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Old Sep 9, 12, 2:40 pm   #1
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Creating a Photo: Back to New York with British Airways and the A318 in CWLCY

Creating a Photo: Back to New York with British Airways
Featuring the British Airways Airbus A318E.
Or - “World. Enough now. Stop it. Please. Pretty Please...”


Welcome to yet another Kevincm/GhettoIFE Trip report… and at the pointy end of the plane again!

What’s this? TWO sets of Business Flights in year? Am I going soft in my old age? Hardly – this is about getting the best value and enjoying it as such.

However what is given with one hand is taken with another- and watch how this degenerates as the trip progresses…


So I went into the cheap furniture shops again (The introduction)

I love cheap furniture shops. Mainly because there are source of ideas and inspiration (yes, photographers get inspiration for everywhere. Even in the crappy furniture shops that really shouldn't be on the high street). Last time I went into one was the germination of an idea that ended up in this canvas:



NYC - Times Square Photo. (c) Kevincm 2011.
PLEASE DON'T REUSE WITHOUT PERMISSION.


Oh yes, I sell these as pretty canvases if anyone is remotely interested

The story behind this photo is documented in Recreating a photo - to New York with United, BMI Baby and British Airways

This is looking towards one end of Times Square, but I always thought I could improve this photo - and thus I’ve been keeping an eye for reasonable fares to New York.

Other things have happened in the meantime however in the aviation and miles world.

Star Alliance is a fading memory for me as I’ve decided to embrace British Airways Executive Club full on, with all my BMI Diamond club miles migrated over. Even though I have a reasonable amount of Avois thanks to that transfer, it’s always a good idea to top it up with actual flying (as opposed to earning all my Avios in a supermarket). That and get some Tier Points in the bank too would be helpful.

Thankfully there was a BA fare sale in Club World. Now normally I wouldn’t touch this with a barge poll, but sometimes you have to say “screw it” when you’re invited to go and see friends

And at £1200 to New York it wasn’t overpriced compared to how some restricted Economy Class fares were pricing (about £600-£700) for the time of year I was flying out (the 2nd week of the London 2012 Olympics).

However - to get to New York, there are choices.
  • The Traditional LHR-JFK route - This would had got me there the olde fashioned way, and a chance to use the posh lounges and LHR.
  • The Non Traditional LHR-EWR route - I go through Newark enough with the New United. Even though it’s a new Terminal, it’s still the back end of New Jersey...
  • The new route - LCY-SNN-JFK - The Baby Bus and its promise of a single business class service

There was some thinking, and I’ll be honest - the EWR route was dismissed first. Then it was the matter of LHR vs. LCY. I’ve done my fair share of 747-400’s in my time, and I felt it was time for something different – very different.

So after punching the credit card digits into BA.com, and seeing the card was accepted, I had a confirmed PNR for London City - Shannon - New York JFK - London City on the British Airways Club World London City Service.

After booking that (and watching the money empty out of my credit card account), it was time to turn my eyes to the hotel. My friends in NJ kindly offered me a bed for a couple of nights (which I accepted).

However, that would be the weekend part of the trip. For the first two nights, I needed a place to stay in New York - and as usual, summer prices are enough to scare anyone senseless.

I therefore defaulted back to the property I stayed in last time - The Holiday Inn Long Island Manhattan View. Whilst it was in Long Island, it was 1) Cheap as chips for a New York Hotel, 2) It’s one block away from the N, Q, R subway lines and 3) Priority Club points are always helpful...

Finally, there was the matter of getting to London and getting back from London. Being the peak of Olympic traffic, trains were pricing up expensive. Therefore it was back to National Express on the way out for £9.50 all in, and on the way back an Advance Ticket from Chiltern Railways for a grand total of £6.


Map by the Great Circle Mapper - http://www.gcmap.com/
Well this all sounds simple enough.

Well that was the plan. And we all know happens when the best laid plans of mice and men collide.

Watch how this descends into chaos, absolute madness and why I hate technology… and why I think the world had it in for me this trip…
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Old Sep 9, 12, 2:41 pm   #2
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Part I - To London

I suppose I'd better put my usual warning about my writing style and the grammar in this report - which can be found at http://boardingarea.com/blogs/ghetto...ers-out-there/.

On the other hand, I've gone back to editing my reports in a proper word processor as opposed to Google Docs - so hopefully, things will improve on this front... or not....


Part 1 – Getting to London

A few weeks before to the day before...

Food poisoning is not pleasant. It’s doubly unpleasant when you have two lots of it in a row - it was almost to a point that I was close to cancelling the trip (on reflection - cancelling the trip would had saved a lot of heartache along the line). Thankfully, my body recovered slowly - with the amount of Lucozade Sport Lite and boring food allowing my system to mostly recover.

Trust me, on Tuesday morning, it was still a bit touch and go with the stomach, but I made sure I loaded up some extra Gavison Extra “just in case” (thankfully looking back, it’s the one thing that DIDN’T go wrong!).

Waiting for 13:00 on the day before was an impatient time at the office. Apart from getting bits of the network to go into automatic maintenance whilst I was away (such as sorting out backup schedules, organising the stuff I can’t do whilst I was gone, it was also an impatient time waiting for On-Line Check In to open.

At 13:00 BA Time (my server clock is a little bit off), OLCI opened, and I checked in successfully with SEQ01 on the boarding pass. As usual, I had managed to secure what I thought was an OK seat, with the plane looking ½ empty at that point.

With that thought complete, I closed down OLCI to worry about one my managers suggesting something that would be infinitely stupid as well as a risk to the network.

Managers. Gotta love them. Especially the ones who “think” they know about Information Technology infrastructures when all they do is make my life harder...

7am on a Birmingham morning

Unlike my usual trips to the USA where I have to be up at the crack of dawn - today I have a comparatively lazy start to the day with the coach departing at 08:00 and the plane leaving London City at 13:00, I needed to be at Birmingham Digbeth Coach Station 07:45.

So at 7:15 I called my local cab company whereupon the driver got lost getting to the flat. When the driver found the right road, he passed where I was standing and drove to the end of the road, whilst ignoring me waving at him and only and only acknowledging me I opened the door of the cab with a feeble excuse.

It reminded me of a certain co-worker of mine who thinks he is always right in life, right down to the mannerisms. Part of me knew this was a bad omen for the trip.

Thankfully the taxi driver wasn’t gentle on the accelerator, and got me to the coach station in time for the coach. My ticket was taken, and I was directed to one of two coaches that were forming NX410 to London.

National Express NX410
Birmingham Coach Station - Victoria Coach Station


The coach itself was pretty packed with people heading to Olympic Park as well as a few people going to London for a few days.

Thankfully, the coach pulled out on schedule, and I fired up the iPhone with today’s starter for 10 - well it can only be one song -National Express by The Divine Comedy

All together now with The Divine Comedy - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHbdhkrhBKw


Heading out of Birmingham on the Aston Expressway.

