Videos related to this report
EasyJet LGW-BCN A320 Flight Experience + No.1 Lounge: http://youtu.be/YCFp9tRw6Dw
Hi there, thanks for taking a look at this first part of a new series that will cover my first trip down under - and in true a.netter style the routing will take me slightly around the houses. The series will be split into nine parts:
Part 1 - Easyjet A319, LGW-BCN
Part 2 - Qatar Airways A333/77W in J, BCN-DOH-SIN
Part 3 - Malaysia Airlines 738/A333, SIN-KUL-MEL
Part 4 - Virgin Australia 738/E190 MEL-SYD-BNE
Part 5 - Qantas 767 BNE-SYD
Part 6 - Virgin Atlantic Upper Class A340-600 SYD-HKG
Part 7 - Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER HKG-SIN
Part 8 - Qatar Airways 77W/A333 / Air Berlin 738, SIN-DOH-BCN-TXL
Part 9 - Turkish Airlines A320/ British Airways 767 TXL-IST-LHR
Unfortunately, despite quite a bit of research, there wasn't a huge amount of variety in aircraft type for this trip, at least initially. I did try and search for an Alliance F100 between MEL-BNE, but their website didn't show that route as available for booking. On the plus side though, I did manage to shoe horn an A340-600 into the deal after my plans to fly long haul with QF fell through.
The final map was as follows:
Apologies for slightly rambling on this intro...
During the course of 2013, I was lucky enough to sample a couple of long haul business and first class products, most notably on British Airways ( An Impulse Buy To Catch BA's 787 In C LHR-ARN-LHR (by jwhite9185 Oct 18 2013 in Trip Reports) ) and Cathay Pacific ( Asia 2:Catching A Cathay Pacific 747 To Tokyo In F (by jwhite9185 Dec 22 2013 in Trip Reports) ). However, these flights however weren't particularly long in duration. They were enough to whet my appetite for more though. So I started planning for something a little bigger in 2014. Despite having been in long haul business quite a few times before, mostly with VS, it had been a good few years since I'd had such an experience so that was on the 'to do' list. As it turned out though, I would later fly with American in business across the Atlantic ( New Year, New AA: LHR-ORD-BOS-JFK-LHR 772/738/77W (by jwhite9185 Apr 1 2014 in Trip Reports) ). Also on the to do list was a trip to Australia - now that I had crossed off Hong Kong and Tokyo, Sydney was one of the few remaining places left on it.
One day in November 2013 whilst on my tea break at work I grabbed a piece of scrap paper and scribbled down my dream itinerary.
I checked out prices, and came up with a final figure. The one stumbling block, as with most things in life was how I was going to pay for it all! Luckily, a few days later I was given my overtime back, a thorn in my side for most of 2013 after it had been taken away early in January. It still didn't leave me with an unlimited supply of cash by any means, but if I got creative with my scheduling it could work. A minor car crash in December 2013 didn’t help the financial situation either. Ideally, the longest sector in business would be operated by a One World member so as to earn me enough BA tier points to regain my BA Silver / One World Sapphire status for a further year. British Airways from LHR was out of my price range, at over £4000 return. Starting in BCN would lower that price to just under £3000, but in all honesty having sampled BA's Club World seat (briefly) in August, I fancied something different. Next up was Malaysia Airlines on their A380, via KUL. This was much cheaper at £2,200, but the fact that it was in their 'promo' fare category meant it was likely that I'd earn 0 tier points or Avios - much like on my trip to Asia with them last year. The final port of call was One World's newest member, Qatar Airways. As previously mentioned, BCN seemed to have lower taxes etc. than most other places and it just happened to be a city I'd wanted to visit, so I priced up the options routing BCN-SIN and it came out at a very reasonable €1,800 (around £1,500). Booked!
The next mission was to find a way to Barcelona. I could have flown with BA, but as the flight was due to take place on the final day of my membership year, the tier points would likely expire before they were even posted. Also the fact I’d flown many BA short haul flights recently didn’t make it an overly attractive option. Instead, I turned to EasyJet. I'd given them a go in November 2013 for the first time and I was generally impressed, although I'd promised myself I would only use them for positioning flights rather than main events, so this seemed a decent enough excuse to try them again.
Booking was made via the EasyJet website for £58, including a seat booking. I’d later have to shell out an extra £16 to check in a bag – something I wasn’t initially planning on doing. In all, BA would have been a much cheaper option, plus I would have got a drink and something to eat onboard too.
Check in was made 30 days prior to departure. It was then it became clear the earlier A319 had been subbed for the larger A320 – meaning I’d manage to avoid the A319 entirely on this trip.
This would be the maiden voyage for my new luggage.
On to the day of departure then. As usual, it was out to the local station for a pretty busy train to Gatwick, via Clapham junction. I was hoping the weather would improve somewhat at my various destinations.
I arrived at Gatwick and made my way over to the shuttle to the North terminal.
Instead of making my way over to my usual BA check in area, it was over to the orange side.
There was a bit of a queue for the bag drop, but it was dealt with pretty quickly, and before I knew it my bag was disappearing into the guts of the North Terminal. I'd also manage to grab myself an orange souvenir boarding pass in the process.
After this it was through security. Much like check in, it was reasonably busy but dealt with quickly. Once I was through, I made my way over to the No1. Lounge, courtesy of my complimentary Airport Angel card - thanks to both OA260 and Signol for the tips on how to obtain this!
As far as lounges go, it wasn't too bad. The food selections were much better than upstairs in the BA lounge in my opinion. Just a shame about all the screaming kids running around. But you can't have everything I guess.
It was a little on the busy side, so not too many pics.
One complaint was that the staff weren't too efficient at cleaning up... None of this mess was mine!
I did manage to grab a seat by the window for a while.
Shortly before taking a few a.netters on a day out.
I never knew Germania served LGW?
I stayed in the lounge until gate 102 flashed up at 12:10. This meant another trip over the bridge. Along the way I spotted the Air China A330 that had restarted service to LGW just a week or two previously, plus a few others.
Unusual to see this LHR based VS at LGW
Todays ride down to BCN
I reached the gate and sat and waited until the all aboard signal was given, just as I watched my bag being thrown into the forward hold.