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Travels with my tiny human. LHR-ABZ-LHR. Photos of Galleries Lounges and Scotland

Travels with my tiny human. LHR-ABZ-LHR. Photos of Galleries Lounges and Scotland

Old Sep 13, 16, 9:24 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: London
Programs: BA
Posts: 1,331
Travels with my tiny human. LHR-ABZ-LHR. Photos of Galleries Lounges and Scotland

Previous Trip Reports

BA in J - Holiday to China and Japan (where I got engaged) - http://tinyurl.com/2ufebag
BA in J - Work trip to Orlando (wrote TR as it was ex-LGW) - http://tinyurl.com/37qtjex
BA in F - Honeymoon to Canada (lots of locations) - http://tinyurl.com/5vkmcsb
QF in PE - Trip to eastern Australia for a wedding - http://tinyurl.com/7j2qz3m
BA in F - Short weekend break in NYC – http://tinyurl.com/og57omm
BA in J – Trip to DC and Atlanta to visit friends – http://tinyurl.com/pkmmgql

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My travel hasn't reduced that much since becoming a father, but my leisure trips, and spare time to write TRs has. I've had a good few trips recently, including a rather crazy LHR-PHL-YYZ-LHR-TXL-LHR, and an uneventful but enjoyable LHR-SFO-LHR in BAs new A380 offering. I'm the proud responsible adult for a 20month old daughter, and despite her young age she's already managed 3 short haul returns to visit my darling mother up in Aberdeen. I'm based in London, but I am making the effort to ensure my mother gets quality time with my tiny human.

I’ve been using my healthy pot of Avios to book the ‘Reward Fare Saver’ tickets for domestic travel. What would otherwise be around 350 for three tickets cost 80 and a handful of points. I have options to get to Scotland, but I’m choosing BA from LHR because their flight schedules times are better, greater frequency of flights should something go wrong, and lounge access. I get seat selection anyway as my daughter is under 2years old at time of booking.

Outbound - Saturday 23rd 2016 LHR-ABZ BA1312

I can pack for a week and leave the house in under a minute. I'm not entirely sure why tiny human requires an additional two hours, but somehow it does, and my wife’s making-many-piles approach to packing doesn't help. Unfortunately we hit really nasty traffic on the M25, and a 45minute journey turns into 1hour45, eating significantly into my champagne time.


Standard M25 traffic


Approach to Heathrow

I've prebooked onsite parking at the multi-storey attached to T5 which isn’t the cheapest option, but I don’t fancy lugging three cases, a buggy (stroller) and a tiny human onto a bus. It gives flexibility, and a quick exit upon return. Plenty of spaces to choose from, and I get one relatively near to the lift area.

We head to the business check-in area to avoid the queues. Unusually there were barriers erected due to problems at check-in earlier in the week, but we are straight to an agent to check out bags. Although I’ve checked in online and secured two seats (tiny human is on my lap), I do ask if there are three seats toward the back we can move into. It’s a cheeky request, but the flight is full so I get the two seats I’ve paid for. When she’s two she needs her own seat and this won’t be an issue any more.

Entrance to security requires us all to be photographed as we’re travelling with an infant. Security wasn’t too bad, we are light on carry-on luggage (mostly snacks, books and soft toys), apart from the buggy which we fold for scanning. As a side note, I’m not sure how I ever survived pre-child without having some mini-bread sticks and baby-wipes on hand at all times. I constantly have access to a healthy snack and baby wipes have a hundred uses. Another side note (parents read on), is a three-part special of Peppa Pig where they go on holiday, including everything to expect when travelling through an airport and on a plane.

We’re through and after checking the time, and our gate (A1) we head straight to Galleries Club North (business lounge) in T5 for refreshments. It’s the first Saturday of British holiday (vacation) season, so I’m expecting mayhem, but it wasn’t too busy and there were plenty of seating options. There were definitely more children, but they were far better behaved than a good number of adult passengers. We sit out on the terrace which is noticeable warmer than the enclosed lounge – my wife sits with our daughter as I do shuttle runs for a little food and drink.


Curry photo – apologies for the random hand in shot.

The curry is perfectly acceptable and a nice lunch option. Salad looked good and there was a soup and rolls there too. The offering is not as comprehensive as the Galleries First Class lounge (or indeed the Concorde Room), but perfect for a quick bite on a Saturday lunchtime.


Wine Selection in the Galleries Lounge

Wine options were fine, as was the silver bar, which included a few decent vodka options which I haven’t seen previously there. However, champagne is the order of the day, so I ask for two glasses (it’s not self serve in Galleries Club) which are quickly supplied. I believe Tattinger is the champagne currently being served in this lounge.


Champagne by request

For the first time ever visited the KidsZone in the lounge. Simple small, colourful room with small chairs, and a cockpit wall mural. It had an X-box and a PC, and a TV playing some cartoons. My daughter seemed to like it, but we didn’t stay long!


