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Honeymooning in Australia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Dubai (UA/EK/BA F, SQ J)

Honeymooning in Australia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Dubai (UA/EK/BA F, SQ J)

Old Dec 19, 2013, 10:57 pm
  #46  
 
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The 2am-3am departure from DXB - LHR is quite common since it will arrive at LHR around 6-7am just in time for morning meetings and etc in the office/town. I have taken that flight too many times for my own good~~
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Old Dec 20, 2013, 10:56 am
  #47  
 
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Wow. What an amazing trip. Job well done.
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Old Dec 22, 2013, 10:19 pm
  #48  
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11. London to San Francisco: British Airways First Class

And now, for the not-so-epic finale to our honeymoon. It feels like there's been a good amount of criticism lobbed at British Airways recently, so I don't really feel the need to pile on too much for a couple of reasons.

The first is that this was my first ever flight on BA, and with only a singular data point the actuary in me won't allow myself to draw any broad conclusions about the airline as a whole. The second is that I don't function well on little to no sleep, and this being the last flight on the tail end of already ~30 hours in transit, I looked like an extra on the set of the Walking Dead as I was in a complete zombie-like trance for the majority of the flight (which explains the lack of pictures I took on this segment). So in that regard, I guess BA was lucky that only half my mind was functioning

But anyways, disclaimers now aside let's get to it. We landed at Terminal 3 and began the trek over to Terminal 5. We found our way to the Terminal 3->5 bus, but got stuck behind some sort of truck that was only moving about 5mph, so the ride took upwards of 15-20 minutes. After arriving at the Terminal 5 security area, we were in line for at least 15 minutes, after which our bag was pulled out for a secondary search. There was only 1 worker searching all the bags that were getting pulled out, and we waited 30 minutes before we were cleared. So the 4 hours layover that we had already evaporated to less than 2 by the time we found the Concorde Room.

I had booked a Cabana which was a nice way to get away from some of the chaos inside. We ordered up a couple classic English breakfasts which arrived quickly and were quite good. The cabana itself was pretty clean, with the only drawback being a toilet that is right in the middle of the room with no privacy. I did take a couple laps around the lounge and found it to be fine although very crowded. We both also went in for 15-minute spa treatments at the Elemis Spa next door.

Cabana at the CCR


Classic English breakfast


Around T-45 we headed to our gate for boarding, and it was extremely chaotic. We found our way to the Fast Track line, but were already behind a long queue of people, who were also behind a long queue of people waiting for pre-boarding. We finally got to the front, only to find the jet bridge was completely backed up as they were just using a single jet bridge to board an entire 747.

We finally made it on, and as I walked through the door and turned left, the excitement that I had for trying another F product was short lived as I realized my luck had finally ran out and would be getting the old F product today. I had even checked the day before and the schedule was showing the new F.

I went to my seat, and to add insult to injury there were a couple leftover almonds waiting for me on the seat. I brushed them off and sat down, at which point my wife looked over and said "well, we're not on Emirates anymore". I took a few minutes to play around with the seat which was definitely looking quite worn out, along with the worst IFE system I've come across in a while which had just terrible quality along with terrible selections. The whole first class cabin just looked so drab and dated, even compared to United.

During the boarding process amenity kits, slippers, and pajamas were distributed. I actually quite liked the pajamas that BA has, but struggled to change into them in the bathroom which was 1/10 the size of Emirates'.

After take-off the lunch service began, and while the service was very slow, the food was actually not bad. Overall, we felt that the service was just ok, and they definitely could have used more help as the first class cabin was full and we often times had to wait a long time before being served.

After eating, I requested turn down service and was one of the few passengers (maybe the only) that slept. I woke up just an hour before landing and had some tea and scones.

Again, for the reasons mentioned above I won't pile on and draw too many conclusions about BA, but we were definitely not impressed. In fact, we both felt that our United flight was better than our BA flight in all respects (perhaps other than the amenity kit and pajamas). We do have a SFO-LHR RT in F booked for next summer, so it will be a good chance to see if our first flight on BA was just an anomaly, or sadly the norm.

Lunch menu






Amuse bouche


Lobster appetizer


Soup


Steak, not as overcooked as I was expecting


Dessert buns


Rhubarb crumble



Thanks again to everyone who stopped by to read about our honeymoon, and hopefully there was some useful information in here to those that are planning future trips. We thought that we were done traveling for a while, but we just planned a last-minute trip for New Years, so my next trip report will be coming up much sooner than previously expected
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 1:43 am
  #49  
 
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Thanks for putting this together. Really enjoyed it. I'll probably be doing many of the same activities when I visit Australia in September next year. Congrats on getting married as well, and keep traveling! Looking forward to the BA TR next year.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 6:24 am
  #50  
 
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Originally Posted by sfoactuary
And now, for the not-so-epic finale to our honeymoon. It feels like there's been a good amount of criticism lobbed at British Airways recently, so I don't really feel the need to pile on too much for a couple of reasons.

The first is that this was my first ever flight on BA, and with only a singular data point the actuary in me won't allow myself to draw any broad conclusions about the airline as a whole.

LOL. In situations with limited data, we always turn to external sources, in this case FT TR/rants

Boring stuff aside, thanks once again for the brilliant report, for enabling us to experience your travel through words and pics.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 11:35 am
  #51  
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Originally Posted by LDNConsultant
The 2am-3am departure from DXB - LHR is quite common since it will arrive at LHR around 6-7am just in time for morning meetings and etc in the office/town. I have taken that flight too many times for my own good~~
Ah, that makes perfect sense. I'd taken a few SFO to east cost redeyes that left around midnight, but the 3am departure was another level of pain just trying to stay awake long enough to board

Originally Posted by isaifan
Wow. What an amazing trip. Job well done.
Thanks, isaifan!

