Mrs P’s Alaskan AdventuresBack to Forum
Anonymous27 Jun 2013
I have started writing, and I hope it will be of interest to some of you. I have broken it down into segments, so it can be easily read, or ignored!
Any questions, ask away.27 Jun 2013
So here we are Mrs P and the long-suffering DH off on our adventures again.
Where to this time, asked one of the DH colleagues. “I’ll aska” (for those of you who didn’t get it …. ALASKA! We are heading first to the Land of Canucklad (YVR), driving down to Seattle, cruising out of Seattle to Alaska on the Oceania Regatta which will return us to Seattle from where we will drive back up again to YVR before heading home. Why all the driving to and for. No avios availability on the dates we wanted to SEA, so I booked the next best thing, and what’s a short drive through some of the most spectacular scenery of the Pacific north west!
First step ABZ, whisked through Fast Track Security, and I beeped the machine. I was given an extremely thorough pat down, in fact to the point of being quite intrusive that I felt quite uncomfortable, and of course I was separated from my carry on whilst the female security person made me take my shoes off to go through the scanner. Prior to the hand pat down, she did tell me it was my shoes that had triggered the machine and they could see why it was, so why the vigorous pat down? What would she have done if I had been wearing a skirt. I did mention the pat down to one of the shop assistants and she said I was not the first to have said something and suggested I email BAA as it would appear that they have this new younger member of the security team who is rather aggressive in her pat downs. So if they know, why haven’t they done something about her. Tone it down I would say.
We spent a short time in the Terraces lounge. Very friendly welcome from the lounge angel. It is a bit dull in there and the offerings were a few platters of quartered sandwiches which were egg and salad and I think tuna mayo. There were 3 large jars of loose biscuits – reminded me of when I was very small going into Woollies for broken biscuits out of boxes! Not a Walker’s in sight.
And soon we were on board our A319 down to LHR T5. Straight through Fast Track, no problem and no problem storing our bags above row 3. Seemed a pretty full flight and we were quickly airborne on time with a flight time of one hour 10 minutes. There is always something special about taking off from your home airport on a beautiful sunny day and trying to recognise familiar landmarks from the air.
CC came round with drinks from the bar, tea or coffee me a choice of Lily O’Briens double chocolate chip cookies (2 in a pack for those missing the Walkers biccies!), Kettle Crisps or nut mixture.
Having not flown for a while I did notice that the safety video had changed, or maybe it was this aircraft, or maybe it was me!
On another note, a very dirty, faded, rusty looking BA aircraft came in just as we were waiting to pull back from our stand. It looked like it has been lying out in the sun and has turned a dirty cream colour with no blue markings at all, and the tail fin was faded to a dirty orange. Where did they find this aircraft? We also saw that there was a BA flight to Menorca this afternoon, I didn’t know they flew direct from ABZ, so must check that out for possible future use. Was it a charter but I think this faded aircraft would be Menorca bound.
Arrived into LHR T5 on time and went through flight connections and through the White Door for a spot of lunch.
While we were sitting out on the CCR terrace, we spotted another of those “faded” aircraft pulling onto a stand. Oh how stupid I felt – ok you’ve probably guessed already, it was the Olympic gold livery! It is now quite faded and needs to go – it just looks a mess!
Concorde room at LHR
Through the white door and it was Time for lunch. I had decided not to have with a spa treatment as the last time, it really was not worth the bother and today I was looking forward to a leisurely lunch with my DH after all the rushing around that always happens before you leave home!
I had mushroom soup which was a bit gloopy. The DH had a chicken Caesar salad. In the absence of any fish cakes which I really fancied, I had the Chicken Caesar for my main and the DH had sea bass. So mark down from me for only having half a dozen choices of main course and then one wasn’t available! The food was ok and the service was very good with pleasant staff. I did sample a couple of the new biscuits with my post-lunch cup of tea and they were very nice indeed. They were brought by the staff, so not sure where they came from.
A little ditty – I kid you not there was a guy siting in one of the booths opposite us, having lunch and he produced a long french baguette – you know the longest one you can buy at the bakery, and has filled it with something or other to make a sandwich – he had produced this whilst I was at the ladies room, so I am relying on the DH for this information. He cut it up into four and ate one portion with his soup, the others were cling filmed – did he bring cling film from home I wonder? – and then wrapped it all into a napkin pinched off his table. Now I am in a moral dilemma, do I daub him in? Or will he be forever known as the “Napkin Nicker”??? 😉 :-))
The CCR is busy and as always there are those who like to make their presence felt … Say no more!
We are going to book a cabana for our return in 3 weeks time and see what happens as the lounge ladies were very cheery so lets put them to the test. Successfully done – our request was met and we are in the diary for our return.
We were going to wander through to the Flounge on the way to our gate, and see if any of the “disaster” tales are unfolding there today, but ran out of time.
We did visit the lounge at the B gates and I’ve already told you about that visit.
Next up BA New F to YVR!27 Jun 2013
Have always enjoyed your highly entertaining travel reports Mrs P.
