), I figured that one would be of more interest so I put more effort into getting that one finished first.
Maps generated by theGreat Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz.
This trip came about after reading a report by PalmJet ( Going Retro, Chasing The Sun: BA B763 To Cyprus (by palmjet May 21 2012 in Trip Reports) ) earlier in the year. I had a basic plan of where I wanted to go throughout the year – roughly one trip a month, but I was struggling to think of somewhere to go in December. I considered Manchester but considering the month the proposed trip was due to take place, this wasn’t the most attractive option. Also the fact I had already made my annual trip ( A Day Trip To MAN (by jwhite9185 Jun 21 2012 in Trip Reports) ) made this only an option if I was really stuck. Luckily, PalmJet’s report provided the inspiration I needed and my December schedule was set. I would later add another trip for December, but that’s a story for another time.
There were quite a few options to get my to Cyprus. EasyJet was the cheapest, however spending in the region of five hours on one didn’t appeal too much. Same goes for Monarch, although the A300 was attractive. The third option was Aegean, however their prices were ridiculous! The timings weren’t great either.
So the final option was the tried and tested British Airways. The widebody appealed, but more attractive was the fact if I flew in Club Europe I'd reach the Bronze tier of their executive club. After coming so close to trying out the BA 767 on my trip to Madrid in October, I was later glad I selected this option. I was also close to booking a 767 flight to Frankfurt earlier in the year until I realized that particular flight left Heathrow earlier than the first coach could get me there.
When the time came to book, I decided to use the British Airways App on my phone, as it seemed a pretty novel way of booking a flight. The process went much better than expected – My PNR wasn’t immediately available, however in the bookings section of the app, everything was there and in the end I received the eticket receipt a few hours later.
Job done – with ease.
Next up was a hotel. I saw explored a few options, but once again I turned to PalmJets report for inspiration and booked the Flamingo Beach Hotel, just a few minutes from the airport for a bargain price of £23 a night.
Upon arriving at work the morning before departure, I was pretty glad that I would soon be somewhere a bit warmer!
Transfer to LHR was the usual National Express coach from my local station. I had actually booked the 06:20 coach, but I later realised that there was one at 05:50. I decided to try my luck with the earlier one and after a bit of a triple take at my ticket I was let on to the earlier one without any questions.
Arrival at the central station was at 06:30, and I headed off to the BA check in area in T3, which was a new experience for me. Not anywhere near as Bling as the VS check in area, but that was to be expected really.
As I'd had a good look round T3 back in September, I made my way straight to the lounge. The fast track security was a little busy, bust as one of the operators saw me with liquids/iPad etc. in hand they signaled me to go to the front and I was through in seconds – see people that’s how its done - Prepare before you get to the x-ray machine and its quicker for everybody! And the advantage of using fast track was that I wasn’t directed through the duty free shop straight after – just through some non descript corridor between shops.
Pretty much where the non VS fast track comes out
The lounge wasn't too bad - and had some good views too although it was still a bit dark outside. The breakfast offerings were better than at Gatwick too.
Pretty good business centre
Eventually I found a comfortable sofa where I could watch TV....
Keep a check on my flight...
And follow what was going on outside, without moving. Perfect!
At 07:50 it was time to head down to gate 24B - via Dixons to look for a new lens cap as mine had decided to wedge itself into my UV filter, rendering both useless.
Once into the holding pen, it looked like G-BZHB would be doing the honours. I'd sat on this one before, but didn't actually get to fly on it ( Cancellations, Widebodies And Iberia LHR-MAD-LHR (by jwhite9185 Oct 17 2012 in Trip Reports) ). At least now there was no grey areas in the flight log!
G-BZHB with a fresh dose of de icer.
As per usual, as soon as the bus turned up, everybody decided they would get to their destination just that bit quicker if they formed a nice long queue at the exit door.
Boarding was called at 08:15, and as usual everybody was travelling in Club Europe. One guy shoved his way past me - "Erm excuse me?!" He came back with "I'm in business class" - to which I replied, "yeah, so am I!" He then backed off and let me go ahead - a little annoying that he just assumed I was in economy, however if the ground crew enforced the boarding rules, it wouldn't have been an issue. There was a brief wait on the bus while the driver checked with the crew if we were ok to board, but a few moments later he re appeared and said he had bribed them with newspapers and we were all let on.
