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BA First LHR-TLV

BA First LHR-TLV

Old Mar 1, 07, 6:35 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: BNE
Posts: 2,622
BA First LHR-TLV

:-: :-: :-: Photo Album :-: :-: :-:

Background

Once again I found myself in the fortunate position of having some spare miles and an Amex 2for1 voucher that looked like it would be going to waste. I had identified a month or two beforehand that Tel Aviv offered exceptional value as an award redemption destination with BA. There are two daily services, one of which is operated by a 777-236ER offering a First cabin. Israel is classified as Europe3/North Africa by BA for awards rather than as Middle East and Central Asia. This means that a First ticket would only cost 60000 miles but one to neighbouring Egypt would set you back 120000 as that is classified as being in the Middle East.

With the miles and voucher burning a hole in my pocket and a lot of free time on my hands I set about finding a travel companion. My wife was a non-starter as she is a school teacher (a good one so she claims – but I received a superior report at the end of our teacher training!!) and obviously can not just take time off. The voucher was set to expire before her next round of school holidays. I figured that as I was the only member of my family to have travelled in a premium cabin, it would be good to give them this opportunity. For various reasons my offer of a free First class flight was politely declined by my father, mother, brother and uncle. I am sure that Tel Aviv as the destination worried by parents.

However, I had a sneaky suspicion that a friend by the name of Mark from my previous employment would be interested. I put the proposal to him and after consulting his partner he opted in. We found availability on days that would not require him to utilise any annual leave. However, we would not arrive back into Heathrow until 20:10 the evening prior to he commencing work at 03:45 the following day. One phone call to BA, and after we had been relieved of £164.70 each for surcharges, fees and the new heavily inflated UK Air Passenger Duty, we were all set for departure a little under two week away.

26th February 2007

Check-in, LHR T4 Check-in, Security, Concorde Room and a Spa treatment


Rather surprisingly I successfully managed to drag myself out of bed when the alarm went off at 4am. After a quick shower and kissing my wife goodbye, I jumped into my car and drove up the A23 to collect Mark from LGW. We enjoyed a relatively traffic free run around the M25 and successfully located our pre-booked car parking. The redemption of some BAA Worldpoints had netted me a £10 discount on the car parking, leaving only required payment of £10 for 39 hours at the Long Stay Parking Express car park.

Soon we were boarding a coach that delivered us to T4. It was a pleasure to walk into the terminal and then head towards the First Check-in desks with so few people around at 6am. I was rather surprised to discover that there was a small queue at the check-in area. Two parties were being processed at the desk with a solo traveller waiting before us. However, we were soon at the desk ourselves and watching our bags vanishing into the LHR baggage system. With boarding pass now in hand, we headed for the Fast Track security entrance. At first it looked promising but as we ventured closer we realised that beyond the BP checker a queue was waiting for us. We progressed slowly for 5-10 minutes until two otherwise unoccupied security staff thought that we warranted some special attention. They took us out of the queue and lead us into a separate screening area. Individually we were directed into a few postures in order to be screened. I watched as Mark went first. The security officer pressed a button to initiate the x-ray machine each time Mark positioned himself in the required manner. The system then informed the officer that nothing was untoward. Having been deemed safe we were lead back out to the front of the main security queue to have our hand baggage x-rayed. This special treatment had saved us some time and we were both thankful.

Once our shoes were back on, we honed in on the Concorde Room with a sense of urgency. We knew that should we be successful in our quest for a Molton Brown treatment we would only have around an hour to enjoy the lounge. I sought confirmation about the MB Spa opening time with the lady on the desk inside the Room and was surprised to learn that the MB Spa was already open despite ba.com stating it did not open until 7am. Needless to say, we immediately exited and made for the spa. We were impressed to have been able to snag the opening two slots and returned to the lounge to await our treatments. I believe that the MB Spa opens at the same time as the BA lounges but only to accept reservations before the masseurs commence treatments at 7am.

Back in the Concorde Room we both placed our orders for a bacon baguette before retiring to the seating area with a glass of orange juice. The lady brought our baguettes when ready and I enthusiastically set about tucking mine away. Realising that I was suffering a little from a lack of sleep the night before, I decided to remain on the OJ until after our MB treatment. This did not stop Mark from knocking himself up a Bloody Mary.

