Travel With H

My personal journey to obtaining a shiny British Airways Executive Club Gold Card

Hong Kong MTR Video

A brief video of riding the MTR in Hong Kong:

Travel With H

 

Wan Chai – The good and bad of Hong Kong

My first port of call after landing into Hong Kong International Airport was the historic, vibrant and must see seedy district of Wan Chai.

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Cathay Pacific Business Class

On Friday 1 December 2017 I landed into Heathrow Airport from Budapest and walked into one of the best Business Classes available within the Oneworld alliance of airlines.

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Budapest or Bust

I’m sat at the Premium Platinum Lounge at Budapest reflecting on one hell of a hectic day yesterday.

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Next stop Budapest

Yay!

After 3 weeks off where I felt majorly sick and had to go on antibiotics for my god damn ear infection I’m finally fit to fly.

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Travelling with a cold

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:

  1. Drink lots of water and remain well hydrated. Alcohol doesn’t count.
  2. Eat a lot of vitamin C in fruits.
  3. Prior to a flight use a nasal spray to tame the sinus and protect your ears from the pressure.
  4. Once in the air maximise your sleep. Would you rather watch a film while coughing + spluttering or maximise sleep to feel better later on down the line?
  5. Avoid alcohol in the air. Sorry.
  6. Limit stressing to a minimum, too much cortisol isn’t beneficial.
  7. Eating foods with lots of chilli is my unofficial H tip (then again I’m of indian decent and we do love our spice).

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

Road To Gold – Update

…it’s official! I’m on the first step of the British Airways Executive Club Status ladder by reaching Bronze!

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Finally got to fly on the A350

Boeing has the Dreamliner.

Airbus has the Cross Wide Body.

The new generation of planes for the future.

It’s the 787 v A350.

I managed to cross the A350 off my list!

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Breaking my Finnair-inity

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.

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To Tallinn We Go…

…6 days and counting!

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Your first ever experience in business class?

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.

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Getting to know H

Who am I?

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.

Road to Gold – Update

After months of meticulous planning the first two flights in my challenge have been completed. 

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24 Hours in Istanbul – Part 2

Wandering around Sultanahmet after seeing the incredible sights of the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and the Hippodrome had created a big appetite for myself.

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24 Hours in Istanbul – Part 1

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.

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British Airways Club Europe BA0677 IST to LHR 08 October 2017

Itinerary

  • Airline: British Airways
  • Aircraft: Airbus A320 sharklets
  • Cabin Crew: Eurofleet
  • Route: Istanbul Ataturk to London Heathrow Terminal 5
  • Cabin: Club Europe (European Business Class)
  • Flight Duration: 4 hours 20 Minutes
  • Purpose: Tier Point run/Birthday Celebrations

Less than 24 hours after departing London on BA0678 it was time to head home  on BA0677.

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British Airways BA0678 LHR To IST

Itinerary

 

  • Airline: British Airways
  • Aircraft: Airbus A320 (ex-Bmi)
  • Cabin Crew: Eurofleet
  • Route: London Heathrow to Istanbul Ataturk
  • Cabin: Club Europe (European Business Class)
  • Flight Duration: 3 hours 35 minute
  • Purpose: Tier Point run

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Challenge Accepted…

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.

Upcoming Destinations

  • Istanbul;
  • Tallin via Helsinki;
  • Budapest;
  • Hong Kong;
  • Tallin via Helsinki again;
  • Istanbul;
  • Bangkok (via the longest routing possible of London – Amsterdam – London – Hong Kong – Bangkok).

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:

  • Lounge Access (Business Class or First Class depending on Silver or Gold level);
  • Increased Avios earning rates (+50% for Silver and +100 for Gold);
  • Extra Baggage allowance (handy if you have a large family);
  • Dedicated customer service lines for ‘Status’ members etc…

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.

Good Luck!

See you in Istanbul!

Travel With H

 

One Morning in Berlin (Part 5)

Location

Berlin, Germany

Date

03 August 2017

Part 5

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.

Perfect summer day to walk beside the river

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).

Charlottenburg Rathaus

What left me impressed with the building was the clock tower and the stone work had exquisite detailing.

Detailing in the stonework

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!!!

Charlottenburg Schloss

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.

Schloss Gardens – the bare spots were a reminder of the renovations taking place

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.

Palace Gardens

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.

River flowing behind the Palace – perfect spot to snooze

Conclusion

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

Singapore and Formula One

I have three passions in life. Travelling, Bodybuilding and Formula One Motor Racing.

Well in Singapore I was allowed to mix all three passions in one trip.

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One Morning in Berlin (Part 4)

Location

Berlin, Germany

Date

03 August 2017

 

Part 4

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.

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One Morning in Berlin (Part 3)

Location

Berlin, Germany

Date

03 August 2017

Part 3

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.

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One Morning In Berlin (Part 2)

Location

Berlin, Germany

Date

03 August 2017

Part 2

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.

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The romance of flight

Do you enjoy flying or is it just a form of transportation to get you from A to B?

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!

Golden-age-of-air-flight3

Dining in the sky

Airlines focused on giving their customers a 5 star service from the ground to the air.

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Executive Club Year End

And at the stroke of midnight today my Executive Club year ends!

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One morning in Berlin (Part 1)

Location

Berlin, Germany

Date

03 August 2017

Hotel

Park Inn, Alexanderplatz

https://www.parkinn.com/hotel-berlin

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.

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Planning for Istanbul

Few months ago while bored at work I came across a super cheap business class ticket for Istanbul for £160.00 return.

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BA0990 Club Europe (LHR-TXL) 03-Aug-2017

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).

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Why BAEC and Oneworld?

Well…

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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Travel With H

‘Travel With H’

Charting H’s journey to British Airways Executive Club Gold Tier.

Having taken a huge bite of the proverbial bullet to set up the blog, now it’s time to jazz it up.

Coming soon…

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