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Month: March 2017

Emirates Lounge – Dubai. Is it really a lounge?

Emirates Lounge – Dubai. Is it really a lounge?

To save you reading further the answer, in my opinion, is NO.

 

It is a massive place that spans the entire terminal a couple of floors above the main concourse.

It is pleasant enough but parts are as busy as the main gates. You can board from the lounge so you do not have to mix with coach. However, it essentially mirrors the gate set up 2 floors below.

It is busy at the gates and resemble a slightly posher gate waiting area with slightly more comfortable chairs.

 

There are quieter areas

 

Yes it has free food and drink.

 

It is certainly better than the main concourse but has absolutely no atmosphere above that of a waiting area.

Lounges in other airports at least have some character. This has none.

I will of course use it over waiting in the main concourse gate are and partake of the amenities. However, I will look forward to boarding my plane as soon as I can.

 

 

Planning what to do in a new city – Thorough Research or Ad Lib

Planning what to do in a new city – Thorough Research or Ad Lib

I am off to Kuala Lumpur soon. should I plan what I will  do or not?

Usually when I go somewhere I do some research and plan what I want to visit. Typically this is not too structured or deep. Generally a few notes from the Lonely Planet guides and a skim of the internet.

When I arrive with guide book in hand I start to wonder around and every so often follow a recommended route in the guide book.

Various blogs seem to advise thorough and expansive research whilst others suggest none. As in many aspects of travel what suits one is terrible for another person. I usually like some idea of a plan. I hate to think I might have missed some spectacular sight.

 

My plans for Kuala Lumpur

https://moodyncheeky.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/kuala-lumpur-skyline.jpg?resize=640%2C376

So far they have been a zero.

I have been pretty busy recently and have had little time to delve into the guides or internet. I did buy a guide book, but have yet to open it.

 

I am only there for a few days so I think I will play it by ear.

I will ask around at the hotel, take their advice and go with the flow.

 

And the reality will be….

I make it sound so so laid back. But I am sure I will have a sneaky peek at the guide book on the way so at least I have the bare bones of an idea of where to go.

 

Watch out KL. Here I come.

 

Amercian Express Fine Hotels and Resorts – Is it worth it

Amercian Express Fine Hotels and Resorts – Is it worth it

Amercian Express Fine Hotels and Resorts  is part of the American Express Platinum service. It seems great; a room upgrade, late checkout and an offer such as a $100 credit for food or other services.

Room Upgrade

I have Boked through Fine Hotels and Resorts twice and on both occasions I did not receive an upgrade. The small print does state “if available”. I suppose I have been unlucky.

Also I have tended to reserve a higher than basic room category so I assume there are less better rooms to upgrade me to.

 

Room Credit

The room credit means I have been able to have a nice meal in a hotel restaurant. This is something I might not have otherwise done.  I suppose you could offset the cost of the deal against this.

 

Late Check out

This is obviously useful if you have a late flight and useless if the flight is during the working day.

 

The Cost

Booking a room through fine hotels and resorts is more expensive than booking a room on the hotel website or even lower down in the American Express travel website list. You can offset the room credit against this cost which does bring it down but I feel it is not of value unless you get a room upgrade.

This also needs to be offset against benefits you might get if you are a hotel elite holder which might entitle you to a room upgrade anyway and breakfast as well as access to the Club Lounge.

 

Conclusion

Other commentators have enthused about the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts service. I am, so far, less  excited and less convinced it is worth it.

I have booked the St Regis in Singapore through it and I am staying there soon. So let’s see what benefits I get.

I suppose I should only book the cheapest room to allow more opportunity for an upgrade and ensure I do not go when there is a national celebration in full swing.

Third time lucky.

Watch this space…..

British Airways – Club Europe

British Airways – Club Europe

I recently flew to Barcelona with British Airways.

I was booked into economy class and out of interest i looked at the cost of upgrading. It was over £400 ONE WAY. I decided it wasn’t worth it.

I checked the website every so often and about 24 hours before check in there was an offer to me to upgrade to club for only £120. I went for this.

How much does it really cost the airline?

I suppose what I was confused about was if the ticket cost over £400 why offer me a cheap upgrade. Yes, i have already paid the economy class ticket so the £120 was in addition to this, Still it was cheaper than a business class ticket, Did I get this offer to make a space for another paying customer in economy? Had they overbooked economy and this was a way of encouraging some idiot to pay to be upgraded. I really do not follow the business cost model!!!

 

Was it worth it?

In a word, no. I should have know this as I have read many reviews from others.

I had the front seat – 1F. The seats are identical to economy with no extra legroom. The middle seat is blocked off so there feels to be a little extra sideways space.

 

I find the seats comfortable anyway but the service and sideways space was probably not worth it.

 

Food and drink

The champagne in a small bottle was not very nice. The wine was better but not spectacular.

The food was simply dreadful. A few small finger sandwiches dry around the edges, a very sweet cake and a warm scone with cream and jam,

 

Other benefits

I got fast track through security which was useful.

I had Lounge access but already had this to the No 1 Traveler lounge with Priority pass and I preferred this lounge to the BA Galleries Lounge.

 

Conclusion

I should have learnt from other reviewers that Short Haul Club Europe really is not worth it, no matter how cheap the deal.

I returned economy and ensured I took some water on board so as not to pay for expensive Marks and Spencer’s food and had a perfectly acceptable 2 ours 25 minutes journey.

 

I must remember next time not to pay for an upgrade!