As time for our massage approached, we deposited our hand baggage with the luggage attendant before heading downstairs. We sat waiting for a couple of minutes until we were called individually by our respective masseurs. The treatment went well and after turning down the offer of a shower, as we did not want to waste too much more drinking time, we returned to the Concorde Room and made straight for the bar. This time we both opted for a glass of Champagne which was the same Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus that we were also to enjoy onboard. Once seated, we began chatting away whilst thoroughly enjoying the drink. All too soon the glass was dry and Mark headed off to rectify the situation. Upon completion of our second glass, the departure screen indicated our gate as closing. When the announcement was made we collected our bags and set off for gate 24.

LHR-TLV BA165 777-236ER G-VIIU

The gate area was empty and, after having our BPs checked, we walked straight onto the aircraft. The cabin crew showed us to our seats (4E & 4F). As expected the cabin was relatively empty on this flight. Soon we were being looked after by our crew. Champagne was quickly ordered and delivered. PJs were gratefully accepted despite having no intention whatsoever to wear them on such a short flight. Mark was extremely pleased to also be offered a pair of slippers. He’d told me several days before that he’d been reading the BA website to discover what delights would be awaiting him in the First cabin. He eagerly learnt that slippers were offered as part of the turndown service. Apparently an asterisk was located after the mention of the turndown service. At the bottom of the page it explained that the turndown service was not available on all flights. He clicked the link only to discover (surprise surprise!) that it was not offered on any LHR-TLV journeys. For some reason, he placed a great deal of emphasis on his desire to acquire a pair of these BA slippers. Rather unexpectedly he had actually succeeded.

We continued drinking for most of the flight and were in good spirits (not drunk but just enjoying the free flowing Champagne). The crew had such a nice way of asking if a top-up was required, it would have felt rude to have refused!!! We had a few chats with the crew during the flight. The CSD came over and introduced herself and asked if we were travelling to Tel Aviv on business. As honesty is always the best policy, I informed her that we had an Amex 2for1 set to expire and a 60000 mile surplus in my BAEC account and that this route provided such great value for redemption bookings. Whilst chatting with her, we discovered that the crew would be having a layover of 25 hours before returning tomorrow as our crew on the return flight. Later I realised that this may not be the most ideal situation. I’d printed us both two copies of the £10 BA onboard spending voucher. Technically, you are only entitled to one voucher each but it would appear that my printer spat out a second voucher for each of us and I’d thought that we’d use one each for each leg. Looks like those plans may have been thwarted.

Brunch


Starters

Chilled fruit juice

An energising fruit smoothie

Smoked Trout with cucumber salad

Fresh seasonal fruit plate

A selection of yoghurt

Roast onion soup with Cornish Yarg croûtons

A wide selection of warm breads and breakfast pastries

Fresh salad leaves with your choice of sweet red pepper or garlic and tarragon dressing


Main

Scrambled eggs, fillet steak, lamb cutlet, grilled tomato, sautéed mushrooms and hash –brown potatoes

Catch of the Day – Please ask your crew for details of today’s fresh fish selection served with your choice of sauce vierge or caper butter sauce, seasonal vegetables and new potatoes

Richard Corrigan’s roast breast of chicken and stuffed ravioli with garlic and thyme sauce

Poached Loch Duart salmon salad with lemon dressing


Dessert


Shaun Hill’s rhubarb tart with ginger sauce and vanilla ice cream

Chocolate espresso délice with Mascarpone cream and fresh raspberries




Montgomery Cheddar – An award-winning straw-coloured unpasteurised cheese that is rich in flavour with a hint of fruit; this variety is made from the legendary Jersey cow’s milk and is a British Airways exclusive.

Cropwell Bishop Shropshire Blue – Shropshire Blue contains an underlying hint of rich, buttery caramel while maintaining a smooth blue taste.

Chabis – Made from goat’s milk this is a soft cheese with a fresh mild flavour.

