When your fiancée is flying from London back to her hometown in China for Chinese New Year and in order to prepare for our wedding (which is on Chinese New Year itself!), you want to do something to make her trip extra special. Unfortunately because of logistical and personal reasons, I could not go on the same flight as her, and will be joining her a week later in Yangzhou. So, I passed a kind request to the lovely team in the PR department at British Airways to see if they could do something. I was hoping that the Captain would make an announcement, but the wonderful crew of flight BA169 from London to Shanghai exceeded all expectations. Not only did they upgrade her to Business Class (known as Club World at BA), but she was given a surprise congratulatory announcement in-flight. I could only wish I was there, but what a flight she had. Great stuff. Massive thanks to the Senior Purser, Captain and the whole operating crew of BA169, and of course, the ground staff at BA's head office in London. You guys are amazing. The perfect customer service that one can ever hope for.
Time to go back to Shanghai (via Hong Kong)...def will beat DHL to get my parcel to the British Embassy- as that would have taken 3 days...quickest turnaround...12 hours of running around London getting errands done (including a quickfire shopping trip to Harrods) and 8 hours of bliss sleep thanks to a great book by James (read his book...perfect for long-haul flights and short stopovers!). Ciao London...
Caught while landing on Heathrow's runway 27L....not easy to get a shot while coming into a windy touchdown at 145knots!
BA's Concorde, reg G-BOAB, first flew on 18 May 1976 from Bristol Filton. Her last flight was a positioning ride on 15 August 2000 as "Speedbird Concorde Bravo Papa 002" from New York JFK to London Heathrow after flying 22,296 hours. Ever since then she has sat quietly at Heathrow, admiring all the new boys and girls on 27L in front of her. Beautiful bird!
During busy period, when planes are waiting to land at London Heathrow Airport, they are usually placed by London Air Traffic Control to hold and circle around any one of four main points around London- Lambourne (North-East London), Ockham (South-West London), Bovingdon (North-West London), and Biggin Hill in South-East London. Aircraft are separated by a height of 1,000 feet. We circled around Biggin Hill for around four times on this occasion...providing me with spectacular views (like below)...and frustration for the other passengers who just wanted to go home!
Special thanks to Oman Air.
The last 10 minutes of any flight into London's Heathrow Airport are the best moments to capture photos...unless you're lucky enough to be a Captain and sit on the left-hand side, then ALWAYS try to get a right-hand side window seat...that way no matter whichever way you are landing from, you get to see Central London (provided its not cloudy!)
Arriving home is, and will always be, a captivating experience.
My latest feature article for the Shanghai Daily is a travel report on how to spend 72 hours in London.
Having ruled the skies for over three decades, Concorde stands quietly by the side of the BA Maintenance hangers at Heathrow opposite runway 27L and admires all the new 'kids on the block' who land and take-off in front of her. I miss the daily thundery noise that she used to make (everyday at 4pm) over south London coming in from JFK.
With an ever fast growing world...aircraft manufacturers need to build faster and more fuel efficient aircraft. The faster the world uses up all the oil, the faster they discover the Next Big Sustainable Energy product. We're (passengers) only dong our bit for the planet by putting the bets down for that!
Photo taken from a BA A321 as we landed on the southern runway at Heathrow.
It's always a sheer delight to fly over Central London while making the final approach to London Heathrow Airport...best view in town...takes about 5 minutes to land from this point...but takes 2 HOURS to get back home to Dulwich.
One of the advantages of flying out of Heathrow (especially if you are departing out of the easterly runways') is that you get treated to some marvelous views of the capital (weather and visibility prevailing!). Though it must be said that with a take-off speed of around 250 knots/287mph (and increasing!), and an increasing altitude, it doesn't offer hope that the views will last for long- especially as it takes only around 6 minutes to get from Heathrow to the other side of London! The views never fail to captivate (camera ready at hand, I even managed to get a photo of my home as we flew over it for a final goodbye!)
I decided to take a photo of the customs security point at Heathrow Airport for a report, and immediately I was told to delete the photo by the custom officers (they watched me delete the photos on the spot, and I had to show them that I have actually deleted the photos). I have had the same experience at other airports. Now, without being stereo-typically negative, in my experience normally you are likely to get that response in a country such as Russia or somewhere in the Middle East...but thanks to some idiots on 9/11/2001 you are likely to get that response at every airport in the world (irrespective of what color or race you are- seriously). Why is it that the places that sell the most cameras than any other - airports - don't let you take pictures? I mean ...you can't take a photo of the Security and Immigration Officers working. Why? It's not as if the area is out of bounds of the public...
(note: showing a Journalist pass sometimes makes them more angry)
A two mile long road will just take you upto two miles...but two miles of runway will take you ANYWHERE!
The sight of a Egyptair Boeing 777-300ER landing at Heathrow's Runway 27R caught my eye as I made my way in order to catch my flight. Despite the serious civil unrest and chaos that the country is going through, the airline is still flying normal schedules without any issues. Egypt's sea resorts, especially Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada, are popular holiday destinations for many Europeans (July and August are the hottest months of the year at Sharm el-Sheikh, and become a beehive for avid scuba divers). The pristine waters of the Red Sea (it's actually turquoise), the year around sunshine, the great Egyptian hospitality and the delicious food all are key reasons why so many Europeans escape their boring and dull lands in search of sun, sea, and sand.
The land of the people who were one of the first major civilizations to codify design elements in art and architecture is going through a tough time at the moment. While there may be enhanced security in places such as Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada (where I guess most of the passengers in the plane above would have come from), the country is going through a phase of continued unrest and the evolving political situation.
In Cairo on the 14th of August Egyptian security forces ended sit-in protests at Nahda Square close to Cairo University in Giza and at Rabaa Al-Adaweya mosque in Nasr City. This resulted in at least 500 deaths. Violent clashes also occurred near Mostafa Mahmoud Square in Mohandiseen, Cairo. It’s very likely that there will be further protests in Cairo- and let's hope that
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