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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 2,296 total)

  • IanFromHKG
    Participant

    You are quite correct, BrotherJim. I wrote Melbourne but meant Perth.


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    It is worth remembering that although some oneworld airlines (notably QR and BA) have contracted out of the lounge-access-by-status rules of oneworld, so far as I am aware none of them has contracted out of the lounge-access-by-travel-class rules which allow oneworld passengers flying in a premium cabin access to any departure lounge operated by any oneworld carrier (note that third-party contract lounge are not included). Although there are some restrictions which apply by virtue of geography (lounge in different terminal or building, for instance), and there are reported difficulties of access to the QF lounge in Melbourne designed purely for the non-stop-to-London route, and some airlines, eg QR, restrict access to those who have received an op-up, this means that virtually anyone travelling in a premium cabin on a paid fare (whether paid in money or miles) who can physically get to the door of a lounge equating to their travel class should be allowed in.

    This means, for instance, that although a top-tier oneworld emerald member flying out of LHR T4 in an economy cabin would not be allowed into the (superb) QR lounge in LHR T4 because QR have opted out of lounge-access-by-status in London, anyone flying business class on Malaysian (who also operate out of T4) can get in because QR have not opted out of lounge-access-by-travel-class, and this applies regardless of status.

    In OP’s situation, FFP status doesn’t make any difference (it would only make a difference with emerald status, enabling access to F lounges) because access to all the oneworld lounges in T3 is available by travel class.

    I lounge-hop occasionally, but usually settle on a favourite fairly quickly. Mind you, I have the advantage of being (double!) emerald, and there is usually a much greater distinction between F lounges than there is between J lounges. So although I quite like the champagne bar in the BA T3 F lounge, I always end up in the CX F lounge!


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    For those struggling with booking engines which order purely by price or by duration (regardless of schedule) I can recommend hipmunk.com (they also have an app called Hipmunk). I have never used them to book a flight (nor do I have any affiliation with them) but I love the fact that they provide results on a blended basis based on what they call the “agony factor”, which takes into account duration, stopover times, departure and arrival times and so forth. The results are produced on a graphic (a little like a horizontal bar chart overlaid on a “calendar”) which shows the price in a column to the left of the graphic, and departure and arrival times and stopover points in the graphic itself. Really handy, and I have often used it to get ideas about which airlines to search on.


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    The padding on the CX J seat is not as good as the BA J seat, if I’m honest, and there are polarised views on the food (a lot of CX regulars complain about it, but then a lot of BA regulars complain about the BA food too!). The service on CX, however, will be very good. It won’t be as exceptional as the rare, but occasional, truly above-average BA crew. Conversely it will never be anywhere near as bad as the below-average BA crews. It will, instead, be consistently very good. You can expect to be addressed by name (mostly by memory), and CX crew will always, very happily, answer the call bell, so have no reservations on that score. Some say the service is a little more robotic, and perhaps that’s true. But if you want something – ask and ye shall receive.

    In just about every other respect (I mean other than the padding) the CX seat is miles ahead of the BA J seat, and comparable to the BA F seat. Better than the B787 BA F seat, in fact, as it is more spacious. Superb IFE, masses of storage space (including a dedicated shoe locker on the aisle side of the seat base), connectivity options so you can play your own content on the screen which is, incidentally, about twice the size of the BA equivalent, vastly more private… I could go on, but there is a reason that direct flights on on CX are usually more expensive than BA. You have the opportunity to get CX at a discount – grab it, and enjoy!


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    Gold, Tom, pure gold!!


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    I also remember my last flights on Jet Airways and on the late (and lamented) Kingfisher Airlines, both of which served superb curries. Happy days! Can’t honestly say they were dealmakers or dealbreakers when it came to deciding which airline to fly, mark you, and I definitely wouldn’t commit to flying JAL F based on their serving a chicken curry!!

    Thanks for the response, Tom. Let’s hope something more exciting pops up soon with which to illuminate your illustrious organ!


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    Given the frequency and the prices I’m going to guess CX HKG-LHR

    I have another route in mind but I’m going to hold my fire, see if I’m right, and if I am I will stick with a 100% success rate!

    Of course if I’m wrong I will try to get 0% up to 50%!

    EDITED TO ADD

    Yay, I was right! And I hasten to add I was looking at an old version of the page without the answers when i replied!


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    I would also add a plug for loungebuddy (with whom I have no financial affiliation – my only affiliations are as an ardent fan and occasional unpaid contributor).

