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TR: BA Club Europe and Domestic - to the Frozen North and (eventually) back South.

TR: BA Club Europe and Domestic - to the Frozen North and (eventually) back South.

Old Mar 26, 13, 7:33 am
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TR: BA Club Europe and Domestic - to the Frozen North and (eventually) back South.

A journey to The Frozen North was essential, for 2 reasons. First, to see son and family, who for some reason have decided to continue to live in Deepest Yorkshire. The other reason was to acquire sufficient TPs to renew our BAEC Silver status for the forthcoming membership Year. Much rattling of calculators and exploration of options, including the desire to avoid a completely nugatory TP run later on, forced us into a fairly expensive journey. And, of course, there are no direct BA flights to where we needed to be. Overall it also turned out to be our most disrupted and irritating flight ever.

The Route.
JER-LGW in Club Europe.
M23/M25 to LHR, by taxi.
LHR-LBA in UK Domestic.
A1(M) to even further North, by son.
… and back again, but obviously in the reverse order.

Roughly 350 miles, or 550 km for some people, and only about 8 hours door-to door!
And it only cost us 646.80

OLCI. Saturday 16 March 2013.
Thanks to the corporate wisdom of FT, we had pre-selected seats in Exit Row 10 on the Domestic sector, as this was operated by an ex-BMI A-319. However, at OLCI we discovered that I had been moved to 15A, leaving the OH in 10E. And all seats forward of Row 15 were unavailable for selection. Splitting pax on the same PNR? I think not! Given that it was only a 60-minute sector, we settled for companionship in 15A/B. And I fired off a comment to BAEC via ba.com expressing mild annoyance.

Outbound. Sunday 17 March.
JER-LGW in a crumbling B734 called G-DOCH was uneventful. We were able to sample the BA "Extended Breakfast" - its suited us, but from comments on FT it doesn't please everyone. (The warm rolls arrived just after the photo was taken)



We arrived on schedule, our 2 cases emerged on the Reclaim belt undamaged after a suitable interval, and we set off to LHR Terminal 1 via pleasantly uncrowded motorways with our regular driver.

Being complete strangers to LHR T1, we had conducted research in the FT Forums about this strange place, and had no difficulty in making our way to Bag Drop and Fast Track Security. However, the Fast Track was rather poorly signed and confusing, and we ended up for a while in the wrong line. Eventually air-side, we set off on the long walk to BA's UK & Ireland Domestic Lounge near Gate 8. The lounge seemed both vast and empty. The food and drink offering was minimal to the point of extinction … a search eventually revealed some pieces of cheese in a tray in a 'fridge which might enliven a pack of plain biscuits. We didn't bother, and just grabbed a quick beverage - which was just as well, because our flight was called to Gate 8 before we'd half drunk them! Not even time to take a photo!!

At this point it became apparent that the LGW-LHR minimum connection time (MCT) is indeed rather tight. I'm not sure if it's 3 hours or 3 hours 30, but we were now just about on 3 hours from the time we landed at LGW … eek! And that was with a clear run on the M23/M25. Whatever, we were in the right place at the right time, and duly passed through Gate 8 to board … the bus. Where we stood for 10 minutes waiting for the inevitable meandering passenger to favour us with her presence.

G-DBCF is a nice, clean shiny A-319 from the former BMI fleet. The seats were perfectly comfortable for the short hop to LBA. We watched as a gentleman settled into 10D, while I prevented myself from shouting "That's MY seat". He then slipped across to the window seat 10F. Another gentleman did the same in 10C/A. The majority of the pax (maybe 40?) were behind us, and a further 10 were scattered around the forward rows (1-9). During the flight I had a chat with the very helpful Purser, who could offer no explanation of why I'd been shifted. Whatever, not the World's biggest problem: just annoying.

And so we arrived at LBA, recovered our cases, met Dutiful Son and were driven further North for an hour.

Being There.
I believe it was Ernest Shackleton who noted in his Polar diary "My God, this is an awful place." My apologies to all good Northern folk who love their County, but when the wind is howling from the East at 20+ knots, the temperature is hovering between 0 and -2 and the sky is sprinkling white flakes over everything … I'll stick to Jersey, thank you!



The week passed pleasantly enough. On Wednesday 21st I got a BA email apologising for the seat shuffle on the outbound (albeit with no explanation of why) and a donation of 6,000 Avios each: oh, thank you BA! And on the same day there was actually some blue sky in the morning before the clouds rolled in again.



