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BA/Eurostar 2 week business trip PHX-LHR-DUB-LHR-EDI-LCY-DUB-LHR-PHX

BA/Eurostar 2 week business trip PHX-LHR-DUB-LHR-EDI-LCY-DUB-LHR-PHX

Old Jul 6, 15, 4:40 pm
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BA/Eurostar 2 week business trip PHX-LHR-DUB-LHR-EDI-LCY-DUB-LHR-PHX

Introduction

This trip was in many ways a sequel to a trip I took in May, http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...n-dub-bos.html , with another whirlwind trip to Europe for a series of meetings and conferences in a short amount of time.

The focus is again on some of the strategies and tactics employed to travel efficiently for business, as well as maximizing time during travel, so while I will try to give many details about the trip, I will be intentionally brief in many places.

I'll post an update roughly every day, though this is not a live trip report, but "tape delayed" by two weeks.

Flights

This trip also took advantage of the business class fare sales on BA from Dublin to the US. My previous trip started in Dublin, so I used the remaining half of the trip to get back to Europe, with PHX-LHR-DUB. We then booked tickets on BA in Economy for DUB-LHR//LCY-DUB and LHR-EDI-LCY, and finally a Eurostar ticket in Standard Premier. The more grueling stretch of this trip was five flights and two train trips in the first six days.



Hotels/Apartments

The hotel strategy for this trip was varied. Two nights were booked at the Radisson Blu Dublin airport directly through their website, for the start and end of the trip. One night was booked at the LHR T5 Sofitel using Last Minute. One night was booked at the Hilton Garden Inn near EDI. All remaining nights were booked for a spacious flat near Farringdon Station in London using AirBnB. The convenience of having a kitchen and washer/dryer made the apartment a welcome relief after the previous trip.

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Old Jul 6, 15, 5:05 pm
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June 20: PHX-LHR on BA 0289

June 20th
BA0288
Seat 2A
Old F as CW
Scheduled: 19:40 - 13:05
Actual: 19:40 - 13:22

I arrived at PHX around 17:30, and was quickly checked-in and in the lounge within 15 minutes of arriving at the airport.

The first lounge was more crowded than my previous visit, with about half the seats filled upon my arrival, and most of the seats filling up prior to departure.



This lounge has generally excellent service, and the staff made a big deal of remembering me.

They called boarding a bit too soon, so there was a wait on the jet bridge (At PHX, hey normally wait to call boarding from the lounge to time it so that business and first class passengers can board after everyone else is on board).

I decided to give 2A a try, after flying in 1A and 1K on the previous trip. The seat was fine, though the bin above the seat is smaller than in the rest of the cabin.



The people in 1A/1K were enjoying their first time in the nose of a 747.

This is the first time I remember the BA flight departing from the gate at PHX exactly on-time. There was a very nice sunset forming as we waited to depart.



After takeoff, the crew came by and asked me what I wanted to eat first, to make sure I got my choice on the main, which was a nice touch that would be repeated on the return flight.

The dinner was ok, not great, but not the worst I've had on BA. The dessert was the highlight of the meal.









I slept for about 2 hours. The cabin was getting a bit warm after dinner, so I mentioned it to the staff, and they quickly cooled the cabin off. Third straight longhaul flight where this has worked!

One quick I noticed was the IFE was showing the Qatar logo...



I watched a few movies, none of which were particularly memorable (Focus, Chappie, etc.).

Breakfast was reasonably decent and quickly served.





The cabin on G-BNLF is definitely showing its age:





Views into London were excellent.



We arrived roughly on time at the B gates.



Only one train was running, so I walked using the empty transit corridor.



Apologies for the blurriness on some of these photos, I am often in a hurry and don't spend the time to verify the quality of the photo with the iPhone.

There was no queue for the Irish immigration transfer desk. I remarked how empty it was, and the border agent remarked that I was lucky to have not been there earlier when it was much more crowded.

