-the-Lake.


CIMG2801 by malkie76, on Flickr
Centre of the town

Niagara-on-the-Lake is as beautiful as the travel books say, and far more peaceful than the Falls area. We took a stroll down the main road, visiting a few random shops, then stopped for lunch immediately opposite one of the many theatres in the area. Again, the food could not be faulted, and the hospitality of the canadian staff was flawless. Front-of-shop staff in the UK could really learn something here.


CIMG2800 by malkie76, on Flickr
chicken for me, and a seafood salad for Mrs Malkie


On the drive back to the Falls we stopped in past Inniskillin Winery to have a tour and wine tasting session. We bought some wine which we'd enjoy later in our trip, and a few bottles of Ice Wine to take back to the UK to serve to guests in the future.

We return to the Falls and enjoyed dinner before taking a walk through the 'night-life' area. We decided to visit one of the Casinos in Niagara, purely really to experience it. I've been to Casinos in the UK, but they were nothing like this - just exactly as DeNiro describes, there were no clocks on the walls, and once inside it was almost impossible to locate the exit. We did spend a little money on the slots; I think it would have been rude to enter a casino without dropping a few coins.


CIMG2791 by malkie76, on Flickr
Casino down the road from our hotel

Back to the room, where we sat looking at the Falls at night, with fireworks and light displays over the water - far more impressive than the flashing lights of the casino.

The next morning we are back in the Dodge for a 3.5hr drive to a lake in northern Ontario for a very peaceful week in a boathouse.
__________________
Most recent TR posted 12th Sept 2013 - [LHR-IAD-ATL;BA in J, lots of photos] (includes links to previous TRs)
malkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 11, 3:20 pm   #6
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: London
Programs: BA
Posts: 1,166
Boathouse, Peninsula Lake, Ontario

We saw photos of this boathouse online and fell in love with it immediately. It actually sits on the water with a fantastic balcony out onto the Lake. This was the perfect peaceful location we were looking for with very little going on. The converted boathouse had a kitchen area, lounge area with fireplace, a large whirlpool tube, and separate bathroom.


CIMG2857 by malkie76, on Flickr
Lounge towards kitchen


CIMG2862 by malkie76, on Flickr
Fireplace in the lounge


CIMG2866 by malkie76, on Flickr
The view towards outside


CIMG2876 by malkie76, on Flickr
The view outside


CIMG2889 by malkie76, on Flickr
The boathouse as seen from the lake (taken by us while on a boat!)

A short walk from the boathouse was the main lodge where we went to eat - the food was simple but very tasty, and yet again the staff were outstanding. There were all sorts of activities available from water skiing and speedboats, to an indoor pool and table-tennis - we didn't really take advantage, but did venture out on to the water in a rowing boat. Our evenings were spent in the boathouse, playing a little backgammon, watching a movie or two on my netbook, and drinking some of the canadian wine.


CIMG2878 by malkie76, on Flickr
Decent homecooked steak and mushrooms - I'm obviously excited and doing a little jig

We were very close to the Algonquin Provincial Park which has literally hundreds of miles of walks through beautiful untouched Canadian wilderness. We spent two days taking walks, with plenty of mosquito bites to show for it, and soaking clothes after getting caught in a storm which left large parts of this area without power. The rest of our time was very relaxed, doing little more than wondering through near-by towns and enjoying the good weather.


CIMG2894 by malkie76, on Flickr
Taken inside the park

Sadly our time in Canada had to come to and end, so we packed up and headed back to YYZ for our return flight. The Avis drop off point is located under Terminal1, so you are immediately into the airport after leaving the car.
__________________
Most recent TR posted 12th Sept 2013 - [LHR-IAD-ATL;BA in J, lots of photos] (includes links to previous TRs)
malkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 11, 3:20 pm   #7
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: London
Programs: BA
Posts: 1,166
Return- YYZ-LHR, BA in F 747-400, 1A & 1K (again!)


CIMG2919 by malkie76, on Flickr
Terminal 3, YYZ

After dropping the car we entered Terminal 1, then took a very short monorail ride over to Terminal 3. The BA check-in area is located at the far lefthand end of the terminal, a reasonable walk from the monorail. We were rather early as I didn't know how traffic would be, and wasn't sure if the drop off point for the car was in the terminal or not (as I'd picked the car up from a city location).


CIMG2920 by malkie76, on Flickr
BA Check in desks

No wait at check-in and the helpful desk staff gave us maps to the lounge (I'd bagged 1A & 1K again at OLCI). Slipped through security very quickly - no obvious fast-track, but absolutely no need as there was no waiting. (LHR T5 really needs to fix this). This is quite a big a terminal with a reasonable amount of shopping, but I'm happy to head to the lounge to relax.