A basket of fresh fruit


Snacks


Warm chicken sandwich with mushrooms and Swiss cheese

Penne pasta with your choice of tomato and olive sauce or Stilton cheese sauce served with grated Parmesan cheese and herb croûte.

Duchy of Cornwall biscuits

A selection of cheese and fruit


Beverages


We offer you a choice of

English Breakfast, Darjeeling or Earl Grey tea

A selection of fruit and herbal teas – peppermint, apple, blackcurrant or camomile and honey

Fresh roast and ground coffee or decaffeinated coffee, espresso or cappuccino


Wines


Champagne

Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus Champagne

White

Meursault Le Limozin 2004, Vincent Girardin

Pouilly-Fumé Cuvée Marjoram 2000, Michel Redde et Fils

Radford Dale Chardonnay 2004, Stellenbosch

Red

Château Léoville-Poyferré 1995, Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Julien

Morgan Twelve Clones Pinot Noir 2005, Santa Lucia Highlands

Simonsig Tiara 2000, Stellenbosch

Dessert

Bonnezeaux 2003, Château de fesles, Loire Valley

Warre’s 19988 Colheita Port


Arrival formalities and hotel transfer

All too soon we were on the ground at TLV. We were both quite impressed by the airport. It was clean, bright and quite spacious. The queue at immigration lead us to believe that the LH 747 at the adjacent gate to our aircraft and landed shortly before we had. I was amused to note the German lady ahead of me in the queue literally stamping her feet (she was old enough to know better!) in frustration of having to wait for so long. After a wait of around 20 minutes I approach the immigration officer. I had been expecting some serious questioning by the Israeli authorities and ultimately was rather disappointed by the lack of probing questions. The conversation went something along the lines of:

Me: Hi <handing over my passport>
Her: Hello. Why are you here?
Me: I am just having a little holiday
Her: How long are you staying?
Me: Just one night
Her: One night?
Me: Yep
Her: And you are alone?
Me: No. I am with a friend who has just gone through.
Her: Where will you be staying?
Me: At the Sheraton Tel Aviv
Her: Do you have an invitation?
Me: An invitation???
Her: Yes
Me: From whom?
Her: The hotel
Me: Oh! A reservation! Yes I do.
Her: Do you have a copy with you?
Me: Yes <hands confirmation over>
She looks at it and hands it back over. I kiss goodbye to my chances of visiting Lebanon in the next eight and a half years as she stamps my passport, returns it to me and waves me through.

It did not come as too much of a surprise, given the delay at immigration, to discover our bags were making circuits of the carousel by the time we arrived. We collected them and headed for customs along with our crew. We did not arouse the suspicions of the customs officers and were soon into the arrivals hall following signs for the taxi rank.

Asked if we wanted the flat rate in the taxi, we refused and opted for the metre. The ride lasted around 30 minutes I guess and we were charged a little under NIS 120 for the pleasure. It was quite entertaining to be driven by our driver. He seemed to weave through traffic and dart in and out of queues rather unlike any other driver I had seen before. I was shocked that nobody blew their horn at us!

The Sheraton Tel Aviv

We were greeted by the staff at the Sheraton Tel Aviv and pointed towards the check-in desk. For the first time in my life I believe, I asked flat out if there were any upgraded rooms available. I was willing to pay by either cash or points for the upgrade but figured I’d wait to be asked to do so rather than volunteer upfront. Frankly I was shocked when he informed us that it had already been taken care of and we had been allocated a mini-suite! I know that I am somewhat of an amateur compared to you more seasoned SPG Golds and Plats, but I had only ever received room upgrades before. Never any type of suite! Remembering that I only had the option of reserving a smoking room (both of us are non-smokers), I asked if there was any chance that this could be rectified. He took care of it. It then dawned on me that it may well be prudent to ensure that my request for twin beds was still being honoured! It had been overlooked and we’d have otherwise been sharing a double bed! Quite what he had assumed about our sexuality I don’t know! We thought it was funny anyway. He placed a call to housekeeping and requested that they bring up an additional bed. Once we had the keys, we thanked the chap for all of this help (and entertainment) and took the lift up to our suit on the 14th floor.

