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A Budapest long weekend

A Budapest long weekend

Old Sep 23, 2023, 12:21 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Newcastle, UK
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A Budapest long weekend

Last week I wrote my first trip report as I was travelling and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed writing it and keeping it updated as the trip progressed. In some ways it kept me more connected to the travel and I did a little more exploring of the airport and lounges than I might usually do.

I have three quite different short haul trips coming up over the next three weeks so Im going to continue with the trip reports, at least for a little while.

After last weeks detour to Air France, this weekend its back to flying on BA for a quick trip to Budapest. This trip has come about due to: a soon to expire IHG suite night award, a distinct lack of remaining holiday days left because of the number of trips I've made to Bucharest this year (to be explained in a forthcoming report in a couple of weeks), and a desire to depart from T3 in order to enjoy a lounge safari.

Budapest was an easy choice for this break and with the use of vouchers and Avios this is a very budget friendly trip. In order to maximise the time in Budapest Ill be using a lot more organised tourism instead of the follow your nose navigation I often employ when exploring a city.

Late yesterday afternoon there was a small bump in the road, my originally planned flight BA888 LHR-BUD was cancelled and so I have rebooked onto the earlier BA874 departure. This means there'll be limited lounge time, which I will do my best to make the most of!

I was also looking forward to my first flyertalk meet up in the Qantas lounge, organised from the BA Travel Meet Up thread, however with the new earlier departure time this meet up no longer works, which is a great shame.

And with that brief intro, the taxi arrival is imminent and its time to wash up my coffee mug and head off to Newcastle airport.
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Old Sep 23, 2023, 2:01 am
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And here we are a gray and overcast morning and looking at the weather forecast Budapest may be more of the same


Newcastle airport arrivals

The BA queue was pretty deep, but CE queue was empty.



Newcastle check in queue

And thank heavens the queue was empty! As mentioned in the introduction, my original flight had been cancelled and I had accepted an earlier flight online. After that I had been unable to select seat or meal, and also unable to checkin online. It turns out that although I was on the flight I had not been ticketed. The very patient check in agent was on the phone for over 20 minutes before she was able to sort it. Only seat available was 7a so the LHR to BUD is going to be a little cramped but I’m sure I shall cope assuming sufficient quantities of fizzy pain killers

This is the first time I have been through Newcastle at this time of day, normally I am on an earlier flight. The airport was incredibly quiet compared to what I am used to. There was absolutely nobody queueing at the boarding pass gates, and no more than a dozen people spread across all the security lines.






And now it’s off to the lounge


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Old Sep 23, 2023, 2:08 am
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45 minutes from kerb to lounge is a new record for me at Newcastle, and not in a good way! Chatting to the hostess whilst checking into the lounge she was telling me that I had not long missed the morning rush and that this was their quiet period before it ramped up again in a couple of hours. I was able to upgrade to the plus lounge off the back of my BA ticket, something that I’d previously been told was not possible, so clearly that policy is staff dependent

The lounge was as quiet as you might expect



Aspire plus lounge newcastle

You can see that some of the food has been well picked over and some recently replenished. Standard fare for the aspire lounge






And with that it is time to get a fresh glass of fizz, sit back, and relax for 30 minutes befire heading over to the gates



Last edited by JapesUK; Sep 23, 2023 at 2:15 am
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Old Sep 23, 2023, 2:55 am
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Boarding was quick and easy, both lanes opened simultaneously and it was straight through from boarding pass check to jet bridge, and here we are on BA1327 NCL-LHR. Plenty of legroom in 1F and proof this week that I can just about iron trousers if I try, unlike last week!





Next stop, LHR Terminal 5
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Old Sep 23, 2023, 5:40 am
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Take off was delayed by twenty minutes by some tardy passengers and delays in loading luggage, Once in the air the cabin crew sprung into action pretty early and my special meal was delivered within a couple of minutes. I have been working my way through all of the special meals and this morning was the Diabetic offering. The poached chicken with carrot julienne was very tasty. The rhubarb desert I have encountered before and I believe my last description of it was a gloopy glutinous mess . It is definitely bottom of the list for all the deserts I’ve had on board so far. The crew were excellent and managed to squeeze main service and a couple of top ups into a very short flight window.




As we proceeded north the clouds cleared and we were lucky to get some spectacular views of the city as we came over London






The timings for NCL-LHR are very generous and so we made up most of the departure delay and arrived a mere 5 minutes late.

My Budapest flight is from T3 so now its time for the great Heathrow tour from T5 to T3
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Old Sep 23, 2023, 6:03 am
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Transit time was a touch over 30 minutes. I cursed loudly when I came down the escalator to see the buss pull off, but there was another one waiting immediately behind it




Arrived to the standard subterranean bus doors, through secondary security very quickly, and up the lift to enter T3 departures next to the centurion lounge. T3 as usual was pretty busy and I made my way over to the lounges

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Old Sep 23, 2023, 6:30 am
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The entrance to the Cathay lounges is, well, understated!