And the wind still blew, and much more snow fell, and the temperature never rose above freezing. And on Friday and Saturday LBA was closed all day with snow, and we wondered if we would ever escape! However, OLCI for the flight home on Sunday was successful, so fingers crossed.

Inbound. Sunday 24 March.
Much checking of websites, and YES!! LBA is indeed operating. So Dutiful Son drove us to LBA to catch BA1347 to LHR, ETD 1315. The roads were fairly clear, but with a lot of blowing snow.





Leeds Bradford International Airport did indeed show plenty of evidence of previous snowfall.



We dropped our bags and headed for The Yorkshire Premier Lounge (free for us as BA Silver/OW Emerald but also available for 17.50 at the door). A quite large but modest facility, with limited F&B, but infinitely preferable to being outside in the main concourse which severely lacks seating for passengers.





The Lounge has extensive Rules, including "Don't take stuff away with you", but seems mainly to concentrate on Dress Code and not getting drunk! My thanks to shorthauldad for the photo!



Anyway, at this point in the tale, everything turns to dust.

  • 1300. Ahhh … a website tells me our inbound aircraft is due in 10 minutes. Aaarrrggghhh …. a website tells me our aircraft is returning to LHR, and another tells me that LBA is closed. The issue is snow blowing across the airfield and covering the runway. Look, there are the runway sweepers doing their work!
  • 1330. An announcement for passengers on BA1347 with connections to go to Gate 9 … where we are met by BA's ground agents and led back to check-in to start re-booking us. Bags also recovered, re-tagged and re-loaded.



Very well handled by all concerned: we are re-booked onto BA1343 at 1555 and BA2778 LGW-JER at 1945. Hmmm, only 2:45 connection time between the London airports, but probably just achievable.
  • 1700. Boarding call for BA1343. An hour later than scheduled, so that's blown the LGW connection completely, but at least we're escaping the Frozen North!
  • 1720. Having been greeted by name during boarding (!) we settled into (18A/B) and listened to the Captain advise us he was waiting for a slot at 1805!!
  • 1747. A-319 G-DBCA leaps into the air, heads south, holds at LHR for 10 minutes and lands at 1840. We are obviously night-stopping somewhere, courtesy of BA.
  • 1920. We eventually reach the Customer Service desk in T1, where a very nice lady sorts out our accommodation and meals (at the Novotel, with transport) and re-books us on the 1150 out of LGW in the morning.

Of the Novotel I shall say little. It was a bed for the night, we had some food (although the 'cook' managed to completely ruin my 'luxury' burger by overcooking everything to the point of destruction) and had some sleep.
Breakfast was slightly better, Reception arranged a taxi to LGW and at 0815 on Monday we were heading for LGW.




Inbound Part 2. Monday 25 March.
  • 0915. I get more impressed with Gatwick (North) every time I pass through, and today (thankfully) was no exception. Three premium check-in desks were staffed - and we were the only customers at that moment. One pax ahead of us at Premium Gatwick security, and into a nice quiet Galleries Lounge at 0930!
  • 1130. Boarded B734 G-DOCG bound for home. Greeted by name again - I'm getting used to this idea! I skipped the breakfast, and settled for a mini-bottle of fizzy stuff and a pack of Lily O'Brien's Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. In celebratory mood now! Excellent CC too - Well Done duly sent.
  • 1315. Home. Phew.

So ended our first ever encounter with IRROPS at an airport, a very interesting experience which I would prefer not to repeat. But seriously rather impressed by the way it was all handled.

Aftermath. Tuesday 26 March.
Well Done sent to BA for the IRROPS recovery at both LBA and LHR.
All Tier Points and Avios credited to our accounts.
Silver status renewed for the coming year.
Download photos, write TR.
Promise myself never to go to Yorkshire again unless its mid-Summer.

Last edited by T8191; Apr 13, 19 at 5:21 am Reason: Restore photos
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Old Mar 26, 13, 7:43 am
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My lord it is still snowing in May this year? How is it in the future? ;-)

Nice TR, many thanks.
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Old Mar 26, 13, 7:46 am
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Originally Posted by ACARS View Post
My lord it is still snowing in May this year? How is it in the future? ;-)

Nice TR, many thanks.
Ooops corrected!
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Old Mar 26, 13, 7:51 am
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I am betting you were moved for trim if the load was light on the LHR-LBA - if all of the seats forward of 15 were unavailable to select but not actually occupied in the end? Though I don't know why they wouldn't move both people on the same booking backwards rather than just one.