    Download the app, load in your FF status information and lounge access programmes (including CC plans) and your travel details and it will let you know which lounges you can access. It can sync trip plans with TripIt too.

    The BA lounge in MAN is pretty decent. Just remember that when travelling in business on any oneworld airline you can access ANY oneworld-airline-operated lounge of the equivalent class even if it isn’t mentioned on your invitation; but bear in mind this applies only to lounges operated by a oneworld airline, it doesn’t extend to third-party contract lounges. Distinguishing between these is one of the things I like about loungebuddy.

    Happy travels!


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    On Ianโ€™s point about preparing, I wonder why the queue process creates a logjam at the machines. Surely it would be better if the trays became available 5 minutes before the your summoned through the x-ray machines.

    IIRC they have just such a system at Geneva…

    in reply to: Rude T5 Security Staff

    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    wait until they are right at the belt before doing things they could have done in the queue

    I am not sure it is possible for passengers to prepare before they get to the security machines/trays. To remove and carry, shoes, belt, jacket, lap top, mobile, liquids, whilst trying to carry a case or 2, I think would bring more problems with items being dropped. /quote]

    I respectfully disagree, Martyn! They perhaps cannot do all of these things, but it doesn’t take much effort to do most of them. Bearing in mind that most airlines only permit two bags on board, it isn’t terribly hard to put one or both of them down, ensure that everything that needs to be removed from the bag is at the top, and to put jacket and belt over one arm. It really isn’t rocket science… And the irony is that it would save them time too because it means that at the front of the queue they will be able quickly to move things into the trays and move through.

    On only one occasion recently have I been unable to carry separately all the things I needed to have scanned separately (admittedly as previously noted I don’t wear a belt) because I was carrying some electronics for other family members, but I ensured they were at the top of an open bag so could just be pulled out. My mobile was in my trouser pocket, also the work of a moment to remove. My overcoat was thrown over one shoulder. I reckon it took me ten seconds to get everything into the trays. Three of the numpties ahead of me took about a minute each as they laboriously opened and went through their bags, then had to repack their bags to make them close, then remove jackets, then remove belts, then pat down all their pockets to ensure they hadn’t forgotten things, pull out keys and coins…. It was infuriating to watch! Not one of them had made the slightest effort to do any of this while standing in the queue.

    in reply to: Rude T5 Security Staff

    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    Also fail to see the point of premium security at Gatwick. Still queuing but with one queue instead of 10!!

    Funnily enough, the whole family and I went through LGW’s premium security three weeks ago and, despite the Memsahib’s trepidation and warning that the entire process would nonetheless take ages, I would struggle to point to a single security experience I have had that was better. No queues, three lanes (IIRC), smiling staff, no re – searching of bags, and we were through in minutes. Even after Senior Offspring had to run back, having realised she had mislaid her sunglasses during the process, the staff smilingly said it was no problem and handed them over from behind the security screens. Brilliant!

    Part of the problem with the whole security experience nowadays is that with increasing passenger volumes, and more intrusive security measures, the job of the security staff must be pretty miserable. I have NEVER heard anyone compliment a security staffer, only complain. Add to this the ongoing stupidity of many passengers who (1) ignore signs about LAGs, (2) wait until they are right at the belt before doing things they could have done in the queue (personally I don’t wear a belt, rarely wear a jacket or coat and if I do I ensure I have removed it before getting to the front, take out my laptop/tablet/phone/LAGs/lithium battery pack ready to put into the tray or ensure they are at the top of an open bag, etc), (3) have to be reminded about every little thing (how frustrating would you think your job was if every one or two minutes you had to ask someone if they had done all of the above) and so on – well, you can imagine that it is pretty soul-destroying.

    The other 0part of the problem is the extraordinary sense of self-importance and entitlement – no doubt partly deriving from the boredom and frustration generated by the above – of those staffers against any sort of criticism. I once asked a security staffer (politely) why she was being so rude and the torrent of abuse I received in return was extraordinary. I wish I had recorded it, frankly, because despite FrDougal’s advice there is no way I could have remembered it all. She ended up storming away from the security checkpoint and I must confess I was concerned that I was going to be targeted and denied boarding. And for Martyn’s edification – that was in Hong Kong….!!

    in reply to: Rude T5 Security Staff

    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    I’d be less fussed about a car – public transport here is so cheap and efficient that for a short stint (during which you may not learn the very confusing road system) it probably isn’t worth it.