CIMG2938 by malkie76, on Flickr
Entrance to BA lounge - it's at this point you know you are nearly home

The lounge is above the terminal area where the plane departs. It's a dedicated BA lounge, with J and F sides, recently(ish) updated to the Galleries concept. The J area is large, with plenty of seating and two dedicated food areas. By comparison the F side is small with a limited selection - however the F passengers are obviously free to use the J side for anything they want. The main difference is the pre-flight dining, where J is a (very nice) buffet with a chef making fajitas to order and F is full table service. Plenty of drinks options, and free flowing champagne in F.


CIMG2927 by malkie76, on Flickr
First Lounge, drinks area looking towards First preflight dining


CIMG2931 by malkie76, on Flickr
Business lounge nibbles area


CIMG2930 by malkie76, on Flickr
Business lounge preflight dining - excellent buffet choice, and a chef making fajitas to order

Desk staff at the lounge were excellent - they took time to explain where everything was and at what time we could have a seat for dinner. We took seats in the F side of the lounge, and poured ourselves some champagne and collected a few nibbles. Mrs Malkie headed to the shops while I went online. Sad to report that the BA lounge doesn't have independent wifi; they use the terminal free wifi, which gets terrible reception in the lounge (also mentioned in other reports). I could just about get a signal on my iPhone, but the netbook wasn't playing at all.

Mrs Malkie returned and we headed for dinner. This quickly became the highlight and the lowlight of the YYZ lounge experience.

The highlight? - there was one girl serving F passengers dinner and drinks, and she was simply perfect and a credit to BA ground staff. She looked after us extremely well, but the thing that stands out is how she handled an elderly passenger in F. The passenger shared that her son had bought the ticket and she wasn't familiar with what lounges were all about. The female server took extra time to explain what was where, that everything was included, and that she would get her anything she wanted from any part of the lounge to save her walking.

The lowlight? - the food was terrible. I'm reasonably easy to please, but perhaps due to the excellent food I had had for the past two weeks I was somewhat disappointed with the preflight dinner in the F lounge. Starter was ok, but the main course chicken was dry and lacking any decent sauce to compliment it. This is the only issue I have with the entire BA F experience, so it's nothing really major.


CIMG2935 by malkie76, on Flickr
Starters - Mrs Malkie has a salad, while I try the warm lobster tart


CIMG2936 by malkie76, on Flickr
The disappointing main courses I hate to sound like a snob, but I've had better in the air in Y


CIMG2937 by malkie76, on Flickr
Decent desert and cheese offering - notice plenty of champagne from the excellent host!

Back to the lounge where we had another champagne and watched sports on the TV. Baseball and icehockey were on, which led to passengers actually talking to each other about the results and what was on at the moment. I don't think I've ever had a conversation with another passenger in a lounge (at least the ones where a significant portion are British). Possibly because it was a Friday night, and passengers were heading home to be with their family and were in reasonably good moods - maybe you want to comment on your experiences?


CIMG2939 by malkie76, on Flickr
Our bird home - gorgeous 747-400

Boarding was called by the lounge staff and we headed downstairs to the gate area. It was a very busy flight, with a reasonable line at the fasttrack. The gate staff held back the non fast track, so we were on within minutes. Taken to our seats (old F again ), offered PJs (which I accepted), and a preflight champagne [I really should have stopped as I know how dry airplanes get, so I know I'm going to wake in the night very thirsty]. Another set of wash bags, and if I have a minor grumble it's that there's really not enough toothpaste for two brushings. I've seen other carriers F washbags with 50ml tubes of colgate, but I've barely got enough for one decent brushing.

F was full save for one seat, but everyone appeared to get onboard and settled quickly. Again I didn't venture into other parts of the plane, but based on the gate area the 747 was pretty full. It seemed like a quick take off, before champagne top ups, nuts and towels. We were offered full dining options from the menu, but everyone wanted to get quickly to sleep on this short overnight flight. I had a further champagne, Mrs Malkie asked for a cognac then we both headed to bed. I changed into PJs (which fit no problem), but Mrs Malkie though the idea of changing in an airplane toilet was a bit odd so stayed in her day clothes.

The cabin crew made my bed (the bed cover matress and extra duvet), whereas Mrs Malkie reclined her seat to about 45degrees and fell asleep. I honestly wonder if Mrs Malkie was getting the full amount of the F experience as she again she slept until 20 minutes before landing in a non-flat bed.