It was fairly slow going in fast track security, with a roughly 15 minute wait. I remarked to the staff that the new tray system seemed to be causing challenges, she agreed, and said I had no idea how frustrating it was.

I was through to the lounge by around 14:00. No massage was available during my 4 hour wait, but they did have a chair massage. Something is better than nothing, so I accepted that. There was a one hour wait for a shower.

The F lounge was full everywhere, even the work zone, and uncomfortably warm. I couldn't find anyone to order food, so I settled on this:



The wifi was at least fast. The shower was fine, the massage chair was ok, and the time passed quickly as I worked from one of the high chairs in the work area of the Flounge.

My next flight to DUB was delayed about an hour, as a runway at LHR had been closed and led to a number of shorthaul delays.

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Old Jul 7, 15, 5:56 am
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Looking forward to the rest of your most recent adventure
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Old Jul 7, 15, 9:08 am
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The BA F service does not have a good reputation.

The food looks mediocre for F and the condition of the cabin.
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Old Jul 7, 15, 3:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Bretteee View Post
The BA F service does not have a good reputation.

The food looks mediocre for F and the condition of the cabin.
Thats the Old F. Until October when Old F is fully phased out BA are selling the old F seats as business (Club World) on routes that still feature old F, PHX being one. So you get at old F seat and Club World service. Hence the food pictured is Club World food not F food.
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Old Jul 7, 15, 5:01 pm
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June 21: LHR-DUB and Radisson Blu DUB

June 21st
BA0824
Seat 1D
CE
Scheduled: 17:25 - 18:40
Actual: 18:00 - 19:27

The flight was delayed about 40 minutes. After boarding commenced, we were on our way fairly quickly. The meal was unremarkable but edible, with the dessert being some sort of gelatinous thing. I was not impressed, but the lady next to me seemed to really enjoy hers.



I caught a quick nap until we landed. On this trip I slept far more on the shorthaul flights than either longhaul segment.

We arrived at gate 301, which seems to be common for the flights to LHR. Immigration was quick, they asked why I was back so soon with only four weeks since last the visit. This ex-DUB flight strategy is going to consume a large portion of my passport it seems, as I've already used the better part of three pages entering Ireland three times this year. I received an illegible half page stamp, as this time the visit into Ireland was for business, with a number of details entered by hand. The stamp is so faint that it's nearly impossible to know the relevant details.

I grabbed my luggage and walked to the Radisson. It was a surprisingly cool evening, with temperatures around 10C/50F. It's a longer walk than it looks when carrying luggage, but only about 10 minutes in total. There's a variety of cross walks and traffic signals to navigate.





I was upgraded to a junior suite, which made things more tolerable. The room itself had excellent views of the airport. The room itself had very odd locations for power plugs, and a strange desk setup with a refrigerator built into the more convenient area of the desk. The air conditioning did not seem to work, but fortunately the windows open enough to let in some fresh air.









I tried to order room service, but there was no answer via the phone. So I walked downstairs and ate a quick meal in the T3 hotel restaurant as I was very tired and just wanted to eat and sleep. Fish and chips seemed like a safe bet, and was decent. I'm not sure what they'll rename the restaurant to if DUB ever adds a third terminal.





The hotel wifi was ok, sufficient for some FaceTime calls with the wife and kids, and then I managed to fall asleep before midnight.
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Old Jul 7, 15, 5:03 pm
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Originally Posted by beanie72 View Post
Looking forward to the rest of your most recent adventure
Thanks!

Originally Posted by Bretteee View Post
The BA F service does not have a good reputation.

