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You want to go where, when???

JessicaTam

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In the beginning …

Christmas 2017 and @beatgreene and I were discussing thoughts for another trip away. Our previous 2014 trip to Florence had been so much fun, so we thought it was time to do it again. And our livers had had a chance to recover. We settled on February 2019, as that gave us both time to organise annual leave.

Then we needed to think about the ‘where’. Considering @beatgreene had not been to London, we thought that was a good place to start. “Anywhere you would like to go in the UK?” I asked. “The Outer Hebrides” came the reply. “Anywhere else?”, “Oh, where-ever you like”. So the trip was born. Bear in mind that this was to the far north west of Scotland in the middle of winter. It will be fine, right?

A few months went past before we could confirm our respective annual leave, and then the booking window was open! I set about getting flights between AU and Asia first: MEL-SIN and HKG-SYD (I was already planning for the AKL dinner and it gave us a chance to experience some more lounges).

I then managed to snag my surprise flight for @beatgreene, one which I had to keep secret for many-a-month - well, until we boarded, so now you will have to wait too.

I was still contemplating the return to Asia when a little glitch appeared in LifeMiles booking engine and for some reason LH F was appearing more than the usual 14 days out. Actually about 9 months out. So a quick phone call to @beatgreene to see if she was up for a crazy routing to get home - with the promise of a premium first class from FRA. There was barely a pause, “Sure”. I then had to find availability for 2, and an onward connection.

With flights booked, we were now travelling MEL-SIN-LHR/EDI-LHR-FRA-BLR-CMB-HKG-SYD. BLR was the only place I could get LH F, but UL got us to HKG in J for not very much, in time to pick up our SYD QF flight.

The next few months were spent with a few hotel and train bookings being settled, and then it was just a case of biding our time.


And then the trip began …
 

JessicaTam

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Thursday arvo and I had checked into the MEL ParkRoyal hotel. I had got back that morning from a quick MR to Japan, so was not heading home. I did some washing at a local laundromat before checking in. Fortunately I did not need to wash any domestic animals!

Pets Laundrette.jpg
MEL ParkRoyal view.jpg

@beatgreene soon joined me. The hotel had thoughtfully provided a bottle of red, se we had a glass before making our way to the QF J lounge for dinner. As I had arrived that morning I was able to take advantage of “Arrival’s Access” :)

The next morning it was up early for our 1220 flight to SIN. First breakfast in the QF F lounge and then we took advantage of an empty private room to do a quick interview with @Mattg for the AFF podcast. We were each also able to get a treatment in the spa.

QF MEL F breakfast.jpg QF MEL F private room.jpg QF MEL F spa.jpg

I have to say, the MEL F lounge is a great way to start a flight.

The flight was delayed 15-20 minutes so we stayed put for a little bit longer - of dear, what a shame! ;)

Soon enough we had to board. A nice welcome from the flight attendant as we settled into the front seats of the upstairs Y cabin on the A380. J amenity kit and a glass of J champagne was a pleasant surprise. I also managed to nab a pair of NC headphones for my seat mate. A couple of movies and meals later and we had arrived in SIN.

Of course the immigration lines were horrendous, so we opted for the bus to take us to T3. This bus is a great way to see the inner workings of the airport as you travel under the noses of many an aircraft. Oh, this was possible as we were both travelling HLO so weren’t limited in sticking to our arrival terminal. We were quickly through and off to the hotel.

I hadn’t stayed at the SIN Crowne Plaza before so this was a new one for me. It was actually quite pleasant, and would consider staying again if the price was right.

Crowne Plaza 02.jpg Crowne Plaza 01.jpg

We checked in and jumped in a cab to Raffles Long Bar. A Singapore Sling was on the agenda as the hotel had been undergoing renovations for some time and the long bar was closed last time I was there.

Long Bar 02.jpg Long Bar 03.jpg Sling 02 (1).jpg

S$32 later and we were heading back to the airport to bed down for the night. Our flight the next day was at 0900 so we were to be up early to get through the formalities.
 

jjj777ccc

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Don't stress too much @jjj777ccc, it is all lighthearted. After the initial 'I am subscribing' posts (which incidentally are not necessary if you click on "watch thread" at the top of the page) things do settle down to the report proper.
Thank you, yes, I should relax. Thanks for the watch thread tip (which I assume can be switched off too?).

