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Old Apr 17, 17, 10:14 am   #46
  
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Just catching up with your TR and wow that is some amount of flying you've done!!!
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Old Apr 18, 17, 12:34 am   #47
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I flew with AC once on the Super Diamond seats, somehow your QR seats seem to have much more storage than AC and the AC seats do not turn into a complete 180˚ bed...
Thank you qsh for following through again I will wrap the TR up with the final installation very soon.

I quickly looked at how the AC one looks like through OMAAT's review, indeed it seems like much less storage and the seat may even be narrower. Perhaps it's because you can see how the literature pocket takes up the storage space next to the lap on AC, while on QR it's placed towards the back of the suite at shoulder level.
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Old Apr 18, 17, 12:36 am   #48
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Just catching up with your TR and wow that is some amount of flying you've done!!!
Thank you nequine for following. 60,000 miles in ten days is like compressing six months of flying altogether so you can see how I was a bit burnt out towards the end, but as I say it a couple weeks later I'm craving again (and indeed splurged and went for JL F.....but that's another story!)
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Old Apr 18, 17, 1:00 am   #49
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I quickly looked at how the AC one looks like through OMAAT's review, indeed it seems like much less storage and the seat may even be narrower. Perhaps it's because you can see how the literature pocket takes up the storage space next to the lap on AC, while on QR it's placed towards the back of the suite at shoulder level.
Definitely the same width, obesity rate in Canada is quite high. The water bottle thing on QR (presumably on the side) is just a "hole" on AC, which I used it as a rubbish bin for the plastic bags .

Does QR or AA has "Adjustable pneumatic cushion allowing for customizable comfort"(AC) on their super diamond seats?
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Old Apr 19, 17, 8:38 pm   #50
  
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G-CIVC...

Thank you very much for the work you have put into this. It is a GREAT read!

I'm anxiously looking forward to the next episode as I'm booked to to BKK - DOH - LAX and return on QR in J later this year, thanks to an amazing one day sale that I caught just after Christmas. I'm looking forward to comparing it with the other carriers I've flown on this route over the last 12 years.

Keep up the great work, and thank you again!!!

Dan in Bangkok
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Old May 4, 17, 6:29 pm   #51
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Lounge review: Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge @ DOH

The last two weeks were indeed quite taxing but finally, let's continue!

Compared to the mid-day emptiness DOH at midnight was sprawling with people. It took a long time to get my seats and BPs sorted out, clearing security and getting through to Al Mourjan. And there was even a line at the escalator that led to it...

Once I was led in, I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of people present. Every single table and seat was taken, and there may have even been people sitting on the floor. Generally it was not pleasant and very noisy as well. With DOH still recovering from the previous weather SNAFUs over the week, there were anxious pax around trying to get their itineraries sorted too.

Fortunately, the first two hours or so were well spent meeting with a few FTers instead at a private section (apparently...for Arab mothers ) tucked behind the main dining room on the mezzanine floor of the huge lounge complex. Had a great time and learnt a lot from fellow FTers johnwmaher mrpalert and of course florens who invited me in.

They, like most of the crowd at Al Mourjan were catching the 2-3am bank of flights, so once it was around that time the lounge soon resorted to emptiness. Finally, I was able to take a close look at this megaplex that has stunned many since its opening.

The entrance area and the very instagrammably iconic reflecting pool/staircase feature:





I went upstairs again to the restaurant, now depleted of customers although the offerings were rather weak. Just like Al Safwa, there is some sort of limitation on the food they can serve including not being able to cook anything fresh on the spot.



There was hot food available but the food options were not too different or much more upscale than what most full service airlines had to offer. Well, at least the restaurant felt very restaurant-ish than canteen-ish as is the case in some other lounges on my mind/visited this trip like with CX and BA. Still I wasn't feeling like eating too much so only grabbed some sweets (love Arabic desserts!)






With still a few hours left to kill before my flight to LAX, I began to tour the lounge once I was done with eating. It was still full of people...asleep. Rather eerie if you asked me honestly, it was dead quiet and walking through so many people curled up and motionless really reinforced the idea on the QR forum that this lounge feels more like a hotel lobby than a proper, upscale airline lounge.

Right by the entrance is a map plaqued in glass which was rather counterintuitive:


To the far right of the lounge, beyond the reflecting pool and underneath the restaurant were some workstations that were quite well designed with gadgets and plugs next to each 'suite', although privacy was lacking:



Looking back from this 'end', more shots of the reflecting pool:




Before heading to the other side, I stopped by the storage lockers to deposit my carry-ons. Beyond that was a sleeping area of semi-private 'suites' with near-flat lounge chairs, of which every single one was taken for the night. This was a u-turn right next to the main entrance.



