Bits: Air New Zealand LA sale, Nobu Hotel Shoreditch opens today, my Uber milestones!

News in brief:

Air New Zealand Premium Economy deal to LA

Air New Zealand has launched a limited time Premium Economy fare from London to Los Angeles of £815.

Air New Zealand is currently introducing a new Premium Economy product.  At the moment, you will get the Spaceseat:

Air New Zealand Premium Economy

…. but this will switch at some point – planned for September at the moment – to this new seat:

Air New Zealand premium economy

…. with a 41 inch pitch, 19 inch width and a 5 inch wide armrest.  Both look a lot better than the BA / Virgin products!

The airline is also offering Business Class at £2,132 (they use a Virgin / Air Canada style seat) and Economy Class at £381.  You need to book by 12th July.

Full details can be found on this page of the Air New Zealand website.

Nobu Shoreditch exterior

Nobu Hotel Shoreditch opens today

If you are out in London tonight and looking for somewhere different for a drink, the long anticipated Nobu Hotel Shoreditch opens today.

Here is the PR guff:

Set back from the lively hub of Great Eastern Street, Nobu Hotel Shoreditch offers a dynamic blend of Nobu’s signature east-meets-west philosophy and Shoreditch’s creative and industrial energy.

The property boasts 143 guest rooms and seven suites, meeting space, a lobby bar and 240-seat restaurant, which lies at the heart of the building, spanning almost the entire footprint of the hotel. Guests to the hotel and restaurant will be able to enjoy genre-defining Nobu signature dishes, exquisite sushi, and Shoreditch-inspired menus and cocktails.

For those wishing to witness the theatre and artistry of Nobu chefs in action there is the exclusive 10-seat sushi bar and an 18-seat chef’s table, with prime views of both the main kitchen and sushi chefs at work. Giving back to the local area, Nobu Hotel Shoreditch will also be opening a stunning pocket garden, creating a public space between the vibrant streets and the calmness of the hotel, offering an oasis in the heart of East London.

The separate Lobby Bar on the ground floor is also available to both guests and the public, offering an comfortable atmosphere. Alongside a range of Nobu dishes and award-winning cocktails, the Lobby Bar provides a sophisticated retreat in which to socialise, relax or watch the world go by.

It is on Willow Street in a very striking new Ron Arad building (photo above, click to enlarge) if you know your architects.

Uber 350

My Uber milestones!

If you’ve ever wondered how driving around with kids can wreck your Uber score, I have the answer!

On its fifth anniversary in London, Uber has been emailing people with their ride data.  This is what I got:

1,147 rides taken

4.59 overall rating

923 five-star ratings received

If you can do your maths, then you quickly work out the following:

923 five-star rides

…. means 224 non five-star rides

Average rating of 4.59 over 1,147 rides

…. means that the other 224 rides got an average score of 2.9!

Now, many of these 1,147 Uber rides did not involve me as the passenger and were used to pick up my kids from school.  I’m pretty the bulk of the 923 five-star rides were ones where my wife or I were passengers, as I used it heavily for a couple of years to go to and from my old ofice.  But, come on, an average score of 2.9 for the 224 rides which were not ranked as 5/5?! 

The Uber ranking score is meant to be logarithmic. Drivers apparently get ‘deactivated’ if their average ranking goes under 4.6.  Even if you steal the car the driver is not meant to rate you as low as a 2 …..

OK, once my little boy was sick in an Uber.  But that was only one ride …. what about the other 223?!

(PS.  Our ‘£15 first ride’ Uber sign-up code is still working.  This is worth £5 more than the standard refer a friend sign up code.  Simply download the Uber app and add ‘HEADFORPOINTS’ into the promo code box on the Payments page.)

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Michael says:

    OT: I’m flying Club out of LHR terminal 3 in a couple of weeks. My flight is at 6pm. People have said that the Galleries lounge doesn’t have good food selection until after 5. Would I be better off going to the Cathay lounge? I don’t have any status.

    • You will always be better off going to the Cathay lounge! It’s much nicer.

      • Michael says:

        Thank you!