    Tax equalisation isn’t very efficient when going from a high tax to low tax jurisdiction, but this will depend on whether you are out of the UK long enough to be non-tax-resident for all or part of a tax year. If you remain UK tax-resident, ensure you get a tax indemnity – you should be able to offset any HK tax against UK tax (I think, although I’m not certain), but you should get an indemnity against the possibility that you suffer additional tax liability. If you can become non-UK tax resident for a period, that’s excellent since HK tax rates are much lower (salaries tax caps out at 15% and the effective rate is lower than this) but there are a few tricks. As mentioned above, have your employer pay for your accommodation. Even if you can’t get extra money for this, ensure that part of your remuneration is structured as a housing allowance. This is because the “benefit in kind” (to use a UK term) value of employer-provided accommodation, provided it doesn’t exceed half your basic cash-paid salary, is capped out at 10% of that cash salary. Since I realise that’s not easy to follow, let me give an example. If you receive $100,000 in cash and your employer pays an additional $50,000 for accommodation (which doesn’t exceed 50% of the cash element), then you will be taxed in Hong Kong on the cash element, and also on the housing allowance, but the taxable “value” of the housing allowance will be capped at 10% of the cash ie $10,000. So you will be taxed on $110,000, not on $150,000.

    Good health insurance is a must. The government hospitals in HK are excellent, but queues are long, and while there are many local clinics there isn’t the same sort of government-funded GP system as the UK. Private doctors (and hospitals) are superb but eye-wateringly expensive. Most of the time, if you know what medicine you need, you are better going off to a local pharmacy (not one of the chains like Mannings, but a LOCAL pharmacy, which can easily be found anywhere) and buy whatever you want. Attitudes to prescriptions here are quite relaxed. Provided you don’t want a controlled drug, most pharmacists will give you whatever you want (including antibiotics). All registered pharmacists in HK speak English.

    If your employers are the generous type, you might ask for a club membership. Outfits with large and longstanding local operations may have club debentures (which allow them to nominate employees as members) you can access, but even without that several clubs offer short-term memberships. Bearing in mind that (unless you are living somewhere a long way out OR your housing allowance is very high) you are unlikely to have access to much in the way of outdoor space. Clubs provide that, plus leisure facilities, and the opportunity to meet people (and usually relatively inexpensive food and drink). Even if your employers won’t run to a club membership (you might consider that yourself though) then perhaps a gym membership?


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    I would like to second SimonS1’a comment. The airlines are NOT permitted to cap compensation by reference to a specific limit. If airlines deny boarding (and aren’t able to escape from liability due to one of the limited exceptions to EU261) and have to re-route, they are obliged to provide “appropriate care while waiting for the re-routingm such as food, access to a telephone, hotel accommodation of one or more nights if necessary and transport between the airport and the hotel”. Obviously this is not carte blanche to find the most expensive possible room, but if rooms are not available for EUR120 (or whatever the airline tries to specify) then the airline MUST pay a higher amount.

    It is depressing that airlines continue to try to play this game. A year or so ago Monarch failed to deliver Junior Offspring’s luggage at the start of a residential course in the UK. They asserted that they were only liable to pay 90 pounds per day for a maximum of three days. They messed with the wrong Memsahib (who had made the claim). A couple of fairly blistering emails later (with a little input from yours truly, quoting the Montreal Convention, EU261 and other sources) they caved in spectacular fashion. It is sad that airlines are so appallingly unscrupulous as to try to hoodwink customers into thinking that there are limits to their entitlement under law when no such limits exist. I dearly wish that (although I am generally not in favour of punitive damages) airlines that try to deny passengers their due should be required to pay triple the amount on every occasion when they are caught out being dishonest in this way. As the law stands, however, they have every incentive to deny compensation, obfuscate, mislead and deceive passengers.

    I have just posted this on another thread but I will add it here as well. There is a free app which I keep on my ‘phone and which details passengers’ rights in surprisingly clear English, and is easily navigable. Any attempt by airline staff to contradict its content should be fairly easy to counter, since it is produced by the EU!! The iOS version can be downloaded here. I recommend it!

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    I have had a look at EU261 and, rather as I expected, there is nothing in there that allows airlines to restrict themselves to partner airlines. Of course by doing so, they are likely to extend the delay and therefore increase the compensation they are liable to pay.