I was quite impressed with the mini-suite. We counted six telephones, two balconies and enough bottles of lotions etc to keep our respective households well in stock for the foreseeable future. The view from the balconies included view of the city and also of the seafront. Our bags were delivered and housekeeping trundled in the additional bed once Mark decided that the bed/settee was not sufficient for a decent night’s sleep.

Twenty hours in Tel Aviv

When we had finished taking photos of the suite, views from the balconies of the beach, surrounding area and aircraft making an approach into the domestic airport, we walked out of the hotel and headed south along the esplanade. At one point we saw a rather heavily fortified building on the seafront. We were both carrying cameras but thought better of pointing them towards this building. After we had both taken guesses as to the function of the building we noticed a discreetly located US flag down one side and determined that it must have been the US Embassy. The rest of our stroll was pleasant and we returned to our hotel.

Later we jumped into a taxi up to Tel Aviv Port in search somewhere to eat at the recommendation of concierge. We quickly discovered and opted for a restaurant that was right beside the small port area. Perhaps rather bravely considering our total inability to understand Hebrew, we entered a busy looking seafood restaurant that had no signs written in English. Better still, there was no menu except possibly one chalked up on the wall. If that was a menu it most certainly was of no use to us as again it was in Hebrew. Literally one minute after our bums hit our seats and without saying much more than “Hello, a table for two please”, a bowl of tomato salad along with 10 or so small dishes of various vegetable appetisers were placed on our table I think we both briefly feared that we were going to be fleeced. However, it was only a very brief fear as our waitress (as well as being gorgeous) was incredibly friendly, welcoming and helpful. She asked if we’d been to Israel before, and upon learning that it was our first time promised that she’d take great care of us. She certainly did. She fully explained the main course options, and after taking our order soon returned with an egg plant dish ‘from the chef’. We enjoyed our meal that consisted of the initially delivered food mentioned above, a bread basket, a mixed seafood platter (shrimps, calamari rings, crabs and mussels), one lemonade, two cokes and two glasses of house wine for a grand total of NIS 280.

We returned to our hotel and, after transferring our photos onto my laptop and watching a little bit of Sky News, we went to bed. Mark took the bed delivered by housekeeping and located in the living room area whilst I took the proper bed and the bedroom.

27th February 2007

We awoke the next morning to grey skies that initially dampened our spirits as we had hoped to enjoy a quick swim in the sea. It was the story of an ex-colleague who took his wife and kids down to the Brighton seafront on a chilling Christmas Day a couple of years back that inspired us to not allow ourselves to be beaten by the weather. It is worth noting that although there were many people walking along the beach, we were the only ones to strip off to venture into the sea.

We deposited our luggage with the Bell Desk after drying off and checking out of the hotel. I had enquired previously about a late check-out but was informed that due to the high occupancy rate it was not possible. Walking along the beach we continued to frequently notice both attack and military transport helicopters flying just off the coastline as well as civil aircraft on approach to TLV.

At the end of an hour long walk south along the beach we arrived at Jaffa. We lost count of the number of (wild?) cats we saw along the seafront although it was quite interesting to watch them playing with each other. A member of the BA crew had recommended that we take a look around Jaffa. Considering we had not really much idea as what to do, except enjoying the beach, we decided to follow his advice. As well as Jaffa’s historic value it also provided a fantastic view of the length of the Tel-Aviv coastline as well as out to sea. After a quick drink and a bite to eat, we began the pleasant hour long walk back north to the Sheraton Tel Aviv. It is worth pointing out that just before our arrival into Jaffa, the weather improved remarkably. Unfortunately for me though the walk around Jaffa and the return to the hotel exposed me (perhaps I was naïvely unprepared) for a little too much exposure to the sun’s rays. To make matters worse I had been wearing my sunglasses and now, 22 hours later, it is quite easy when looking at me to realise that this is the case!

A combination of our Hebrew and the driver’s English as well as him driving us on a totally different route to our previous taxi ride, I began to think that we were being taken somewhere else. However, after being taken quite a way south we eventually began to head east towards the airport. The taxi ride to the airport this time cost us exactly NIS 120.

