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Brussels, no sprouts! A short hop for hops.

Brussels, no sprouts! A short hop for hops.

Old Dec 1, 2023, 11:51 pm
  #1  
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Brussels, no sprouts! A short hop for hops.

On a very chilly Northumberland morning, this weekend brings a very short trip to Brussels. Definitely one of those ďI travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travelís sakeĒ weekends.

This was a very cheap fare that came up over six months ago and matched with a points stay at the Radisson makes this as much a BA tier point trip as anything else. Arriving and departing from LHR T5, and with a 4 hour transit, I will be leaving home in the dark and arriving in Brussels at sunset! Sunday there is a 3 hour transit but I will at least be leaving and arriving in the daylight.

Iím sure it will come as no surprise to hear that the plan for the evening is a couple (or more) glasses of Belgiums finest hoppy happiness and food, possibly at a food market immediately opposite the hotel. As I lived in Brussels for six months many moons ago I donít feel like Iím missing out too much on the whole touristic side of things and, hangover permitting, I might have an hour or two Sunday morning for a little re-familiarisation wander.

Iím departing from Newcastle on the second BA flight of the day for a change and it feels much more relaxing, a couple of extra hours in bed, yet there is still three quarters of an hour until the taxi arrives so plenty of time for a second coffee for once.

Next stop, NCL airport once more.
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Old Dec 2, 2023, 1:42 am
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A very cautious drive to the airport with the road displays all warning of ice and arrived at a frosty Newcastle airport.




The airport is really quiet this morning, arrivals is all but deserted and there was absolutely nobody at the boarding pass gates, nor at fast path security.



New scanners are not in action again and with an empty security there was time for a chat with the guys and the current feedback is that the scanners are much slower with a lot of secondary searches and problems with the trays getting dislodged and riding up on each other. More timing required it would seem.



Into the Aspire lounge and I had never noticed these paid upgrades before, maybe because I donít often frequent the standard lounge but have been in here a few times so probably Iím just generally unobservant!




Chatting to the ladies it seems that there is still a target opening date of mid-December for the revamped lounge and having a peek through the door that still feels aspirational, it is a tangle of ducting. No idea on upgrade pricing yet.

Drinks of choice will come as no surprise to those of you that have read any previous reports. With about 30 minutes to boarding itís time to watch the world go by and enjoy the relative peace in the lounge this morning

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Old Dec 2, 2023, 2:30 am
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Gate 3 again and straight onto the plane



As Iím stowing my bags who do I see in seat 1A but Radiation Station . I will not mention the we were messaging on WhatsApp yesterday and he told me our paths would not crossÖ

Boarding seems slow this morning with one completely befuddled passenger taking a while to settle.

Crew today are on their second of two so theyíre very cheery Six full rows ahead of the curtain so a little bit busy for them but Iíve seen much worse.

Emails from BA about ATC restrictions and flighty showing a very late arrival so the crew have gone up front to check with the driver.

Pilot now making and announcement that the weather in London has deteriorated and due to low cloud and visibility we have a departure time of 10:50!
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Old Dec 2, 2023, 4:02 am
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Nearly an hour and a half later and we are still on the ground with the latest news being that we should be pushing back within the next ten minutes.

The crew have already served the in flight meal along with coffee and soft drinks so the flight just became a booze cruise

I had ordered the Kosher breakfast again and it is slightly different today both in contents and packaging.

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Old Dec 2, 2023, 6:30 am
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We were off exactly to the pilots announcement and as soon as we were in thr air the drinks run commenced. Castelnau NV all around. A little later for top-ups a bottle of the millesime 2007 appeared and so for the first time we were able to do side by side taste tests. Radiation Station and myself declared the 2007 a clear winner however his lovely lady preferred the NV.




the 2007 is the brighter glass to the left.

A couple of top-ups and another bottle of the 2007 later and it was time to buckle up for landing. During the flight and also at disembarkation the crew offered some very Christmassy mint chocolates.



Straight through to arrivals where I separated from my flying buddies and made my way to departures and the far end of the concourse for the first wing





All of the horses are feeling the Christmas spirit



It is still foggy here at LHR and with very low cloud the departure boards are not looking the best








My flight is currently scheduled to depart 2:43 late. Iím fine with that but much more and we will be heading to the land of trip in vain.

And now it is time to settle down with a glass or two and wait it out to see if the delay gets worse. There has already been one equipment change on this route so anything is possible!



