2018 Travels

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  • TimFitzgeraldTC

    Afternoon All

    Been an interesting year and I’ve managed to travel far more than previous years (young family). Travel highlights

    3 New Airports – GVA, ALC and GLA
    9 sectors (up from 2 year before).

    New Experiences – EK J Class on A380. (LGW-DXB). Great crew and nice to see the new product having not flown on them for years. Biggest disappointment. A380 F Class on EK – DXB-LGW. Not because EK did anything wrong – just that I happened to be getting very ill (realised after getting back to UK I had food poisoning). Disappointing as I had been looking forward to it and the experience was lost on me. Only good thing was the shower which revived me a bit!

    Also tried BA to DXB in J Class this year and contrast between the 2 carriers is stark. I hope for 2019 that BA properly ups its game for longhaul Premium travel (I live in hope).

    Hopefully 2019 will see travel to more new destinations and new experiences. But wish everyone safe travels over the festive season and into 2019 and a brilliant Christmas and New Year.

    2 users thanked author for this post.


    Quieter year for me.

    8 sectors
    2 new airports HAM, FLL
    1 new airline Norwegian
    1 new country Cuba (by ship)

    A new experience for me is having to claim on my travel insurance after I was unable to travel to the States for Thanksgiving due to illness. Claim form looks horrendous to fill out but I am bracing myself to do it this week.

    Another first for me were first ever cruises. My wife is an old hand though so I left it all to her to organise and enjoyed them both.


    Also tried BA to DXB in J Class this year and contrast between the 2 carriers is stark. I hope for 2019 that BA properly ups its game for longhaul Premium travel (I live in hope).

    BA’s product will see a boost on the Dubai route during Spring 2019.

    British Airways plans to operate A380 to Dubai


    2 cruises. QE CPT SOU 18 days, and a 7 day Norwegian fjords Fred Olsen Cruise.

    No new countries, no new airlines, but a lot of travelling and a good year.

    Plans for next year include Botswana, Barbados, and Japan.


    Retired early in Feb, so previous decision to travel more came to fruition,

    17 sectors,
    New airlines RAM and LATAM
    New airports Lungi Freetown, Madrid, Casablanca
    New country Sierra Leone (which I loved and will go again)

    I would also like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, successful business ventures and last but not least to Tom and all his BT colleagues for doing a great job on here. It’s much appreciated.


    Very busy year for me too- separate trips that started in Australia with the Ashes (THAT can only get better in 2019!!), Thailand (twice), Laos (twice), Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines (twice), Vietnam, Oman, Western Canada (vacation) plus Europe (Dublin, Spain, Estonia, Latvia, Denmark).

    The nature of my work is that most of my travel is in Economy, with the occasional PE and J thrown in. Airlines this year were BA (Y, PE and two longhaul upgrades to C), KL, EI, QR (Y and J), VN, PR, CX, QV (Lao), NZ, FR, PG, BE

    New Airports: Wellington, Dalaman (en route to Muscat with KL), Oudomxay (Lao)

    Best flight: AKL – DOH in Q-Suite

    Worst flight: GLA – ALC with FR and half a plane load obnoxious of football fans (no naming….) – at least it was direct!!

    Nicest surprise – arriving in LHR with BA en route to Calgary with my beloved to see on my phone that our seats had been changed to J for the onward leg.

    Boring bit: Retained BA Gold and will do so again in 2019 (thanks to QR from EDI!!)

