Dubai via London and back through LAX

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serfty

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NM said:
... Yes, China has some big mountains, but none that need to be negotiated by a 744 at FL350.
Certainly! I was more commentating on how skyshow was representing them (Bottom to top of screen, with aircraft some when in the middle). Maybe they were avoiding possible turbulance.
 
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NM

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serfty said:
NM said:
... Yes, China has some big mountains, but none that need to be negotiated by a 744 at FL350.
Certainly! I was more commentating on how skyshow was representing them (Bottom to top of screen, with aircraft some when in the middle). Maybe they were avoiding possible turbulance.
Or possibly restricted Chinese air space as they don't want those foreign aircraft with hi-resolution cameras in the belly flying over their nuclear weapons facilities :shock: .
 

serfty

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London Heathrow 10th March 2006.

I originally had a 15 hour scheduled transit at LHR and intended to do some non Central London Exploring. I had posted some questions about what to do on FT and had received some good answers with some interesting options. However, arriving nearly 4½ hours late cut my realistic available time in two and I wanted to avail myself of the Arrivals lounge and also to fully experience the delights of the “Pavilion” lounges. This coupled with the rain dictated my decision to remain at LHR.

Shortly before descent, the FA’s had handed out UK immigration forms to those who needed them along with “Fastrack” invitations. Filling out my form I noted how brief and simple they are when compared to an OZ or NZ equivalent; basically all that was required is your DOB, Name, PP number and information about your UK address/reason for visiting, the latter being the only information not available directly from one’s passport. I simply wrote “In Transit”. Coming through immigration, the Fastrack really helped, my wait was about 20 seconds and I went straight through, no questions were asked.

I made my way to the arrivals hall, and proceeded to the right down to where the arrivals lounge entry is. While not exactly hidden, if you were not looking for it would be easy to miss. No worries for me as I had been there before. Entry was simple and being so late in the morning I was able to go straight through to have a shower. It had been several years since I used this facility and I was surprised to find it a little worn. While most things worked fine there were little issues like the false door latch not closing properly and scratch marks in the panelling. I had no complaints however, and I was very grateful for the facilities. Certainly the shower was terrific with enough spray jets to ensure one’s torso be completely scrubbed clean and my clothing was efficiently and properly pressed using the valet service. I have since found that BA will be moving from T4 when the new T5 opens and I guess that repairing aesthetic problems are not a high priority.

Feeling refreshed with clean wrinkle free clothes; I made my way upstairs to the breakfast area. Here they serve hot English breakfast food until 2pm, with eggs cooked to order. I was not super hungry as it had been only three hours since breakfast had been served on the aircraft. I treated myself to a light brunch with a cup of coffee from the espresso machine, followed by a few glasses of the excellent mineral water they had. This filled any spare corners I may have had. While doing this I considered what I could do until my Dubai flight commenced boarding that evening. All bodily functions thus revitalised I repaired to the deserted business centre where I noted the Spa was located. I checked the booking sheet and a slot was available; however not really being one for massages I went on and sat down at one of the two PC’s there and did some surfing. I also did some more on this trip report. It was very quiet there with the only people those moving through to have spas or heading to the relaxation room. Fifteen minutes before 2pm an announcement was made the Arrivals lounge was soon to close. I packed up and headed down the lift and out to the T4 throngs.

I had decided to gave T4 landside a good going over so I went from one end to the other and back. Up the escalators was a mezzanine level with a couple of restaurants. I went up there and it seemed a bit of a dead end, unless you were after some food. It is tucked up in the east corner of the main hall and gave me the impression of nothing so much that it was built there as an afterthought. My overall impression was of efficiency without beauty; while there was nothing striking about the place, it was getting its job done.