The coach made its way out of Birmingham and headed for the Aston Expressway, then the M6/M1 route straight to London via Finchley Central. Amazingly, the motorway route was pretty clear - which is a miracle in itself, with only a bit of traffic near Luton Airport.

That miracle changed when the coach entered Finchley, and traffic was at a standstill due to a Police incident near the Underground station. Eventually, the coach made it through the traffic, and even the Olympic Traffic wasn’t causing too many issues going down Baker Street, over to Hyde Park. No, the major wait was at Victoria Coach Station Arrivals where coaches were taking their own sweet time unloading.

Looking at the clock, there was 1 hour 40 till the flight was going to go. Therefore I put my skates on and ran with the pulley bag to Victoria Train station, and dived into the Underground station.





A very patriotic Victoria Station

And as I made my way into the station, I ran into a moving wall of people - a real sign of Olympic traffic. Thankfully, LUL staff were filtering people through with cases (and those with no cases). Pre-armed with a loaded Oyster Card, I beeped into the Tube network to navigate it during this madness.

It was then a case of two hops west to Westminster Underground, a traipse around the south of on the Jubilee line and finally to Canning Town for a DLR hop to London City Airport. Whilst the Tube was busier than normal, people were in good spirits and happier than normal. Meanwhile the DLR was quiet – a bit quieter than I’ve seen it in the past.

The DLR made it to London City Airport in a reasonable time, and I had an hour to departure time. For a big airport like Heathrow, I would had been breaking into a run – for London City (and on this service) the check in deadlines are 15 minutes with hand luggage, 20 minutes with luggage.

After beeping my Oyster Card out, I went to the check in Counter at the front of City Airport (think kerbside check-in with a hotel style service), where there was someone waiting to take my bag and complete the check in for the flight (I just love the old style card boarding passes still).


Check in for CWLC Service


Luggage tags


Main Check in area

I was also asked if this was the first time I was taking this service, and was given an explanation that we would be stopping in Shannon for immigration and to head to Gate 24 lounge where there were would be papers, drinks and snacks would be waiting

With that my boarding pass in hand and my rollaboard bag taken from me, it was time to head off to LCY security, which at midday was... quiet to say the least. Or to put it bluntly, through in 2 minutes.

Another reason to like London City Airport.

Once through security, you’re in the public area, and this being a small airport, they packed a lot of things in a small space – which suits me as I’m getting tired of the usual hike across Heathrow Terminal 1. It was then a matter of following signs to Gate 24 – the BA Club World London City Gate.

This gate is pretty much used only for BA1 or BA2, and it set up for 32 passengers.

I was welcomed to the lounge and given the lovely blue US Customs form to fill out. I plonked myself down and well – there was a bottle of Taittinger. It would been rude not to have a glass. Or two.


The view from gate

With about 20 minutes to go, the call for boarding was given, with a load of 31 out of 32 seats. It was at this time I noticed younger children on the plane… and parents looking at magazine supplements.

Hmm. That smell is familiar – oncoming trouble.

At this point I made my way out onto the tarmac and onto BA1…

Last edited by Kevincm; Sep 10, 12 at 4:19 am Reason: Changed photohost.
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Old Sep 9, 12, 2:41 pm   #3
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Part II - LCY - SNN - JFK onboard BA1

BA001 - London City Airport to Shannon Airport
British Airways, Airbus A318 Elite, Seat 7K
Club World London City (Business Class)


Photos:

Apologies for the lack of photos in this segment. A memory card decided it wanted to spend its life in an unknown part of New York rather than hang around with me…. grr...

I went up the airstairs and boarded the plane where the purser was greeting passengers as I boarded. In front of me there was not one… but two families.

I was greeted warmly, and pointed towards my seat the back of the plane. Now when I did check in the day before, this was as quiet as anything down the back – by this time now it had solidified down the back. I got to my seat and surveyed the situation.
  • 1 young girl in 6A
  • 1 very young child in 6K
  • 1 older boy in 7A
  • And where was I… 7K....

Dear readers – I’m sure you know exactly what words were going through my mind at this point. The fact I couldn’t say them out loud is besides the point.

It was now a question of how bad those wonderful children will be.

Boarding was completed quickly and the aircraft was buttoned up on time. The Captain and crew gave their introductory speeches welcoming up aboard BA1 and the menus were handed out.





[IMG]ttp://boardingarea.com/blogs/ghettoife/files/2012/08/ba14barmenu-700x1024.png[/IMG]





The safety demonstration was given by hand (as there are no overhead monitors on this aircraft), and off a taxing the plane went.

Now as most of us know, London City Airport is a postage stamp of an airport with an equally sized postage stamp of a runway. Or to put it bluntly, we had to wait for other aircraft to vacate the runway before our little Airbus A318 (or for this airport, our big Airbus A318) could taxi down the runway before turning around and putting the power on.

The result is this for a take off:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7OBs7QolIw - A darned powerful takeoff…

The plane took a route over climbing out of the airport, then banking towards Stratford and the Olympic Park before making tracks to Shannon.

Once in the air, the passenger next to me extended his bed, and I put mine in rest mode, reading around and looking at the product. I also got to try out the Noise Cancelling headphone that BA supply on this route.

Trust me. They worked very well later on in the flight.

Climb-out continued, and the crew were released to conduct the first service. Firstly the two ladies doing the drinks run greeted me by name (something that was to continue for the entire flight) and I opted for a Kir Royal (with a glass of water on the side – it’s not good form to turn up drunk at the US Border after all).


Well – it is my first PAID business flight after all .

Lets have a quick look around the cabin. It is starting to age a bit, with scuff marks here and there.


Looking forward in the cabin (taken before take off)


Footrest


Overhead panel - notice the mobile phone network active... or not.


Seat controls - Note the Canon 50D in the photo. I'll get to that later in the Trip Report.


Seat - in seat position (taken on the return leg)


In Relax position (taken on the return leg)


In Bed position (taken on the return leg)

The bin over 7K... was yes.... over-sprung to say the least - still it kept family in surprise to me when their child wanted something from the overhead

Also during the point, the purser made his first round, using his BA iPad, greeting me with two messages from Executive Club regarding my first times in the cabin and service, and a short discussion about my BA profile (which had me pegged as a European flyer as a transfer from BMI – nothing like a bad database after all). At this point my lunch order was taken… and I was having trouble choosing between the Concorde crab cakes and the Roast Chicken.

“Have both Sir”.

Now that’s a nice bit of service there.

After the first drinks service was complete, the purser came around again with the starters – a choice of beetroot with feta cheese or a ham hock compit and celeriac remoulde compote with melba toast.

Obviously it was the ham.

Now, you’ll forgive me that I go into nice terms about the food – this can be put down to the dicky stomach I had the week and a bit before.