Originally Posted by T8191 View Post
1747. B734 G-DOCA leaps into the air, heads south, holds at LHR for 10 minutes and lands at 1840
Did they really send a 734 to/from LHR during the disruption? I'm not trying to be picky, I am genuinely curious if they did!
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Old Mar 26, 13, 7:58 am
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Nice TR T8191!

I particularly enjoyed your lack of hysteria or hyperbole during IRROPS.
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Old Mar 26, 13, 7:59 am
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We were obviously in the lounge at LBA at the same time; the only difference is that as we were ending our travels at LHR we didn't have to go back out to check-in - they brought our new BPs for the next flight to us in the lounge. The lounge staff were being very strict about the three hour stay limit for those who had paid to go in. A lady next to us who was trying to get to Vilnius had to pay for a second session.
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Old Mar 26, 13, 7:59 am
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G-BOAC … I was guessing a trim issue. I think it had been mentioned here on FT in the recent past. I presume once they had enough down the back they could let some into the forward rows. And they originally left the OH in 10E to look after the overwing exit.

And I've rechecked my notebook - definitely DOCA. Where it came from I have no idea - I was just glad anything turned up!!
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Old Mar 26, 13, 8:06 am
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Originally Posted by tuff View Post
We were obviously in the lounge at LBA at the same time; the only difference is that as we were ending our travels at LHR we didn't have to go back out to check-in - they brought our new BPs for the next flight to us in the lounge. The lounge staff were being very strict about the three hour stay limit for those who had paid to go in. A lady next to us who was trying to get to Vilnius had to pay for a second session.
So much for my bright yellow back-pack to match my bright yellow FT bag-tag!!
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Old Mar 26, 13, 9:22 am
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T8191 - Thanks for the TR, one of the best bits of FT, especially when they are well written and presented (like yours)
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Old Mar 26, 13, 9:59 am
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Nice TR showing that you don't want to travel in mid winter. I know its now spring but never mind. Although wasn't it a little nippy in JER a few days before this trip.

I don't know where Leeds is. I presume its somewhere up north. I get hest pains anywhere past Watford gap.

I don't suppose BA have made much money out of your little trip. Oh well, that's their problem. However I expect they don't pay the same rate for hotel rooms as we do.
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Old Mar 26, 13, 10:06 am
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Originally Posted by origin View Post
I don't suppose BA have made much money out of your little trip. Oh well, that's their problem. However I expect they don't pay the same rate for hotel rooms as we do.
GBP 344.00 + Tax/Fee/Charge GBP 302.80 = GBP 646.80
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Old Mar 26, 13, 10:08 am
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Originally Posted by T8191 View Post
GBP 344.00 + Tax/Fee/Charge GBP 302.80 = GBP 646.80
That is a lot, maybe next time use the avios and go somewhere where its hot.

I know holidays in the UK are expensive, I didn't think that bad.
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Old Mar 26, 13, 10:15 am
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TR: BA Club Europe and Domestic - to the Frozen North and (eventually) back South.

Glad you enjoyed Yorkshire T8, however the weather is not much better in summer.
In fact late summer thunderstorms make operations at Yeadon ( sorry LBA) quite entertaining. Enjoyed the TR especially the LBA lounge which I am shortly due to sample. I promise a mini TR once the service moves from T1 to T5 for comparison.

BTW it is too cold at present even for this hardened northerner.
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Old Mar 26, 13, 10:17 am
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BA1343 - LBA/LHR - 24 March

1747. B734 G-DOCA leaps into the air, heads south, holds at LHR for 10 minutes and lands at 1840. We are obviously night-stopping somewhere, courtesy of BA.

Are you sure it was not G-DBCA as G-DOCA flew to Sofia for maitenance on 18 March and as far as I am aware is still there. Flightradar states BA1343 LBA/LHR flown by G-DBCA on 24 March.
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Old Mar 26, 13, 10:36 am
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http://www.thebasource.com/flighttracker.html

It appears to have been G-DBCA

It was supposed to have been DBCH, but that went to Dusseldorf instead.

Last edited by origin; Mar 26, 13 at 10:42 am
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