Having had enough of that, my next aim was to reconnoitre T1. I was scheduled to go do a T4 to T1 transit there in a couple of days with somewhat less time than I had then. I followed the signs and took the lift to the Heathrow Express station. As I arrived a train was just pulling out; the next one to take me to the T1/T2/T3 platforms was due in 10 minutes. Relaxing, I found a seat to the middle of the platform and waited. Just before the next train arrived an announcement was made “ … please stay behind the white line … Do not board this train until routine security checks have been completed …”. I had not noticed the white line, but there was one running the length of the platform some 2 metres from the edge. When the train pulled in, quite a few people alighted, many with suitcases and the like, large and small. These they lugged through to the centre tunnel where there were plenty of luggage carts awaiting. Meanwhile, officials scoured the train looking for anything that may have been left behind. This whole process took several minutes. Than came the announcement we could board, so I did. I found a seat near a luggage rack where I placed my bags and waited watching a Video screen promoting the Xpress service along with safety information.

The train pulled out and very shortly afterwards arrived at the other Airport station. I noted it took a long time to completely stop with a deliberately slow deceleration, can’t have peoples’ bags falling over I guess.

Off the train and through to the linking tunnel, noting the T1 signs showing a couple of hundred metres would need to be traversed. I found one of the plentiful luggage trolleys, placed my two bags on it and joined the cavalcade of people walking, pushing trolleys and otherwise proceeding down the long tunnel in the indicated direction of T1.

Getting to the end and up the lift I entered a world of airport shops, check in counters, automated check in machines and general frenetic activity. The hordes of people made T4 appear a virtual tranquil oasis. Pressing on I surveyed the area, noting BA’s premium check in area and the arrivals lounge were accessible from outside (it had stopped raining). These are at the far end of the departures floor from the lifts to the Heathrow Express where I had surfaced. My knowledge thus enriched I headed back down these lifts to the station and took a train back to T4.

Back at T4 I was straight through immigration. I took my time airside, having a close look at Duty/Tax free prices for a couple of items I was after. I would be heading back through LHR and was looking for the most cost effective place(s) to buy things.

I went to the BA pavilion and was directed down the stairs to the F lounge. This is quite a nice place and I made myself comfortable. After a while I went looking for some PC’s but could not see any. A quick ask at reception gave me both the location of these and the code to use to enter the room.
Upstairs to a room with about 20 workstations, occupied at the time be about 10 people. It also had a small self serve bar. I found a convenient spot and did some more of this report as well as catching up with some emails. I had a mini crisis as I was using a floppy disc for my TR document and these workstations did not appear to have any. In the end I typed into a document on the workstation and emailed it to myself.

Later on I went back down to the lounge. I was happy to find they have small menus where you simply ask one of the staff in the dining area for a menu item and they will bring it out to you. I had a light pasta washed down with a couple of ales and some bubbly. The lounge began to get quite crowded and at 9pm I headed off to gate 9. Boarding for my flight to Dubai was called just as I arrived, so with my passport and a boarding pass that had been printed some 41 hours earlier in Sydney in hand, off I went.
 

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I noted it took a long time to completely stop with a deliberately slow deceleration, can’t have peoples’ bags falling over I guess.

Hi there

Great TR so far.

Probably had some sort of speed control signalling on the approach to T123, or there may have been one of Ealing Broadway locals departing from the other platform, and crossing to the London bound line thru the crossover, this would require a low speed approach as the signal overlap would have been comprimised in the event of a platform overrun.

Eagerly awaiting your next installment.

Cheers
DJ737
 

serfty

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Flight: BA109, LHR-DXB Friday 10th March 2006.
Seat 15A, Sequence 001
Gate 9
Reg G-VIIL, Scheduled 21:40 08:25+1
Board: 21:05
Pushback 09:52
Take Off Roll: 10:08
Touchdown: 08:11+1
At gate: 08:25+1, B9

This flight was fully booked, but I was one of the first Club World passengers to board. I made my way down to my seat. I had never flown in any of these Club World seats before, forward or rear facing; so this was a new experience. This particular seat was in the last row and rear facing. I had contacted BA in December to request this seat; it’s not normally available via Manage my booking as it has a bassinet position. Seat map websites recommend these seats as being the best in Club World due to its privacy, also, it’s one of the few window seats that do not force you to climb over anyone sleeping to get to the aisle as it has it own egress against the rear bulkhead. With this particular 777 configuration however, I noted that there is actually a wall rather than a window beside your head when sitting; no real issue for me on this red-eye flight. Also, all the privacy ‘fans’ were extended.

