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2 studs do Hawaii (via AMS, DUB, JFK, LAX and CDG for good measure on the way back!)

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Old Dec 4, 17, 5:44 am
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2 studs do Hawaii (via AMS, DUB, JFK, LAX and CDG for good measure on the way back!)

I used the very unimaginative title as a follow on from the previous "2 studs" TR which I wrote earlier in the year - 2 studs do Granada with Iberia: 6 flights and 4 cities. Maybe this will form part of a whole series..... who knows?! My (fave?) travel buddy and I have another two trips planned in the first quarter of 2018.

So we both had some holiday days to use and had originally thought of heading to New Zealand on a great fare on QR (ex GOT I think?) but we missed that ship by about one day. Hawaii was next on the list and C had found a (ridiculously crazy) routing...... DUB - LHR - MAD - JFK - LAX - HNL - LAX - JFK - CDG - LHR - DUB. Hey, it sounded like fun and given that I really like the IB J product on their flights from MAD to LHR, I actually thought it would be cool to try it out on long haul. So we went for it and booked. However, a while after that, I think AA moved the time of the JFK - LAX flight to half an hour earlier than the IB flight got in from MAD. There weren't really any other options for rebooking apart from dropping the LHR - MAD - JFK flights and go direct from LHR - JFK on a BA 747 (which I didn't mind either to be honest!). I looked at positioning flights - there was either an EI (Aer Lingus for those not familiar) flight directly from ABZ - DUB for £170 or KL flights ABZ - AMS - DUB for £130. Being Aberdonian, even a small saving is a saving so I opted for the KL flights. Being Gold with Flying Blue also meant that I would get lounge access.

I was told that we were just taking hand luggage (cue the emoji from me) to Hawaii so after a few months of getting my head round this (thinking that t-shirts and vests wouldn't take up much space), I had successfully manoeuvred everything into my case when C decided that he wanted to check a bag in.....AGH. I just stuck with my hand luggage sized bag (although checked it on on the AA legs). On the way back, I was certainly not checking my bag through as I only had two hours between landing in DUB and connecting to AMS.

Fast forward to holiday time. I finished up at work just after 5.30pm and headed home to put the last few things into my case. I had booked myself into the new Hampton hotel out at ABZ so that I could have a chilled evening and slightly more sleep in the morning before heading down to the airport. Also, I had been status matched to Hilton Diamond status and, so long as I stayed 8 separate times before mid January, I would keep the status until 2019. So a few more trips will start off at the Hampton hotel!



Check-in was painless. The bar area was busy with offshore workers who were staying there before taking a chopper out to the various rigs the next morning. I made my way up to my room and was impressed with the size and the cleanliness.







I headed down to the bar and had a few pints before heading to bed where I had a brilliant sleep. I was up around 8am and had the complimentary breakfast in the hotel bar. The spread is much better than a Holiday Inn Express (with which I would put the Hampton on the same sort of level) - cereals, yoghurts, fruits, waffle making station and full cooked breakfast along with bread and pastries.







View from my room on a chilly morning - we had the first snow of the year overnight (although most of it had gone by this time). I do love standing outside at this time of year on a cold, crisp morning though and seeing your breath in the air.



The hotel puts on a complimentary shuttle bus down to the airport. The walk would take around ten mins so it's handy having the bus to take you down there. You should pre-book the night before to make sure you get a seat (given all the offshore workers) but thankfully, by the time I was ready to leave, they had all more or less gone so I got a private transfer to the airport! I got to ABZ and grabbed my currency before heading through security and up to the Northern Lights lounge. The lounge was very quiet at this time of morning so I managed to grab a seat by the window and see the previous KL flight being pushed back on its way to AMS.





I drank some coffee and listened to some music while our 737 pulled up by the lounge. It's a nice lounge here although I do miss the complimentary spirits which BA had in their lounge before it shut for refurbishment. You can get free gin and vodka but they are unbranded...... no thanks, not today Satan!



KL1444, ABZ - AMS, B737, PH-BGR

I headed down to the gate in enough time to catch the first call for boarding and was one of the first on the plane which was good as I could throw my carry on in the overhead locker. The crew were very cheery this morning. The flight appeared to be relatively busy but the middle seat between me and Ms 5C was free which was good.



Taxi to the runway was short and we took off, turning left on the way south. It's interesting that KL only do their safety demonstrations in English. I thought that they would have it in Dutch with a translation to follow but it doesn't appear that that happens on any KL flights.



Before long, the crew served a wee snack - a tasty pear cake and a drink from the bar. I watched Blue Planet on iPlayer (probably the best thing on the BBC at the moment and narrated by the wonderful British institution, David Attenborough) and then enjoyed the views as we crossed the North Sea and approached AMS.





