A brief video of riding the MTR in Hong Kong:
Travel With H
That annoying part of life when you catch a cold days from your next trip away 🙁
Well there’s ways of mitigating the cold and survive a flight without wanting to curl up and die!
Travel With H 5 tips for surviving:
For the last week I’ve been battling tonsillitis which unfortunately spread into my ear as a secondary infection as well. If your symptoms aren’t improving then go see a doctor!
I’ll be following my own tips tomorrow when I fly to Budapest, fingers crossed my ears and throat make it in one piece…
Travel With H
It finally happened…
After months of anticipation and planning I finally completed my Tier Point run on Finnair to Helsinki and Tallinn.
This trip also marked my debut trip report over on my YouTube channel Helsinki Trip Report.
Anyway let’s rewind back to the first flight of the trip, flying on the Airbus A320 from Terminal 3 to Helsinki Vantaa.
Do you remember the first time you flew short or long haul that wasn’t in economy?
Mine was back on New Years Eve in 2011 and I didn’t even know I was going to be sat in business class.
Well blowing off the anonymity that was planned originally, I am Harjit!
Since a young age I’ve always been fascinated with Aviation, the happiest memories growing up were the trips to Heathrow Airport where the fascination with the Boeing 747 started a love affair that continues to this day.
To fund my travels I work as a Paralegal for an international legal and accountancy consultancy.
Originally I had planned to gain my licenses and qualify as a pilot but life doesn’t work as easy as that. I was lucky enough to survive a horrific assault which broke my skull and jaw so automatically barred me under CAA rules to work as a commercial pilot.
After a few glum years I had my lightbulb moment to fulfil my passion in other ways so here I am. I’ve spent the last 3 years awakening my passion.
As a few of my colleagues suggested I ought to write a blog and ‘bore’ someone else for a change.
I’m known as the ‘Travel Guy’ at work, the running joke is whether I’m flying out on the weekend or staying at home.
Before the world of luxury travel became a reality I was always the lucky recipient of being upgraded at the gate. I’ve experienced Club World on British Airways, Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic, Premium Economy on American Airlines before the streak ended in 2013 (my last trip to New York).
Since then I’ve learnt about the world of air miles, magical routings and ITA Matrix to make luxury travel a reality.
The focus of this blog is to share my travel experience from the airport to the destination in my own unique way. Countless blogs exist on the internet but many do not share the experience with the reader. Hopefully I can create that excitement as if you were joining me in person on my travels.
The main purpose of travelling to Istanbul was to fly there and back for 160 Tier Points only.
After checking into my hotel and with 14 hours till my return flight I decided to call upon the Uber gods for a taxi to the old city.
Less than 24 hours after departing London on BA0678 it was time to head home on BA0677.
The ‘Road To Gold’…
…begins in 14 hours’ time when I walk through a cold autumnal morning into Terminal 5 to begin the Road To Gold with the first stop being Istanbul.
What is the ‘Road to Gold’?
That’s the name of the next set of trips which are being taken to collect Tier Points for the British Airways Executive Club to progress up the tier of the frequent flyer club.
I’ll be starting from the lowest tier which is called Blue. Over the next 3 months I aim to reach Bronze, Silver and finally Gold before the end of my membership year in September 2018.
Economy or Business Class?
To maximise the Tier Point earning potential the above trips have been booked into Business Class cabins (where available). For example Istanbul on BA Club Europe nets 160 Tier Points whereas Euro Traveller only nets 40 (depending on how flexible your ticket is which can then increase to 80 Tier Points return).
Wouldn’t it be EXPENSIVE?
Yes and No. No matter which cabin I book myself into there will always be a cost. The cheapest tickets (non-refundable and restricted) would be likely to be found in Economy but as seen above there is a trade off with the number of Tier Points available. So savings in cash would result in missed opportunities for Tier Point maximisation.
There are several tricks to booking premium cabin travel (First or Business). One way is to start a flight in Continental Europe. This can knock off thousands in one go as there will be the inconvenience of connecting through London and a lower APD payable for transit passengers.
I will go into more detail on how to save in later posts.
Why do you want to reach Gold?
