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A Milan day trip

A Milan day trip

Old Jan 12, 2024, 10:09 am
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A Milan day trip

Welcome to this weeks trip report, my first for 2024, and which has the potential to be the most boring trip report of the year!

The entire “trip in a day” is Newcastle-Heathrow-Milan-Heathrow-Newcastle, all booked in Economy, outbound at 06:35 and, if all goes to schedule, landing back in Newcastle at 19:50 the same day without my leaving Milan airport. The reason I booked this is primarily as an experiment in value and upgrade potentials on BA. At the time of booking, Milan and back in economy was under 180 and the equivalent business fare was over 620. I had a 150 voucher in hand from BA as compensation for an issue on a flight back before I started doing trip reports and so this has covered the majority of the fare.

What I’m curious about within this small sample set is whether there is any viable financial advantage in booking economy and then upgrading via the various mechanisms rather than paying the full business fare at time of booking. If there are no upgrades available then this trip will treble the total number of economy flights I’ve taken on BA so that experience itself will be interesting to me. With the flights I currently have booked I’ll reach my target of BA Gold Guest List status by mid-May and so potentially it makes sense to leverage that status from May-Sept whilst travelling “back of the bus”.

There are four main routes that I know of to upgrade via BA:
  1. Call centre upgrades on request. From what I have read this is considered the most expensive option and I believe the price quoted will be the current difference between the booked fare and the fare of the class you want to upgrade to.
  2. Proactive Online Upgrades (POUGs) Offered within your booking. You have to go looking for these, BA will not tell you they’re available.
  3. Airport Upgrades (AUPs) requested at the airport check in or the BA lounge service desk.
  4. Operational Upgrades (OPUPs) are where you receive a free of charge upgrade, often at the gate, where the cabin you are booked into is oversold.
At the time of booking the exit rows were available on three of the four segments but on Milan-Newcastle they were reserved for the business cabin. Thankfully the exit rows on the that leg were released from the business cabin yesterday and so I have moved seats and now have an exit row on all four flights, and, as of this morning, the middle seat next to me is empty and blocked on all 4 legs. I doubt it will stay that way, a couple of the flights looked full, but I shall check everything again later once I have a beer in hand

The upgrade story so far, options 1 and 2 are a fail. I had cause to ring.the call centre last week to book a tier point run and whilst on the phone I also requested an upgrade price which was quoted at 640 for the four legs. Clearly this is more than I could have originally booked into business and was politely declined. No POUGs have been offered on the booking however this could potentially be self inflicted because I used the voucher to pay for the vast majority of the trip. When I tried to request an upgrade online I received a ‘trade fare’ error. We’ll see how the other two upgrade options play out tomorrow.

As I did with my Christmas trip, I’ve booked the night in the Doubletree at the airport. Despite the lack of sleep on my last visit it was still a pleasure to be able to just amble over to the airport in the morning and I’ll be doing this for all early starts in future. The ability to choose any travel time I fancy on the evening before rather than be dependent on an early morning taxi on the day of the flight makes it worth it, plus its an excuse for an additional night out!

And with that long preamble it is time to pack up my backpack, book an Uber, and head to the hotel.

Last edited by JapesUK; Jan 12, 2024 at 1:38 pm
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 10:48 am
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Upgrade possibilities are more or less always a joke on BA. Best way to burn money....
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 11:24 am
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All checked in and have a very nice if somewhat oddly shaped room as far from the lifts as possible as is my preference. Hilton Honors upgrade so the usual goodies including a welcome drink and complimentary continental breakfast. The warm cookie that each guest receives on checkin didn’t make it into the photo as it was still in my pocket Breakfast opens at 04:30 I’m told so hopefully will get to see the offering this time around, last visit they deferred opening to 06:30 because it was Christmas and so I missed it.








Now settled into the reception seating area as the bar seating was full again, and about to enjoy this fine brew whilst checking the current state of play on my various flights.


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Old Jan 12, 2024, 11:35 am
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A quick scout around expert flyer and at the moment the middle seat is still blocked on 3 out of four flights. Of the four flights NCL-LHR-LIN look very busy, LIN-LHR looks pretty quiet, and LHR-NCL looks rammed. I think its time to visit the speedbird cafe and get some food ordered for each of the segments.

On the subject of food, the bar menu looks unchanged from last time so I think I’ll get the food (drink) ordered for the four flights and then head into the restaurant. After last time I shall order slightly more modestly!



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Old Jan 12, 2024, 12:34 pm
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Any chance of pre-ordering from the high life cafe has gone up in flames with yet another bug in BAs systems. On iphone and ipad using any browser you cannot enter your flight number, a fairly key piece of information! Lets hope the trolley service is running.

In the restaurant the soup of the day was White onion and potato and I generally like any sort of onion based soup so that was an easy choice. For mains I chose the Penne Arrabbiata with extra tuscan spicy sausage. Both dished were very agreeable and yet again the portion size for the pasta was enormous. It also had a very decent amount of fresh chillies giving it a real bite.





Nicely full of food its time to retire to the bar for a night cap and I’ll be back around 9 hours time

Last edited by JapesUK; Jan 12, 2024 at 3:08 pm
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 12:49 pm
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Breakfast at 4:30 is pretty early.
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 12:53 pm
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Originally Posted by offerendum
Breakfast at 4:30 is pretty early.
Yep, just want to see the spread available and probably just have a coffee and an OJ. 04:30 - 05:00 would be my normal lounge arrival time if taxi-ing in to the airport and I rarely eat in the lounge if on the early flight, or I might grab a small plate if I woke up stupidly early.
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 1:51 pm
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I wasn't aware that POUG were offered on connecting flights, that's new.