Originally Posted by bhamsan01
Thanks for putting this together. Really enjoyed it. I'll probably be doing many of the same activities when I visit Australia in September next year. Congrats on getting married as well, and keep traveling! Looking forward to the BA TR next year.
So glad that I could give you a preview of what's to come when you visit Australia next September! One thing that we were on the fence about was Ayers Rock - we've gotten 50/50 feedback on both sides whether it's worth the trip, but could be another thing to consider as you plan your itinerary.

Originally Posted by hawklx
LOL. In situations with limited data, we always turn to external sources, in this case FT TR/rants

Boring stuff aside, thanks once again for the brilliant report, for enabling us to experience your travel through words and pics.
Thanks so much, hawklx! No doubt that those that are compelled to post on FT tend to be skewed toward one end of the spectrum, but mostly the negative side especially when it comes to BA
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Old Dec 25, 2013, 5:40 am
  #52  
 
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Thanks for the wonderful report. Emirates F is simply beyond my imagination. By the way, don't mind if I ask, how much did you pay ex-CMB on F ?
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Old Dec 26, 2013, 1:44 pm
  #53  
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Originally Posted by luv_flying
Thanks for the wonderful report. Emirates F is simply beyond my imagination. By the way, don't mind if I ask, how much did you pay ex-CMB on F ?
Thanks so much for reading, luv_flying. Emirates F was definitely a treat, and it'll probably be a long, long time until we get to fly it again.

Our ex-CMB was just a shade over $2k per person for the OW CMB-DXB-LHR-SFO. Sadly, I believe that the price is now more than double that amount.
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Old Dec 26, 2013, 1:56 pm
  #54  
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Originally Posted by sfoactuary
The was the first time in my life that I was actually excited to head home from vacation. As I had mentioned earlier, I had booked an ex-CMB ticket that would take us from CMB to LHR via DXB with both legs on Emirates F. Our CMB-DXB flight was a 9:40am departure and we headed to the airport around 7am since I was nervous about traffic, and had read that Emirates is notoriously strict about the check-in cutoff times. Lucky for us there was barely any traffic, and we were checked-in and sitting in the Emirates lounge by 7:30am. After getting yelled at by my wife for once again rushing to the airport only to sit around, I grabbed some breakfast/coffee. The lounge was very specious and clean, but the food offerings weren't that impressive.
Great wrap to your report and amazing honeymoon trip. LOL about your wife complaining about "rushing to the airport only to sit around". Welcome to the club. I get that all the time. You were a lot luckier that SFOJr and I earlier this year when EK subbed a two class plane on our CMB-DXB leg.

You are far more forgiving than I am about your BA flight and I have to commend (or pity) you for wanting to give them another chance. I have actually has some good BA flights, but when I have more bad than good, someone is telling to move on. BTW, BA is apparently doling out 50,000 Avios for those that get stuck with old First and complain about it. Just a thought.
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Old Dec 26, 2013, 3:51 pm
  #55  
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Originally Posted by SFO777
Great wrap to your report and amazing honeymoon trip. LOL about your wife complaining about "rushing to the airport only to sit around". Welcome to the club. I get that all the time. You were a lot luckier that SFOJr and I earlier this year when EK subbed a two class plane on our CMB-DXB leg.

You are far more forgiving than I am about your BA flight and I have to commend (or pity) you for wanting to give them another chance. I have actually has some good BA flights, but when I have more bad than good, someone is telling to move on. BTW, BA is apparently doling out 50,000 Avios for those that get stuck with old First and complain about it. Just a thought.
When she starts getting upset with me, I gently remind her that it all comes with the territory of this hobby, and if she'd like to plan the trips I'll gladly follow her schedule

Thanks for the heads up about the compensation - I did stumble upon the thread on this topic in the BA forum and emailed customer service. They told me to go pound sand, in a very nice way. I didn't push it beyond that, but if you've heard of other avenues to pursue this further, I'm all ears.
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Old Dec 27, 2013, 5:26 am
  #56  
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Curious, which case did you use for your GoPro dives? 40m or 60m?

Great pictures and TR!
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Old Dec 27, 2013, 9:41 am
  #57  
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Originally Posted by CanucksHKG
Curious, which case did you use for your GoPro dives? 40m or 60m?

Great pictures and TR!
I bought the GoPro just for this trip, so I figured that I'd use the stock case that comes with it first. I think that it worked just fine, and was pleased with the quality.

Almost all of the other divers that had GoPros were using the larger, underwater housing, so they must have felt that there were some marginal benefits in the quality.
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Old Dec 27, 2013, 10:56 am
  #58  
 
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Loved the report sfo actuary. Thought that was a Harry's pie I spied in Sydney!
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Old Dec 27, 2013, 1:42 pm
  #59  
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Loved the TR, and great photos from the Maldives! And what is an ex-CMB flight?
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Old Dec 28, 2013, 3:25 pm
  #60  
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Originally Posted by ellie_nz
Loved the report sfo actuary. Thought that was a Harry's pie I spied in Sydney!
Thanks for reading! The Harry's pie was delicious, I can see why it's considered to be an institution in Sydney

Originally Posted by agp423
Loved the TR, and great photos from the Maldives! And what is an ex-CMB flight?
Thanks! Like I had mentioned, the photos don't even do the Maldives justice.

The ex-CMB fare was a ticket that left from CMB in Sri Lanka to basically anywhere in N America where business and first class fares were much lower than you could find anywhere else. It was a favorite for those returning from the Maldives. I won't get yelled at for talking about it now since the fare is effectively gone now and prices have more than doubled.
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