Reaching the upper tiers of the Executive Club opens up the possibilities of ‘perks’ available to those within that level. Namely:
But for me I want to reach Gold not for those reasons BUT to prove to myself that I COULD, with determination, aim high and succeed.
I only hold a regular office job, through activity on Flyertalk Forums and Avios miles collecting I am now able to fly in Premium Cabins without paying Premium Cabins.
See you in Istanbul!
Travel With H
03 August 2017
It was a weird transition walking into the municipal boundary of Charlottenburg, the green of the Tiergartern gave way into the suburban life of Berlin. I even managed to walk past the Berlin office of my company along the way.
Luckily there was a river path that allowed for a slightly more scenic route towards Charlottenburg Schloss.
At this point my iPhone health tracker estimated that I had already walked 13 kilometres which explained why my knee’s and feet were starting to ache but I was determined to carry on through to the Schloss.
Eventually the river gave way to the road which led me straight to the RatHaus (or town hall before images of rats in a house start to appear in your mind).
What left me impressed with the building was the clock tower and the stone work had exquisite detailing.
So far this was by far the most German building that I had encountered, the architecture on show reflected historic Prussia which unlike the other building already encoutnered would not have felt out of place in any major European city.
And finally I arrived at the last tourist spot of the day!!!
When I booked this trip to Berlin I did not even consider visiting Charlottenburg, it was the hotel staff who drew a circle on the map for me and insisted that I visit.
To be brutally honest the Schloss was a let down. Why? Well the palace is currently going through renovation work which is not being done in a tourist friendly manner. I struggled to take pictures for this site without seeing dirt, construction materials on show to ruin a pic.
Only until I walked to the back of the Schloss did the palace redeem itself in my eyes. Like all grand Royal Palaces of Europe, the gardens were the main event with lawns, flowers, water features installed to heighten the importance of the home for the then rulers.
One positive of the gardens were the tranquility and peace afforfed even amongst the hordes of tourists. After being on the road for nearly 5 hours I finally relaxed on a bench and let my feet have a well earned break.
I left at 10 am from Alexanderplatz in my quest to wander Berlin in an attempt to see the major sights in one fell swoop.
Did I achieve my aim? I think so!
This was my second visit to Berlin (first time being on school trips) and covered far more of the city alone than previous.
For my first ever blog post it has been a challenge to write up in a manner that would be entertaining, informative but importantly captured my voice instead.
Thank you to those who have commented on my previous entries!
Now what’s this I hear about Istanbul…
Travel With H
03 August 2017
The Bellevue Schloss didn’t appear to be as popular as the other spots I had visited so far on my morning travel which seemed harsh on the venue. The white of the Schloss set against the midst of greenery of the Tiergarten provided a good contrast for the pictures.
03 August 2017
Moving swiftly on from the Brandenburg Gate and, oddly, a hoard of clowns that had been selling balloons at the gate (random right!) I ventured into the vast Tiergarten.
03 August 2017
Having been wowed by Humboldt University and the surrounding buildings built up quite an appetite. Naturally this called for a gelato and luckily for me there happened to be a cafe selling one nearby.
Before the modern aviation boom, flying was seen more than a mode of transportation.
This was during the golden age of flight where getting on an aircraft was just the start of an experience!
Airlines focused on giving their customers a 5 star service from the ground to the air.
03 August 2017
Park Inn, Alexanderplatz
Berlin to me is one of the special places in this world. Growing up I learnt German which meant frequent school trips to Germany. Wandering around Berlin at the age of 13 was one hell of an cultural experience.
17 years later I decided to revisit Berlin.
My friends and family like to ask “what’s the point of using your Amex to buy milk?”
The answer is simple… this little plastic brings Avios and importantly lots of it!
With my Tier Point collection year ending in September 2017 I decided to cash in my avios that I had collected to date and break my Club Europe virginity with a Reward Flight Saver redemption for 15,000 Avios + £100 (fee and taxes).
Growing up I enjoyed seeing British Airways planes lined up at Terminal 4 (yes I’m old) whenever I tagged a long to drop my parents off at Heathrow, who had the luxury of travelling British Airways post nationalisation, and rave about the upper deck of the Boeing 747.
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