7th December 2012
Seat: 8F / Club Europe
Off Stand: 08:51
On Stand: 15:12
At the door, I was welcomed by name and took my assigned seat of 8K.
First time I've had an amenity kit on an intra Europe flight.
Not much of a view to be had thanks to all the de icing.
During boarding, I asked if I had a seatmate and they said there were only 20 passengers booked into club, so even if there was there would be an opportunity to move. He also mentioned that this aircraft had just come out of maintenance that morning as it was getting a cabin refurb - hmm not too sure about that as it had the new cabin on my previous encounter with this jet back in October.
The captain announced a bit of a delay due to a passenger not showing up, but due to a reasonable flying time of 4 hours, we should still arrive on time. He also said we had a long ish "drive" out to the runway. Love how the BA flight crew use non-technical terms, after the crew on my previous flight mentioned the "Southwesty" runway!
I was having a slight feeling of déjà vu at this point... G-BZHB - check. Club Europe - check. Specifically chosen flight for the 767 - check. Hopefully the pitot heater (and all the other parts for that matter) stay fully functioning this time.
During boarding, the cabin crew came around offering magazines, and then menus and hot towels.
The Menu consisted of:
Once everybody was on board, pushback commenced and we made our way out to runway 27L. There was a bit of a wait outside the new T2 area for around 10 minutes or so, but once we got underway again, we didn't stop and were straight up into the air at 09:15.
Takeoff from Heathrow
Once again a friend of mine tracked my progress on FlightRadar24
Shortly after takeoff the entertainment service began
Followed shortly after by quite a few rounds of breakfast, dished up by the once again friendly and attentive crew. Whilst the main course was cooking, one of the crewmembers came around offering refills of drinks - very pro active. I opted for another tea, and a few moments later he returned with a fresh cup. There was a bit too much milk in it for my liking, but can't fault the personalized service one bit.
More bread sir? Sure!
How about another cup of tea?
Although that final cup of tea had to go down pretty fast as the ride got slightly rough after!
Not too much spilt
Once the many rounds of breakfast had finished, and the bumps had stopped, it was time to watch the world go by for a bit. It looked pretty cold over most of Europe.
Just after the movie started, there was a slight heart in mouth moment. The crew came over the PA and started off with "unfortunately there's been a slight problem..." Uh oh, not again. Luckily the slight problem was that the wrong movie had been loaded and it now wouldn't be the advertised selection. Phew!
the views over the Alps weren't quite as good as on my MXP-ZRH trip
Unfortunately there wasn't an awful lot to be seen outside during the latter stages of the flight.
After this, I decided to read Gabriel's final part of his Asia trip ( Asia 10: Take Me Home Saudia! DEL-RUH-LHR B777 (by gabrielchew Dec 5 2012 in Trip Reports) )
Catch up with a bit of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
And finally listen to a bit of music
Around an hour or so before landing, the rolling bar was brought round. Thought I'd try some champagne as it was on the house!
After all the liquids I had taken on during the flight, I headed down the back to use the washroom, taking a couple of pics of the new economy cabin. And unusually for me, I grabbed a pic of the refurbished washroom too.
Not too busy today
The next land we would see would be Cyprus
Around 20 minutes before landing the first officer came over the PA giving in update, stating that "he could see a few potholes out the windscreen", and that he expected arrival pretty much on time. Descent was made to the North of the airport then a pretty sharp right turn over the sea just passing Larnaca and on to finals.
Landing into Larnaca
Touchdown was at just before 15:10 local and a few minutes later we were on stand alongside an Austrian A321. Due to the dual jet bridge, Club Europe disembarked within a couple of minutes, and then it was off to passport control.
Once the formalities had been completed, it was out to the shambles that was a taxi rank, with drivers pretty much fighting over my custom... Until they found out I was only going about a mile or so. I eventually found a driver willing to take me on the 10 minute or so journey for €15. Pricey, but the only option available.
A few moments later I was at the Flamingo Beach Hotel. I had previously asked PalmJet what his opinions were on the place - he said good but basic. I have to say I'm in agreement, but I did like the fact I was in my room within 30 minutes of landing!
So do I go left or right?
Not bad for the price I guess.
The next couple of hours were spent relaxing on the balcony. Despite my numerous trips this year, they've all been pretty rushed affairs so I was treating this as my holiday.
Eventually I did venture down into Larnaca to grab some dinner. It was around a 30 minute walk along a dark road that was undergoing maintenance. Not the best of experiences but at least it was flat and straight.