I've only once been to a F lounge (MEL, quick visit as guest of one of my bosses). How many of those private rooms are there, and is it first-come first-served, or bookable?

Have been to the Long Bar too with all the peanut shells on the floor. (We couldn't bring ourselves to drop them on the floor). Pity the Sling is pretty tasteless. Still, one of those things you feel compelled to do!

And I realise I'm now populating your TR with my ramblings...
 

kermatu

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I've only once been to a F lounge (MEL, quick visit as guest of one of my bosses). How many of those private rooms are there, and is it first-come first-served, or bookable?
There are two in MEL and two in SYD. The ones in SYD are a little larger but not very private, plus no view. One of the MEL rooms has a view of the apron.

I've never been proactively offered one in advance (flying F and/or as a P1), but have asked on occasion on arrival and been given one. Only times I've seen them specifically reserved (in SYD) is when celebrities are travelling - have seen Ed Sheeran once, and Naomi Watts escorted straight to a room.
 

JessicaTam

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[mod hat]
Members are advised that to subscribe to a thread, they can simply select 'Watch Thread' at the top right of the page

There have been quite a few posts on this thread by members subscribing by choosing 'seats'. This has lead to quite a bit of banter unrelated to the trip report itself.

The moderation team has discussed the trend of posting to subscribe and the attendant discussion, and feel that it has been increasing of late.

That discussion has been removed from this thread, and members are reminded that to subscribe to a thread it is not necessary to post, if that is the sole aim of the post. At the top right of the page click on 'Watch Thread' and this will achieve the same end.

Of course this is not to distract from the discussion that occurs pertinent to the trip report itself, and should not be seen to stifle that discussion in any way.
[/mod hat]
 
Last edited:

JessicaTam

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We woke and were walking to the checkin area by about 6.30 the next morning. Now @beatgreene has got used to following me into various check-in queues and lounges. QF F checkin at MEL followed by the QF F lounge for example, so she was nonplussed when I went to the SIN F checkin area. We were soon presented with our BPs along with our TPR invites. :) Placing her trust in me, she blithely followed me through the exclusive immigration checkpoint and then up to the TPR. :D

We enjoyed a delicious breakfast, helped in no small part by a glass of Dom Perignon.

SIN TPR champagne.jpg

Soon enough it was time to board, and we made our way to the gate. It was a bit further than I remembered so by the time we got there, we are amongst the last to board. We were met at door 1L and each escorted to our seats. @beatgreene was expecting to be ushered through to the Y cabin as they wanted to get us seated.

The FA stopped at 3D, and a picture tells a thousand words:

Surprise.jpg

We both giggled through the safety briefing (Sorry SIN!) and for some time afterwards. Me for not letting anything slip for the last eight or nine months, and @beatgreene for sitting in her own room on a plane!

I had used the pretence of booking meals for our later LH flight to ask if she would like lobster thermidor. So the surprises kept coming when lunch turned up. Apparently it is delicious!

Surprise.jpeg

Thirteen and a half hours drifted by and we landed in LHR rested, replete, and refreshed. Fairly quickly through immigration and then on the Heathrow Express to Paddington where we had booked a room in the Hilton for one night. After sampling the delights of the exec lounge, it was an early night with full bellies, and memories of a terrific flight.
 

JohnM

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[mod hat]
Members are advised that to subscribe to a thread, they can simply select 'Watch Thread' at the top right of the page

There have been quite a few posts on this thread by members subscribing by choosing 'seats'. This has lead to quite a bit of banter unrelated to the trip report itself.

The moderation team has discussed the trend of posting to subscribe and the attendant discussion, and feel that it has been increasing of late.

That discussion has been removed from this thread, and members are reminded that to subscribe to a thread it is not necessary to post, if that is the sole aim of the post. At the top right of the page click on 'Watch Thread' and this will achieve the same end.

Of course this is not to distract from the discussion that occurs pertinent to the trip report itself, and should not be seen to stifle that discussion in any way.
[/mod hat]
Err, guilty as charged :oops:.

However, I would say that IMO I felt it added some 'community feel' to know explicitly who's joined the ride.

But I take the point about clutter, so I shall desist :).
 

kermatu

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Err, guilty as charged :oops:.

However, I would say that IMO I felt it added some 'community feel' to know explicitly who's joined the ride.