One of your observations raises a technical enquiry – How long does a paint job last on an aircraft? Was the Olympic one a semi-permanent one – it seems a little short if the paints life span is only 18 months or so.
Methinks the pat downs are an increasingly part of airport security life nowadays.
As to the buffet, following the catering issue threads I have become more aware of food that is on open display – from salad bars, buffets, breakfast trolleys etc Personally I think all establishments do it to some extent and am not one to support the view that everything must be hygienically wrapped.
I look forward to your further instalments.
Thanks.27 Jun 2013
Hope you are well. So nice to read your start of holiday, I feel almost certain you had a great time.
So far I’ve been lucky to avoid the pat downs and hopefully will continue to do so. Biscuits from Woolworths, now thats a memory. To be honest I dont use the spa as it is all very rushed and I think having a nice lunch or meal is far more relaxing. Its surprising when we go on leisure trips we have so much to catch up on, that the time is well spent and enjoyable. Both working a bit too hard I think.
Looking forward to your next post, missed you on here lately.
Marlene27 Jun 2013
We ventured across to the B gates on the train and it was the first time I had travelled on it. Reminded me of my yooooth on the tube in London.
In the interests of my fellow BT senators, we headed to the lounge. It was a Galleries lounge, so all who were eligible for lounge access were allowed in. In saying that it was not busy at all and there was plenty of choice of seating and it seemed very spacious. We were there mid-afternoon, so it may well be much busier at other times.
We had just had lunch so a water for me and coffee for the DH. There is a coffee machine so you can choose your favourite coffee, and a good selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Along with the new glass barrels of biscuits there was also a selection of savoury snacks, also loose in the glass barrels. I am calling them barrels as they are slightly larger than what I would call a jar. There didn’t appear to be any other food at that time, but there may have been further into the lounge.
In front of each barrel was a plate on which there was a pair of tongs and a small stack of side plates and serviettes. Quite clear to me what they were there for but obviously not to the gentleman who had been sitting near us, who left to go to the loo and on the way back, stopped and stuck his hand in the barrel and then rammed the food down his neck. So, even with the best of intentions of hygiene, if people choose to blatantly ignore it, then all is quite lost.
There was a sign saying that gluten free biscuits were available, just to request them from the staff. There were a couple of ladies who were constantly tidying up tables and the buffet selection, so I asked one of them if I could have some GF biscuits. Yes she said, I will go and see what I can get for you. A few minutes later, she appeared, apologising that they might still be frozen, but gave me two generous sized packets of individually wrapped biscuits. And very nice they were too – I didn’t eat them until I had the munchies much later that night, or I should say wee early hours at our hotel. So there is a solution for those of you who like to acquire some biscuits for later consumption, or would prefer individual wrapped offerings. A word of warning, they are very sweet, so are a real treat and not to be scoffed!
So, not long there and off to the flight. At this stage we didn’t know if we would have NF or OF. I actually prefer OF – I know, I know, but I think it’s the way that NF seems to make the space in the cabin seem so much smaller.
As we walked to the gate it was clear from the aircraft that it was to be NF.
We boarded through door IL and we were shown to our seats 2A and 2K by a friendly CC member. The usual fussing, coats hung, pre-take off drinks, sleep suits, wash bags, and finally Mrs P sat down with a “Phew, good slug of the fizz, thinking, did I remember to do, have I remembered to pack?”. Well it’s too blooming late now, as long as I have my passport and the DH’s credit card, I don’t worry too much! 😉 🙂
We had a very pleasant purser and crew, in fact we had two pursers, one of whom was operating a position down, and one other CC member; all female and they were all delightful. We heard the CSD but never saw or met him, but he may well have come around when we were sleeping.
When they gave us the menu they apologised in advance saying it was a brand new menu, they hadn’t seen it or cooked it before, so they were excited about it and asked for our feedback as well.
There was a bit printed inside the menu highlighting BA’s support of Taste of London and an invitation to “come and meet the team behind British Airways’ inflight menus and take part in one of the master classes showcasing our new menus and regional cuisine that’s served on board.”
Lunch (our flight departed 1715, so maybe too early to call it dinner on a westbound TA)
Tiger prawn and wasabi timbale with watermelon, lime and coriander salad
Meze plate of chickpea, cumin and lentil said, labneh with beet root, baba ghanoush, falafel and za’atar cheese croissant
Asparagus and chervil soup with pecorino cheese
Fresh seasonal salad with choice of dressings
British fillet of beef with herb crust, summer vegetables, chargrilled fondant potatoes with horseradish, dill and chive sauce
Sustainably sourced Severn and Wye haddock with creamy basil, lemon and caper sauce, gnocchi, cherry tomatoes and spinach
Roasted breast of Gressingham duck with peppercorn and honey glaze, black current sauce, pea and mint mash, glazed icicle radishes and baby carrots
Seared scallops on a sweet pepper, cashew and spring onion salad with spicy ginger dressing
Strawberry and white chocolate mousse with sweet mint jelly
Peach and almond tart with raspberry sauce and vanilla custard
Ice cream sundae
Black sticks blue
Quickes farmhouse cheddar
Melusine Goats Cheese
Fusilli pasta with cep mushrooms, leek, garlic and parsley sauce
Beef burger with Monterey Jack cheese, gherkin, tomato and chunky chips
A selection of biscuits
A selection of cheese and fruit
So pretty good choices I thought. I chose the asparagus and chervil soup. It was good but I don’t really care for pecorino cheese and that was mostly where the flavour was coming from. I was asked about the soup as the CC had tried it and they were not impressed, and I was told that they would be reporting back on our comments and their thoughts as well. Quite impressed with this team, they really did care.