The ham was light, along with the way it had been shredded and the celery worked with the combination.



The crew were in full pre-emptive topup regime, checking if topups were needed and delivering them when required.

I could get used to this sort of crew…

Soon enough it was time to clear down the plane as we approached Shannon, so glasses and plates were collected, and soon the screams began from 6K…

Wonderful.

Touchdown was a much less spirited affair than take off, and soon enough we were taxing to the gate

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cion3shOOis - Landing at SNN

The only other other passenger aircraft around was a Aer Lingus Regional ATR (well there were other passenger aircraft around… a lot of ex-Spanair A319’s mainly). Soon enough we were heading to gate where all passengers were reminded of the procedures for transfer.

After the airbridge was attached, we were invited to disembark, where upon I made sure I was one step ahead of the families. Well one little bonus to speed up the journey a bit


Baby bus at the gate

After finding my way to the Luggage waiting area (where everyone else was waiting – it seems this was one of those LCY “leisure” flights almost), I realised I forgot to ring the credit card company up to tell them I was going away. A quick phone call, and that was dealt with, and at that point the Luggage delivery was completed – leading me to be one of the first people to be cleared for US Security and Immigration.

Security was quick and painless with no security arch, and US Immigration was friendly as I had 5 agents to choose from. Again, I’m a fan of clearing in Ireland on the way to the USA – so this was my sort of US immigration experience as opposed to waiting an hour in a switchback at O’Hare.

Once through security, there isn’t a lot to be honest. The duty free shop was closed, and the terminal was… well… deserted apart from 31 passengers rattling around.


Waiting area

At this point, I wanted to update myself with the world, so I decided to check my mail on the computer and dump the first batch of photos. And my Mac at that point decided to freeze. That’s something not unheard of on Mac’s, but something wasn’t right. I popped the computer back into the rucksack and hoped for the best as boarding was called at Gate 107.

Boarding began as I got to the gate. My boarding pass was torn, and it was back on the plane for me

BA001 - Shannon Airport to New York John F Kennedy International
British Airways, Airbus A318 Elite, Seat 7K
Club World London City (Business Class)


Making my way aboard the plane before the children got there was one of my better moves of the day as it allowed me to get all the bits I would need ready for the flight.

The plane was buttoned down quickly, with a change of flight deck crew at the front, and a quick reminder of the safety procedures.

Hints of signs to come begun when the plane began to taxi when mother of the child in 7A rushed to get up and get son’s take off sweets. Thankfully the purser was quick to 1) get the woman back into her seat and 2) get the child some raisins to suck on during take off.

Once again, the CFM engines spooled up, and our little Airbus A318 took the sky.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBswm6PHSmo

Once again in the air, the crew did a drinks run. This time I went with a Club World London City Champagne cocktail. (Kir Royal, Taittinger, Gin and something else). To say it was rather quaffable would be an understatement .

The amenity kits were also distributed at this point too.

Meanwhile, I decided to try and get my Mac working. And this is where my plan went horribly wrong when I got a Kernel Panic and flashing folder icons (for those of you in Windows land - think Blue Screen of Death).

The words that I was holding back were all impolite… but there were children around. The PRAM was screwed, and more importantly the Mac couldn’t access the hard disk. Not good things. In the end, the Mac became a battery charger for the iPhone, and my mood... was darkening.

At this time, the crew delivered the IFE devices – which are Apple iPads. The iPads were a custom configuration, removing the usual Springboard menu system that you have on am iPad/Phone with a custom menu solution with content.


iPad in case

And… it worked a dream. There were mounting arms inside the seats which could be extended, or do what I did – rest it on the side or the stomach when the bed is in the flat position. However, a good IFE system can only be a “great” IFE system when you have good and varied content. And British Airways got this correct with a good spread of World and British films, as well as TV programming. The only thing missing sadly is a moving map.

Still it’s a great solution for the need – and much lighter than a traditional IFE set-up that only some might use on a plane. Or lets put it like this: I didn’t resort to my iPhone for entertainment needs during the remainder of the flight.

Still at least the crew were livening me up when lunch was delivered. Now I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a fussy eater – but the crew did a good job with the food service, with it plated and presented well. The chicken wasn’t tough at all with a lovely cheese inside, and the Concorde crab cakes were amazingly light. The vegetables to me were well cooked and seemed fine to me.

Meanwhile during dinner, the Kir Royals continued to flow. I think this crew had me figured out by now

Desert was apple pie or cheese – neither of which I’m a fan of. Instead, I was pro-actively offered some fruit – and I took and orange and banana.

The purser went around to clear the plates, and spent time talking to each passenger to make sure the service was ok, and what was wrong with it (as 7B went to extol that the potatoes weren’t done well enough). Meanwhile the child in 7A was starting to get active and standing on the leg-rest on the seat.

Again, it’s the little details of the service.

After a very satisfying lunch, I decided to try and get a Genius Bar appointment on the plane using the on-board OnAir system.

Now I’m going to be blunt – OnAir runs at GPRS/EDGE speeds, so it’s slow as heck. It’s also very laggy and the ping times are frankly awful (so you can forget about using fancy webapps or anything that requires more than a few kilobytes of data. I wouldn’t want to use it for anything serious – least of all the costs for the small amount of data I consumed (10mb) was £30. Thanks Vodafone...

I was able to get an appointment at the Genius Bar at Grand Central Terminal for 8pm, and did a tiny bit of research on various Mac recovery methods (none of which worked... but at least I tried.)

So that’s my most expensive appointment ever.

At this point, I popped the seat into relax/bed mode, and watched the world go by.

(continued to to FT Image limits...)

Last edited by Kevincm; Sep 10, 12 at 4:30 am
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Old Sep 9, 12, 2:50 pm   #4
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Taken later in flight

Except I made the mistake of looking towards 7A. And that wonderful child who had never been told the word no in his life was using the back of 6A as a climbing frame and talking to the little girl in 6A. Were the parents doing anything regarding his behaviour?

What do you think? Of course not.

Meanwhile I tried to ignore them with the noise cancelling headphones – and I mostly did… until the kid reached near to my seat for my bottle of water. A loud “Excuse me?” warded him off me for the remainder of the flight.

I could write masses about the toilet – but I won’t – it’s a standard Airbus toilet module with some nice toiletries in it. That’s it.

I went back to seat and watch the day unfold over the Atlantic as we crossed into Canada. Meanwhile over in 7B, Mummy was asleep, Daddy was out cold in 7J, and 7A… was hyperactive bouncing up and down, and not being able to stay still – with both his own iPad and the BA iPad exhausting his entertainment, and trying to chat to 6A again.

But the question is this: Would you take your child on a business only flight? I’m not saying this to keep it exclusive – on a 777/747/767 you have an acre more space for them to play in, bigger galleys, and areas to keep children active in, rather than a much smaller plane with limited rest/space facilities.

