starrymarkb
Topic Author
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:19 pm

To Nice With BA For £1

Thu May 22, 2014 11:11 pm

My First TR for a while! So will get straight on with it. This trip was booked on a whim back in January when BA reduced the £35 tax on reward flights to £1 to certain destinations on flights booked that day. So I used my Tesco points and booked flights from Heathrow to Nice during a midweek 'long weekend' (I work shifts with a six week rotation) with the aim of walking the Monaco Grand Prix circuit. Then I managed to find a Hostel for £33 for 2 night stay and finally the most expensive part was the National Express from Exeter to Heathrow for £40! It would also be my first trip on BA and first through Heathrow (previously I’d only gone from Bristol or Exeter)





It was a fairly late start by my standards (no 4am drive to BRS) and the coach was already in when I arrived at Exeter bus station at 8am (I'm guessing it had no booked pickups in the villages before Exeter so had taken the main road) so after a quick ticket check by the driver I had about 30 mins to make myself comfortable before departure.

http://i.imgur.com/06g1VXj.jpg
Walking to the Bus Station

http://i.imgur.com/u7G4vsx.jpg
The White Coach is the one I caught to Heathrow

http://i.imgur.com/3ZxuaXc.jpg
National Express Legroom

http://i.imgur.com/W2VpJT3.jpg
On the Motorway

The coach wasn't the most comfortable, leg room was tight and the seat was a little uncomfortable (suspect the padding was in need of replacement). No major traffic and arrived on time at Heathrow Central bus station. From there it was a few mins on a moving walkway to Heathrow Central rail station for a Heathrow Express to Terminal 5. I had just missed one, so watched the T4 shuttle come and go, and a Heathrow Connect arrive and leave empty for what I presumed would be a turn back siding. Eventually the Terminal 5 train arrived for the 5 main trip under the airport. HEx is very posh but the ExpressTV auto announcer got rather annoying!

http://i.imgur.com/usfrhOj.jpg
Lovecraftian Rugby advert on the HEx

After getting the lift to Departures it was a friendly and quick trip through security. T5 certainly is spacious. I did have a nose around Duty Free and made a note of where the MAC counter was for a future trip and felt sorry for the guy who’s job it was to stand outside the Duty Free dressed as a royal guard for tourists to pose with!

The only area that was overcrowded was the Weatherspoons by the Domestic gates, though surprisingly a pint of Doom Bar was cheaper than many pubs back home - was expecting Heathrow to be premium!

http://i.imgur.com/iO9e9gm.jpg

The Flight was called from Gate A22 (Stand 522) so I walked the length of T5, to find plenty of seating at the gate (a novelty compared with certain gates at Glasgow that only have about 3 seats for full A319). Boarding was by rows, and being at the back I was one of the first on. Still I did have to evict a Gold/Silver business type’s bags from my Window seat. The middle seat did remain free and he piled his stuff up there. He then got a telling off for not putting his laptop away for takeoff.

http://i.imgur.com/uWoB78l.jpg

We pushed back on time and departed from 27R, we had a short wait for the last couple of arrivals (it was the 3pm changeover) before taking an intersection departure.

Taxi and Takeoff Video
http://youtu.be/qJooG4BmAMQ

http://i.imgur.com/252tYzO.jpg
Goodbye England

http://i.imgur.com/d3PC8u4.jpg
Bonjour France

After reaching the top of climb the food and drink service started with a Chicken and Tomato sandwich which was a bit meh, and a strong vodka and coke which wasn’t  http://i.imgur.com/pMmXJAR.jpg
Drink and Snack

http://i.imgur.com/ULkIqgX.jpg
Over France

I was hoping for views of the coast on approach but it was not to be, instead the wind was favouring an arrival on runway 22R so I mostly had a view of sea. Though the view was spectacular on the downwind leg with glimpses of Monaco.

Approach and Landing, this is quite long but the views are spectacular for most of the way down. http://youtu.be/xIeDmoFYFWY

IMG_6352 by TIM PATRICK C, on Flickr
Not my picture, but a spotter did catch our flight on approach to Nice

Also you might notice in the video that businessman’s Ipad kept going off, once again he’d had a strop at having to stow his laptop for landing. So he had got his Ipad out and was having problems connecting the blue-tooth to his headphones. (By this time the Cabin Crew were seated or I suspect he might have had a telling off)

There was a bit of a wait for deplaning but was soon heading off. I did notice that the businessman had left his laptop in the seat pocket but he’d gone up the aircraft as soon as the seatbelt light was off.

http://i.imgur.com/DmrdsJd.jpg
The DC-8

It took me a while to work out what this was. My first sighting of a DC-8 (and I'd have recognised it from the front but from the back I was thinking that E-Jet has 4 engines, wait, it's too narrow for an A340, what the hell is it? - The CFM56s? threw me a bit!)