A staff member was very eager and willing to help with my bag storage. Once I was done it was time to venture more into the lounge. It's basically rectangular with two corridors running through the lounge, with the reflecting pool and an 'island' of various seating areas and mini bars sandwiched between.



Didn't take too many pictures of the 'island' as I'm sure you'll find the number of motionless-looking people a bit unsettling. However, the workstations in front of the long corridor were largely empty. I did try to settle on one to work and recharge a bit but the wifi was incredibly weak. The lounge has no dedicated wifi but uses the complimentary one provided by the airport.




Going straight ahead, the corridor opens into a smaller dining area known as the 'deli'. A closer inspection at the menu confirmed the presence of the sandwich bar there. I vaguely remember there may have been servers getting me something to drink at some time.




Somewhat hidden behind the deli area were quiet rooms and family suites, again everything was completely taken/occupied for the evening. They are nothing fancy compared to Al Safwa, mostly just secluded cubicles of long couches where families/groups traveling together were sound asleep. There was also a kids' playroom but no kids were to be seen.



So I went back into the main lounge area this time along the back corridor, and was able to catch a few snaps of the 'island' in between. You can also see the restaurant towering above:




I gotta admit that it is indeed a humongous space, as there was a back room that the lounge opened into further, beyond the back corridor.



As you can see, to the left there was a games room and a very large business center.






Just like Al Safwa, the frosted glass features in the business center were very visually impressive. However everything mentioned above had an occupancy rate of exactly zero, but that was the very opposite for yet another sleeping area that this back room further led into:


Although I'm not sure why no lights were dimmed at all, this was more quiet than the sleeping area near the entrance. The features were similar (near-flat lounge chairs etc). So if you will be spending a night at Al Mourjan, try getting a spot here first.

For the rest of the 'morning', I settled on a workstation in the main lounge area but as I mentioned, the wifi speeds were pathetic, and I felt growingly uncomfortable from essentially having done four long flights back to back after a full day of business without getting to shower or properly rest much. With that in mind, I went for a shower just in time before the morning rush of incoming pax. There are two shower 'zones' and of course I creepily cleverly came across the fire exit map at some point which showed a much greater amount of showers tucked in the quiet area behind the 'deli'. When I got there, I was 3rd in line and only had to wait a bit before being escorted to a shower suite.

Just like the DXB, CDG and Al Safwa lounge, the shower suite was stocked with RITUALS amenities and was quite spacious. The water pressure was not bad either, and the lack of ventilation was not as noticeable as some FTers have complained about on the FT board. However, the service was laughable - when I requested a dental kit it took quite long for one to arrive, and when asked if there was a cup, the attendant somewhat bluntly asked me to use my hand! Perhaps it was a language barrier but it was very awkward...





Once I was done, it was around T-75 to my departure to LAX so I took my bag and headed out, not exactly completely prepared for the mental and physical tortures of SSSS and laptop ban all in one.

Ultimately, perhaps because of the weird layover time that I was here, along with the tiredness of the back-to-back flying done before coming in, as well as a growing psychological fear and tension before my US-bound leg, I did not 'enjoy' the lounge as much as I had expected, and it was a major letdown from Al Safwa a few days ago. Service was spotty with personnel not to be seen around much, and dining and shower options were also rather sub-par especially compared to my habitual enclaves of the Wing and the Pier HKG. I am also not sure about the crowded situation (even for sleeping areas after the noise 'died down') but perhaps that was related to the week of weather IRROPS that DOH/QR faced. Don't get me wrong tho it isn't like I would avoid connecting through DOH/taking QR J anymore because of this experience but I just found that the lounge was slightly underwhelming for the amount of hype that it has generated/received over the past few years.
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Old May 4, 17, 6:31 pm   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qsh View Post
Does QR or AA has "Adjustable pneumatic cushion allowing for customizable comfort"(AC) on their super diamond seats?
Not that I noticed

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Originally Posted by ThaiDan View Post
G-CIVC...

Thank you very much for the work you have put into this. It is a GREAT read!

I'm anxiously looking forward to the next episode as I'm booked to to BKK - DOH - LAX and return on QR in J later this year, thanks to an amazing one day sale that I caught just after Christmas. I'm looking forward to comparing it with the other carriers I've flown on this route over the last 12 years.

Keep up the great work, and thank you again!!!