The actual seat was a bit dilapidated with a surprisingly small screen. There is a ‘glove box’ under the seat with a hatch that kept coming open.

An FA appeared from behind the bulkhead and offered some bubbly which I accepted. He came back with some as well as an amenities pack. The cabin was now filling up and I noted a young family or two with some boisterous children heading down. They stopped at the last rows and proceeded to spread out across along to the other side of the cabin. Extremely excited and noisy they were and I hoped they would not spoil my chance of a few hours sleep as we flew across Europe. Indeed this did not happen, as the children almost immediately went to sleep after the supper service and I heard no more from them.

A mid 30ish couple came down, he in row 13, she beside me in the aisle seat; they were trying to negotiate sitting together. I was asked by her if I would swap seats with the guy, but I was very happy with my seat and I said so. She appeared surprised at my response and said they had booked three months beforehand and had not been able to get seats together. To me this was strange, as I had kept a very close eye on the seat map for this flight and from my perspective it was only in the last few weeks before the flight that the allocations had filled. Methinks she was coveting my seat and had grabbed the B seat, hoping to talk whoever was in the A seat out of it. No real problem however, as the guy was able to swap with the fellow across the aisle who, as it happened, had been nervously watching the young boy jumping around in the seat beside him.

Anyway, all settled down and I was offered another glass of bubbly. To my surprise another amenities pack was handed to me as well.

The pushback, taxi and takeoff all seemed pretty normal. The captain came on the PA and advised of an estimated arrival time of 8:30am. As soon as the seatbelt sign went off, I changed into my oversuit, then returned to my seat.

Supper was quite enjoyable; I had a “Marinated Beef Fillet” which was ok, and some cheese. No coffee. I watched the movie “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, by this time it was 2½ hours into the flight so I concentrated on getting some sleep; heeding the advice “… to keep my seatbelt outside the blanket so the FA’s could see I was belted in without waking … if turbulence was such that the seatbelt sign would need to be switched on”.

I awoke as the aircraft was nearing the Persian or Arabian Gulf and breakfast was being served. As I was eating this I noted the MAP was showing a “Tail Wind” of 170 km/h with a ground speed of 1100 km/h. That’s just about as fast as it gets these days.

Breakfast cleared, I changed out of my oversuit and prepared for landing. We came in over the water south of the airport, banked left and flew straight in. The taxi at DXB was quite long, past an enormous long terminal building under construction and around the current terminal of a similar if somewhat smaller design before finally arriving at our gate.

After disembarking we travelled along and through a maze of escalators and travelators, eventually passing under the tarmac area we had just taxied over an up to immigration on the ‘old’ terminal. Waited in a queue for about 5 minutes before being processed. At the luggage area I checked out the duty free prices and was amazed at how cheap they were; especially Alcohol and Tobacco. I later found had I made a mistake here; I could have purchased a 12 pack of Heineken there for ~USD9, but decided not to. I later found that within Dubai that would buy only 1½ drinks.

Anyway, I was able to go straight out to get a taxi, cost to The Creek Hilton was another AED27 (~USD8) with a flagfall of AED20, and at 10am I arrived at the Hotel.
 

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Great report serfty. Doesn't sound like the lady next to you knew too much...

The Creek Hilton Dubai was where I booked my uncle in on his trip...as a humble Blue member with an Exec Floor booking he got upgraded to Suites. What were the rooms like?? (I presume this will be part of yuor next post)...

Did you have any trouble booking in - was your booking there (his wasn't)...
 