We landed on the Polderbaan and had just over 15 mins to taxi to the gate. I was off the plane quickly and made my way to the KL Crown Lounge where I found a seat up at the back on a comfy seat. It was about lunchtime so I grabbed some very nice Minestrone soup and a tomato and mozzarella panini type thing.



Oh, and some fizz. Obv! The lounge was nice - I like the way that it is spaced out and that it is much quieter to the back. There's not much by the way of views as outside is a building site at the moment - not quite sure what is getting built there.



The DUB flight left from the D gates which was a wee bit of a walk from the lounge. It was a bus gate as we were heading off to the Cityhopper farm so I just took a seat until the last bus was nearly full and jumped on. Meant that I was first off of the last bus and onto the plane quickly. The lady checking passports was brilliant - obviously loved her job and managed to give every single person a compliment as she checked their documents.





KL937, AMS - DUB, E90, PH-EZS

I was offered an upgrade for £50 to J on this flight to decided to take it. There was just me and another guy in J this afternoon on the way to DUB. There was a bit of a hold up because they were waiting for the J meals..... which the Captain told the rest of the plane. Cue some tutting coming from behind and cue me sliding down into my seat wishing the ground would swallow me up.



A great purser taking care of us today on the way across to Dublin and a lovely sunset on the way out.







A small salad was handed out which was very tasty. Now I'm not quite sure what it was because it wasn't either of the options listed on the menu. It certainly wasn't tortellini and it wasn't chilli chicken with rice. It was more like a cajun chicken salad with roasted squash but was decent nonetheless.





I loved the clog shaped salt and pepper shakers!



After the purser cleared the trays, she offered top ups of drinks with nuts. Gladly accepted.













All in all, a great flight with KL - an attentive purser and a tasty meal suitable for the time of the day.

I into a taxi to the Crowne Plaza which I had booked for the night. The taxi driver loved a chat and, of course, wanted to talk Brexit. "What the f*ck is happening in the UK at the moment? Does that Theresa know what she's doing? Jayyyyysus!" Check-in at the hotelwas a bit of a nightmare. The supposed priority queue for elite members wasn't being enforced. The two in front of me we were trying to check in with their Club Carlson cards and weren't members of IHG. I mentioned this when I got to the front of the other "usual" queue and the guy said "Sorry, the priority queue isn't working today" which I thought was strange but he then became slightly more amenable after he saw that I was Spire Ambassador with IHG. No upgrade - I had booked a suite already which included lounge access. I made my way upstairs and was greeted with a beautiful looking room with large bed and separate lounge area and dining table. There was a small toilet just off the lounge area and target bathroom just off the bedroom.











The Club lounge was just around the corner from my room. When I arrived, it was relatively quiet. There was a member of staff there who served drinks. Unlike most lounges where it is free pour drinks, you either had to wait for her to come around the tables to offer a refill or hover around the door of the cupboard where she served the drinks. Yeah, real premium! There were minimal snacks but I didn't pay much attention as to what they were as they didn't look all that appetising.



I grabbed a last glass of wine and headed back to the room where I had a bath before dinner. The bath had jacuzzi like nozzles in it and once I switched them on, it was great! There was also a TV on the wall with minimal channels - I ended up listening to the Top 20 Backstreet Boys hits as that was the only thing available! I'll spare you any bath pics After a nice dinner in the Thai restaurant, I headed to bed at a relatively early hour given the early start I was going to have tomorrow morning.



Take a sneak peek at my Instagram (below) if you want some taster Hawaii pics!
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Old Dec 4, 17, 9:57 am
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Originally Posted by stu1985 View Post
Nice report! While I like the suite-layout I´, not really in love with this sofas. Can´t help myself, they look like the one my grandparents had 30 years ago......
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Old Dec 4, 17, 10:43 am
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Great start!! Will not spoil the rest for me, so will follow this TR as you post.
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Old Dec 5, 17, 1:46 am
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Great start and looking forward to reading more after seeing some of your Instagram pics when you were there.

Nice pic of Girdleness in your Hampton Inn room. Where abouts is the Hampton Inn? I hadn't heard they were opening the city although every time I head out to ABZ its like a whole heap of new offices/hotels suddenly appeared!
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Old Dec 5, 17, 2:22 am
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Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
Nice report! While I like the suite-layout I´, not really in love with this sofas. Can´t help myself, they look like the one my grandparents had 30 years ago......
Should see them in the CCR soon then

Good start so far. I use KLM sometimes out of Humberside as it's fairly local to me and no problems with them.
Was going to stay at the ABZ Hampton earlier in the year as it was dirt cheap (<£50) but plans changed. Looks good from the photos.
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Old Dec 5, 17, 6:41 am
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Looking forward to this!!
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Old Dec 5, 17, 1:32 pm
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Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
Nice report! While I like the suite-layout I´, not really in love with this sofas. Can´t help myself, they look like the one my grandparents had 30 years ago......
They weren't THAT offensive haha!