Passport control was pretty quick and I then started to walk into the city. Yes you read that right, I figured an evening walk along the front would be nice, also was hoping to get a view of the arrivals and bizjets. Unfortunately with Cannes coming up, anti paparazzi netting had been put up on the fence, you could see the jets through it, but no photos possible!

http://i.imgur.com/8Gifi2c.jpg
Memorial to a Caravelle Crash

The walk took about 2 hours and once on the Promanade was a pretty nice way to get into town with views of the arrivals making the sharp final turn over the beach.

http://i.imgur.com/A9DJt4u.jpg
Air France Airbus banking over the beach

A few shots of Nice and Monaco

http://i.imgur.com/YCN1ntj.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/liRnRVV.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/kOg7ZkC.jpg

Vintage Lotus Racer for the Historic Grand Prix (taking place at the weekend)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gQS69K3Bik

http://i.imgur.com/wlZ9hUt.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/Uo43saD.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/Iqxgxtf.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/C0uL25O.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/eEMWyT5.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/NTMzXiB.jpg
Tram without Wires!

http://i.imgur.com/RwsZFbK.jpg

After a morning watching people (and a protest march) in Messina Square I caught the Tram to the Station and then the bus to the airport. I wasn’t keen on the bus ride, services to the Airport have a premium and so it was €6 instead of the standard €1.50 (€4 day), also the bus arrived 5 mins before departure and then the driver disappeared for 15 mins, eventually departed for the airport 10 minutes late, dropping first at T2 and then at T1. As I was a little early and the BA app was showing a 30 minute delay. I had a look around the landside part of the airport. Again there was a big queue for Helicopters to Monaco. I do have to wonder if after all the queuing, check in, minibus to the helipads on the far side of the airport that there is much of a time saving versus getting a road taxi!

Security was fairly speedy and after a quick look around the small airside departure lounge I grabbed an expensive drink and grabbed a window view and watched as an Air Lingus A321 arrived on a remote stand and then just sat there for ages because while all the buses were ready and the cargo was starting to come off, someone had forgotten to fetch the airstairs.

http://i.imgur.com/JbT4ddG.jpg
Shamrock in need of stairs

http://i.imgur.com/9jIf1tw.jpg
Norwegian

I then headed through Passport control to the non Schengen part of the terminal where the facilities were minimal (there was a lounge but I don't have any status) and eventually we were called to a bus gate. I saw our A319 land and taxi back past the terminal before parking up out of sight.

http://i.imgur.com/vKBmdP5.jpg
Famous 767

Once on the bus it was short run out to the aircraft which was parked next to a Russian Oligarch's private 767. I took my seat at the back and had a whole row to myself. Another passenger asked the steward how busy we would be and the reply was about two thirds full.

http://i.imgur.com/r3mcVuP.jpg
Emirates Cattle Carrier Pushes Back

The Captain came on and announced that the delay was due to strong winds at Heathrow reducing the arrival rate and that we would be holding on the ground for another 10 to 15 minutes awaiting a slot.

In the end the delay was only a few mins before we pushed back and taxied to runway 4R for departure.

The departure was very impressive with a helicopter on parallel approach to the helipads and the sharp right turn passing 400ft before making a 180 degree turn to overfly the airport and clear the mountains.

Departure Video
http://youtu.be/5WyNk4-tuaA

There were good views of the French Alps.

http://i.imgur.com/mNNO4m9.jpg

Food was the same as on the outbound. Chicken and tomato sandwich with Vodka and Coke.

There was a little turbulence over Northern France shortly before the top of descent, the seatbelt sign was turned on but there wasn't anything to speak of beyond the initial big bump.

http://i.imgur.com/pj4Ai42.jpg

During the descent a video guide to Terminal 5 was played for connecting passengers. We managed to escape the hold and just had a dog leg to the final approach over London which was very bumpy. Though as seems to happen all too often, a rough approach often gives a smooth landing.