KidsZone in Galleries Lounge North

Before we know it we’re being called to gate A1, so wife decides a nappy change is required before takeoff. Fine by me, and I make myself a cheeky vodka and diet coke while she’s in there.


Quick sneaky vodka


Photo of Galleries North lounge overlooking the apron

Of note is that there is a huge and very clear baby changing facility just outside gate A1.

So we board our A319 as one of the first and get settled in. I’ve personally always liked BA crew, and this group were brilliant as always – looking out for passengers without being over bearing, and ensuring everyone had everything they wanted, including drink top ups. Prior to take off we are issued with a seat belt extender for tiny human to sit on mother’s knee, and an “infant floatation device”, which comes in a plastic tube, and I’m really interested to open out to find out what’s inside. Probably best that I don’t....... Flight time today was a little over an hour, but a snacks and bar run was included – fantastic for me as I’m in the mood for another vodka and diet coke; wife has a Rose.


Snacks for this ~60minute flight

I’m 6foot4, so any economy service is a squeeze for me, but the slimline seats on the domestic service provide enough legroom. Usually I position myself at the bulkhead or exit row, but obviously can’t with the tiny human. She’s a good passenger – as long as she has some books and snacks she’s happy. The change in air pressure never seems to bother her, and to be honest she normally sleeps on planes. However, that’s slightly strategic from us – we deliberately book early afternoon flights, then her pad around the lounge awake, on the assumption she’ll fall asleep on the flight which she invariably does.


My legs are a squash and a squeeze


My tiny human enjoying the view (think this was still on the ground at LHR)

Genuinely nothing to mention on the flight, other than despite not appearing to ever make a turn we approached ABZ from the north. Maybe that was a consequence of the vodka. Slight point of note is that ABZ is undergoing and expansion programme, meaning the baggage reclaim is in a temporary building outside and the bags collected from rollers rather than a belt. Didn’t seem to cause us too much trouble. We’re being collected by family at the airport, and hiring a car the day after, so we’re quickly off and away.


Our plane on the ground at ABZ

We’re staying with my mother, which keeps costs down and means she can spend maximum time with my daughter (and gives us a babysitter). We haven’t strayed too far afield with my daughter yet as I think she’s a bit young to get the most out of it. My wife and I have enjoyed many excellent holidays in recent years (see my TRs above), and I’m sure we will in the future as my Avios points balance and 2-4-1 vouchers are mounting up!
malkie is offline  
Old Sep 13, 16, 9:24 am
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Fun in North East Scotland

We have a week’s itinerary of local activities, and spending a lot of time with family and friends. The north east of Scotland offers a lot – excellent scenery and outdoor activities, miles of golden beaches, distilleries, half decent shopping and excellent food. The weather is never, ever to be counted upon, however if it does start to rain don’t worry as it tends to stop five minutes later to be replaced by heavy snow, to then be switched to bright sunshine.

Most of our activities were aimed at tiny human – we spent a lot of time exploring various beaches. They are long, beautiful, very clean and never busy – mostly because even in the summer they are freezing cold! There’s an old joke about a Russian circus visiting Aberdeen and a Polar Bear escapes and runs onto the beach. The Polar Bear gives himself up after 15minutes as he’s too cold – they take him into the Inversnecky Cafe for a plate of hot soup.


Walking along the beach – I always make one appearance in my TRs


End of the sea wall

We pop into the Zoology Museum in the University of Aberdeen. I did my undergrad degree here, so I know the campus well. The museum isn’t huge, but free to get into, and a nice place to visit to see if your kids like this sort of thing. My daughter wasn’t too sure about the hippo skeleton and described it as “a bit scary”.

We also drove down to Glamis Castle for a visit – we didn’t realise it only offers accompanied tours of the Castle, but my tiny human seemed ok with the pace and the different themes in each room. However, she kept asking about balloons and candles.......turns out when we said we were going to a Castle she assumed we were going to a ‘bouncy castle’, which she associates with children’s birthdays.


Glamis Castle

On the way back we stopped for dinner at the Glenesk Hotel in Edzel. Slightly random, but a colleague from London was there on business so we met for food. Very randomly the hotel has a collection of BA photos (mostly Concorde and 747s) in their lounge bar.


One of the selection of photos of BA aircraft. Love the Concorde, disappointed to never have flown in one!

Food was excellent – Haggis Neeps and Tatties for a starter, and pork for a main course. I do enjoy the food in the north east, and we ate very well that week.


Great Scottish traditional dish

I also managed to catch a game at the Mecca of Football that is Pittordrie Stadium. Despite being July, Aberdeen’s European campaign is in full swing (this is their third fixture), and I witness a decent 1-1 draw against Maribor who have a decent pedigree. Sadly we lose the away leg which ended our interest in Europe for this season. With Rangers “back” in the SPL I’ve already booked flights in September to be in Aberdeen for that game!