Originally Posted by roadwarrier View Post
Great start!! Will not spoil the rest for me, so will follow this TR as you post.
Thanks roadwarrier - more coming soon!

Originally Posted by nequine View Post
Great start and looking forward to reading more after seeing some of your Instagram pics when you were there.

Nice pic of Girdleness in your Hampton Inn room. Where abouts is the Hampton Inn? I hadn't heard they were opening the city although every time I head out to ABZ its like a whole heap of new offices/hotels suddenly appeared!
Thanks nequine. You know before you would turn right down to the airport - keep going straight on and it's just on the left up a wee hill. Just before some of the new offices.

Originally Posted by xenole View Post
Should see them in the CCR soon then

Good start so far. I use KLM sometimes out of Humberside as it's fairly local to me and no problems with them.
Was going to stay at the ABZ Hampton earlier in the year as it was dirt cheap (<£50) but plans changed. Looks good from the photos.
I really liked KLM xenole. Wouldn't hesitate to book them again if they were the cheaper option. Hampton was great. I am back there on Thursday evening (red eye on Friday.....)

Originally Posted by florens View Post
Looking forward to this!!
Cheers florens - thanks for reading!
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Old Dec 6, 17, 1:52 pm
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Originally Posted by xenole View Post
Should see them in the CCR soon then
They have such modern furniture
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Old Dec 7, 17, 3:15 pm
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Hawaii the long way..... DUB - LHR - JFK - LAX (zzzzzzz) - HNL

I can't even remember what time the alarm went off on Friday morning. It was early. I wiped the sleep out of my eyes and the excitement started to set in. I was off to Hawaii! After a quick shower, I grabbed a coffee in the room and got dressed. I headed down to reception and checked out around 5.30am. The free shuttle bus came to the hotel door and I jumped on. It w as packed - a lot of EI and FR crew on their way to start their shifts at the airport. I got to Terminal 1 and went to the desk to grab some boarding passes as I couldn't get them on the app. The nice lady on the desk told me the way to priority security and directions to the lounge. The woman on the desk in the lounge was a right soor face when I arrived - erm, if you want to be moody in the morning then how about you find a job that isn't customer facing!?

I met up with C and we sat down and had a catch up over some tea / coffee. I like the lounge here as they actually have a proper coffee machine with a barista manning it. So if you don't fancy the self serve stuff, the guy will make you whatever you want. Bonus! The lounge was relatively quiet this morning. C had breakfast (he's a growing lad) while I just stuck to coffee.







BA831, DUB - LHR, G-MIDY, A320

We headed to the gate with more than enough time to spend and were amongst the first to board. Me in 1A and C in 1F (I thought he had chosen to sit next to me but obviously not....). The in charge cabin crew member was a really nice lady. She spent some time talking to each of us after take off and asked what my plans were for holiday. She had just been invited to a wedding in Hawaii so was interested to hear what I was doing and where I was staying. Before long, we were off into the still dark sky and on our way towards London for the 1hr flight. There were some great views of central Dublin on the way out and the sunrise on the way over was just beautiful.





I love this one!



The seatbelt sign pinged off and the crew sprang into action. Even on this short flight they managed to do a drinks service before the breakfast - this is the sign of a good BA crew. It was suggested that I may like a Buck's Fizz given that I was on holiday...... who am I to disagree!? There was then the usual choice of hot English breakfast or a vegetarian alternative. Being the carnivore that I am, I just had to have some sausage (no jokes plz......)









It was a beautiful approach over England this morning. There was a little bit of holding and we were down in London Heathrow before we knew it. First off the plane and we were on our way to flight connections. We had a very short connection time to we went straight to Terminal 5B where we had around 30 mins in the lounge there before boarding started for the JFK flight. I grabbed a coffee and C had MORE breakfast.





BA175, LHR - JFK, G-CIVH, B747

I managed to bag 64A when I checked in which was great - it means that you don't have to step over anyone as you go out to the bathroom. We made our way to the upper deck and were greeted by a nice lady 'P'. She was helped by another guy and I just didn't know how to take him. He seemed really off hand for the duration of the flight. After the dessert I tried to chat to him and he seemed to loosen up a bit but there was just something about him which was a bit 'meh'.

I was really excited for this flight. BA have just started a new catering service on their New York flights with bedding and amenities from the White Company. As expected a thick White Company blanket was waiting on me when I got to my seat. As we settled in, P suggested that she get some drinks - champagne please! She also offered to take a pic of me and C which was very nice of her. There were lots of comings and goings on the top deck as everyone boarded and the ground staff did their paperwork with the cockpit but I wasn't bothered. I was sitting in business class (in probably the best J seat in the house) and was off to New York...... all was good with life at that moment. We pushed back - or forward given that I was sitting facing the rear of the aircraft - and the safety demo started.