        • AspirationalFlyer says:

          Hi Michael – last time I was at T3, I was travelling with Finnair and actually did a bit of a lounge bar crawl which included the BA lounge, American Airlines lounge, Cathay lounge and No.1 Traveller lounge. All were ok, but the Cathay lounge was by far the best. If you like Asian food, the Cathay lounge does great dim sum and noddles to order. My recommendation would be to order food when you arrive, grab a glass of champagne or a speciality cocktail from the bar and then enjoy! There is a buffet too, with various western options. The only things that are sometimes better about the BA lounge are a good selection of self pour alcohol and, in my experience, bigger range of magazines and newspapers. The Elemis spa is obviously too if you’re flying long haul. Depending on when you fly the Qantas lounge might also finally be open!

    • DEFINITELY go eat in the Cathay lounge. You can always go to the BA lounge afterwards if you’d rather pour your drinks yourself.

  2. For those truly interested, you can submit a Subject Access Request to UBER if your account is EU based and get a detailed breakdown of how many of each category of rating you’ve received.

    My stats as of last year were:
    52 x 5 star
    3 x 4 star
    5 x 3 star
    1 x 2 star
    0 x 1 star

    It surprised me as I expected more polarised results on the principle that people generally like or dislike you.

    • It does make you wonder if they’d be better only having a 3 star system – or following Netflix’s lead and do a simple thumbs up/down. The granularity of 5 stars seems rarely used.

  3. Chan P says:

    I ate at Nobu on Thursday. Same great service and food. Will be back at the end of next week

  4. A quick one to say a huge well done to the team at Curve for acting quickly and efficiently when I had a stream of rogue transactions appear on my card. I turned the card off after the first one, messaged through the app and I had a new card within 48 hours,with the first oddness transaction reversed.

    • Excellent. I must say since they finally launched the Android version I’ve been pretty pleased with them. Definitely much more helpful than Supercard ever were!

  5. rotundo says:

    I have to confess that I had an “Awww….” moment when I saw this in the email: “Engagements between couples who met on an uberPOOL journey: 5”

  6. I have had a few what I think were one star ratings, and the only reason I can think of is that they were short journeys. Digging around, I sense that low ratings for short journeys are common – which to my mind undermines the credibility of the whole ratings system. What do people think?

  7. the realharry1 says:

    Just noticed that El Corte Ingles (department store) are on IB Plustore & are happy to ship to UK for modest postage
    https://ibplustore.iberia.com/es/department-stores/el-corte-ingles

    Might be an alternative/ preferred way to earn your first IB point

    • the realharry1 says:

      the kids are going crazy about this item http://www.elcorteingles.es/videojuegos/A23204900-nintendo-classic-mini-super-nes/?aff_id=2118094

      which is apparently hard to find in the UK

      • the realharry1 says:

        http://www.elcorteingles.es/libros/A21704385-moby-dick-9780007925568/

        Moby Dick (in English) sent to UK – total EUR8.75 & earns 16 Avios :)

        • JamesB says:

          OT @TRH1: Did you take up the Virgin ISA at 8k bonus? I chanced it and left it but they have just extended it. Looks as good as it might get this year so I guess I’ll just have to take it.

          • the realharry1 says:

            yep x2

            my assumption is you won’t get better than 8K

            plus it’s obviously much better investing logic to use the 6x £100 method (pound cost averaging) than 1 random date lump sum investment (which ties up more money as well)

            given it’s important to finish the 6 month minimum term this financial year, you need to start 7 months before 5th April 2018

            which means deadline to apply is (say) mid August – but my strong hunch is you won’t see any points better than 8K in August

          • Genghis says:

            +1

          • JamesB says:

            My thinking too guys so I guess I better get signed up. With the one off investment now at £2000 it is no longer worth the risk for 8k miles. Also I seem to recall that Virgin Money can be a little slow taking the first paynent so I agree Augusg effectively last chance to be certain of completing the 6 months.

          • Genghis says:

            I signed up perhaps the second day it went up to 8k but the first payment will be on Monday (1st of the month) – not sure if I chose that or if it was the default.

