Thoughts On Visiting London – Have London’s Incidents Changed Travel To London?

Over the past week I’ve traveled from London to Hong Kong to Doha to Munich, battling a bad cold in the process. Of course this travel was all done in premium cabins, which I’m incredibly grateful for – I doubt I’d have loved this week so much if I was stuck in economy for all three flights.

Prior to that, I spent two weeks at Imperial College London, where I attended an intensive course on physical sciences (I also did more, but the course was the main reason I was there). Apart from being a travel blogger I’m also an aspiring pure maths/mechanical engineering student, so I was glad to be able to meet other aspiring STEM students (if you’re reading this, hi!), and I made some invaluable friends throughout the process, which I’m happy about (technically I shouldn’t be as I won’t be seeing most of them for a while, though we’ll see where this blog takes me over time).

As part of the programme’s pastoral activities, I was also able to visit various parts of London, which I was especially excited about, given it was one of the 10 travel destinations that I’ve visited for too brief a time and wanted to return to most.

London, United Kingdom

I figured I’d share some of my thoughts of traveling to London, as London has gone through a few crises lately, including an attack near London Bridge in early June which killed seven people, and the Grenfell Tower disaster, which killed 80. For the record, the current UK Threat Level is set as “Severe”, the second highest in the hierarchy, which suggests that an attack is “highly likely”. I was curious to see if this would change the way people lived their lives particularly around touristy places in London, and if I would leave London with a different sense compared to what I had felt before.

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What Is Qatar Airways’ Leased A350 Business Class Like?

As I talked about yesterday, I recently had the chance to fly from Hong Kong to Doha to Munich in Qatar Airways business class. Yesterday I shared my initial thoughts on the flight from Hong Kong to Doha, which was operated by a Qatar Airways 787 featuring reverse herringbone business class seats. When I booked the flight, the Doha to Munich segment was originally going to be operated by a Qatar Airways A350, though in February Qatar announced that they would be leasing A350s from partner LATAM, with Doha to Munich being one of the affected routes.

LATAM Airlines Airbus A350-900 Munich Airport

It’s no secret that I don’t mind trying new airlines, despite the fact that LATAM’s A350 seats are far superior to Qatar Airways’ A350 seats. So, how was my flight in Qatar Airways’ leased A350 business class product?

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Is Cathay’s New Upgrade Bid Program All That?

Cathay Pacific has announced that they are going to allow passengers to bid for one-class upgrades to its Premium Economy and Business Class on selected flights in a second scheme, branded as “Upgrade Bid”. I thought I would take a look at the program and offer some… umm… critiques on it.

IMG_7103.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Premium Economy 

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What Is Qatar Airways’ 787 Business Class Like?

This morning I had the chance to fly from Hong Kong to Doha to Munich in Qatar Airways business class, which I was able to do by picking up a discounted business class ticket as part of Qatar Airways’ Travel Festival in January 2017. I’ve always wanted to try Qatar Airways’ business class product, so I was happy I got to do so. I’m going to be outlining my first impressions of Qatar Airways’ 787 product here, and I’ll outline my first impressions of Qatar Airways’ leased A350 product in a separate post.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class

The ticket cost our family about HK$19,000 each, except for my mother, who paid HK$21,000 for her ticket as there were only a few seats left in our fare class. Still, that’s an unbeatable deal, given that European airlines usually charge upwards of HK$26,000 for flights from Hong Kong to Europe.

So, how was it?

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Hong Kong Airport Will Get A New Airport Security Fast Track

If I had to name three airports that I’ve found incredibly efficient when it comes to security, I’d name Singapore Changi, Zurich Airport and Hong Kong Airport. I’ve used all three airports at least a couple of times, and I’ve never needed to wait more than 10 minutes to get through security and immigration (actually, Zurich Airport took me quite a bit of time, as they found a pair of compasses in my bag, though that’s not related to the airport system itself). Singapore Airport is a special case, as security is done at each individual gate, though overall I find the three airports to have the most streamlined security processes.