Dan in Bangkok
Thanks ThaiDan for reading through. I'll be posting the review about DOH-LAX shortly. It is indeed one hell of a flight given its phenomenal distance and flying time. Stay tuned!
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Old May 4, 17, 7:42 pm   #53
  
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Great trip report. This was indeed a marathon of a trip.

I am curious how a FT'er can spot another FT'er either in the airport or in the sky?
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Old May 5, 17, 12:57 am   #54
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Flight 15: QR 739 DOH-LAX Business Class


I'll keep the pre-departure stuff short as this is TR but not OMNI/PR Some of you may find the exact details of the trauma I experienced before this flight took off on the relevant threads. Anyway, at T-65 I got to the gate where clueless pax met with clueless security folks. Not good. After being 'bounced' to the wrapping counter for my laptop and back, they had my laptop go through security only to tell me that no, that wasn't what should be done. So I had to part with my laptop and pray that the security guy who became my courier came back in the box that did contain my laptop in it. After security, some random white folk interrogating and questioning and copying down all the details I provided for whatever reason, and completely creeped me out by knowing my dad's occupation and etc. Let's say that in the foreseeable future I will not be flying DOH-USA, but I'd of course be more than happy to fly with QR to anywhere else in the world.

Anyway, 10 minutes before scheduled departure time, I finally managed to get onboard, welcomed warmly by the CSD and plopped myself into 1K. I think I may have been close to letting loose of all my temper, which must have scared the FA in charge of my section somewhat, but she quickly offered me my PDB of choice, PJs and the kit and asked me to let her know once I feel better.


You can see the extra goodie known as slippers preset for every J pax on this flight. Seems that it's only available on ultra long hauls...


The 2-2-2 config on the QR 777s are definitely not inferior compared to the 1-2-1 offerings on other equipment in the feet. You can see how much space I had, and of course it was only amplified thanks to QR's policy of seat blocking for emeralds. The only tip however is not to choose row 1 as there is nothing additional/special, and in fact storage is reduced much more - a side literature pocket was missing (to make way for the PTV), and in other rows, the back of the seat in front would also have provided extra storage compartments. Anyway, my bags were comfortably placed in 1J so that was by no means the end of the world.

And of course, the iconic sliding cocktail table with Evian underneath was there


We were stuck at the gate for an additional 45 minutes past departure time. CSD Miss M-J came by with her iPad to say hi in a rather perfunctory way. She may or may not have been Korean - couldn't tell as she spoke perfect English. After that she was periodically on the PA apologizing for a delayed departure due to 'security reasons'...I mean if someone were to have to apologize for this QR would be the last one.

We finally managed to push back at around 50 minutes past, with a view of a more populous than expected tarmac given the US-bound and weather-related delay issues that troubled DOH over that period.




The very hilarious (now borderline on becoming annoying) safety video played but I wasn't too focused given the trauma at the gate, and the very long time I have been awake after a whole night at Al Mourjan. Still, the take off was really one of the strongest ones I have experienced in my life as the 777 shook and rattled its way down the runway into the Arabic skies. 8,300 miles is really no joke even for the GE90s!



Within a couple minutes, we had cleared all the chops and once the seat belt sign got off, I made a dash for the lav to change into PJs and prepared to crash, as I was about to pass out even seated in the upright position during takeoff.



The FA for my section saw me on the way and asked if I wanted my bed made, and there it was once I was done and returned to the seat:


Some other pax did the same, so the cabin lights were dimmed quickly. On an interesting side note, the passenger profile was remarkably different on this flight compared to the CDG flights. Almost everyone today was Arabic, save for maybe just a few Caucasian pax and I was the only Asian pax in J.

Next thing I knew, we had made our way past not Iran...not Kazakhstan...but all the way til the North Pole! I had slept for almost 8 hours straight. See, the 777 seat is -that- good

With another 8 hours left, it was finally time to put on the show. My 'plan' was to first have breakfast, chill and doze a bit, then have a big lunch before arrival to LAX, essentially adjusting back to US time. Here's what QR had to offer today, apparently of a higher quality than most of its other flights:









First things first, the same smoothie-energiser duo that I did on the flight to Paris. The flavors were more exotic this time with date and cinnamon for the former, and cucumber, apple and mint being the ingredients for the energiser. However, they were both phenomenal and the flavors turned out to be combined well.

Soon, the FA laid down the full set of tableware along with greek yogurt and a piping hot bread basket with breakfast bakery items. Choice of jams and honey was also offered.

