Tier Point Run to Helsinki in Mar 2020

My regular TP run to Helsinki over two weekends. Just before lockdown started in the UK. Eerily quiet in Helsinki!

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A BA short haul aircraft waiting to depart from T5
A BA short haul aircraft waiting to depart from T5
A BA short haul aircraft waiting to depart from T5
A BA short haul aircraft waiting to depart from T5

Tier Point Run to Hawaii in Jan 2023: Day 1 – London (LHR) to Budapest (BUD)

By Nige on Thu 26 Jan 2023 at 21:36
Type: Post
Story: Tier Point Run to Hawaii in Jan 2023
Tags: British Airways | BUD | Budapest | LHR | London | Trips

This is the flight which is a bit of a bore to be honest. First flight of a complex itinerary where I am heading the opposite way to the way I want to go. However, for saving £1,000s off my first class trip to Hawaii, I’d go anywhere I needed to! Shame this positioning flight is only worth 40 tier points.

First stop was the check-in area to sort my main trip from Budapest. Since BA.com wasn’t allowing me to check in online for some reason, I had to ask someone to intervene. The check-in agent confirmed everything was in order, could only apologise for me not being allowed to check-in online and printed all 4 boarding passes for me, including my final flight to Honolulu on Sat morning. I got the desirable “Seq: 1” for that leg of my trip!

The First Wing (TFW) security was empty after I had sorted out my proper trip starting from Budapest tomorrow morning. So, just a few minutes spent unpacking for security, and I was heading through the First Lounge and into the Concorde Room (CCR).

The First Lounge and the CCR were relatively busy, but my initial wander around T5 gave the opposite impression. I.e. not too many passengers heading away from the UK. I saw Ian Blackford on my initial terminal walk (the SNP Leader of the Commons). When I popped into the First Lounge I found Richard Curtis enjoying some food near the help-yourself buffet. Not seen any famous people in my previous couple of trips and then I get two within 10 mins of this one!

The T5 North BA Lounge
The T5 North BA Lounge
The T5 North BA Lounge
The T5 North BA Lounge

I also popped into the T5 North BA Lounge, which I haven’t been in for a while. It was pretty busy with very few seats available. The food on offer looked pretty tasty however, including a katsu curry.

I found a comfy seat back in the CCR and ordered a BA Concorde Burger with fries. They get some stick from some on Flyertalk, but I find they are almost always gorgeous. Evidenced via picture below:

My very tasty BA Concorde Burger
My very tasty BA Concorde Burger
My very tasty BA Concorde Burger
My very tasty BA Concorde Burger

The flight was due to leave from Gate A2 so I headed down to the domestic gates about 45 mins before it was due to depart. It was the normal melee at the gate with no organised queuing. There were passengers everywhere all getting in the way of everyone else. We had the announcement that the flight was going to be very busy and we could check in our hand luggage free of charge and we could be pre-boarded in return. Half the flight had a case or bag that they didn’t need on the flight!

Flight: BA0870 Equip: A320
Sched Depart: 19:35 Actual: 19:39
Sched Arrival: 23:15 Actual: 23:13
Takeoff: 19:59 Landing: 23:07

Boarding started fairly promptly for a change and I was soon on into seat 01A (not my normal seat – normal seat sevice would resume tomorrow).

It was a tad chilly on board the BA flight to Budapest
It was a tad chilly on board the BA flight to Budapest
It was a tad chilly on board the BA flight to Budapest
It was a tad chilly on board the BA flight to Budapest

BA must have circulated a memo about crew getting their fingers out and getting flights out on time. We heard the fully boarded announcement with 8 mins to go. I’ve not been on a BA flight that was ready to depart AHEAD of schedule for years. Well done BA! Unfortunately, we still had 6 cases that couldn’t fit in the overhead lockers, so that took a good few mins to deal with. Even the captain’s intro announcement was spoken really fast! Speed was the watchword for today!

One of the perks of being Gold Guest List (GGL) is that from time to time, you get the front row side to yourself. If a GGL member reserves a front row seat early enough, BA holds the seat next to you so that no one else can reserve it. Obviously, if the flight is super busy, BA may have to release that hold, but its great when it works out. Tonight’s flight was one of those occasions. I sort of recognised the guy on the other side of the cabin – he was in the same position as me with no one in the seat next to him. I’m sure I’ve been on a flight with him before.

For a change, we took off on the southern runway, eastwards on 09R , which provided a vaguely interesting view over the city. It was very cloudy, so the view wasn’t that good, but it was a change from the normal take-off heading westward.

Drinks and nuts were served fairly quickly after take off. The champers was ok and I made sure I had a slurp of water alongside each glug of champagne. There’s nothing worse than going too fast at the start, and running out of energy half way down the back straight!

Drinks and nuts on the way to Budapest
Drinks and nuts on the way to Budapest
Drinks and nuts on the way to Budapest
Drinks and nuts on the way to Budapest

Dinner was very good. Started off with a brocoli with tahini dressing – a little unusual but fine. Main was a fall apart beef cheek with cauliflower. It was just super-tasty! Pud was a strawberry trifle which was nice, followed by cheese and bics. Washed down with a little more champers. All very acceptable.

A delightful dinner on the way to Budapest
A delightful dinner on the way to Budapest
A delightful dinner on the way to Budapest
A delightful dinner on the way to Budapest

The rest of the flight comprised a bit of dozing, listening to Oasis/Liam Gallagher and playing games. It kept me busy! I did have a bit of time to consider the cleanliness of the aircraft, and there was nothing bad that stood out to me, so it was fine for what it was.

Final approach into Budapest International Airport was a little bumpy, as was touchdown. But we were soon at our normal gate, Gate B6. We had the same turmoil as last time with passengers getting up before we had even reached the gate. There was a BA announcement to ask passengers to sit down, but it was far too late for it to be effective.

My room at the iBis Styles Hotel at Budapest Airport
My room at the iBis Styles Hotel at Budapest Airport
My room at the iBis Styles Hotel at Budapest Airport
My room at the iBis Styles Hotel at Budapest Airport

Once I was off, it was a quick walk down to passport control and out along the path to the iBis Styles Hotel. Check in took a little bit longer than normal, but I was assigned room 438 which wasn’t the best to be honest. On the positive side, it was a change to the rooms I slept in on previous trips; however, the room wasn’t as big or as nice as those rooms. Considering how little time I was planning on spending in the room, it was absolutely fine.


Follow the whole story here: Tier Point Run to Hawaii in Jan 2023


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Author Bio: About Nige

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Nige is one of the co-founders of The Billingham Blog and works as a freelance management consultant. He loves to fly in his spare time!

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