CIMG2950 by malkie76, on Flickr
All 6foot4 of me with space to spare in the F bed

I had asked the crew to wake me for breakfast, and thoroughly enjoyed a fresh fruit salad, followed by the full english and several coffees. Again, the food was spot on, and the crew outstanding - always making sure we were happy, yet leaving you to get a decent sleep.


CIMG2951 by malkie76, on Flickr
The photo doesn't do justice to the size and quality of this fruit salad


CIMG2952 by malkie76, on Flickr
The perfect full english breakfast - better than I've had in many 'greasy spoons'.

A short amount of circling was followed by yet another smooth landing (or perhaps the landings are always smooth in F?).

Now the shortcomings of T5 are exposed as we are bussed back to the Terminal from a remote stand. Tired groggy passengers are rammed inside a bus for the rather lengthy drive around the terminal to immigration. The pilot did assure us it was quicker than getting a stand and using the monorail. I'm not convinced. Anyways, a very short line at immigration, and our bags were one of the first to arrive.


CIMG2955 by malkie76, on Flickr
Entrance to Galleries Arrivals lounge

To fully maximise the F experience we popped into the Galleries Arrivals lounge before collecting the car. Sat in the Concorde breakfast room slightly glaze-eyed and ordered some fruit, orange juice and coffee which arrived very quickly and again served by warm staff. The lounge was quiet, but then again it was Saturday morning which I might expect is never too busy. We decided against a shower in favour of heading back to the long stay car park.


CIMG2953 by malkie76, on Flickr
Concorde Breakfast room

Back into the car and just over an hour later we were back where we started in the comfort of our own home.

Conclusions

Toronto was a fantastic city with extremely warm and welcoming people.

Mosquitos like Mrs Malkie.

Overall, this was a fablous experience, and a marked step up from J with BA on the outbound. I'm not convinced about the added value of F on the return of this short flight as I preferred the J lounge, and the F preflight dining wasn't that amazing. The additional comfort of the bigger bed was great for me, but I'd struggle to justify that for Mrs Malkie who slept at a angle all night.


It's maintained my interest in premium flying, and I'm already thinking about where we fancy next. I've got my eyes on a trip to Australia (to visit the couple who came to my wedding), but I'm in no illusion that it's difficult to get redemption tickets on this route (and besides, my mileage balance is slightly off that). I've already started pricing up paying for J tickets to Australia, which just proves if you give someone a taster of premium flying they find it very difficult to head back to Y.

I hope you've enjoyed this marathon TR - please feel to ask questions or comment - I do have further photographs, so if you want to see something specific I may have it recorded!

Happy Flying!
__________________
Most recent TR posted 12th Sept 2013 - [LHR-IAD-ATL;BA in J, lots of photos] (includes links to previous TRs)
malkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 11, 3:33 pm   #8
Moderator: British Airways Executive Club
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: in a cabin
Programs: BA Gold, IC RA, Hyatt Diamond and some other less noble cards
Posts: 4,945
I love your report and commiserations on the marriage
We did stayed at the Fairmont Royal York 18 months ago and also liked this old grand lady a lot, and visited The Falls on the way to YYZ driving from NYC. Toronto is a great city and I can't wait to get back.

Good photos also
Petrus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 11, 4:21 pm   #9
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Glasgow.
Programs: BA Gold. MUCCI.
Posts: 4,209
Great report.

Sounds like you had a much better time of it than I did - I had full cabins both ways (well actually full flights both ways....)

I'm delighted you had such a good time; I'll come on and post a full compare and contrast tomorrow. One thing I would note is that I agree with your comment about the chicken in the Toronto Flounge: it wasn't great was it!
andset1191 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 11, 4:59 pm   #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: yyz
Posts: 1,783
Quote:
Originally Posted by malkie View Post
I hope you've enjoyed this marathon TR - please feel to ask questions or comment - I do have further photographs, so if you want to see something specific I may have it recorded!
Thoroughly enjoyed it! Thanks.

Were you able to see/record the mists of Niagara Falls from the CN tower?

"On a clear day, visitors to the CN Tower's observation deck can see over 160 kilometers (100 miles) -- that's all the way to Niagara Falls and across Lake Ontario to New York State."

http://gocanada.about.com/od/canadia...ctscntower.htm
PropWasher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 11, 6:39 pm   #11
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 404
Wonderful trip report. I really enjoyed your photos - glad you took photos in the air and on land.
halfcape is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 11, 7:34 pm   #12
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Preston
Programs: Skywards Silver, Miles & Bonus Gold, BD Diamond Blue
Posts: 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by malkie View Post
Return- YYZ-LHR, BA in F 747-400, 1A & 1K (again!)