Arrival Video
http://youtu.be/_-C_AqI-e3c

We taxied past several A380s and two 787s (first ones I've seen up close) before pulling onto a central stand on T5A. The Automatic Passport gates were quick as usual and then it was to the station for the Heathrow Express to T123 station for the Central Bus Station where I would have an hour to kill for the 504 coach I was booked on, or so I thought. On the CIDs I spotted a 501 calling at Exeter due in about 5 mins. So £5 at the National Express ticket desk later and I was booked on it. Just in time for the coach to pull in. The coach was one of the brand new super long tri-axles that remind me of a 747 in profile. (Someone else's Picture of one here) The legroom was better too. So I settled for the 3.5hr run to Exeter and ordered a pizza for collection when the coach finally arrived in Exeter at about 9pm.

I really enjoyed my BA experience and have another trip to look forward two in a couple of weeks with a week in East Germany for a music festival.

Previous TRs:
EZY Daytrip: Bristol To Glasgow (Take 2)
Flight Of The Fokker: BRS-AMS
Day Trip To GLA With EZY
 
bigvince76
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 7:18 am

RE: To Nice With BA For £1

Fri May 23, 2014 12:48 am

Nice to see the Paris Street bus station making it on to a.net! Here is a tip when going from Exeter to LHR. If you have hand baggage only buy a 'funfair' ticket to London Victoria, these can be had for £2. As far as I know all Victoria coaches stop at LHR, so just get off there. If you have bags that have to go under the bus it is a little bit more tricky but just sneak your bag into the LHR hold after showing the driver your ticket. Sadly doing the same on the return is not possible as they won't let you on at LHR with a ticket from Victoria, still it does cut the cost quite a bit.

Good trip report, did the businessman get his laptop back? The lounge at NCE is nothing special, you did not miss much.
 
SpeedbirdABZ
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:18 pm

RE: To Nice With BA For £1

Fri May 23, 2014 10:12 am

Great report!
I did a wee jaunt to Malta last weekend - kinda TP run and break, but too lazy to do TR's!
Thank you to all of you who do them!
 
lpdal
Posts: 1961
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:49 pm

RE: To Nice With BA For £1

Fri May 23, 2014 7:04 pm

Quoting starrymarkb (Thread starter):

Hi Starrymarkb and thanks for a well formed report  ,

BA looks like an awesome airline with great service, what a treat to get a ticket for only a single pound! Also I am glad to see you atleast got a sandwich in Y--in America DL is the only legacy that actually still serves complimentary snacks in Y and meals in F on short haul flights are becoming more and more sparse.

Thanks again

-LPDAL
All of my views and posted content are mine alone, and should not be viewed as official communication from my employer, its subsidiaries thereof, or any other entities or airlines.
 
starrymarkb
Topic Author
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:19 pm

RE: To Nice With BA For £1

Sat May 24, 2014 2:34 pm

Quoting bigvince76 (Reply 1):
Here is a tip when going from Exeter to LHR. If you have hand baggage only buy a 'funfair' ticket to London Victoria

I did consider that, but being the week after a bank holiday it was possible that they sometimes run a duplicate coach to Heathrow/Victoria only.

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 3):
BA looks like an awesome airline with great service, what a treat to get a ticket for only a single pound! Also I am glad to see you atleast got a sandwich in Y--in America DL is the only legacy that actually still serves complimentary snacks in Y and meals in F on short haul flights are becoming more and more sparse.

I was impressed, even the booze was free  
 
Pelle
Posts: 80
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:58 am

RE: To Nice With BA For £1

Sat May 24, 2014 9:27 pm

Great report - thanks for sharing  
Good idea for a short break, I have to go to Nice at some point too as it looks like an interesting destination.
I have family near Exeter so I've done the London-Exeter commute quite a few times. If you wanted to make this trip as cheap as possible, then how come you didn't use Megabus to get to LHR?
C208 DHC6 CRJ700 SB2000 ERJ190 737 733 735 738 752 763 772 77W 744 787 A319 A320 A321 A333 A346 A380
 
starrymarkb
Topic Author
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:19 pm

RE: To Nice With BA For £1

Sat May 24, 2014 10:09 pm

Quoting Pelle (Reply 5):
If you wanted to make this trip as cheap as possible, then how come you didn't use Megabus to get to LHR?

I have done Megabus to London before, but they don't call at Heathrow. They either run 'NonStop' (with a unadvertised stop near Bristol for a crew change) or call at Bristol then Non Stop to Victoria. Also they only have three departures per day (2 daytime, one overnight) whereas NatEx are about every 2 hours  
 
ab486
Posts: 179
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:26 pm

RE: To Nice With BA For £1

Fri May 30, 2014 8:28 pm

Fab report. A good deal with BA and a nice looking break you had! Some pretty standard looking flights with BA, but all looks good. Really nice pics of Nice and Monaco, too. Thanks for sharing!

Adam

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