The Tel Aviv airport departure experience

Entering the terminal building, I was rather amused to see a no smoking sign alongside a ‘no guns’ sign! We waited in the security queue to present our passports and ticket to the agent. He questioned us both about our stay…thoroughly. Walked away with our passports then returned. Looked through Mark’s passport and returned it. Then he looked through mine. Upon discovery of my Indonesian Visa, he then began asking me about it. What was I doing there? Do I have friends or relatives residing there? How long did I spend there? Where did you stay? What did you do? After walking off again, he returns and after a few more questions allows us to move onto baggage x-ray screening. A rather routine x-ray check but I was amused to see the machine literally spit the bags out individually once screening was satisfied that their contents were safe. Once I’d collected all of my bags I continued onto the next stage. I placed all of my bags onto a desk and another agent thoroughly swabbed inside and outside one bag and then placed it into a machine that determined whether traces of explosives present. This was repeated for each bag. Every pocket of each bag was submitted to the same search.

We were then checked in. Although there was a First counter we used the Club World desk beside it instead as there was no queue present. We were each given a lounge invite, voucher to buy a newspaper or magazine and our BPs. The agent then proceeded to placed two of the largest most obvious priority stickers that I had ever seen in my life onto our hold luggage as well as the standard ‘Priority’ tag. One was placed onto the front and the other onto the back. They were luminous yellow with the word ‘First’ in a large black front and measured something like 7inches by 10inches!!!

We then headed towards the airside portion of the airport. Here we had our hand baggage x-rayed again thoroughly and, when he was satisfied with them, asked me to walk through the metal detector. He then opened all of my hand baggage, took a close look at all of the electronic equipment that I was carrying and then performed the same swab tests for explosives that I described earlier. Having found nothing of concern I was then allowed to proceed on to Immigration. This was very quick in comparison with the lady placing an exit stamp inside my passport.

I figure (although we were not clock watching) that the process took around an hour to complete. I totally understand the need for such thorough vigorous procedures and was pleased that there was actually very little time spent actually waiting to be processed. The security agents that saw were an even mixture of males and females; all were probably in their twenties and let’s just say a cut above your average BAA security officer! They were thorough in their questioning and scanning but all were very pleasant and wished us well once they had finished with us.

Realising that we had little interest in the selection of newspapers and magazines for which our voucher was redeemable, we headed to Duty Free and then onto the Dan lounge. We presented ourselves to the lady on reception. She called a colleague who escorted us past the bustling main lounge and into the rather more sedate yet incredibly intimate VVIP lounge. The lounge was nice and had a selection of nibbles and beverages but was just too confined for my liking. Due to this we opted to leave the lounge early and join the crowd at gate C9. We soon boarded and were greeted like old friends by the crew and escorted to our seats. We had been unsuccessful in securing two centre seats together but upon being asked by a crew member the passenger with a BP for 4E exchanged seats with Mark in 4K allowing us to be seated together. I am sure that the passenger himself was quite pleased with the trade too. 4K provided him as a solo traveller with more privacy

TLV-LHR BA164 777-236ER G-VIIM

We noted that this 777 showed several signs of ageing within the cabin. The two most obvious being that there was some type of insulation tape wrapped around the arm that supported Mark’s much smaller personal TV (compared to that on the outbound aircraft) and also the rear lower section of seat 3A was ajar. However they did not detract from our experience. It was also quite a coincidence to be on this specific aircraft as Mark days prior had retold a story passed down by his father. This father, now retired, used to be employed by BA in some maintenance role. It turns out that they had given this particular aircraft an ‘affectionate’ nickname derived from its registration that caused amusement.

The crew remembered our size preferences for the pyjamas and drinks. Although I quickly stopped alcohol consumption as I had to drive us both home. There was only one spare seat in First by the time that the doors were closed. Once we finally departed we chatted away with each other and with a couple of members of the crew. The crew member who had walked off the plane with us at TLV and recommended a walk around Jaffa came up to shake my hand and I quickly realised, that although he was wearing his uniform shirt and trousers, he was missing a jacket, tie and name badge. It turns out that he had taken ill last night and spent his TLV stay in the hospital and was not allowed to staff the return flight.