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Lindsay Wilson said:
Great report serfty. Doesn't sound like the lady next to you knew too much...
I think she was acting the newbie, but knew a lot more than she was letting on. I am sure she was after 15A specifically. Seat expert/guru.com both advise it as being a great seat.

Lindsay Wilson said:
The Creek Hilton Dubai was where I booked my uncle in on his trip...as a humble Blue member with an Exec Floor booking he got upgraded to Suites. What were the rooms like?? (I presume this will be part of yuor next post)...

Did you have any trouble booking in - was your booking there (his wasn't)...
A very nice place, with shiny chromy glassy rooms. I was on a 30,000pt HHonor award booking (agaist AUD340) and while not upgraded, the room was extremely nice (high cnr) and had access to exec floor.
 

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serfty said:
As I was eating this I noted the MAP was showing a “Tail Wind” of 170 km/h with a ground speed of 1100 km/h. That’s just about as fast as it gets these days.
Hi Serfty, great report!

I'm afraid that 170 km/h winds are just child's play these days. Try flying across the pacific from TYO to LAX. 170 mph winds are not unusual (I flew this routing 4 times this month, and I've experienced these winds at their worst). Gets you there an awful lot quicker, though.
 

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Even flights from Australia or Asia to NZ can very often get much stronger tail winds. 200-300 kmh is not uncommon.

Before they changed the schedule, the SQ redeye to NRT often was delayed an hour or more so as to ensure they didnt breach the curfew.
 

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Lindsay Wilson said:
Great report serfty. Doesn't sound like the lady next to you knew too much...

The Creek Hilton Dubai was where I booked my uncle in on his trip...as a humble Blue member with an Exec Floor booking he got upgraded to Suites. What were the rooms like?? (I presume this will be part of yuor next post)...

Did you have any trouble booking in - was your booking there (his wasn't)...

Lindsay,

Hilton Dubai Creek is one of the addresses I call home when in DXB. Hotel is relatively new and the rooms are quite spacious. They are generous in the upgrades and also allowing me to checkin at 6:20am.

I am now starting to move away from the Bur Dubai/Deira hotels and starting to stay more on Sheikh Zayed Road. Reason being is the conjestion on the Al Maktoum bridge at night as all the construction workers make their way back to Sharjah (even though it is only 30 minutes from downtown Dubai, this Emirate's cost of living is far cheaper).

Just rambling here but if anyone is going to Dubai, I thought this may help them :D .

Cheers
 

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Well, lucky you knew better serfty. She probably thought you were the newbie and could con you out of the better seat. Should have surreptitiously allowed your BP with OW Emerald to come into view...

Wondered where you were going with that bravoecho1, but not surprised you added comments (given I know your regular travels there). I'm looking forward to one day flying to DXB and staying ay the Hilton Dubai Creek. Your recommendation rates highly (along with others from FT and my uncle) and would mean it's the only place to stay (plus hoping for some benefits through my HH Gold).
 

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Lindsay,

the other benefit of the Hilton Dubai Creek is that you get a free shuttle bus transfer and access to the Hilton Dubai Jumeriah, their resort hotel on the beach :D .
 

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serfty - your post about the next phase of your DONE4 reminded me to check if you have posted all the legs so far. Any update?
 

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Kiwi Flyer said:
serfty - your post about the next phase of your DONE4 reminded me to check if you have posted all the legs so far. Any update?
:oops: I have the notes, but not had the time yet to do it justice; Hopefully I can find a spare couple of hours and complete it before I head to the LOTFAP ...
 

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serfty said:
:oops: I have the notes, but not the time so to do it justice; Hopefully I can find a spare couple of hours and comlete it before I head to the LOTFAP..

No hurry - I know the feeling. I have a few reports and several FT FAQs to update that are waiting on me to complete.
 

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Kiwi Flyer said:
any update?
Maybe I can fax you my notes ... ;) ... I want to do justice to my previous posts here, it's always in my mind to complete soon ... .:-|
 
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