It's maintained my interest in premium flying, and I'm already thinking about where we fancy next. I've got my eyes on a trip to Australia (to visit the couple who came to my wedding), but I'm in no illusion that it's difficult to get redemption tickets on this route (and besides, my mileage balance is slightly off that). I've already started pricing up paying for J tickets to Australia, which just proves if you give someone a taster of premium flying they find it very difficult to head back to Y.

I hope you've enjoyed this marathon TR - please feel to ask questions or comment - I do have further photographs, so if you want to see something specific I may have it recorded!

Happy Flying!

Awsome TR on BA 1st. Looks like you had a great set of cabin crew for your flights, I understand it can be hit and miss for BA even in 1st.

Yes it is hard to step back down to cattle class, however the eye-watering price of premium cabin tickets usually does the trick for me!
vieri_c is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 29, 11, 3:55 am   #13
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: London
Programs: BA
Posts: 1,166
I'm very glad you like my TR - it was fun taking the photos and I really enjoyed writing the report as it reminded me of the good times we had while away.

Quote:
Toronto is a great city and I can't wait to get back.
I totally agree, but sadly there is a whole world to explore, and we've barely scratched the surface! I think it would be nice to return in a few years for an anniversary to compare how things have changed.

Quote:
Were you able to see/record the mists of Niagara Falls from the CN tower?
Sadly no. The feeling now is that the hotel constructions at the Falls have altered how the mist rises making it harder to see. We could see the skyline of the Niagara hotels from the CN Tower, but not the mist.

Interestingly we couldn't see the CN Tower from Niagara!

Quote:
however the eye-watering price of premium cabin tickets usually does the trick for me!
I know exactly what you mean - my personal issue is my height (6foot4), which really doesn't fit well into economy spaces. The ground experience of premium flying is always fun, but the key element is the additional personal space on-board.

I'm considering giving AirAsiaX a try for a trip to Australia - it's not a business class product by any standards, but does give you excellent space on board. It's competitively priced with other carriers premium economy products, but with a seat used by other airlines in J. I'm just concerned about their lack of customer care when things go wrong.
__________________
Most recent TR posted 12th Sept 2013 - [LHR-IAD-ATL;BA in J, lots of photos] (includes links to previous TRs)
malkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 29, 11, 9:13 am   #14
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: London, UK
Programs: Lord Mucci des Contes de Voyages, Diamond Hairbrush
Posts: 11,495
A very enjoyable trip report, and congratulations on your marriage!

I totally agree that F is a significant step up from J - the seat is a lot more comfortable, and the service aspect (when done correctly) is noticeably different.

I'm glad that you enjoyed the onboard food and service, two things that are very hit and miss currently on BA (although the food is being sorted out - or so we are led to believe!).
__________________
Genius1 Trip Report Index
Genius1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 29, 11, 7:26 pm   #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Preston
Programs: Skywards Silver, Miles & Bonus Gold, BD Diamond Blue
Posts: 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by malkie View Post
I'm very glad you like my TR - it was fun taking the photos and I really enjoyed writing the report as it reminded me of the good times we had while away.


I know exactly what you mean - my personal issue is my height (6foot4), which really doesn't fit well into economy spaces. The ground experience of premium flying is always fun, but the key element is the additional personal space on-board.

I'm considering giving AirAsiaX a try for a trip to Australia - it's not a business class product by any standards, but does give you excellent space on board. It's competitively priced with other carriers premium economy products, but with a seat used by other airlines in J. I'm just concerned about their lack of customer care when things go wrong.
We flew ICN-KUL in cattle class with AirAsiaX a few months back. The premium seats do look good, plenty of legroom especially in the front row. Its angled lie flats, but for the price its pretty outstanding value, especially when you catch 1 of their fare promos.

Yes their call centre can be difficult, and dont expect compensation for delayed baggage, plus baggage seems to get damaged more frequently with AirAsia, perhaps as they only load bags manually. However groundstaff are always helpful and pleasant, even at peak times at their KUL bus depot masquarading as an airport terminal!

1 advice, do take your noise cancelling headsets, the A330s are pretty noisy, I wonder if AirAsia skimmed on the insulation for weight-saving! Have been on other A330/340 family aircraft, defo a difference in noise!

Last edited by vieri_c; Jun 30, 11 at 5:31 pm.
vieri_c is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
Reply

Bookmarks


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 4:11 pm.