    2019? More of the same…. Lao (again), HKG, Kenya, Dubai, Oman, Bahrain, Bali, Estonia, Australia and that is just the first half of the year

    A peaceful Christmas to all and safe travels in 2019


    66 sectors by the time the year ends, most of them UK-HK and hops over to south and north Vietnam with a US and NI trip thrown in for good measure. As with previous years it’s a mixed bag of OW (AY/CX) and EK

    first time airports, none this year
    first time airlines Edelweiss which i have just done to SGN.
    no new major observations except i started the year using Avios for all my CX HKG-SGN routes, usually booking Y and getting upgrades to J. since July not been able to book on points as no availability either out or back, had to pay full fare Y which has sky rocketed to in some cases an eye watering 700 quid and not a single upgrade…..coincidently strait after I complained twice to them about destroyed luggage, bad service both in the air and on the ground. Or maybe that’s the conspiracy theorist in me

    kept my BA gold
    dropped to gold KLM and will drop to silver next year
    will probably drop to EK silver next year
    dropped to base level on QR from gold over past 3 years
    only flown Star at the end of this year so will remain at lowest level


    Full agenda this year for me as well.

    *6 times in Asia (including down under)
    *5 times in the Americas (including first time in Brazil)

    Best flight experiences:
    – the single window seat in the new LX 777
    – My SQ flights (ZRH-SIN-MEL)

    Worst flight experiences:
    – on Vueling cancelled flight BCN-BSL they offered me a flight 3 days later! What a joke.

    Best Hotel experience:
    – Chedi, Andermatt. Wow – just wow.

    Worst Hotel experience:
    – Too many to list

    I re-fresh my Star Alliance Gold but again fall short of the HON Circle.

    Primary hotel chain is now Marriott which has a better “mix” of hotels that suit by needs rather than the Hilton one size fits all approach.

    Wish everyone happy holidays and most importantly, good health and safe travels in 2019 and beyond!


    My business travel has slightly shrunk again this year…….although I’ve flown more this year than last

    Learned that FlyBe’s flights to LHR are cheaper and service /comfort levels significantly higher than BA’s EDI flights
    Learned that FlyBe’s UK routes are usually cheaper than catching the train, sometimes substantially cheaper.
    Finally learnt that Manchester is probably the UK’s worst airport an exercise in time travel back to the 70’s!

    From a business perspective, only George Best qualifies as a newly visited airport.

    Less travelling for business has increased my short break opportunities …….

    Flew with Norwegian to Tenerife ( They are now my 2nd favourite LCC , just beaten by Jet 2)

    New places visited in the last year…….

    Vigo – recommended
    Bilbao – highly recommended
    San Sebastian – better still

    And Malta – best of all the new places I’ve been

    And new aircraft was CX’s 350, a wonderful aircraft made better by an excellent airline .

    This year…..
    Don’t know about business, but assume it’ll replicate last year…

    Kenya, HK 7’s and a trip home to YVR interspersed with little breaks here and there, including a return to Buggiba


    Another busy year, maybe the last from a pure business angle..:)

    New airports
    Santiago Chile (new terminal long overdue)
    Calama gateway to the Atacama desert
    Easter Island (fascinating rock in the pacific)
    Bora Bora (amazing)
    Prague (well worth visiting, our first)
    Shanghai Hongqiao airport (don’t use if you can help it)

    best hotel: (maybe ever) the Awasi Atacama
    Best experiences: visiting French Polynesia and seeing the Moai on Easter Island, and discovering Chile, but most of all was seeing a whale shark….
    Travel experience: the Chinese high speed railways and trying to work out how to buy a ticket on the Shanghai metro….and BA providing a limo service from the arrival gates at T5.

    new airlines:
    Latam both domestically in Chile and long haul on their 787’s
    Air Tahiti Nui (old 340’s…not great)
    Air Tahiti

    More of the wild Atlantic way
    Business trip to Alaska potentially, and hopefully less business travel…
    And Japan for the RWC 🙂

    Seasons greetings and happy new year to all.


    About 70 sectors for me at a rough estimate.
    Most ex HKG
    Manila 13 LHR 2 Manchester 2 Brussels 2 Bangkok 4 Various in China 18 or so Auckland 3 Sydney 2 Samui 2 Vietnam 3 Krabi 1 Christchurch (NZ) 3.