The food looks mediocre for F and the condition of the cabin.
As noted, it's actually business class food and service, you just get the old first class seat on a few select routes (PHX, LAS, CPT) until late October when BA retires the remaining three 747 with the Old First seats.
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Old Jul 7, 15, 6:30 pm
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Have you ever stayed at the Radisson Blu Manchester Airport? Not sure if I should pay the location premium or book a Premier Inn.
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Old Jul 8, 15, 1:15 pm
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Originally Posted by beanie72 View Post
Have you ever stayed at the Radisson Blu Manchester Airport? Not sure if I should pay the location premium or book a Premier Inn.
I've not stayed there, though I'm sure someone on the BA board would have an opinion. For me, airport hotels are really useful for short nights, early mornings, or when I want to leave a bag near the airport, spend a day in meetings, and then fly out in the evening.

The only time I've actually stayed in Manchester was at the City Inn about 6 years ago which is more central. It's been a while, but I think it was fairly nice and centrally located in the city.
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Old Jul 8, 15, 1:26 pm
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Originally Posted by dylanks View Post
I've not stayed there, though I'm sure someone on the BA board would have an opinion. For me, airport hotels are really useful for short nights, early mornings, or when I want to leave a bag near the airport, spend a day in meetings, and then fly out in the evening.

The only time I've actually stayed in Manchester was at the City Inn about 6 years ago which is more central. It's been a while, but I think it was fairly nice and centrally located in the city.
I'll do that; City Inn's are now DoubleTree's and I'll be staying at the old City Inn in Leeds during my trip in August.
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Old Jul 8, 15, 3:55 pm
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June 22: Dublin and DUB-LHR

I had some meetings in Dublin in the late morning and early afternoon, with a flight down to London in the late evening, and a bit of time to be a tourist.

I woke up and started the day with a quick workout in the room, and enjoyed more views of DUB.





I checked out of the hotel, left my luggage with the hotel, and then walked over to T1. Given what I know about Dublin, the airport buses take roughly the same amount of time as a taxi. After finding an ATM in T1, I purchased a return ticket with Aircoach and was quickly in the city.

Due to construction near Trinity College, there was a long delay between before I could get off the bus at Trinity College.



I walked around the area near Grafton Street and had a stroll through St. Stephen's Green before meeting my client a few blocks away.







I had some meetings and then lunch at Peacock Green which was excellent.



After some additional meetings, I walked back towards O'Connell street, took a few wrong turns and eventually ended up at the bus stop. After a fairly warm afternoon, I slept on bus back to airport.



Upon arrival at terminal 1, I took a quick walk back to the Radisson and I fetched my bags, and took the hotel shuttle to T1. I arrived fairly early (about 4 hours in advance of the flight). I was on an inflexible ticket, so there was no option to switch to the earlier flight, but it's always worth asking as sometimes the later flight is oversold. The check-in agent almost told me I couldn't check my bags in that early, but made a call and was told that it was fine.

Fast track security at DUB is very conveniently located next to the BA counter, and I was through security within two minutes.

I began my wait at the DAA lounge, and it was too warm and completely full until a round of BA flights departed about thirty minutes later, and then it was pretty much empty and temperate thereafter. Given the number of airlines with access to the lounge, I was surprised how much of an impact two BA flights had on the overall number of passengers in the lounge.

About 90 minutes before the flight I was bored of the lounge and growing hungry, and headed to the Terrace Bar for dinner, where I had an edible but unmemorable steak sandwich and chips. At least it was far more substantial than what was offered in the lounge.



I then proceeded to the gate area, as boarding would soon commence.

June 22nd
BA0839
Seat 10D
ET
Scheduled: 20:55 - 22:05
Actual: 21:10 - 22:26

Boarding was delayed a bit, and while it appears that the flight was not delayed by much, it definitely felt like a longer delay than it actually was, probably due to the padding included in the schedule.



For this flight, I really don't remember much. I fell asleep before take-off, and woke up at the end of the flight. I talked to the couple next to me after we landed, as they were amused with my ability to perfectly time my sleep to commence and end right upon landing. For anyone that wants to know if BA welcomes their gold card holders when seated in economy, I have no way to verify this from the shorthaul flights on this trip!

Upon landing, we quickly exited the plane and headed to the baggage claim. It's interesting that LHR allows entry from Ireland without immigration control, but Ireland always requires passing through immigration when traveling from England.