The flight itself was very chop free – with one of the smoothest flights across the pond I’ve had in some trips (most of the flight recently I've had have been bouncy all the way there and all the way back).

A pre-arrivals service commenced with sandwiches, scones and cakes 1½ hours before landing in traditional style afternoon tea. The sandwiches were presented in an open plate, with fresh scones offered with jam and clotted cream - again nothing to fault the food here.

Little luxuries.

A small selection of little cakes followed to conclude the service which was done again with style.


Beginning to close in on our destination


Wistful clouds


Turning for New York


Decent


Commencing finals

The clear down followed as people begun to get ready for landing, with the captain informing us at 40 minutes to landing and 20 minutes when the seatbelt sign came on. Even the little brat in 7A was almost controlled at this point – mainly because he was now in 7B next to his father who was in 7J. That didn’t stop the brat removing his seatbelt more than once during taxing sadly.

Or to put it blunt – the parents were more interested in the kitchen supplements in a magazine and which one to cut out to take on their journey rather than the behaviour of the child.

Touchdown was gentle, and the plane was on the ground a few minutes early.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGkZ9J05u3E[

After a long taxi to gate 1 of T7, the seatbelt sign was extinguished, and everyone got up to race off the plane.

I made the point of thanking the crew (who all got ba.com/welldone's for the service they did), and made my way off the babybus – now in the city of New York.

Overall: A great service by the crew – what I’d call a shining example of a crew working together. A shame it was mostly ruined by screaming and misbehaving kids… and less caring parents.

Last edited by Kevincm; Sep 10, 12 at 4:35 am
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Old Sep 9, 12, 2:51 pm   #5
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One Time Exception - Apple Store, Grand Central New York

To Manhattan

Now, the great thing about the BA001/BA003 service is that you’ve pre-cleared already into the United States, so when you exit the plane, you exit into the Domestic side of the JFK T7, and clear as a domestic passenger. It was then a matter of following the signs to luggage claim – where there was a 5 minute wait for the luggage to be delivered. Soon enough my pully bag was spat out, and I off.

Next on the menu was how to get into town. A choice of a Shuttle bus, Train or other. In the end, I chose the shuttle bus – which took forever going around the terminals with some of the most dangerous driving I’ve seen (Would you define safe as pouring a large bag of crisps into your mouth whilst driving around JFK? I wouldn’t). Once we left the JFK terminal area, the driver took some of the side roads compared to the expressway in an effort to “speed up” the journey.

A shame the lights were against us most of the time.

Eventually, we made our way from Queens to Long Island City, under the Queensbourgh Tunnel and finally to Grand Central Terminal. Suffice to say as I didn't have any luggage stowed at the back of the van, I walked away without giving him a tip.

Don’t get me wrong. $15.50 is cheap. But next time, I’ll take the taxi or train into town – I didn’t honestly feel safe aboard that bus.



One Time Exception – Apple Store, Grand Central Terminal.



This was the bit I was dreading – did I have a dead hard disk, a dead cable or something more deadly?

I rolled into Grand Central Terminal, and found my way to the Apple Store there, and saw I was very early for my appointment – by a good hour or so. Thankfully there was some extra space opened up, and I was seen to within 20 minutes.




Here there be Geniuses

Thankfully, the Mac booted up on the external hard disk (at least the USB connections were working), but the disk could not had been accessed. This meant either the data cable had gone – or the disk was dying. I was informed of both options as well as other ideas I could do, and offered to book the machine into repair. The job would be done overnight, and if it was “bad” I would be phoned.

Reluctantly, I left my laptop behind for the night, and headed to the hotel for the night (but not before buying an Apple iPhone charger) catching a yellow cab back to Long Island.

I’ll write about the hotel in a bit, but lets spin forward to 10pm in the hotel where I got an email saying my repair was complete, and that I was free to visit the Apple store after 7am to pick up the computer.

Returning to Grand Central at 7:30 in the morning, they had successfully changed the data cable, put a bunch of new screws in the base of my laptop, and I pressed the power button… and it begun to boot.

It booted slowly – very slowly… but eventually that wonderful OS X Lion Desktop appeared, with the data intact (well mostly – the Lightroom cache was corrupt, as well as the Entourage Database, but nothing permanently lost of high value).

The cost of this miracle work? $60. That and the $30 for an iPhone charger.

To put it blunt: I felt I got away cheaply out of this one.


Rush Hour at Grand Central Terminal

Overall: So yes, I declare the Apple Geniuses… well geniuses. Great customer service which reminds me each time why I go back to Apple for new major hardware.

Right… I’ve got write about a hotel haven’t I?

Last edited by Kevincm; Sep 10, 12 at 4:39 am
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Old Sep 9, 12, 3:09 pm   #6
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HOTEL: Holiday Inn Long Island City - Manhattan View

HOTEL: Holiday Inn Long Island City - Manhattan View

The Photos:


What is this concept of Hotel Building pictures taken during the day?

Yes, I’m back here again. Why? £90 a night says so compared to the rest of Manhattan. Besides, it’s a block from the subway, or 15 minutes from/to Midtown in a cab. Low cost and convenience are things I like a lot.

I was welcome to the hotel, and handed over my ID and credit card.
I was then told I had been upgrades from a basic room to a suite - The Brooklyn suite.

As a welcome gift for being a Priority Club member, I was given a bottle of water and two chocolate squares. In addition a 20% Food voucher for the restaurant was given.


Reception

It’s the little touches that matter.

It was then off to the lift, and the 16th floor.


Up, up and away!

Exiting the lift, I saw to the right the entrance to the room.


Entrance to the suite

A slide of the keycard, and well – this is what greeted me…


Isn’t that a view?


Daytime

The room itself was a big room rather than a traditional 2 room suite. But it one he'll of a sizes room with a king bed, shower and a balcony as well as sofa that could be converted into a sofabed.


Bed


Work area and coffee facilities

The room also has balcony... which gives views like this (I'd strongly advise having a look at http://www.photoblog.com/kevincm/2012/08/19/ for some of the views from day to night...




The bathroom is a typical mini bathroom, with shower-only facilities, and the usual Holiday Inn smellies. Nothing too offensive, but nothing to big.


Shower area


Folded

As it was 30c heat with high humidity, the air conditioning unit did a fine job of keeping me semi human (alas, this was mitigated with me going out of the hotel and instantly boiling up)

The bed itself was comfortable with the usual choice of firm or soft pillow, with everything else in the room being “just right”. There were also adequate (and easy to reach) power outlets too. To the side of the bed there was an alarm/radio/iPod dock combo too.

Again, it’s the little details that matter.

WiFi wasn’t that good quality – so not good for heavy downloads or anything that needs heavy data. For light browsing, it did the job ok

The only really annoying thing about this property is the 11am checkout. Thankfully a quick discussion with reception changed that to a 2pm check out.