Photo from the South Stand. COYR.

Continuing with the food theme I take my mother out for lunch to the Cove Bay Hotel, which inside feels a bit like an 1920s ocean liner (think Kate and Leo in Titanic). The food was absolutely fantastic, and a real highlight.



Full steam ahead!

The same afternoon we take tiny human to Storybook Glen (now rebranded as The Glen and the Den). It’s a nursery rhyme, and children’s TV/movie based “theme park” (term used loosely). Essentially is a walk through a forest filled with life sized statues and sets of famous characters and locations that children will recognise. There are lots of things to walk through including a farm set, a large helicopter and boat to climb in, and various vehicles to sit in. The place and gardens are well maintained and entrance costs only 3 for adults and 4 for a young child – see how that compares to a day ticket at DisneyLand.


The entrance to the Glen (note the lovely cloud cover!)


Photo of the actual Glen


One of the dwellings

Sadly we have to head back home to London and reality
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Old Sep 13, 16, 9:25 am
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Inbound - Sunday 31st July 2016 ABZ-LHR BA1311

There are a load of roadworks on-going around the airport, so we leave in good time but don’t encounter any issues.


Approach to Dyce airport

We’re actually early, and can’t check our bags in yet, so we take a wonder through the landside of the airport. It’s not a big place, but is perfectly comfortable for a short wait. There’s a cafe bar and a restaurant, and a reasonably sized Wetherspoons pub.


Dyce main terminal


Landside at ABZ – eating options


BA check-in area

We check in when we can, and on this flight we are able to get a set of three seats so we can spread out a little. Security was a breeze (it normally is at ABZ), and we head to the Galleries lounge for coffee and a bite to eat.


Entrance to the BA Galleries Lounge at ABZ


Main lounge area towards food and bar


Main seating area overlooking departure area


Infamous Aberdeen Morning Roll aka Rowie aka Buttery (it’s a bit like a flattened salty croissant, but that’s probably offensive to every croissant ever made)

They have a nice selection of morning pastries (including the famous local “rowie”), which are later replaced by fresh and very nice sandwiches. There’s a decent bar selection, and champagne was on offer by request as I saw someone enjoying a glass. The staff were friendly, and seemed to know a number of the passengers who I assume are regulars. Not a bad place to spend an hour or so waiting for our flight.


Not exactly a KidsZone, but a wooden puzzle toy which amused tiny human for at least 90seconds

We board and enjoy another straight forward flight with great staff. On this flight they present my daughter with a Sky Flyers pack which contained a colouring book and some crayons in a draw-string back-pack. It’s the first time we’ve had this in 6 sectors with the tiny human, but a nice touch. Helpfully for us she slept the entire journey and didn’t need any entertainment which probably worked well for everyone. I’m not sure I’d ready to attempt a long haul yet – perhaps when she’s kept entertained by tv/movies/cartoons for longer than 10minutes we might try.


SkyFlyers pack for my tiny human – not used on the flight, but a very nice touch.

Next up for me is a trip back up north for another football match. No work travel booked at present, but that often changes at the last minute – chances are I might be back in SFO before too long.
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Old Sep 13, 16, 9:40 am
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Thanks for the report. Nice to see some photos of my city!

The staff in the ABZ lounge are always great
stu1985 is online now  
Old Sep 13, 16, 11:05 am
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Great TR. I'll definitely share this with my wife as she wants our next big vacay to be to Scotland and Ireland.
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Old Sep 23, 16, 10:34 am
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Originally Posted by stu1985 View Post
Thanks for the report. Nice to see some photos of my city!

The staff in the ABZ lounge are always great
Happy to provide them !! I'm now on another flight to ABZ from LHR, but this time it's just me.

Similar experience to the above TR, except I've probably had a touch more champagne in the lounge because (a) I'm not responsible for a tiny human, and (b) my flight was delayed an hour!!

Flight delay means I could enjoy some afternoon cake in the lounge.
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Old Sep 23, 16, 2:17 pm
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Great pics of Aberdeen especially the one of Pittodrie and I'll see you at the game on Sunday! #COYR!
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Old Sep 24, 16, 3:48 am
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We're in the south stand - not sure which section though, as my friend organised tickets for what will be a sell out.

I feel a little bit of a fraud for turning up for the big games, but I have travelled for the game.

I might post a photo from the game just for you.
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Old Sep 24, 16, 1:56 pm
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Thank you!

I'm in the RDS, in fact I'm probably in your photo as I was at that game.
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Old Sep 26, 16, 5:49 am
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Photo from yesterday's game. Cracking atmosphere at the game, and fantastic result.
Interesting tactics to give them so much ball, but I guess it paid off.

I'm sat in the ABZ lounge, awaiting my flight back to London after my weekend up here for the game! Hope you enjoyed it too.
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