I then had the haddock, which was delicious and succulent * and I could have happily and greedily indulged in another! But I was still watching what I was eating as we were headed for a couple of flight-seeing trips on very small dehavilland aircraft and I knew I would have to be weighed and I and did not want to be the porker at weigh in!
* succulent because this purser cooked her dishes with a small tray of water in the ovens which she says is not a BA instruction but she finds it keeps the food moist. Good for her I say!
I declined dessert but couldn’t resist the cheese – probably and most likely more calories but I just had a small piece of each except for the yucky goats cheese which in my book, is always way too goaty! But I did have a couple of the delicious chocolates which are a very nice selection of soft centres, and I am rather partial to a “soft centre!”
The DH had the tiger prawns which he said was quite spicy but he enjoyed, followed by the scallops, which were very small – this was noted as well.
The service was excellent and at a pace which we enjoyed and then it was time for a nap – I never bother watching the IFE, but the DH did and it worked fine. So, shortly before we started our descent, it was time to change out of our sleepssuits and have afternoon tea.
Now despite all the comments on here, it was absolutely fine – a nice selection of mini-sandwiches, a small pot of smoked salmon with dill garnish which was very good. There was also a mozzarella and sun-dried tomato savoury Danish which I didn’t have.
Warm mini-scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Yummy.
There was also a selection of cakes including white chocolate and cherry cadeaux, vanilla Madeleine, and lemon financier – none of which I had, but was told my greedy boy in 2K that they were very nice indeed!
I did find the cabin a bit crowded, I think this is down to the seat backs being that bit wider at the top than OF, so that they intrude more into the aisle. But my seat was clean and everything I needed worked, so that was fine.
Overall opinion – this was BA at their very best, and we thoroughly enjoyed our flights from ABZ-LHR, LHR-YVR and our lounge experience.
And the descent into the “Land of Canucklad” was quite magnificent!
More to come … 🙂27 Jun 2013
Hello Marlene – nice to “hear” from you too! I hope you and yours are well. Yes, it seems sometimes like we are ships in the night and it is good to have my DH all to myself without that blooming mobile phone ringing all the time. 😉
Yes we had a wonderful time, more interesting Alaska stuff to come.
Now I think it was you who wanted our cruise specialist TA’s details. I have her permission to put her contact I information on here – is this OK with BT?27 Jun 2013
Hey Papillion – by adding my greetings to you, at least I will be emailed after you have added your next chapter. I am looking forward to reading more.
Thanks for the time it must have taken to write this report – very much appreciated.27 Jun 2013
great reviews, I thoroughly enjoyed reading them. You certainly put my offerings to shame.
How nostalgic to be reminded of Woolies and their biscuits.
Hope you both have an enjoyable holiday and I look forward to reading about your return flights.27 Jun 2013
“On another note, a very dirty, faded, rusty looking BA aircraft came in just as we were waiting to pull back from our stand. It looked like it has been lying out in the sun and has turned a dirty cream colour with no blue markings at all, and the tail fin was faded to a dirty orange. Where did they find this aircraft? We also saw that there was a BA flight to Menorca this afternoon, I didn’t know they flew direct from ABZ, so must check that out for possible future use. Was it a charter but I think this faded aircraft would be Menorca bound. “
If it was one of these, they were painted up specially for the Olympic games…..
You can find a video about them here1 Jul 2013
StandThemUp @ 16.34
Yes, I later realised, as I wrote above, that that was exactly what it was, when we saw another of the same “faded” aircraft at LHR! They do look rather the worse for wear.
I do hope your new name is not indicative of your badly spent youth! 😉 🙂1 Jul 2013
“I do hope your new name is not indicative of your badly spent youth! 😉 :-)”
I had a very well spent yoof 🙂
Standing them up is slang for advancing the thrust levers on a turbine aircraft to a lower power setting (low power pause) to avoid differential thrust due to asymmetric spool up.
To cut out the tech jargon, it lets the jets stabilise and sync. If you listen on your next flight you will hear the engines increase in power, pause for a few seconds and then go to take off thrust. I learned it in some (proper, not microsoft) simulator sessions I was fortunate enough to attend about 10 years ago.
It seemed like a good handle to use.1 Jul 2013
i am flying with fin air for the first time london via helsinki to shanghai on business class,anyone flown with them before ,please share some experience good or not so good.10 Jan 2014