Speaking of Check-out, as usual the folio was pushed under the door waiting for me on the second day (at the correct amount). I paid it off on departure, with offers of transit… and where to get an umbrella as the heavens had just opened.

Overall: It may not be in Manhattan, but don’t let that put you off. This is a very nice property, with rooms that are reasonably sized and serviced – one that I would happily go back again if I find myself in New York.

Last edited by Kevincm; Sep 10, 12 at 4:46 am
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Old Sep 9, 12, 3:09 pm   #7
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However, what happiness I had a great hotel was dampened the next night when I was out on top of 30 Rockafella Plaza. I was doing some (bad) long exposure photography when I noticed something.


Dust

Now for those of you who are not photography inclined or don’t have a digital SLR/Compact Mirrorless Camera can skip this bit. Those of you who are… will know what this is.

That’s right. A DSLR’s biggest enemy - Sensor dust.


Closeup of the dust contaminated sensor.

Whilst I did an emergency blow to clean off some of the crap, there was still an enormous amount of dust on the sensor which would had put a major crimp in some of my plans for this trip. It was therefore off to Adorama or B&H to sort out the next step. For the sake of convenience I chose Adorama (as BH closes early on a Friday afternoon and Saturday, whilst Adorama closes only on Saturday).

Initially, I decided to try to clean the sensor myself… which ended… well not badly – just very very unsatisfactory. So I had a few choices:
  • Drop the camera off for a sensor clean and hope I have it back quickly (bear in mind, this was into Friday afternoon now)
  • Try and clean it again and pray for the best
  • Switch to the camera phone
  • Get a new camera

Option 1 was out of the question due to the time left in hand.
Option 2… by this point, I had zero heart in getting another cleaning kit and doing it again.
Option 3 was a possibility, but that cameraphone’s performance isn’t what I’d call “stellar” (even though it would force me to obey the photographer's maxim of "The best camera you have is the one you have in your hand").

Therefore it was Option 4. Firstly I went to Adorama to get a sensor cleaning kit... and the clean ended badly. I returned and got a second hand sales agent who knew what I was going through and made some suggestions. I could had got away with a second hand EOS-20D for $150++, but part of me has to plan for future events and work - so I plumped for a slightly newer model (and a camera I have a good working relationship with) a second hand Canon EOS-40D for the grand total of $369 (£250 or so).

By using a 40D, I’d maintain compatibility with the high capacity Compact Flash cards, yet maintain ease of use that I have become familiar with.

Additionally, the 40D has inbuilt sensor cleaning (which not perfect, it’s better than nothing). Another nice feature of the 40D is that it doesn’t chew through memory cards (10 to 12mb/RAW file on a 40D vs 16 to 20mb on a 50D)

To put it blunt - 1200 pictures on a 16GB card on a 40D vs 700 or so on a 50D.


First production photo - won't win any awards, but the camera is working - and it's clean

Obviously, it takes time to adjust back to a different camera, but I tested it, and it worked... and I walked out of the store, ready to shoot again... with a camera that works as I want it to.

Overall: If you’re a photographer, it’s important to know what the state of your equipment is, if you have a spare and if you can get a spare. I failed on the first part, but a bit of research helped me out to put me in a position to shoot again. I just wish I didn’t have to spend £250 for the privilege....

Last edited by Kevincm; Sep 10, 12 at 4:48 am
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Old Sep 9, 12, 3:10 pm   #8
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Time to put the bad stuff behind me (it'll return soon enough!) and enjoy the company of friends

CrashPad: My Friends place, New Jersey
Cost. Many boxes of Malteasers and Cadburys Heros


There were many annoying things on this trip however, spending time with my friends is not one of them (in fact, taking the photos for the final part of this TR are a bonus – I wanted to see my friends). It was good to be around people with similar interests, madnesses and other things that we have in common.

With the new camera in hand, it time to head up from Adorama to 33rd Street PATH station where I was due to meet my friends. From there – it was down through the PATH, across the Hudson and into Jersey City itself.

When I emerged from the station, instead of a massively busy area instead it was more like a normal “town” than anything else with a much more slower pace of life than 33rd> Street and Manhattan.




Jersey City Hall

A short walk, and I was at their apartment, and was shown the view that greeted me from their window.





It was then time to distribute chocolate (well I have to bring some things with me), and then it was just time doing things together, hanging out, and keeping an eye on their cat







3 good days later, it was time to head back to JFK. For this, it was case of PATH to 33rd street, a hike to 34th Street Penn Station.



And then the joy of dealing with a ticket machine, it was a case of hopping on a train to Jamaica - was waiting to go.


Next Stop: Jamaica!

Pulling out of the station the train headed towards Woodside and then to Jamaica Station, with some views of Manhattan to tempt me back.





Soon enough the train was at Jamaica, and it was time to switch to the AirTrain. Of course for this privilege, it's another $5 (payable on the Metrocard).






Passing the Worldport

The AirTrain did its job, heading to Federal Circle, then off around the terminal houses until the train got to T7 where I took my leave.

Last edited by Kevincm; Sep 10, 12 at 4:53 am
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Old Sep 9, 12, 3:11 pm   #9
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Upon arriving at JFK T7, it was a matter of following the signs, past Economy Check in, pass Business and finally to Club World LCY Check-in…. which was located with First Class Check in.

I was welcomed immediately, and two of my bags were tagged and sent off into the system. I was told what lounge to use and how to get here and invited to use the priority security lane which whilst wasn’t overloaded was still busy.

The TSA were a picture of their usual organised selves - that resembles chaos (for example, running out of luggage bins every few minutes). At least they seemed to process people quickly, with no Nude-o-Scope in sight at the premium security entrance. This entrance deposits you outside Gate 1 (where BA1 arrived and BA4 will depart from - and the Concorde Room is around the corner from here. As I’m a mere BA Gold on a Business Ticket, I headed for the main lounge whilst passing through the Duty Free shop.

Well I’m allowed one or two sins for this trip.

It was then up the to Terraces Lounge, and I was welcomed, my ticket checked and I was asked if i would like to use the arrivals service at London City in the morning (to which I responded yes), and I was directed to the main lounge. I relied on the flight home I could had gone into the F Lounge - but to be honest, I’m not fussed.

The BA Lounge is cavernous compared to some lounges I’ve been. For size comparison for a Star Alliance flyer... think the size of the Air Canada Maple Leaf International Lounge at YYZ and add a bit more. That’s about the space size of it.

There is of course lots of sections to the lounge, but as my stomach was a bit rumbly (for the right reasons I should say!), I headed off to the pre-flight dining section.

I went over to the pre-flight dining section (which is reserved for Club World or above flyers only - no dice if you rock up with World Traveller/World Traveller Plus class ticket with Gold here!), where my ticket was checked and I was allowed access

The service is akin to a posh buffet style, with some live cooking going on for those who wanted something “fresh” in-front of them - this included some Chinese water dumplings



In addition, there was a fair amount of salad and cold things for starters...