Lunch



Starters

Lobster, pink grapefruit and pomegranate salad with cocktail sauce

International meze plate – skinned roast peppers, tomato, Feta cheese, cucumber and cracked wheat salad

Caramelised onion and celery soup

Fresh salad leaves with your choice of creamy herb dressing or classic vinaigrette


Main

Grilled new seasons baby lamb cutlets with lamb jus gravy or mint jelly, snow peas and crusty roast potatoes

Chicken tikka in a buttery tomato sauce with cumin, mint potatoes and raisin coriander rice

Fresh crab and leek risotto

King Prawns on a Niçoise salad with crème fraîche dressing


Dessert

Chocolate banana cheese cake

Warm steamed syrup sponge pudding with crème anglaise


Cheese Plate


A selection of cheese

A basket of fresh fruit


Snacks


Toasted chicken sandwiches with home-made relish

Penne pasta with mushrooms, cream and Parmesan cheese sauce or basil and tomato sauce

Duchy of Cornwall biscuits

A selection of cheese and fruit


Beverages


We offer you a choice of Espresso, cappuccino, fresh roast and ground coffee or decaffeinated coffee

Tea or a selection of fruit and herb teas

Chocolates


Wines



Champagne

Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus Champagne

White

Meursault Le Limozin 2004, Vincent Girardin

Pouilly-Fumé Cuvée Marjoram 2000, Michel Redde et Fils

Radford Dale Chardonnay 2004, Stellenbosch

Red

Château Léoville-Poyferré 1995, Grand Cru Classé, Saint-Julien

Morgan Twelve Clones Pinot Noir 2005, Santa Lucia Highlands

Simonsig Tiara 2000, Stellenbosch

Dessert

Bonnezeaux 2003, Château de fesles, Loire Valley

Warre’s 19988 Colheita Port


We were both successful in our quest to redeem the our remaining £10 discount voucher and I added some cash to purchase two bottles of Smirnoff Blue for £18.

Once the formalities were over with, we reclined our seats and snoozed for 45 minutes or so before preparing ourselves, our bags and our seats for approach. We spent around 15 minutes in the hold before we were cleared for our approach into LHR. As I disembarked I made a point of stopping to shake the hand of the chap who had looked after me so well, always with a sense of humour, thanked him for all of his efforts and let him know that it was truly appreciated.

Arrival and the journey home

After a 4 minute walk through the pier, Mark realised that he had left his hat onboard. Whilst he returned to the aircraft, I looked after the bags and observed what looked like the full capacity of our aircraft walking past to beat us to immigration. However, they were still streaming past when Mark returned and we continued our walk to immigration. I was pleasantly surprised to see a very short queue at the EU desks. After a one minute wait we were bound for baggage reclaim. Our bags were again making circuits of the carousel by the time that we arrived.

We arrived at the shuttle coach stop just as our coach arrived. We were soon at the car park, located my car very easily and began the drive home. It is worth noting here that Mark’s dedication to the cause was personified by the fact that we arrived at his home at around 10:45pm when he had to be up for work at around 02:45 the following morning.

I arrived back in Brighton just after 23:10 and was quite impressed that my wife eagerly listened to my stories from the trip and looked through all of our photos before we called it a night.

Last edited by TEX277; Mar 2, 07 at 9:36 am
TEX277 is offline  
Old Mar 1, 07, 11:31 am
  #2  
Moderator: British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Airlines, Airport Lounges and Carbon Conscious Travel
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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What a smashing write up TEX277. Your enthusiasm is infectious - sounds like you both had a thoroughly enjoyable experience. ^
Prospero is offline  
Old Mar 1, 07, 12:23 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
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Great report. You are truly a Flytertalker at heart. What great reasons to take a trip: a coupon and miles burning a hole in your pocket!

I'm going to South Africa for two nights in May from Los Angeles. The travel time will be longer than my time in RSA. I fully understand crazy trips.
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Old Mar 1, 07, 1:08 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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A great report and some nice photos TEX277, glad you enjoyed your trip. Having been through TLV two weeks ago, you have perfectly captured the airport experience.