It was time to up the game further so the next order of birchermuesli was served along with So Jennie, my favorite QR drink now. I stumbled across this 'Pixar movie library' thing in the IFE and basically that's what I binged for the rest of the flight.

Next up was the crazy main of scrambled eggs and beef fillet along with all those cute sides and condiments. This was more edible than the steak on the inbound flight from Paris, but could have been better still. The rest of the stuff were all perfect, however.

Obviously this was very overwhelming so I asked my FA to pause her spectacular for a while as I focused on more Toy Story and So Jennie for the next hour or so.
This time, there was no need to look at the remote control for the flight map


Dessert was finally served as I retired back to my bed. This is actually the dessert option from the mid-flight snacks menu, there's another offering that I would sample later from the lunch part.


Chocolate opera and lemon tart of some sort. Heavenly, heavenly...

We still had a couple more hours to go, so I flipped the screen showings and watched kimi no na wa in bed mode. This time, without distractions/meal service going on, I finally got to understand the whole movie. Fantastic and makes me want to go to Tokyo again soon.


I may not have had the Q suite yet, but guess this 'R suite' of mine was more than enough and started to arise the misery in me for the flight coming to an end with more than 4 hours left.


Cabin shot. Yes, there was so much time so I started walking around. My apologies for lighting up my 'suite' but in fact most people had awaken anyhow now that we were 12 hours into the flight.


How DoD works, behind the scenes...


Around 2 hours out of LA, brunch 2.0... this time in bed with a mimosa to kick off:

Then followed by a piping hot roasted red pepper soup and the Arabic mezze plate which was OMG, out of this world-ly good. The pita were soft and well heated and all the dips tasted nothing like conventional airplane food.



I had wanted to try the Arabic chicken biryani for the main, but given the pax profile today, must say I wasn't surprised when it was gone in all four galley sections by that time. I settled on lamb loin with herb crust and rosemary jus for the main. This was a lot, lot better than the breakfast main, and again didn't feel like airplane food. Well prepared and presented and excellent in taste and tenderness.


I paired this with a glass of red, the Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Grand Cru Classe 2011 which was again miles better than the cr*p that CX serves in J class. So I didn't hesitate to carry it over to the next course of cheese and fruit plate.



Plating and taste were once again exemplary and I was once again too stuffed to continue. With that, I changed out of my PJs, reset my seat and packed and prepared a bit for arrival before continuing. The entire cabin was starting to wake, but not a lot were eating much.

My FA had no problem serving me around 45 minutes before arrival this very last course of Hazelnut and Salted Caramel Tart accompanied with a Macchiato and Godiva chocolates. Once again, the texture and taste was perfect, and it wasn't overly sweet either.


Soon, the window shades were all opened for a relaxing daytime atmosphere to filter into the cabin in preparation for arrival.




My 'suite' in its full glory


As is the case on many approaches into LA, the views were stunning as we descended.





We rolled down on the runway to the North of the terminals so was soon at our gate, arriving a whole hour late. Disembarkation was through door L2 only, where CCs gave their heartfelt thanks as we deplaned. We parked next to an Aeromexico 787 in T2 but this will not be the case anymore as QR has since moved to TBIT


I thought 3 hours would still be ample time to make my connection back to ORD, but little did I know the 'adventures' that were awaiting at CBP... okay no OMNI/PR stuff. But as is like the rest of the country (at least when it comes to flying), once I left the aircraft, it was very much a 'rude awakening' to end this trip.

This 16 hour flight was quite different from the shorter Europe-DOH vv legs done previously, and gave a different taste of what QR is like on ultra long haul. I will conclude by saying that the experience itself, once on the aircraft, is solid, but the weak spots are all on the ground. Some have to do with QR (i.e. the lounge - but thats also destination specific - if departing HKG then all is good!), some are of course OMNI/PR stuff that I must say unfortunately impacted my enjoyment of the flight. Service on this sector was also not particularly warm, but of course the FAs were professional, polite and efficient, still miles better than your average US3 FA. (Interesting fact: All of them were under 30, and it was an all girls team today!). For F&B and IFE and the seat itself I have no complaints...but some aspects on the previous sectors would certainly be great to add in on this leg, such as wifi and the inflight bar. Perhaps, I will try to get on DOH-SYD on the A380 next time!
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Old May 5, 17, 1:25 am   #55
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Thanks! Even with the partial weakness still a high level!
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Old May 5, 17, 1:25 am   #56
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Great trip report. This was indeed a marathon of a trip.