For those who weren’t in the mood to hang around, there were also Lasagna, Crab Cakes and Cajun Chicken


As well as a simple dessert selection - well - with some tasty ones too.




A bit like millionaires shortbread - but marshmallow on top.

The views from the pre-flight dining area are... limited - to other people in the room and to the general entrance way into the terminal.





Overall: For Club services like this where the expected service is going to be something small on a short flight - this is a blessing for a chance for a decent bite to eat before getting on the plane and bedding down for the flight.

The quality and freshness of the food was of a good quality - enough of a consideration to make it a diversion on the way back to the UK if I was flying Club again.

Heading into the main lounge itself, I found myself a few perches as I sat down and reflected on the trip, whilst readying for the flight home. The lounge is split into different areas


Bar seating


Spa Area

Seating
Seating


Pimms O’Clock


Spirits


Sunset

Even though it was a cavernous lounge it was a busy lounge, with lots of comings and goings, the odd few (controlled) children - all busy for all the flights departing late into the night.

The ambiance was not “quite” but it was “relaxing” (and more relaxing that the general terminal below)

The spa seemed to be quite busy - so that was skipped, and I just took the time to review a few of the pictures (picking out the passable from godawful pictures) from the sets.

Soon enough, boarding time arrived, so I headed down to the gate area, back to Gate Number 1, ready for BA004 for the homeward leg. There were a few people in the queue when I arrived - and children - in the gate area. In trepidation, I went to the podium and was beeped aboard.

Past the podium, my duty free was waiting and with that in hand, it was time to head off for the short flight home.

Last edited by Kevincm; Sep 10, 12 at 5:04 am
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Old Sep 9, 12, 3:22 pm   #10
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BA004 - New York John F Kennedy International to London City Airport
British Airways, Airbus A318 Elite, Seat 3A
Club World London City (Business Class)
3,461 miles flown, 210 Tier points earned, 3,461 Avios + 3,461 Avios Cabin Bonus 3,461 + 3,461 Avios Gold Bonus


I was welcomed aboard the plane and directed to 3A where a lot of the plane had already loaded. After catching up with a couple of friends who I knew were onboard, I settled into 3A.



The plane itself was in night mode, with the lights comparitivly down for boarding and the blinds already down through the plane.

With 32 passengers - well 31 as I was the lucky person with the empty seat next to me on the flight, the plane was buttoned up quickly, with a greeting from the flight deck (with the next one shortly before London). Preflight bubbles and drinks made their way round

At this point 3J decided to try and put her seat into a bed position, and was rather disgruntled that she had to put into seat and put her feet up on the Ottoman. It took about 3 attempts for the crew to persuade her to finally keep her seat upright till after take off.

The safety demonstration was given by hand, again with the usual care and attention it deserves. During this time, 3J decided to read 50 Shades of Grey. Now, I’ve got a lot of views on this piece of... “work” (least of all from every other viewpoint in terms of consent and alternative lifestyles views -the writing style that makes me look good) but I read erotica like that on a plane I’d be shouted off the plane. Meanwhile if a woman reads stuff like that, suddenly it’s all right.

The plane pushed back and begun a slow taxi around JFK, before finally lining up for take off and heading into the night sky

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKLip07ZeyY

Take off was quick and the plane was up in the air turning towards Manhattan and then off into the night sky across the pond.









As soon as the seatbelt sign went off, the crew leapt into action - offering iPads for those who wanted them, then a drinks service followed by a dinner for those who wanted it. 3J also put her seat into the flat position (and that was the last out of her until 20 minutes to landing).


Closed

I meanwhile snapped what I could before writing off the rest of the flight for snacking and sleeping. It is of course at this moment my iPhone decided to wander down the back of seat. Knowing i could do nothing till morning, I sighed and waited for the champaign supper to arrive.


Kir Royale - I have to learn to make these.

Breakfast orders were also taken for the morning to save time for those who were awake too.









Chibatta with roast fillet of Beef, piquillo peppers, rocket greens and Manchego cheese


Butter




Flatware - Note the speedmarques


Back to “plain” fizzy bubbles

The sandwich was of reasonable quality and filling - although a knife was needed to cut the sandwich into edible parts (and the cheese didn’t help as that added extra “lubrication” to the cutting - no I haveNOT been reading 50 shades of crap - I have a life...).

Bottles of water were issued - I took a couple so not to disturb the crew.

The snack was cleared down quickly, and I decided the only course of action was to place the bed into the flat position and let sleep take over - and I’ve got to admit I got a good 4 to 5 hours in the seat without disturbance which goes to one of the best sleeps I’ve had on a plane. I didn’t use the blanket as I was pretty warm already, so I just got comfy and rested. As far as I could tell it was a smooth flight over again with the seatbelt sign off for what there was of it


Seat controls

(Continued)

Last edited by Kevincm; Sep 10, 12 at 5:31 am
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Old Sep 9, 12, 3:23 pm   #11
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I woke up reasonably early - early enough for breakfast which was delivered shortly after I woke up.


Breakfast table


Danish


Smoothie

The smoothie whist not knocking me awake seemed to tasty enough, whist the Danish - well it was better than an US Airways Danish pastry - although lets face it that’s setting the bar rather low.

I skipped cereal (I’m not a hot fan of cereals anyway) and went straight onto the the main breakfast.





Breakfast. Lots of Pork products...


Salt and Pepper sachets? How economy.

The breakfast itself was very edible - nothing burnt to a crisp and everything tasting as it should - the sausage was well cooked, the bacon was edible without being rubbery, and the omelette resembled and omelette. The potato hash also worked well too.

So sadly, it seems to get a decent breakfast across the pond, I have to fly Business Class - or I propose setting up a bacon sandwich van on the Heathrow Approach road so those who suffer a crap Y class breakfast stand a chance of edible bacon, bread and whatever condiment you love on your bacon roll.

As the breakfast service was being complete, I had a chat with the cabin crew who had another hunt with me for the phone, and advised me to stay in my seat upon landing so they could have a dig for it.

Meanwhile around me, window blinds were going up showing another blue sky morning with lots of fluffy clouds below the plane





Meanwhile you can see these little planes do go through the ways, with wear and tear showing on these birds sadly - it’s a fact of life, but its a shame to see rough treatment like this:


Note the console has some of the silver scratched off



The floor has also seen better days sadly

Soon enough, the pilot gave a 40 minute warning allowing people to get ready for landing, and then the 20 minute warning. Seemly, the seatbelt on 3A decided to embed itself in the seat, so I shifted to 3B for the landing procedures


Crossing Father Thames




A quiet Olympic Park after the action of the games.

With a bit of power and a bit of zealous braking our little Airbus A318 touched down after its long journey across the Atlantic.