    I noted from OP’s post “I find the overbooking practice annoying in itself, but surely when this happens the airline should ask all passengers if anyone is willing to take the 250 euro compensation โ€“ after all, many travellers would quite likely find this an appealing offer. But to simply kick off the last passengers to check-in is terrible, lazy customer service.” Not just poor service, but (if true) a contravention of the regulation, which requires airlines to seek volunteers to give up their reservation in exchange for certain benefits before denying boarding.

    The rules are complex, so I recommend that my fellow forum members download the EU’s own little app on the subject. The iOS version is here. While it is not the slickest app on the planet, it is very easily navigable and (for something produced by the EU!) written in surprisingly clear English.

    It includes advice not just for passengers on airlines, but also trains, sea transport and road transport, although that is more general (unsurprisingly since I don’t think there is an equivalent of EU261 for these modes of transport, so I have never consulted that part of the app)

    3 users thanked author for this post.
    in reply to: Kicked off Iberia

    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    Ha – a couple of other posters beat me to it! I was also going to suggest what is known in the clubs here as a “club table”.

    As I type this I am sitting in the Bowling Alley Bar of the Hong Kong Club and nostalgically missing the days when this bar was members-only at lunchtimes with free seating (well, apart from the judges’ table!). This nearly always meant sitting at a fairly full table of 4 to 8 people whom one either (a) knew or (b) were introduced to because someone else at the table was a mutual friend/acquaintance. I can’t count the number of friendships I have made in here. And then in the refurbishment of the club a while ago they went and spoilt it all by allowing spouse members and guests, which means that nowadays just about no-one wanders in, finds a table with one or more empty seats and one or more friends/acquaintances, and joins them. Such a terrible shame…

    I have been fortunate that very little of my business travel has made me be away from home at weekends unless I deliberately engineered it so as to spent time with family back in the UK (a useful add-on to my trips to the US – when travelling to the US East Coast from HK it was often very little more (IIRC about 400 pounds usually) to buy a RTW ticket in F compared to a return ticket in J); but nowadays I more often find myself lonely at home as the Memsahib (who has the advantage of more leisure time than I do) spends time in the UK dealing with school functions, visiting family or sorting out our house (which has just flooded AGAIN, dammit). Fortunately I have a boat so finding friends to come and join me at weekends usually isn’t too much of a struggle ๐Ÿ™‚

    LP above refers to an earlier forum post – if we are thinking of the same one then I remember it very well, and the number of messages that flooded in to the lonely poster in question was really heartwarming and a credit to the friendly and supportive nature of the forum (well, it was provided we weren’t talking about BA, which thanks to one or two individuals (lost and unlamented) was a particular issue at that time!)

    I realise that this will not be an option for all, but being from HKG where there is a significant club culture I have found that using reciprocal clubs has been a real bonus for me. Club memberships need not be that expensive or difficult to obtain. For example, I understand Tattersall’s in Brisbane has a special category for overseas members with a joining fee of A$1,100 but thereafter an annual subscription of just A$133 and an extensive list of reciprocal clubs (I should add I have no conflict of interest here as I am not a member of Tattersall’s!). The Royal Overseas League is another example of an inexpensive club (and members of certain partner organisations get a significant discount) and it also has an extensive list of reciprocal clubs (I’m not a member of the ROSL either). Those fortunate enough to have been members of the older universities in the UK might wish to look at the Oxford and Cambridge Club (eligible, as is the Memsahib, but again not a member!) although their list of reciprocal clubs is in the member-only area (having said that, I managed to find this list of 153 reciprocal clubs that they have).

    I have had some fun times in reciprocal clubs, including one memorable occasion when a friend and I caused quite a stir in one of the New York clubs by using the snooker table in the main bar. As the vast majority of Americans have no idea how to play snooker, it quickly became apparent that the table had not been used for some considerable time and very soon we were surrounded by members who were fascinated by these two foreigners who actually knew the game! A very convivial evening followed!

    I have also found that using reciprocal clubs for entertaining colleagues and business contacts is invaluable – often they don’t have access to the clubs themselves, so it is an interesting experience for them and makes the meal/drinks stand out from the run-of-the-mill venues they may be more accustomed to. I have always found that invitations to clubs have been eagerly accepted. Another benefit is that they are mostly non-profit, and may own their buildings (and therefore don’t have to pay rent), so they are often considerably cheaper than commercial venues!

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 2,296 total)
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