[mod edit - inappropriate political comments]

I find breakfast here really poor, the quality leaves a lot to be desired. The restaurant is not as good as it once was and despite a full house, only the bar was busy.
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Last edited by l etoile; Jan 13, 2024 at 6:48 am Reason: Political comments. See rules
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 2:07 pm
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Originally Posted by hugolover
I wasn't aware that POUG were offered on connecting flights, that's new.

[removed deleted comments]

I find breakfast here really poor, the quality leaves a lot to be desired. The restaurant is not as good as it once was and despite a full house, only the bar was busy.
Only ever had them offered once before but as married segments, remember it because I was flying to JFK and I couldnt just upgrade the NCL-LHR, online it kept insisting on both at > 2k. In the end a phone call sorted it. Havent done a lot of voluntary ET travel to date so far from an expert on this one!

Last edited by l etoile; Jan 13, 2024 at 6:49 am
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 3:29 pm
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Originally Posted by JapesUK
Only ever had them offered once before but as married segments, remember it because I was flying to JFK and I couldnt just upgrade the NCL-LHR, online it kept insisting on both at > 2k. In the end a phone call sorted it. Havent done a lot of voluntary ET travel to date so far from an expert on this one!
I suspect it was the voucher that most likely kyboshed the POUG - anything that is not a totally straightforward booking does it. I sometimes book flight-only through the military/ veterans discount page, and this also means the POUGs don't happen. Haven't used that a lot while BA Holidays double TP offers continue! Connecting flights cause 'free change on day' to fail...
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 9:47 pm
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Good morning from dark and chilly Newcastle. A pretty decent nights sleep and its time to check out the hotels breakfast offering which is rather underwhelming. The hot food starts later so right now it is this simple continental breakfast spread. The restaurant lighting is set to twilight which just makes me feel like going back to bed








Coffee and tea has to be ordered from the staff, everything else is self serve. The orange juice was incredibly sweet, certainly would get your blood sugars spiking, and the coffee tasted gritty, so overall not an experience Ill bother repeating on future stays, the Aspire lounge is far more appealing!
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 11:00 pm
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Wandered over to the airport which is literally a two minute stroll from the hotel. BA checkin was in full swing but CE was clear and it was time to ask for upgrades



Newcastle to Heathrow was 63 and Heathrow to Milan was 107, both taken, after all, that was the point . I had also checked expertflyer before I left the hotel and there were seats for sale in both cabins on both flights so an OpUp seemed highly unlikely.

The one thing I am going to miss out on is the extra leg room, hadnt factored that in but then again, this is a learning experience.

Security was a nightmare this morning, and once again I fell victim to the scanners and ended up waiting in the secondary inspection queue TWICE! First time for a dodgy image, second time for an iPad swab.

Overall rejection rate was probably 10% which is the best I have seen. The body scanners were performing very well, almost no secondary body screening there. I was told that one of them had broken down already, teething troubles I hope.

In total it has taken fifty minutes from the hotel to the lounge which I think is the longest ever at Newcastle.

Now settled down with the standard trio and ready for the gate to open


Last edited by JapesUK; Jan 12, 2024 at 11:29 pm
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 11:27 pm
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After a very brief visit to the lounge it is over to gate 3 as usual and straight through to boarding.



G-TTNU today which I have been on before, way back in August.



Seated in row 6 so the expected lack of legroom




IFL has just paid me a visit regarding my high life cafe order for this segment which I booked some time ago. Having checked that there would be catering available in Business I have asked her to cancel it. Now lets see what happens as I purposefully paid with Avios following my last experience.

And with that we are ten minutes from our scheduled departure slot, stragglers are appearing one by one, and its time to settle in and enjoy the ride.
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Old Jan 13, 2024, 12:59 am
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We were buttoned up with everyone on board in good time but eventually departed around ten minutes late which, according to the pilot announcement, was due to ATC restrictions at Heathrow.

Onboard service was fast and friendly and I chose the full English breakfast which was a bit of a surprise. I remember this coming with fruit salad and jam/croissant but today it was just a hot plate and a cereal bar. I had to go back through my photos to make sure I was not mis-remembering as it has been a while, normally I would preorder the Kosher special at breakfast time. Definitely not a memory issue, previous trips included pastry and fruit. Theres a whole thread dedicated to CE meals, I shall have to ask on there whether this is a one off or the new normal.




A little farcical moment mid flight, the pilot announced that we were now at 15,000 feet and descending over Oxford however there was a 20 minute ATC delay at Heathrow and therefore landing would be in forty minutes. This was immediately followed by the crew announcement that seat belts would soon be switched on and large items should he stowed someone wasnt listening properly!

The additional delay provided plenty of time for a couple of top ups, every cloud has a silver lining

As we are coming through the low clouds for landing I get a pop up from flighty that the incoming plane for the LHR-LIN leg of the trip has been diverted elsewhere, no other details yet so do not know what to expect.

We eventually landed at just about 8am and as I have two hour until my Milan departure Ive decided to go land-side and come back in again rather than using the transfer route as there is an entire conversation going on dedicated to the closure of the first wing and I want to see what all the fuss is about.
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Old Jan 13, 2024, 1:23 am
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Yeah, BA scam-business. The legroom is really insulting, a seat at the emergency exit is regarding the space the better option.I remember when they sold their new seat concept with reduced legroom as an improvement. Shameless. It's like a vendor yesterday told me at a Souk the drawstring threads (and stains?) in the scarves he offers (inferior mass-produced goods) are the sign of high-quality handcraft. Sure, I zip up my pants in the morning with pliers.
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