Down and turning off the active

The plane parked up outside gate 24, and the bongs went. I packed my stuff away as the crew came around to inspect the site and help me fish out the phone.This took a few minutes and finally I was told to head to the terminal where I would be reunited with my phone. As I headed for the exit of the plane, the engineer had fished out the phone and it was recovered. I gratefully accepted the phone and thanked all the crew profusely and headed the steps.

Where I think I gave a 30 people the shock of their life.

Allow me to elaborate. The backpack wasn't particularly balanced on my back, and in the rush to get off so the bus could head to the terminal, I slipped on the air stairs, slipping down the by a few steps and introducing a fair few swearwords into the London City Lexicon.

Thankfully all I damaged was my pride. The worst part was - I wasn't drunk in the least.

I tried to hide as I got on the bus to the terminal by the door. That failed spectacularly.

Overall: The sleeper service from JFK to London allowed me to do that: Sleep in comfort. The service whilst not as personal as the outbound flight suited the service perfectly as the only thing you want to do on this service is collapse in your own little world - and only to wake up near enough arrival as possible. The crew did a great job both in the air and especially on the ground when they rescued my phone from the jaws of a hungry seat. I just wish the airstairs aren't so slippery sometimes...

Last edited by Kevincm; Sep 10, 12 at 5:25 am
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Old Sep 9, 12, 3:40 pm   #12
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After clearing UK immigration, the bags were pretty much waiting for collection.

It was then through customs and back into the public concourse. And as I put my bags down to sort them out, I heard a lovely glass crack sound. That sound was a bottle of Tanqueray gin deciding it no longer wishing to exist in my bag.

This necessitated a quick emptying of the rucksack (thankfully dry), and disposing of the bottle of gin without looking too suspicious.

So now dear reader - imagine the scene. I’m covered in gin, a bag that isn’t in the greatest of states and I’m just wanting to head home. As a reserve, I booked access to the Radisson Edwardian Arrival facility earlier in New York in case I needed it - now covered in gin... I needed it.

I went up to the Limo/transfer desk near the entrance to City Airport and presented myself. A short wait and a Black Mercedes took me from City Airport to the Radisson Edwardian, where I was welcomed and introduced to the facility.


Heading to the Hotel

Radisson Blu Edwardian New Providence Wharf Hotel

I was welcomed to the hotel and a little card was given to me to introduce the facility. I was then escorted to the spa area where a member of the spa staff took over and showed me the room, checking if I needed anything.

For me I was "fine" - I wanted some time to sort my mess out and become a little more human.

I took the opportunity shower off the gin, and to change into the one spare set of clothes I had that were clean.

A quick shave, and a few few minutes looking around - and I almost felt ready to take on the world again after a quick repack of my trash.


Massage bed and towels


Sink area


Shower


Art. Allegedly

The facility itself was in the spa section, so it’s your traditional massage bed, shower and relaxing setup. Suited me for the precious minutes I would spend there cleaning up.


View from near the hotel - One Millennium Dome/The O2/North Greenwich Area... take your pick...

Quickly I was ready to face the world, and after 20 minutes, rolled out of the hotel and headed for Blackwall DLR, and a DLR into Bank.


Racing towards Bank.

From there it was the tried and tested solution of first car of the Central Line at Bank, get off at Oxford Circus and head for the middle of platform, boarding a Bakerloo line service for Marylebone.


Bakerloo Line service arriving at Oxford Circus

As this was off peak, this was a grand total of £2. Almost makes the London Underground system “cheap” compared to some city’s with switches in modal transport.

Arriving into Marylebone, it was 12:05. And my 12:30 service to Birmingham had a platform assigned. This is what I call good timing as it means I can get onto the train and settle down for a quiet journey.

London Marylebone to Birmingham Moor Street
Chiltern Railways Class 168, Standard Class.
£6 Advanced Ticket


I’ve written about this service a fair few times in my trip reports - and to be honest- it hasn’t changed one bit – which is a darn good thing. The train operates fast to Banbury, then stopping to Leamington Spa, Warwick Parkway, Solihull and Birmingham Moor Street.


Pulling out of Marylebone

The service was operated by the Class 168 Diesel Train – and they’re not bad at all as they’re configured in 2-2 seating with trolley catering service. I thankfully had a bottle of water left from the flight and just sat back as the train took me from one city to another.

I just took the opportunity to watch England’s green and pleasant land zip past whilst using the free onboard WiFi to check up with the world.


Green and Pleasant land...

1 hour 42 minutes later, the train slowed for Birmingham Moor Street – arriving on schedule. It was then a case of getting off the train and through the barrier... and the final schlep home


Resting at Moor Street.

Overall: For £6, an absolute bargain. Departed on time, arrived on time. What more do you want in a train service?

Exiting the ticket barriers, it had just started raining, and of course due to the major foul-up that is the new Birmingham Interchanges, I skipped the cab and headed for the bus stop. There was a short wait, but a 89 bus showed up after 10 minutes. Another 10 minutes I was off the bus, walking down the Dudley road, turning into my street, through the security doors into my block of flats and finally… my front door – the end of another adventure



And this is where I discovered I was a L Series lens short of a party.....

Last edited by Kevincm; Sep 10, 12 at 5:30 am
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Old Sep 9, 12, 3:50 pm   #13
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Well, that trip could had gone a lot better. In fact, I’m trying to work out what else could had gone wrong (and came up with a short list that I’m now having nightmares over when I travel next).

However, time to be objective and lets look at the products in conclusion.

British Airways has one hell of a product going across the pond from City Airport. The product was delivered in a strong polished performance that puts some Transatlantic business class experiences to shame. In some ways, with the attention to detail and staffing, I’d put it above the Asiana First Class experience I had some ways before. In other ways, there could be a little refinement to the product – like proper salt and pepper pots and a bit of caring for the seating as it is showing wear and tear after a couple of years. These are small things that don’t really detract from what is one of the best products in the air. The ground experience could be slightly better at New York, allowing LCY passengers in the Concorde room (as opposed to sending them to the Terraces lounge) to emphasise the “specialness” of the service. Oh, and luggage delivery could be sped up too.

A shame three kids ruined the outbound experience really with parents who need to learn to say to their kids sit down and shut it.

The Holiday Inn Long Island City - Manhattan View is an amazing property for the price. Yes, it’s in Long Island City/Queens but don’t let that put you off. It’s over the Queensbourgh bridge, and you’re in Manhattan. 15 minutes to Midtown with nearly £50 savings a night is what I call a good value proposition. The fact that I was upgraded to a suite really just adds icing to the cake. Again – a great property.

Spending time with my friends was so important this trip – it took away from the stresses of the trip (of which there were many). That and it’s good to reconnect with people who I see so rarely.

