Getting Here

30 July 2016

Having spent a month in the UK catching up with family and friends, it was time to head off once again into the unknown. We chose Turkish Airlines for this flight. Mr John & I use a number of markers to get the right flight. I now refuse to fly economy. I know that might sound pretentious but I get quite claustrophobic I can't think of any other way to describe it with so many people packed in. I am quite happy flying premium economy and this was our starting point. I know we didn't have an option with this flight as Mr John had a job to start but I would rather wait another 6 months for a holiday to save for premium economy if I had to. Things we take into consideration are 

  • baggage allowance - a must when you're moving your life for two years or more
  • length of time you're on the plane - depends on what you have to do when you arrive
  • length of any transit stop - this can be tortuous if you're not careful
  • price - not necessarily cheapest but best taking into account the above
  • reputation - for safety as well as baggage delivery and comfort

We found out that Business class with Turkish Airlines was only slightly more than economy with other well known airlines. The flight times and facilities in transit were the reason we went with them and who doesn't want 50kg checked baggage allowance? We didn't regret our decision for one minute, they were fabulous.

The lounge in Istanbul was amazing with all sorts of food "stations" over two floors as well as a man with a cheese trolley hmm cheese. There was a cinema with a popcorn machine, a huge Scalextric track, a lady that wandered around giving shoulder massages, massage beds that did your whole body for 20 minutes, showers and if you were in transit for over 6 hours you could have a hotel room to relax / shower in. See how much more you get for not a lot extra in flight costs? Please consider this airline on your next flight. After all , they've been awarded Europe's Best Airline 2016 by Skytrax Passenger Choice and for quite a few years before that.

25 April 2013

Mr John enjoying the emperor bed
 in the New Room
As our flight wasn't until 14:15, we decided not to stay in a hotel near the airport but instead at the Wellington Arms in Baughurst. And we're really glad we did.  The food was wonderful including an amazing breakfast.  A lot of the food comes from the gardens including eggs from the chooks.  There's only two rooms to stay in, so make sure you book ahead if you want to stay overnight. As there's an Australian connection, there were lovely Aussie toiletries in the bathroom and our stay was incredibly relaxing and stress free.

As we'd worked and saved really hard plus this was a one way ticket, we decided to spoil ourselves and fly first class.  We chose Emirates because we knew they were a good airline and price comparisons showed they were the best value for money.

So this is what 100kg looks like
 One of the "perks" of flying first was the chauffeured car they sent to collect us.  They usually send something eye catching apparently, but because we had so much luggage, they sent a mini-van (though it was a Mercedes with automatic doors and leather seats).  The driver very kindly checked we had our passports before setting off.  This made Mr John get his hand luggage out and search through for his passport.  He worries about very little until you question him over something and then he has to check!

Mr John in the "private suite"
Boarding is very relaxed (unlike the experience you have when flying cattle class - which is normally us).  In the lounge at Heathrow, we did spot a "star" but would not be so crass as to divulge who on this site.  The crew were fabulous, making us feel very at home.  Nothing was too much bother.  We did have one complaint with our flight - it was way, way, way too short!
Two hours before touching down in Bangkok, we'd booked ourselves into the "Spa".  What an experience it was showering at around 39,000 feet!  You arrive feeling so fresh.  You get 25 minutes to do your ablutions and the shower has a 5 minute timer.  There's a green, amber, red process to ensure you don't run out of water at a crucial time.  Fluffy towels, gorgeous products a real treat.

A chauffeur car collected us to take us to our hotel in Bangkok.  Unfortunately the message hadn't got through about our luggage and so it was a "normal" sized car which meant Mr John was in the front and I was in the back surrounded by some of the bags and a guitar case - not quite so stylish.  There was bottled water for us in the car - lovely touch. 

When we stay in Bangkok we like to stay at the Pullman Hotel (other hotels are available).  We stumbled on this last time we were here and it suits us well.  The executive floor is worth the extra as you get soft drinks, tea and coffee any time of day in the lounge for free and there's happy "hour" from 17:00 to 19:00 for any alcoholic drinks you fancy and there's also a small but perfectly formed buffet - Mr John particularly likes the mini desserts you get here.  It's also quite well place for transport with a free shuttle tuc-tuc to the BTS train which can take you a number of places, is air-conditioned and cheap.  One trip we took was to the Paragon shopping centre.
The Siam Paragon houses all the really posh names in the world of shopping.  When we were there it also had a display of the latest Rolls Royce - it's on Mr John's wish list! There's also a cinema complex on the top floor and they show films in English (though only at certain times and only certain films).  We got to see Iron Man 3 and enjoyed the experience.  Before the film starts, they play the national anthem and provide a montage of the King, during which all patrons stand.  The BTS cost us 20 baht each for the 4 stops.