A few other passengers and I made the mistake of not realizing that there were two BA flights from DUB around the same time, and we waited at the wrong carousel for a while. Eventually I had my bags and walked over to the T5 Sofitel.

At this point, I was scheduled to get around six hours of sleep prior to my flight to EDI. You might be wondering why I chose to spend the night at LHR instead of flying directly to EDI from DUB? Good question! Basically the costs and timings worked better this way, even though the routing was certainly unconventional. I had already booked a return trip DUB-LHR//LCY-DUB, and then learned later that I would need to go to EDI, so it was easiest to just keep the itinerary I had, and nest the flights to/from EDI in between.

Check-in was handled smoothly at the Sofitel, and my room was up to the usual T5 Sofitel high standards. However, I ended up sleeping maybe 90 minutes in total. After talking with the wife and kids, I was simply not as tired as expected and didn't sleep particularly well, in spite of the nice accommodations at the Sofitel. Regardless, I still find the Sofitel to be one of the nicer and more convenient airport hotel options out there.





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Old Jul 9, 15, 5:24 pm
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June 23: LHR-EDI

After about 90 minutes of sleep, I quickly showered and left the Sofitel T5 and walked over to T5.



I quickly checked my bag and was through security and in the T5 Galleries First lounge within 10 minutes.





Early mornings are not the most fun for traveling, but at least at LHR, it means an empty lounge usually, and a relatively pleasant temperature. I had a quick breakfast (scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, toast, pain au chocolat, banana, orange juice). I do not understand how the pain au chocolat always seem to be stale in this lounge, but everything else tasted fine.



The flight showed a short delay, and I had been moved recently from 1D to 1C (seating is AB CDE FG), as the aircraft was swapped with a Titan 767. I would later learn that the reason for the flight delay was that the crew had trouble getting through security!

I arrived at the gate about twenty minutes prior to scheduled departure to find a fairly lengthy queue for fast track, and no seats available. By the time boarding commenced around the scheduled time of departure, at least another 50 people were behind me in the queue.



An announcement was made in the boarding area about Titan operating the flight for operational reasons, and it being better than the alternative of canceling the flight.

June 23nd
BA1432 (operated by Titan)
Seat 1C
UK domestic
Scheduled: 07:05 - 08:20
Actual: 07:25 - 08:40

Upon entering the plane, Titan followed the old BA shorthaul and current longhaul approach of checking boarding passes before letting passengers on board, which caught a number of people off guard.

There was plenty of overboard bin space about row 1. Seat 1C has far more leg room than a normal shorthaul row 1 seat (probably about 50-60 inches of space).







I don't understand why, but whenever I sit in 1D on shorthaul A3xx on BA, people seem to love shoving their bags into me (9 times on the flight on Monday night) and the same was true on this flight (6 times). I have broad shoulders, but not that broad. This happened again on this flight in 1C. What's interesting is that it doesn't happen when I sit on the left side of the aircraft.

Titan plays far more interesting music during boarding, sort of a calm club/trance mix of music. Passengers seemed far more pleasant in boarding this flight than normal.

The flight was not full, so there were plenty of seats open from what I could tell, but I couldn't see the second cabin. The flight crew was friendly and seemed up to BA standards (I mean that in a good way).

The meal offering looked ok (croissant, some hot breakfast options), though I skipped it after eating in the Flounge and slept for most of the flight. I don't know if that is normal with UK domestic breakfast flights or not. I got the impression that there were not enough hot meals to go around, and maybe they made them by mistake thinking that this was a flight with CE on it, but this is pure speculation on my part.

Current electronic device rules are not allowed on Titan, meaning during takeoff and landing devices need to be off or at least put away. I'm assuming they haven't spent the time to go through whatever certification is needed.

