Vancouver to London, First Class With British Airways

Since our round the world sojourn in 2015, we have taken a 2-year sabbatical from long haul flights, but at the end of April, we were back in the air, aboard a British Airways (BA) B-747, bound for London Heathrow. While we normally opt for Business Class on long-haul flights, this time we decided to splurge and spoil ourselves in First Class.

You may ask, how can we afford First Class? If paying cash, we definitely couldn’t, and if truth be known, we really can’t justify paying the premium for Business either. However, with over 500,000 BA points, we had options – Business is 125,000 points & First is 170,000 points, with the taxes, fees etc. being the same price for each option. Prior to booking the flights, we discussed our options, with the decision being – was 45,000 points x 2 worth the upgrade!! Even with my thrifty heritage, we decided that in all probability, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so we booked return flights in First Class. The just completed outbound flight was aboard a B-747 (Jumbo Jet) & the return flight will be on one of the new BA Airbus A-380’s (Super Jumbo).

Which option would you pick?

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Edinburgh to Cape Town

With British Airways you can check-in online 24 hrs before the flight, so we drove up from Manchester a little faster, so we were back at Strathkinness to complete the check-in when it opened.

However, we experienced a similar error as the previous flights that not only prevented us checking-in, it wouldn’t even let us select seats. Calling BA, I spent 45 minutes in the call queue and after explaining my issue, the young lady put me on hold while she checked her system. While on hold, boom the phone went dead and no way was I waiting another 45 minutes.

The Cape Town flight didn’t have many unassigned seats left, and as we do prefer to sit together, our only option was to check-in early at Edinburgh. Therefore, we shoe horned the luggage into the rental car and hit the road about 10:00, which had us dropping the car off shortly after 11:00. On checking in the young lady advised we had 2 seats together on both flights, so we headed to the comfortable BA lounge, for the 3+ hour wait for the flight. Our flight departed at 15:40 for the scheduled short hop down to London, but as usual LHR was backed up, so we completed a few laps of the track, NW of London, before getting clearance to land. On departing the plane in Heathrow T5, we reached the concourse and almost immediately arrived at the transfer gate, which required a ticket scan and bang we were through to the departures area. No walking miles of corridors and no security screening at Heathrow resulted in us settling into our seats in the BA lounge about 10 minutes after leaving the plane.

After another couple of hours we headed out to the departure gate and boarded the flight for the 20:15 departure. Arriving at our seats we noted an issue resulting from us not asking the correct questions at check-in. Yes, we had 2 seats together, actually 2 pods together, problem is they both face towards the rear and Judi doesn’t travel well facing backwards. She survived the take-off, barely; my hand fortunately is still functioning and the bruising from crushing should be better in a few months. For those that don’t know Judi, she doesn’t mind flying when 7 miles up, but really doesn’t like the take-off and dislikes landings even more. Therefore, she tends to use my hand as kind of a security blanket, which is great until you throw in some turbulence, then it’s bye, bye hand. For the landing, the exceptional crew found her a forward facing seat, which means I am actually able to type with both hands. Other than the length, almost 12 hours through the night, it was an excellent flight. Great crew, great meals ( smoked salmon & filet steak) and even tried a few glasses of South African wines.

The final approach and landing was smooth, especially considering the airport and approaches were covered in fog. Shortly after finding the gate, the pilot came over the P/A, saying for those interested in the operation of the plane – due to the fog, they were required to conduct a full auto-pilot landing. Judi is very happy he provided this information after we landed and not before.

Summary

Flight Completed – 4

Flight Distance – 11,546 miles

Flights Remaining – 18

We’re Off To Circumnavigate The Globe

world_map_ciaMuch has been written about round the world travels, with one of the earliest being the late 1800’s Jules Verne’s classic “Around the World in Eighty Days”, which details the wager and travels of Phileas Fogg. If it was possible to complete the journey in 80 days in the late 1800’s, surely we can beat that, but no, we are gone for a total of 262 days. However, in our defense, we are completing an easterly trip by flying and an additional westerly trip by cruise ship, plus 3 months in Australia.

Our flight was a late evening departure, so today was rather busy tying up loose ends, finishing the packing and getting those last minute cuddles and feeding with our grandson, who will be 11 months old when we return in December.

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Circumnavigating the World at 35,000 Feet

After numerous months of research and planning we have finally developed the itinerary for our Oneworld Round the World Flights and have just completed a lengthy call with British Airways getting them booked.

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