Apple and Adorama were lifesavers in different ways, allowing me to function and do what I do – write, take pictures and process pictures. A shame my kit is showing its age now… but they were there.

Now for those of you who think I’ve gone soft and can never look at an Economy Class seat again… You’d be wonderfully wrong for some very simple reasons – namely cost. As much as I would love a Champagne lifestyle, I’m a dreadful thing: A realist. Whilst all the space and amenities are nice, part of the trip for me is getting to the destination. I decided to treat myself… because I could for once. In some ways I could have had more fun in Economy Class (with better behaved children in it probably).

But it is good to try new things – and this was something to try. And at £1200 return, I did feel I got good value for money.

Which is what matters to me.

Speaking of value for money, please rejoin me in November where I do my usual London to Chicago trip. However there is a change in the air as I abandon Star Alliance and join OneWorld in Different Airlines – Same Routes – to Chicago with American Airlines and British Airways

Until then, happy flying!

Oh – this isn’t over yet – there’s a picture isn’t there…

Last edited by Kevincm; Sep 9, 12 at 4:08 pm
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Old Sep 9, 12, 4:06 pm   #14
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As the trip went along, I went from one disaster to another, with the plan for a night photo in Times Square going down the pan thank to the dirty sensor. Thankfully, the day before that royal pain - I did shoot something completely different that would make a great photo - a Panorama

From the 16th floor suite I was in I spend a fair amount of time shooting the pictures to this to get the image I wanted. As I had no tripod, this would be done the very old fashioned way - a very steady hand.

And this was a simple, if slow sweep across the area I wanted, and made a few attempts to get some nice panoramas.

With a straight import from the camera, I got the collection of images I wanted to play with, and after checking for no major mistakes in the images, I exported the batch of photos from Adobe Lightroom at full size to get a nice large set of working pictures to make the panorama.


The images in Lightroom - no adjustments made

This generates 15 images for me to work with.


A batch of images - ripe for stitching

For the next bit of work, I need to switch to Windows to do this dirty work - for those of you on a Mac, this is a switch to BootCamp, VMWare, Parallels or Virtual Box (take your pick). Providing you've mapped everything up correctly a lovely Windows desktop will appear (I'm using XP as I like something lightweight for this work).

To create the big panorama, I'm using a free bit of software called [URL="http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/ivm/ice"]Microsoft Image Composition Engine[/URL or Microsoft ICE



Once installed (Requires .NET Framework 4.0 as well as a varity of other bits), and loaded, you'll get something like this:



Hit Cntl+N (or File > New) and select the photos you want to work with... then watch the magic happen...


For those on less powerful computers, or manipulating big data sets, get a cup of coffee.

And after a short wait, you should get something that looks like this:



Well - I could had shot that a bit better. As you can see I wasn't straight all the way through the pan. Thankfully, hit automatic crop... and a lot of the dirty work is done for you



So the image is ready, coming in at a small 15094 by 4388 pixels - or 66.23 megapixels - Small image really...

With that image in the state it's in, it's time to hit export, add a watermark, and then put it on a site to for all to see.



Long Island and Manhattan Sunset Panorama - (c) Kevin Marshall 2012.
Image licensed for personal use ONLY. PLEASE DON’T REUSE WITHOUT PERMISSION.


You can download a 5mb version of the panorama at GhettoIFE.com

Eventually (when I hit the lotto or when I get a few hours) this will be a canvas to hang somewhere in the flat. For now, it's an electronic bit of art that I hope you like.

Thanks for reading - Comments and your opinions are always welcome

My Previous Trip Reports

LHR-BRU-LHR ... or "How do you burn a £50 BMI voucher without too much pain?"
MAN-ORD on BMI (29/10 ... or Did Kevin Make it to ORD?)
Kevin goes for a little mileage run on UA - ORD/CHM/IAD/EWR/ORD
ORD-MAN in BMI Premium Economy (with Pictures)
Kevin’s American Adventure – MAN-ORD-SEA-ORD-MAN (4 flights, 2 weeks) in Y..
ORD - MAN in BMI Premium Economy: How hard can a PE product drop? (also random moans)
LHR-PHL-SEA, SEA-PHX-ORD, ORD-PHL-LHR - In Y, Come and be scared with US!
LHR-SFO-LHR - If you're going to San Francisco - SFO MegaDO Trip report
Gold Run - Mr Kevincm goes to Washington with EI and US
Long Haul Commuter Run - LHR-IAD-ORD and back with UA
Saying Goodbye to a Friend - Travelling for the wrong reasons - LHR-PHL with UA (Also on GhettoIFE.com - expanded)
The BA Y+/Y Class Long Haul Experience LHR-BKK/SIN-SYD and back on a bargain fare (Also on GhettoIFE.com -Expanded)
The Autumn Run - Mixing Business with Pleasure (C/F/Y adventures with UA and US) (Also on GhettoIFE.com -Expanded)
Long Way Home - The Spring Commute with UA and CO (Also on GhettoIFE.com - Expanded)
Atlanta or Bust (and Frankfurt too!) - (Also on GhettoIFE.com - Expanded)
Drinks in Belfast with the BMI Board with LCC’s - (Also on GhettoIFE.com - Expanded)
Kevin get’s a bit of Seoul - First and Business class with Asiana Airlines and Thai to Seoul and Hong Kong (Also on GhettoIFE.com - Expanded)
Mixed Classes and Infinite/Madness: The Autumn Run with United - LHR-ORD-LAS-LAX-SFO-DEN-LHR - Also on GhettoIFE.com - expanded
Gold Run 2: Blame Canada! It's Only A Mileage Run anyway! (To YVR with AC, CO, BD..) also on Also on GhettoIFE.com - expanded
Re-Creating a Photo - To New York with United, British Airways and BMI Baby (Also on GhettoIFE.com)
Going the Canadian Way: To Chicago with Air Canada (LHR-YYZ-ORD in Y) (also on GhettoIFE.com)
SEN for £129? SEN Status Match Run with Swiss and Helvetic. (also on GhettoIFE.com)
Multimodal Mayhem with Coaches, Ferries, Brussels Airlines and Air Canada (also on GhettoIFE.com)
A Smooch of Chicago and a Kiss of DC – with United – LHR-ORD-IAD-LHR (also on GhettoIFE.com)
Narrow Minds and Narrow Bodies - To Denver with the New United, Aer Lingus and FlyBe (also on GhettoIFE.com)
Farewell Miles to Japan, Hong Kong and Seoul with ANA, Thai and Asiana with ANA's new 787 (also on GhettoIFE.com)

Last edited by Kevincm; Sep 19, 12 at 8:04 am
Kevincm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 9, 12, 5:41 pm   #15
Moderator: GLBT travelers, India-based Airlines and India; FlyerTalk Evangelist
  
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Most interesting report, and some exceptionally outstanding photography!

I absolutely adore that first b/w pic with the yellow cabs! Stunning.
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