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Critique my plans for my first BA experience

Critique my plans for my first BA experience

Old Apr 2, 14, 12:27 pm
  #1  
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Critique my plans for my first BA experience

Doing a burn of my AA miles in style, and taking the long way around to get to Australia to see family.

Sunday, May 4th: I'm flying LIT-DFW-IAH on AA domestic F. Then flying BA 196 in F IAH-LHR, arriving ~11:30 a.m. Monday, May 5th. I'm connecting on QF 10 that night departing approximately 10:30 p.m. flying first LHR-DXB-MEL on the A380, arriving Wednesday morning MEL time.

Yep. Long way around. It allows me to fly BA for the first time (and my first 777) and experience first on the QF A380 (flew J last October on a paid ticket LAX-MEL).

My plan is to shower at the T5 arrivals lounge, then catch the HEX into London. I'd like to grab a low-key lunch at a traditional London pub. I may try one of the hop on/hop off buses to tour around a bit or am considering walking to the Natural History Museum.

Would then take the HEX back to LHR, catch a shower at one of the F lounges in T3 (AA the best?), then hop a bit between AA/CX/BA and sample the food and champagne before my departure. I'm planning on getting back to LHR around 6:00 or so as I love to plane spot and wander airports. I haven't been to LHR in over 20 years, so it will all be new to me.

Anything I'm missing? Other suggestions? I'm very excited about the trip overall. I've not flown int'l F before, only J in Qantas last year and United ~17 years ago.
thom1033 is offline  
Old Apr 2, 14, 12:41 pm
  #2  
 
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Try an infinity bath in the T5 Arrivals Lounge instead of a shower:



Otherwise read this, which should give some useful tips:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/13303132-post21.html

You might actually find the tube (Piccadilly Line) faster and certainly cheaper than the exorbitant HEX; tube will get you right into Knightsbridge for some treats from Harrods in 45 mins door-to-door for around 4, HEX means waiting for the next train, 20 mins on board, and then getting a cab or another tube from Paddington. NOt as fast as you're led to believe!
oscietra is offline  
Old Apr 2, 14, 12:43 pm
  #3  
 
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be warned - once you start, you can't stop - international F on good airlines like BA/CX/QF/SQ/LH can easily get you addicted
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Old Apr 2, 14, 1:01 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by thom1033 View Post
Would then take the HEX back to LHR, catch a shower at one of the F lounges in T3 (AA the best?), then hop a bit between AA/CX/BA and sample the food and champagne before my departure. I'm planning on getting back to LHR around 6:00 or so as I love to plane spot and wander airports. I haven't been to LHR in over 20 years, so it will all be new to me.
Make sure you can check your bags all the way through to MEL and have your boarding pass issued (or at least do an OLCI sometime and print your BP if you can have the baggage interlined but not have the BP printed). They should be able to check you bags through but I have recently had some odd experience when trying to interline within OW to QF, so I thought I'd specifically mention that.

If not, I'm not even sure what time the QF check-in desk would be open for QF 10 so you might like to check. Landside at T3 is seriously boring and you don't want to be stuck there waiting for the check-in desk to open.

If for some reason you can't have your bags checked through to MEL, you can store them at Excess Baggage Company at either T5 or T3, for 9 per bag.
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Old Apr 2, 14, 1:03 pm
  #5  
 
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you may not have quite as long as you think in London if you are showering etc in the lounge

great to have a nice leisurely pub lunch [ im sure there is a thread here somewhere about London pubs ]

maybe try to incorporate the hop on bus with your visit to the natural history museum as to do both separately might be tough time wise

most importantly enjoy the time you have
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Old Apr 2, 14, 1:08 pm
  #6  
 
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Try the Fox and Anchor pub in Smithfield. Great ale served in pewter tankards.

You get to see the last working market in London, and interesting neighbourhood, and its a short walk to St Paul's if you haven't been.

http://www.foxandanchor.com

A journey from Paddington to Farringdon on the Hammersmith&City line will take 20 mins.

By the time you get there the lunchtime trade will have drifted away...
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Old Apr 2, 14, 1:13 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by thom1033 View Post
catch a shower at one of the F lounges in T3 (AA the best?)
AA's lounges are fairly poor - BA and CX are better, and for a shower I would go to the CX lounge.
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Old Apr 2, 14, 1:14 pm
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I'd plan to spend less time than 4.5 hours in T3 if I were you, notwithstanding that you like airports etc. T3 really isn't that great.

There will be more interesting things to do in central London.

Assuming you've already checked bags through and have your boarding pass, I'd leave central London on the Piccadilly Line at 6:00 or 6:30, which will still give you three hours airside in T3.