And you are quite correct that the fortified building is the US embassy.
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Old Mar 1, 07, 1:16 pm
  #5  
 
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Absolutely cracking report, as always, TEX277!! Thanks ^
More Champagne Sir? is offline  
Old Mar 1, 07, 5:37 pm
  #6  
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What an excellent report TEX277, thanks. ^
Read it as soon as you posted and replied right away thinking I was the first, only to just see my post never actually posted!
Well, it has been a funny kinda day here on FT...
clubman is offline  
Old Mar 1, 07, 6:31 pm
  #7  
 
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Thank you for an outstanding, detailed report. I enjoyed your writing style . . . yes, the enthusiasm is infectious.
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Old Mar 2, 07, 2:01 am
  #8  
 
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Another nice report by TEX277 - thanks a lot! It's nice to see how your initial excitement over F travel a while ago has transformed into a connaisseur's appreciation.
airoli is offline  
Old Mar 2, 07, 3:43 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Paris
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Excellent trip report !

This is true that upon departure Israeli officers don't like to see the Indonesian (Bali) visa on your passport....
Joelle is offline  
Old Mar 2, 07, 5:52 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Agoura Hills, CA USA
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What an excellent report. I think that the food selections are just as good as the selections I had in FIRST from LHR-LAX and from LHR-JFK.My family and i also stayed in the Sheraton ... We thought the breakfast buffet was sensational as well...
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Old Mar 2, 07, 6:50 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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I loved this.

Great report! ^
hairpeace is offline  
Old Mar 2, 07, 9:17 am
  #12  
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Great report!

I have one question though. You mentioned that you will not be able to go to Lebanon since you were stamped in Israel. I have wanted to visit Israel but have been unable to because my job requires me to go to places such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar, etc. and I do not want to have problems at customs in these countries.

After looking for information, I have been unable to find away around this problem. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks again for the great report and pictures! ^
Hartmann is offline  
Old Mar 2, 07, 3:43 pm
  #13  
 
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Great report - a pleasure to read. Thank´s for sharing!

Originally Posted by Hartmann View Post
I have one question though. You mentioned that you will not be able to go to Lebanon since you were stamped in Israel. I have wanted to visit Israel but have been unable to because my job requires me to go to places such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar, etc. and I do not want to have problems at customs in these countries.

After looking for information, I have been unable to find away around this problem. Does anyone have any suggestions?
I have exactly the same problems. BUT - after explaining this and showing a confirmation from my company it was absolutely no problem to get a second passport (at least in Germany but it might work in other countries as well, as the situation is always the same). Since these days I carry two passports - one for Israel, which I use also for immigration in the US and one for all arabian countries and other countries which I don´t like to be asked of when travelling eg to the US.

The other "unconvenient" way is to lose the "dirty" passport accidentialy and simply requesting a new one....
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Old Mar 3, 07, 1:58 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
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This report is in fact so good, that I've just gone and booked exactly the same itinerary using 60k miles and an Amex 241!

Thanks again TEX277 ^^
More Champagne Sir? is offline  
Old Mar 4, 07, 5:11 am
  #15  
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Location: BNE
Posts: 2,622
Many thanks for all of the feedback everybody. My companion had a read of the TR and quipped that the time spend composing such a 'masterpiece' must have taken as long as we spent in Israel! He also points out, quite correctly, that the majority (around two-thirds) of the pictures were in fact taken by him. So credit were it is due on that.

One thing that I did not state in the report was how safe we actually felt walking around. I must say that at no time whatsoever did we feel even a little uneasy with regards to our safety. I do not recall ever before visiting a country for the first time and wondering around rather aimlessly without any concerns. Each person with whom we had dealings was perfectly pleasant and very hospitable despite what BA state on their Israel destination guide. I would link to it here but it looks like guide links are down.

I would, of course, thoroughly recommend a trip to anybody. I am pleased to see that MCS? has already booked his ticket^ . Looks like you are going for a little longer than we spent over there. I am sure that you'll have a great time and will, no doubt, see much more of both Tel Aviv and Israel than we did.
TEX277 is offline  

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