I am curious how a FT'er can spot another FT'er either in the airport or in the sky?
Thanks tennislover9 - here's the trick, the almighty FT luggage tag

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Old May 5, 17, 1:27 am   #57
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Thanks! Even with the partial weakness still a high level!
Thanks offerendum, QR was indeed solid. I hope to be able to fly with them again soon. (But just not to the US!)
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Old May 5, 17, 3:55 am   #58
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Flight 16: AA 2576 LAX-ORD First Class

After a terrible ordeal of GE failing me and ending up at secondary for a whole hour and essentially getting the movie-like third-world treatment of US border interrogation immigration, I was relieved to see a QR uniformed ground staff waiting for me at the already deserted bag claim with my boxed laptop I forgot her name but thank you SO MUCH for not screwing up my arrival further.

I had around 1.5 hours left (thankfully not negative), but bits and bits of time got wasted including having to walk from T2 to T4, trying but failing to get PRE on my bp (apparently because of having SSSS previously, but thank god at least there was no SSSS for this leg), no F security at LAX today etc etc...there was no time to see if QF F dragons would card and blockade me again, let alone visit the AC for a bottle of water.

At least the flight was departing from gate 40, closest to TSA today. Sunday afternoons and end of spring break for a lot of colleges. I'm not surprised the lice game was strong:


Turns out that it would also be my first AA flight under the new boarding process. Well, what is the point when you call multiple groups at a time?

With a bit of huff and puff shoving my rollerboard in the overhead, the FA standing there staring blankly and me popping into my pillowless bulkhead seat, I told myself, welcome back to the real world...

In full LAA fashion, boarding was chaotic and no PDBs were offered, at least they hung my jacket. The safety video may or may not have played as it was as forgettable as it can be. Anyway, we still managed to push back religiously, I think the only thing I appreciate about US carriers is the obsession with on time performance (and of course when they manage to make that work).



After a traditional long LAX taxi we took off to the West, in parallel style:


And turned back soon after



'Showtime.' HAH!


Back to being underage...


And of course, dinner would be as unappealing as it would be. The same grilled slab of chicken that I've had for so many times over the past few months. At least the salmon and rillettes, while a far cry from my QR DOH-CDG flight, made me a little bit happier. At least, the FA miraculously apologized for the lack of pretzel bread as it was 'only for the inbound'.


And of course, at least there was this one thing that does not go wrong on AA:


Passing through Colorado as the sun began to set:


The rest of the flight, of course, was essentially nothing, although we did arrive early, the FA once again made my jaw drop by actually offering to bring me a cup of warm water to my seat as I felt a bit burnt out again, after I asked her in the galley (timidly first for just hot water and ice), and a final score of getting home all by myself for just POOL pricing

For a 2323 scheduled arrival I was back home before midnight. That's it! The End. 9am class tomorrow...
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Old May 5, 17, 4:07 am   #59
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Wrap up and what's next

If you followed through all the instalments, thanks again

The trip was indeed 12 crazy days and I did feel sore and burnt out for so many times. Would I do it again? Absolutely, but I would pace it out and not squeeze everything in. It was a pity that I wasn't able to visit Madrid, let alone having to resort to so many back-to-back flights with a schedule even more dense than cabin crew.

Of course I'm also happy that EXP until 2019 was safely bagged in after this trip pretty much. And compared to 2016 where basically everything long haul was CX and AA for domestics etc, this trip really injected a lot more diversity into my FF portfolio... QR did meet mostly my sky high expectations, but at the same time BA was not as bad as I had envisioned. All in all, bags after bags of surprises.

Many parts of the trip of course were made much more enjoyable derived from the excellent resources and advice available here on FT, so a big thanks to the community too, especially the QR and BA forum which I don't frequent much.

What's next:
I had wanted to write a similar TR for spring break a year ago but that was a much less exciting itinerary, can't blame myself for giving up but if I am not lazy and you guys like it, I'm planning on writing three more TR episodes soon:

- Thanksgiving on the AA LAX-HKG new service rt in J: the 'CX EXP's' take
- Japan Airlines First Class NRT-ORD, April 2017
- Cathay Pacific new business class trial service ORD-HKG, June 2017

And of course this is only half of the RTW ticket, I still have some remaining segments including CX's new business class trial service on ORD-HKG, followed by HKG-HND-HKG, HKG-DPS-HKG and finally ending with HKG-TLV. (Yes, all hail CX!)

G-CIVC
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Old May 10, 17, 7:15 am   #60
  
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Thanks @G-CIVC for this great report, once again!

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Thanks tennislover9 - here's the trick, the almighty FT luggage tag
I knew they existed but never bothered to order some. But today I ordered two of those...
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