One last thing, something that was asked in another thread as to whether there was table delivery of food available in the first class lounge outside of breakfast and it appears the answer is No

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Old Dec 2, 2023, 7:17 am
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InterestingÖ.. investigation required, watch this space

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Old Dec 2, 2023, 7:41 am
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Hotel Chocolate promotion (obviously) of the chocolate liqueur and the espresso martini. Both were very good and after a sample I opted for a full sized glass of the martini. The promotion started yesterday and runs though to the twenty fourth, 2pm to 8pm




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Old Dec 2, 2023, 7:48 am
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New updates from flighty after an equipment change is that departure time from LHR is 50 minutes late but arrival in Brussels is 2 hours and 40 minutes late so either flighty has got itself out of synchronous or weíre in for another long wait on the tarmac.

I do feel really lucky that delays really donít make a difference to me, theyíre all part of the fun and I donít have to stress about them. On the flight from Newcastle to LHR a couple of passengers were, understandably, getting really tightly wound because they were cutting it close for the connections.

Having all too quickly finished that very tasty Hotel Chocolat I think itís time for a coffee and a cognac whilst I await the next flight.

Gate just announced as the infamous A10 bus gate so no need to rush


Last edited by JapesUK; Dec 2, 2023 at 7:58 am
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Old Dec 2, 2023, 8:24 am
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Hilarious group one boarding this afternoon. I was back of the queue and last on the busÖ. And we waited and waited.. and were then offloaded back to the holding pen. Announcement that there was an Ďincidentí with the captain and first officer on the previous flight and they need to get a new flight crew!

Really poor customer service at the check in gate with any request for information dismissed.
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Old Dec 2, 2023, 9:01 am
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Back to the lounge and a glass of the pink fizz just because Iíve not tried it before. Currently departure is supposedly 16:45 but we will see, if theyíre bringing in standby from home which I assume they must be given the length of time then who knows.



And a little bit of Sunday lunch

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Old Dec 2, 2023, 9:46 am
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Ouch. Really wouldn't want to be in your shoes now, although, at least you are spending the time in F lounges.

My hearth goes out to those in the back who just have to park themselves in the terminal somewhere...
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Old Dec 2, 2023, 10:08 am
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Originally Posted by Fabo.sk
Ouch. Really wouldn't want to be in your shoes now, although, at least you are spending the time in F lounges.

My hearth goes out to those in the back who just have to park themselves in the terminal somewhere...
Second time lucky and we are on board with 12 minutes to rescheduled departure. Last on is a young lady accompanied by a couple of border force so one assumes she is heading home unexpectedly.





six rows of business again and much good cheer on board, I think the two hour delay in the lounge has had an effect

The only concern now is that the flight deck is still open so a departure doesnít feel imminent

Next Stop - Brussels- eventually

Last edited by JapesUK; Dec 2, 2023 at 10:47 am
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Old Dec 2, 2023, 12:23 pm
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Well that was an interesting flight! Crew were super chilled at the start and then got completely wrong-footed at the end and had to scramble to clear everything and secure for landing. I had ordered the Muslim afternoon tea and honestly it wasnít to my taste but equally I wasnít overly hungry so no harm done



We arrived 3hrs and 5 mins late which brings us into EC261 territory. It will be interesting to see how BA code this delay because the initial part was definitely weather however weather alone would not have caused us to be over 3 hours late, that was down to them having to assign a standby flight crew.

Brussels arrivals was completely empty



Quickly through passport control and straight into a taxi. I was going to take the train but given that most of the evening has gone already any chance to recoup a bit of time is worth it.

Next stop, the Radisson Collection hotel
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Old Dec 2, 2023, 12:33 pm
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Classic taxi driver taking a major diversion. A ĎAre we going to the right hotelí put us roughly back on track with an excuse of Ďtrafficí and then every set of lights with more than one car at them garnered another exclamation of Ďtrafficí
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Old Dec 2, 2023, 1:14 pm
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The plan had been to go to wolf market for food and Mort Subite for beer but wolf market is completely rammed with 30 minute plus waits on every stand I asked at






I did like all these old foundry moulds as I have a half dozen of them at home

So, plan B! Off to Mort Subite and grab a bar snack there. This is an old favourite of mine so letís see if the food is as carb and calorie heavy as I remember!





This place is awesomely seedy, the complete opposite of the antiseptic minimalist bars that seem to be cropping up all too often.



I swear there are bits of this that have not seen paint or cleaner in a century
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