Note that Monday May 5th is a holiday in the UK so you don't need to be concerned about rush hour congestion on the tube.
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Old Apr 2, 14, 1:15 pm
  #9  
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Thanks all for the comments! Couple of things:

1) Would taking the tube from LHR to Knightsbridge on the Picadilly line involve a switch of trains? Any benefit to pre-purchasing a ticket?

2) Any concern about long waits for the tube or the HEX on a Monday evening headed to LHR?

3) Regarding bag check, good point! I'm expecting/assuming I'll be able to check through to MEL, if not I'll certainly use the bag service. Qantas site says the LHR check in desk opens 5 hours before the first departure, so I should be OK.

4) I was thinking either the bus or the museum, assuming I don't have time for both. Was thinking the bus if the weather was fair and the museum if not...

Funny side story, related to check-in. Last October I had booked my trip on two reservations (Domestic AA LIT-DFW-LAX and back and the QF ticket separately LAX-MEL). When I got to the airport to check in at LIT, the res agent linked the two reservations, checked the bag through to MEL and even issued my boarding passes all the way through. I had a very long layover in LAX and when I arrive the QF desk hadn't even opened yet, but I had my AA-issued boarding pass already for the flight so used it to get through security and into the lounge.

Imagine my shock when I received a call on my cell phone about 15 minutes before boarding was to begin for the MEL flight from a number I didn't recognized that went something like:
"Hello Mr. thom1033, this is Qantas calling. Just wondering if you're planning on travelling with us this evening to Melbourne?"

I about hit the floor. Apparently something didn't link when the check in agent claimed he checked me in at LIT and gave me my BP. Luckily I was good to go and just had to check in at the gate and didn't lose my seat. It was an extremely full flight, too. So full in fact that we had to stop in SYD for fuel!
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Old Apr 2, 14, 1:25 pm
  #10  
 
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LHR to knightsbridge is direct no change required--by tube

remember that if you do the natural history museum that the V&A is very close----so good option for a not so nice day

the fox and anchor pub sounds a great option to me-----its one I want to try myself
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Old Apr 2, 14, 1:27 pm
  #11  
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You can't pre-book tube tickets, but what you should ask for is an Oyster card. They are pre-paid card that are cheaper per journey than cash tickets and you can keep it for the next trip or if you're not going back to London anytime you can get a refund of any remaining credit at the end.

10 credit on your Oyster should do. The Oyster card will work on the tube and the buses (not the open top guided tour buses but the regular ones - the old Routemasters than run on 9 and 15 are aimed at tourists but are considered regular buses).
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Old Apr 2, 14, 2:01 pm
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by Genius1 View Post
AA's lounges are fairly poor - BA and CX are better, and for a shower I would go to the CX lounge.
+1 on the shower.

You might be interested in this report of my QF10 flight to MEL in first in January.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/22366608-post55.html

Also as a QF first passenger you can also use the EK lounge at LHR. Enjoy the Dxb EK lounge. Do you have the Amadeus pnr? If so plug it into the manage booking section of QANTAS.com and see if it will let you book a chauffeur transfer in Melbourne.
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Old Apr 2, 14, 2:21 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Moomba View Post
+1 on the shower.

You might be interested in this report of my QF10 flight to MEL in first in January.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/22366608-post55.html

Also as a QF first passenger you can also use the EK lounge at LHR. Enjoy the Dxb EK lounge. Do you have the Amadeus pnr? If so plug it into the manage booking section of QANTAS.com and see if it will let you book a chauffeur transfer in Melbourne.
Thanks. How would you rate the EK LHR lounge compared to CX/BA? I'm interested to see the DXB lounge too! I've read your TR twice now and will likely review it one or two more times prior to the trip, lol.

Chauffer drive already booked both directions. I was impressed it allowed me to use it to get to MEL on the way home as I'm travelling MEL-SYD-DFW-LIT the trip home.

I'm in 2A for both the BA 777 and the QF A380. I snagged 5B for the QF 747 on the way home, which appears to be a good single seat.
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Old Apr 2, 14, 3:17 pm
  #14  
 
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Didn't spot it was Bank Holiday - scrap my advice. Clerkenwell is more a weekday spot.

Stick to the Piccadilly line - the HEX is a bit of a rip-off. Find a nice pub around Brompton Cross (also off South Kensington) then everything is one place for you.
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Old Apr 2, 14, 4:47 pm
  #15  
 
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Originally Posted by ukgooner View Post
Didn't spot it was Bank Holiday - scrap my advice. Clerkenwell is more a weekday spot.

Stick to the Piccadilly line - the HEX is a bit of a rip-off. Find a nice pub around Brompton Cross (also off South Kensington) then everything is one place for you.
I was thinking of the Grenadier in Wilton Row (Hyde Park Corner) then a stroll through the park to South Ken. But I've no idea if it's the same as it was 10-15 years ago - not much in London is.
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