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Air Travel

BEA also takes to the skies over Europe

BEA also takes to the skies over Europe

Monday 4th March 2019 a British Airways A319 arrives at London’s Heathrow Airport in the second heritage livery. This one belongs to British European Airways otherwise known as BEA. The Airbus A319  swapped its British Airways livery for the BEA colours and design as part of the celebrations to mark the centenary of the beginning of British Airways back in August 1919. For these celebrations, British Airways are painting four of their aircraft in heritage liveries. The first, the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet has already put in an appearance and has already flown to Los Angeles, Lagos, New York City and several other destinations. Travel Unpacked has already covered its appearance and included a potted history of British Airways in that post. BEA flew predominantly domestic and European routes between 1959 and 1968. BOAC flew predominantly the long-haul routes. The livery matches…

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BOAC returns to the skies

BOAC returns to the skies

Monday, the 18th February 2019, saw BOAC return to London’s Heathrow Airport and begin service to the following day to New York’s JFK Airport. BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) has not been seen in the skies since 1974 when it merged with BEA (British European Airways) to become British Airways. So why was a BOAC Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet landing at London Heathrow on a dank Monday in February? The clue is in its flight number the following day for the flight to New York JFK. It operated as BA117 which is a British Airways flight designator. British Airways is the latest incarnation of Aircraft Transport and Travel Limited which in August 1919 launched the world’s first daily international scheduled air service between London and Paris. British Airways celebrates its centenary this year. February also sees the 50th anniversary of the first flight…

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Airline Review: Ryanair from Bournemouth

Airline Review: Ryanair from Bournemouth

We had been offered a holiday just 30 minutes drive from Malaga, on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain. I spent some time looking for the best deals but most of those were from the so-called London airports at Luton and Stansted. By the time we drove there from Southampton and paid for parking the deal was not so attractive anymore. It was then I discovered that Ryanair flew from Bournemouth to Malaga. Although the flight was more expensive we could get there cheaply by public transport and not have to park our car in those ludicrously expensive car parks that are a feature of most airports these days. My initial reaction used to be to avoid Ryanair whenever possible. I have personally had some unpleasant experiences with them but, to be fair, I have had good experiences too….

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Long-haul flights: how do you survive?

Long-haul flights: how do you survive?

I recently spent 17 hours in economy class on a long-haul flight from Auckland, New Zealand to Dubai. It was not the most pleasant experience; more of an endurance test than anything else. Being seated in a confined space was not what the human body was created for. QANTAS recently introduced the first non-stop flight from the UK to Australia. The flight leaves London’s Heathrow Airport and, without any stopover in Dubai or Singapore, lands in Perth, Western Australia 17-hours later. That might seem like an ideal way to travel to Australia and is a far cry from a journey of seven hops over four days that gave the Kangaroo Route its name. However, being cooped up in an aeroplane for 17 hours without a break can be an ordeal at best and dangerous to your health at worst. So, what…

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An easyjet story for Christmas

An easyjet story for Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas in skies over Hampshire…, When an easyjet flight became Santa and his reindeer. OK, the poetry leaves a bit to be desired but it does rhyme. I don’t think I’ll ever make poet laureate any time soon so I’ll revert to prose whenever my poetic creativity leaves me. Out on the grass a little girl looked up to the sky, In the hope she would see Saint Nicholas fly by. A local community association bar somewhere in South Hampshire had arranged a family night on Christmas Eve with a special appearance by a man in a red and white costume. The little girl was out on the lawn staring into the night sky hoping that this year she would catch a glimpse of Santa and his eight reindeer. At that very moment the easyjet flight from…

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Airline Review: Alitalia

Airline Review: Alitalia

Alitalia is a full scheduled Italian airline that flies from cities in Italy to Europe, the Americas and Asia with a few destinations in North Africa. As a member of the Skyteam Alliance Alitalia codeshares with a number of major airlines Booking I booked the flight through Expedia.co.uk (£) a site I have often used so was familiar with how it works. I was automatically assigned seats during booking and despite booking two passengers together was give seats in different rows. From past experience I knew I would be able to change our seats during online check-in so I was not overly concerned. Check-in Check-in was online and opened 48 hours before flight. I have never experienced a check-in site so user unfriendly as the Alitalia website. I could not log in despite giving the information asked for – first…

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Airline Review Week

Airline Review Week

My work involves a great deal of travel and I have been fortunate to fly with many different airlines around the globe. Some would say (and I have to agree) that in some cases I have had the misfortune to fly with a few airlines I would be happy never to fly with again. This week on Twitter (follow me @lethers) and on Travel Unpacked’s Facebook page I will be posting links to airline reviews I have written on this blog. You will find them under the hashtag #AirlineReviewWeek. Airline Reviews on Travel Unpacked Aegean Airlines keeps winning awards. Most notably the World Airline Awards for Best Regional Airline. It’s an accolade it well deserves and it is one of my favourite airlines in Europe. They really make the flying part of travel a pleasure; something that cannot be said about many other…

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More results – reclining seats survey

More results – reclining seats survey

I remember flying to Johannesburg in South Africa with British Airways several years ago and having to endure a seat back in my face for almost the entire journey. It was difficult to eat, difficult to work and difficult to watch anything on the seat back inflight entertainment system. The only relief came when cabin staff told the offending recliner that he had to put the seat in the upright position while meals were served to enable those behind to eat. It is not an experience I wish to repeat. I avoided flying British Airways long haul for several years because their seat design meant there was a risk of a long uncomfortable flight. Even now I think twice before flying British Airways long haul; I am yet to be convinced that it will be a comfortable few hours. I do…

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Reclining seats – survey results

Reclining seats – survey results

Since my last post on reclining seats I have discovered another airline that has installed seats that recline but do not take up the spacee of the passenger behind. Oman Air, in their Airbus A330, have installed seats that are pivoted in such a way that when you recline the seat the base of the seat moves forward. This means the reclining back of the seat takes up a minimal amount of the personal space of the person behind. You can read the complete Oman air review here. Singapore airlines also have similar seating in their Airbus A380 which means that flying with these two airlines is a real pleasure both for the recliners and the non-recliners among us. So, what did the survey results show? The first question was “Do you think reclining seats should be banned on short haul flights?”…

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Airline Review: Oman Air

Airline Review: Oman Air

Oman Air, the national carrier of Oman, serves destinations in Europe and the Far East from its Muscat hub. The airline has won numerous awards including the World Travel Awards Best Business Class Airline Middle East 2014 and Best Economy Class Airline Middle East 2013 and 2014. Flight: London Heathrow to Muscat (overnight). Aircraft – Airbus A330-300 Purchasing the ticket. This was done by an agent so I cannot comment on the process. Check-in This can be done on line at www.omanair.com 24 hours prior to departure. However when I tried to do this it would not recognise the name and booking reference as being on their system. The agent had used my second middle name as the surname. Arriving later than I usually do because of an accident on the M3 I was feeling a little stressed. The Oman Air…

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