I understand that I’m used to traveling off-season (international schools have summer off early, so I’m gone by the time the real peak season begins), and my Hong Kong identity card allows me to pass through immigration quickly, so I’m more of a special case. However, I was still surprised to see this happening.

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The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London Heathrow – Amazing!

I’ve just kicked off a busy few days of travel, where I’ll be sampling Virgin Atlantic’s 787 premium economy, Qatar Airways’ 787 business class and Qatar/LATAM’s A350 business class within four days. I’ve flown Virgin Atlantic’s premium economy before, but the latter two products will be new to me. I was really excited about this week, and I’m hoping to get a lot of coverage for the blog.

As part of my routing from London to Hong Kong to Doha to Munich, I hopped on my Virgin Atlantic flight back to Hong Kong last night, but one of my main goals was to visit the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, which premium economy passengers can pay into with £60. £60 is a lot of money, but I was willing to splurge, just to see what the lounge was like.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London Heathrow Entrance

Last time I tried to enter the Clubhouse I wasn’t allowed in as I was a year below the minimum entry age for people traveling alone, though as a newly minted junior year student, I was able to get myself a cash card and buy my way in.

I’ll have a full report soon, though as of now I’d like to put down some of my initial thoughts.

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What Is Cathay Dragon A330 First Class Like?

Earlier in June, I had the opportunity to fly Cathay Dragon First Class aboard their A330 to Beijing and back. While there is significant coverage of Cathay Pacific/Cathay Dragon business class here on the blog, this will be the first international Cathay Dragon first class review on the blog. This post will mainly be focusing on the highlights of the flights and the main differences when compared to Business Class.

IMG_0265Cathay Dragon Airbus A330-300 First Class

I actually paid outright for the round-trip full fare (Fare Class F) First Class flights. I ended up paying around HKD$14,670 for the flights which is quite a lot of money, but considering the Business Class fares at the time which sat somewhere around $11,640, and the upgraded service and meals that I would receive, I went ahead and splurged for it.

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YAY: Some Airlines Are No Longer Subjected To The U.S. Electronics Ban

Back in March, the United States introduced a rather asinine electronics ban policy that extended to several airlines. I wrote about it at the time – I am always supportive of safety onboard a flight, but you’d have figured that people intending to harm have found other ways to sneak their devices onboard flights by now.

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A while ago the U.S. announced that if airports became compliant with a series of enhanced security measures, large electronic devices would once again be allowed on flights between these airports and the U.S.. I’m happy to say that a few airlines have been compliant with these new safety measures, and on certain airlines, you will once again be able to bring your laptops, iPads and cameras onboard flights.

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Asking To Visit Premium Cabins After Flights

I’m sure this won’t matter to those of you who are just here for the reviews, though I find this to be a rather uncovered aspect for those that are keen on airline products and reviewing travel. I’m a premium cabin fanatic, as there’s so much flexibility to first and business class configurations that can be made. However, sometimes you may not have the luxury of sitting in a premium cabin, so you may want to visit or tour a cabin at the end of a flight. So if you want to visit a premium cabin, should you ask for it, what should you expect, and most importantly, how should you approach such a request?

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I’ve tended to have pretty high (i.e. 100%) success rates when asking to do so in recent times, so for those of you who take interest in doing so, here are some of my tips.

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6 Thoughts On Virgin Atlantic 787 Premium Economy

Hello from London! I had the chance to fly Virgin Atlantic in premium economy again for the first time since last July. I remember leaving the flight feeling pleasantly surprised, and found the soft product amongst one of the better premium economy products I’ve flown (the hard product was decent). Well, I’m happy I got to try the product again, as the flight itself was great.

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 Premium Economy

I’ve only flown two other premium economy products in the last few years (which is why I wanted to try something different, though Cathay Pacific and British Airways both had prices over the roof), and based on the two flights that I’ve taken on Virgin Atlantic, I think it’s safe to say that they are in the same league as Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines’ respective products. I’ll share a few overall thoughts that I have on Virgin Atlantic premium economy after this flight, though expect a full review to come soon.

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