    Best flight on new aircraft type:
    Last week was the A350-1000. 3 weeks old and the best airplane that I have ever flown on in the past 50 years.
    The A350-900 is excellent but the Cathay Business cabin on the 1000 is everything and more in refinement that the Cathay 900 should have been when introduced.
    The build quality of the Zodiac seats and toilets on CX aircraft and many other airlines on early deliveries was horrible ( most fixed now) but on the 1000 Cathay have tweaked the seat again and the result and the build quality delivers 100%.
    It is excellent experience and Zodiac fixed the toilets also.
    BUT the jury is still out on the Airbus water recycling system which is still a problem on that A350 models and is still causing toilets to be out of use.
    They say it is fixed but still a lot of reports of 900 problems.


    127 sectors so far. 7 more to go this year.
    New airports: MJI, TUN, TSV, HTI, KBP, ARN, PPQ, LIM
    Retained Gold BA, Retained Gold MEA, Dropped to Silver on TK, Gained Gold EK.
    Best airline of 2018 = Qantas
    Worst airline experience = Air Europa
    Best Y class = Qantas
    Best J class = Qatar (the a350 business seat is just amazing)
    Most complimentary upgrades = Emirates

    Happy holidays all!


    I am glad this annual exercise has begun, and many thanks to Tim for starting it.

    My total this year is 103 sectors, 39 airports (11 new to me) and 18 airlines (3 new to me).

    Best new experiences? Immigration and security at TLV, a model of efficiency and courtesy. Transit at MUC, incoming from LHR, outbound to TBS – off the plane, walk to lounge, walk to gate, board.

    Worst experiences? Transit at ATL, inbound from SJO, outbound to LHR – 1.5 hours mucking about, entering the USA and then leaving again. What a waste of time – if international transits like this in the USA were all airside, just think of the money that would be saved. Enough to build the ****ing wall.

    Another bad experience was a delay, after landing, getting to a gate at IST, and then missing the onward connection, which meant a night in the TK lounge. The lounge was fine, but the delay was not.

    Best airport, Munich this year. Most improved airport, CDG.

    Worst airport? Mexico (very poor information) and, of course, LHR. Very poor immigration and transit arrangements in Canadian airports.

    Most brainless question, from an immigration officer at LHR:

    “What is your date of birth?”
    “It is on the passport that is in your hand”
    “I am checking your identity”
    (Unsaid) “If I were travelling on a stolen or fake passport, don’t you think that I would have memorised the date of birth in the passport???”

    And for those who like the three-letter code memory game, these are the new airports, in order of visiting them:



    Good fun topic!

    Busy year for me (not by some of the standards above though)

    2 New airports:

    Munich: (dont know how I avoided it before, but what a great airport, and as mentioned above, easy transfers). I now use Lufthansa rather than BA on many European routes as they are much better value in J, and have good connections from MAN. (also way cheaper than BA).

    Clark (Philippines): ok.

    New airlines: Cebu Pacific. Nice enough as LCCs go.
    Air Dolomiti. Very pleasant in J. Even get an amenity pack in short haul.

    Best flights: DOH-HKG in Qatar Q Suite
    Worst flight: MAN-HEL on Finnair 320. Not their fault, but bad weather and go around in fog, pretty alarming.

    Retained BA Gold


    Interesting topic. I thought This year I travelled a lot as am tired of travelling. But checking back it is only 32 sectors and 4 of these are leisure and others on business. But I travelled mostly Long haul hence feeling tired at the end of the year.
    Plus points – 1) managed to keep SQ PPS status, 2) travelled all kind of new aircrafts including A350ULR and B787 Dreamliner, 3) good service by all airlines that I travelled.
    Minus points – 1) transit at Manchester and that was bad experience including terrible lounge, 2) leisure travel was in economy and noted that seat sizes are getting smaller and smaller, 3) restaurant is getting pricier without any improvement in food quality and service.

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