Once you exit the lift there is a reception that serves both the business and first class lounges and I like them both for different reasons. Cathays lounges are considered the best of the T3 oneworld lounges and for good reason.

I can best describe the First Class lounge as an Asian influenced gentlemans club. Thats a club for Gentlemen, not a club for gentlemen if you take my meaning!






The seated dining area was very busy so I didnt take a photo, but I did snap the menu





Given the short time I had available I decided to graze the pantry












The food in this lounge is excellent. The first thing I head for are the spicy olives, theyre amazing. Im not ashamed to say that I went back for a second Malaysian chicken pastry
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Old Sep 23, 2023, 6:38 am
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All too soon it was time to head over to gate 5a for BA874, LHR-BUD. There was no group segregation for checking into the gate however they did board strictly according to group





Group 1 was called and we headed down the jet bridge only to be told that they were not ready for us onboard. It was only a minute or two and then we were allowed onboard.





Because my original flight was cancelled unfortunately Ive lost my row one seat so leg room is not the best, Im sure champagne can soothe my angst





That brings me up to date and as I finish typing this the doors have just been closed and we are ready to push back.

Next stop, Bucharest. Budapest

Not the first time Ive made that mistake
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Last edited by JapesUK; Sep 25, 2023 at 12:20 am
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Old Sep 23, 2023, 1:24 pm
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Double post, thats twice it’s happened
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Last edited by JapesUK; Sep 24, 2023 at 1:54 am Reason: Double post
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Old Sep 23, 2023, 1:32 pm
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The flight departed a little late as the plane was overweight due to the fuel handler adding an extra 500kg and, as a result, some bags had to be offloaded!

Once underway the drinks service commenced within 20 minutes and as soon as the 7 rows were served the food followed immediately thereafter. I had originally ordered a special meal but lost this in the reschedule but by lucky happenstance I got to sample the Thai curry rather than the Hindi curry originally ordered.






the entire meal was very pleasant and washed down with a couple of glasses of castelnau the time passed quickly and we were on an early descent in order to miss some turbulence
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Old Sep 23, 2023, 1:42 pm
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There was quite a bit of turbulence on the way down, to the extent that one gentleman learned that holding your full glass in mid-air is a great way to see the drink go north, whilst the glass goes south, and Im sure you can imagine the drenching that followed! Soon enough we were on the ground and Budapest
has some seriously funky designs for its jet bridges






Passport control was quiet and the egate worked first time, and I was land side within ten minutes of landing. My booked taxi had asked that I WhatsApp her once I reached one of the pickup zones, which I duly did, and she was there within five minutes to take me onwards to the Intercontinental hotel.

When we reached the intercontinental I got a bit of a shock as the crew from my flight were just getting out of a minibus to check in! After a little banter suggesting they could have saved me a taxi ride they headed to their rooms and I took my turn at check in.
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Last edited by JapesUK; Sep 23, 2023 at 3:19 pm
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Old Sep 23, 2023, 1:51 pm
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I was very lucky on check in, receiving a three level upgrade to this







I also have club lounge access so with a couple of hours to kill I dropped my bags and headed down to the lounge




Last edited by JapesUK; Sep 24, 2023 at 12:52 am
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Old Sep 23, 2023, 1:54 pm
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And this is a line of waffle due to a double post off the mobile

Last edited by JapesUK; Sep 23, 2023 at 2:18 pm
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Old Sep 23, 2023, 1:59 pm
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The lounge is very well appointed and as per the timetable, canaps and happy hour were in full swing









With my timetable for tomorrow Im unlikely to be able to take much advantage of the lounge beyond breakfast but it is very well appointed. Ill try to take picture of the lounge itself tomorrow, there were too many people in there this evening and I didnt want to impinge upon their privacy.

The nibbles I tried were very nice and the Hungarian wines were excellent.
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Last edited by JapesUK; Sep 23, 2023 at 2:18 pm
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Old Sep 23, 2023, 2:07 pm
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And this brings me onto why these updates are slightly delayed

As I was pouring my first glass of wine I ran into the captain of our incoming flight and we got to chatting. Apparently flight crew get access to the club lounge when staying in Budapest.

I spent the next two hours talking with him about all things aviation and BA, and before I knew it I had to head off to my evening cruise. That was the most interesting conversation Ive had in some time.

it was time for a short walk along the river to deck 10 to join my evening cruise up and down the river, and that is where I sit now writing this update
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Last edited by JapesUK; Sep 23, 2023 at 3:21 pm
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