But I take the point about clutter, so I shall desist :).
I'm guilty too, but agree that a single "I'm onboard" post was actually a good community thing and a nice signal to an OP that there are people interested in their TR. Not an issue for established members, but for someone venturing forth on their first TR I reckon it would be quite heartening. Guess we can use the buttons to show this now. (How about a "I'm onboard and sitting on JohnM's lap" button?)

But I also like @jjj777ccc calling out post-padding and irritating, irrelevant posts in TRs. I've often unsubscribed from TRs I was really looking forward to (eg, some recent ones on Antarctica) because of the usual suspects dominating the TR with their own oft-posted and (at best) marginally relevant experiences or plans. I now just read them later and avoid the irritation of notifications of new posts that are not the OPs.

Anyway, on-topic - great surprise @JessicaTam -- well done. But I've always (ie twice!) been escorted from TPR by buggy to the gate in SIN so get there at a good time (not too early, not too late). Was that not on offer to you?
 

JessicaTam

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I'm guilty too, but agree that a single "I'm onboard" post was actually a good community thing and a nice signal to an OP that there are people interested in their TR. Not an issue for established members, but for someone venturing forth on their first TR I reckon it would be quite heartening. Guess we can use the buttons to show this now. (How about a "I'm onboard and sitting on JohnM's lap" button?)

But I also like @jjj777ccc calling out post-padding and irritating, irrelevant posts in TRs. I've often unsubscribed from TRs I was really looking forward to (eg, some recent ones on Antarctica) because of the usual suspects dominating the TR with their own oft-posted and (at best) marginally relevant experiences or plans. I now just read them later and avoid the irritation of notifications of new posts that are not the OPs.

Anyway, on-topic - great surprise @JessicaTam -- well done. But I've always (ie twice!) been escorted from TPR by buggy to the gate in SIN so get there at a good time (not too early, not too late). Was that not on offer to you?
There was no buggy offered. This is my third R flight from SIN and have not yet been offered.
 

VPS

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I suppose this is slightly hijacking this thread which I'm looking forward to but there are some people who write TR that you really enjoy and I think commenting is a way of supporting them because it is time consuming to do a TR eg @Justinf has a great writing style. I actually don't care how many posts I have
 

JessicaTam

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I suppose this is slightly hijacking this thread which I'm looking forward to but there are some people who write TR that you really enjoy and I think commenting is a way of supporting them because it is time consuming to do a TR eg @Justinf has a great writing style. I actually don't care how many posts I have
Nothing wrong with commenting. It was the unrelated chit chat that can be seen to be distracting.
 

JessicaTam

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The Hilton Paddington put on a good spread for breakfast with eggs cooked to order. We dined and then packed up to head across to Victoria DT. The tube was closed so we jumped on a double decker bus. :) Now checking in to the Victoria was a complete debacle but to save derailing this thread I will point you to this post to read more: How do Hilton treat you as an Elite?

We eventually settled in and then headed off to church. fortunately the tube was running for this part of our journey. Now you may not take us for religious types but the best way to visit a cathedral is to go during service. Two reasons - first is that there is usually only one person speaking, not a cacophony of chatter. And second, if you are going ‘for service’ you won’t be charged the tourist tax. ;) There is also the added bonus of a choral service from time to time. We caught the tube to The Monument and then walked up to St Paul’s. The readings were an interesting choice, promoting sexism and slavery. :shock:

After mass, where we weren’t struck down by lightning, we made our way back to the hotel and then down the street to St George’s Pub for dinner. We set ourselves a challenge to find a house wine that was worse than what they had on offer. Actually I jest, there was no challenge. And perversely, the wine was Australian - Jam Shed: Jam Shed Shiraz 75Cl - Tesco Groceries Avoid at all costs.

The food at the pub was great, though.

A late start the next day, and we headed to the British Museum, home of the Elgin Marbles and the Rosetta Stone. It was fascinating. We met up with @Flashback and spent the afternoon chatting, before heading back to the hotel prior to heading out for dinner. I have to say, this is the second time I have trusted to @Flashback to choose a dinner location, and the second time he has come up trumps!
British Museum 02 (1).jpg

Incidentally as we were about to board the tube at Victoria one of the passengers who was in F on our SIN-LHR flight walked past. We recognised each other and had a quick chat - she had just spent a month in AU on holiday as we were heading for a month in the UK.

“Of all all the gin joints …”.
 

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