And FYI - I LOVE those new glasses!







The massive engines whirred as we entered the runway and I was pushed forward as we sped down the runway and into the air. A left turn shortly afterwards and we were firmly on the path to New York. The crew got themselves ready and came around taking drinks orders from every passengers and then went away to prepare them in the galley.

The menus were handed out and they looked great! Long thin menus - much better than the old CW ones. I had pre-ordered salmon. The thing that I was most excited about was the fact that you were allowed to order a starter AND soup!





Right BA, let's see what this new service is all about! Kir Royale to start with served with some warm nuts.





After refills were offered on the pre-lunch drinks, trays were handed out. They looked great. Such a different from the old CW and definitely a step up on the usual offering. And I just LOVE the crystal water glasses!



Lunchtime views......



The new starter service is great - a trolley is rolled out so that you can pick and choose what you want. Everything looked very appetising.



Of course, purely for TR purposes, I tried both the cold starter and the soup. Everything was delicious. The only bug was that the soup was lukewarm - there's nothing I hate more than soup which isn't piping hot (it tasted great though - one thing BA do well is soup). Decent selection of bread too - three different types merged into one roll.



I had pre-ordered the salmon for main course. To be honest, it didn't look great when presented but the salmon just fell to pieces when you cut into it and tasted oh so fishy!





After a short rest, the dessert trolley was rolled down the aisle. Again it was nice to see what the choices were and it was great to see the crew assemble the chocolate soufflé and be artistic with the chocolate sauce *monkey face emoji*



I really fancied the watermelon as I thought it would be fresh but I didn't want to pass up the opportunity of having the chocolate soufflé - "Sir, why don't you just have both?"



And dear God, did it taste good - great job!

[img]https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4525/25007233688_d1f2fbfce1_c.jpg[img]

Teas, coffees and liqueurs were offered once the desserts had been cleared. Peppermint tea and whisky for me please!











I whiled the time away watching movies and napping. The new bedding was SO comfy and SO cosy - loved it! After a few hours of lounging around, it was time for the afternoon tea service. This consisted of a nice cold plate - aubergine, prawn and mozzarella - along with some sweet treats and a scone with clotted cream and jam.



THE CREAM GOES ON FIRST PEOPLES!



And maybe one last KR before we land in JFK....



The usual "40 mins until landing announcement was made as we skimmed the east coast of the USA and headed in towards JFK.













And we were in New York! Nice approach in! We were towed onto stand and we were off the plane within a few minutes to find our way to the AA Flagship lounge. The main thing I wanted was a shower (and some Bolly!).

More soon!
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Old Dec 7, 17, 5:00 pm
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The food looks great! Everything seems and looks more premium now..

Do you feel that there was enough food to keep you from going hungry if you had only one of each course? And did any of the options run out?

Like the mug with the BA logo on the inside too!
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Old Dec 8, 17, 12:19 am
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The food and drink presentation definitely looks improved to me. Not perfect, but far better. Will be flying on the JFK route next month so will see for myself.

Looks as though you need to really lean forward or stand up a bit to get a good look at the trolleys from a window seat.
Not sure if someone in the aisle could be put out a bit more by this?
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Old Dec 8, 17, 1:47 am
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Definitely looks an improvement to the last time I flew CW with BA.

Looking forward now to my flight back from JFK next year!
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Old Dec 8, 17, 8:43 pm
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Loved reading about the new BA service thanks
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Old Dec 9, 17, 10:54 am
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Originally Posted by Firipu View Post
The food looks great! Everything seems and looks more premium now..

Do you feel that there was enough food to keep you from going hungry if you had only one of each course? And did any of the options run out?

Like the mug with the BA logo on the inside too!
Agreed Firipu - a much improved product now. There was definitely enough food to keep me satisfied. All the starters come together and you choose the soup on top. I'm not sure if any of the options ran out - I was one of the first served. Love the BA mug too!

Originally Posted by xenole View Post
The food and drink presentation definitely looks improved to me. Not perfect, but far better. Will be flying on the JFK route next month so will see for myself.

Looks as though you need to really lean forward or stand up a bit to get a good look at the trolleys from a window seat.
Not sure if someone in the aisle could be put out a bit more by this?
Hmm not really to be honest - I viewed them from my reclined state and could see everything just fine.

Originally Posted by nequine View Post
Definitely looks an improvement to the last time I flew CW with BA.

Looking forward now to my flight back from JFK next year!
Have a great flight nequine - TR?!

Originally Posted by wtcmor View Post
Loved reading about the new BA service thanks
No worries wtcmor - thanks for reading!
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Old Dec 10, 17, 3:31 am
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Not sure who or what had been warming your nuts but they are not served warm in CW.
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