The captain spent time explaining what Titan is, and explained that they were happy to help BA out. Flight attendants emphasized the Titan flight was flown on behalf of BA, and also mentioned that they were excited to help out BA. It felt a bit forced. The purser or lead flight attendant was filling out a paper form about the flight, and they were discussing what to write during takeoff and landing.

I slept the majority of the flight. We arrived at gate 14 at EDI, and disembarked via stairs.





Bags took about 10-15 minutes to arrive on the carousel (and before anyone asks, no, priority bags did not arrive first).

Overall, I would rate the experience as a bit better overall than my recent exit row ET flights to/from Dublin and ARN. I think flying Titan's 767 was an overall positive experience and better than what you normally get in ET.

I then walked to the Hilton Garden Inn EDI. No early check-in was available for me, though the people next to me managed to get an early check-in. I had a pretty terrible breakfast sandwich and very diluted OJ at the hotel, and then took the airlink bus into EDI. Why do Hilton's generally have such terrible food?



I walked around the city for a bit, and eventually found a really nice farmer's market that had excellent BBQ for lunch.











One of my clients suggested we take our meeting on the go given the nice day, so we walked to the top of Calton Hill for some excellent views. I had forgotten what a picturesque city Edinburgh is. It's really a great place to spend some time in the summer!







I then had some meetings and a dinner meeting at Wagamama, and then took the train back to the hotel and finally checked-in around 10pm.





The internet access in the room was spotty, so after a quick chat with the family, I decided it was time to get at least 5 hours of sleep, which was a luxurious amount of sleep for this trip! Overall, I would not generally recommend the Hilton, except for its proximity to the airport.
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Old Jul 9, 15, 7:01 pm
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Very interesting, thanks for sharing. Pretty poor arrivals lounge experience to say the least, and the stale pastries is certainly recognisable!

Impressed you managed a business meeting in Wagamama.
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Old Jul 11, 15, 9:07 am
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Originally Posted by 710 77345 View Post
Very interesting, thanks for sharing. Pretty poor arrivals lounge experience to say the least, and the stale pastries is certainly recognisable!

Impressed you managed a business meeting in Wagamama.
Thanks! In many ways I feel like the US tech industry has sort of changed how meetings work, such that you can meet almost anywhere. I've had meetings at the beach in Antibes to random rooftop restaurants in Tokyo to pubs in Ireland.

The next post in this series is going to be delayed for five or six days. I am taking a short trip with the family, and forgot to upload the relevant photos before I left home.
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Old Jul 17, 15, 3:36 pm
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June 24: Edinburgh to London

After a few hours of sleep, I woke up and checked out of the Hilton, and took the shuttle to the airport terminal. I was quickly checked-in and through security quickly. EDI has the same tray system now in use at LHR, and the fast track lane was fairly empty.

I found a few small gifts for the family and then entered the spacious Executive Club lounge, which had plenty of space, and a decent breakfast spread.









My departure gate was directly across from the lounge, and boarding commenced about thirty minutes prior to departure.



June 24th
BA8713
Seat 1B
UK domestic
Scheduled: 09:45 - 11:05
Actual: 09:45 - 10:58

I sat in 1B, and the person next to me laughed that it was a bit late in the morning for a pillow. I then proceeded to sleep from then until we landed, so I have no idea what the service was like on this short flight!



We arrived in the very small baggage claim area for domestic flights at LCY, and waited a few minutes for my bags, and then I was on the DLR within ten minutes.





For the next nine nights, I would stay at a flat near Farringdon Station that I found on Airbnb. The flat was modern and had a kitchen and washer/dryer which are two welcome additions for a long trip.







I spent the afternoon catching up on work, finding groceries at Waitrose, and getting settled into London.



In the evening I headed over to Shepherd's Bush and had dinner with a colleague at the Jamie Oliver restaurant at Westfield. The food was fine, but not as memorable as last month's meal at their location in Stockholm.

After a nice dinner, I took the tube back to Farringdon, and prepared for a very short night of sleep as I had a train to Paris before 6am the next morning.
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