    • Thanks – potential source of Nordes gin and Avios, two of my favourite things!

  8. Greenpen says:

    I have never used an Uber cab so don’t really understand what is going on here. However, it seems rather odd that the driver rates the customer and not the other way around!

    • Duncan Stevenson-Price says:

      It works both ways. It used to be that users didn’t even see their rating but that changed recently.

      I haven’t had the email Rob mentions so I don’t see the breakdown.

      • the realharry1 says:

        but why would you/ should you remotely care what some pissant cabbie thinks about you?

        • Because your rating affects how likely Uber drivers are to accept your ride hail request. A low rating means drivers will be much less inclined to accept your request, particularly during times of high demand.

        • AspirationalFlyer says:

          Because if you have a low score and they otherwise have plenty of custom, you may struggle to get an Uber or they will just cancel after initially accepting. There are obviously plenty of other options, but living in East London I often find Uber one of the cheapest and most convenient.

        • Genghis says:

          No driver would take my request for a ride around the corner at Birmingham airport the other day. They kept cancelling. Had to walk in the rain!

          • thats why you book a long journey, then amend it when you get in the car…..

          • ^ That’s why drivers rate passengers.

          • The driver cannot see the destination you have entered until they have picked you up and started the journey. I have heard some drivers are calling riders and asking the destination and then cancelling if the journey is only short. If this happens you should report it to UBER.

          • Genghis says:

            @Simon So why did around 8 drivers accept my ride and then cancel on me if they did not know where I was going?

      • RIcatti says:

        This is all quite rubbish. Serious rubbish.

        I am mostly taking rides alone, NEVER amended a destination to shorten the trip, etc, I lift my luggage to put into trunk myself, and I always, always look out for the car and make myself visible.

        Behaving like a good housetrained dog, basically. My score is not much better than Rob’s.

        I suspect that drivers retaliate for the absence of an automated tip.

  9. Sussex Bantam says:

    I had an offer from ebay/nectar in my email today – spend 3000 Nectar points on ebay and get 1500 back. I’m pretty sure it is targetted but I mention it because I nearly missed it in my inbox so others might too. The email title was ”

    Save with eBay and Nectar – Spend 3,000 points and earn half of them back!!”

    • Yep, have had that before – it’s a decent deal!

    • Worth doing, you’re effectively getting 1p per Nectar point. Easy enough to buy a supermarket gift card with them.

  10. Nick M says:

    OT – I’m considering the new Premier Inn T4 that Anika reviewed a while ago… We’ll be flying out of T5 & have a luggage, a baby and a toddler – is the bus going to be too much hassle? (Looking for options that don’t require car seats!) The alternatives are spending 10x at Sofitel or driving round the M25 between 8-9am

    • JamesB says:

      The former Jury Inn at Hatton Cross tube? It’s been rebranded, DT Hilton I think but others will correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Nick M says:

      Related q – is the Hilton shuttle bus a regular bus? (i.e. No need for car seats?)

      • Nick M says:

        (At Terminal 4 I mean)

      • JamesB says:

        At LHR all hotels use a shared bus service called Hotel Hoppa as there are no private hotel shutyles. It is vexpensive for a family and can take a while if your hotel is not first drop off (or last for pick up). It is a regular bus though. You can use regular London buses to from LHR bus station for free within airport perimeter to get to some hotels. If not staying at Sofitel or at Hilton T4 best option is probably Hgi at Hatton Cross and using the tube. There is also the car park pods from T5 to one of the hotels (Radisson?) but have not heard about that in ages so it may no longer be an option.

    • Lady London says:

      Don’t ever think of that part of the M25 at that time.

    • Premier Inn T5. Walk across road and use Pods at Thistle. Or the Thistle itself!

  11. JamesB says:

    another OT sorry: I’m trying to sign into full desktop version of Hilton on my android tablet but it keeps switching me to the app. Previously I could sign into the app first and then use browser to view desktop site to which I was auto signed in because the app was open. However, this no longer works either as it just reverts to the app again too. Anybody know how I can uncouple them? Thanks.

    • Being signed in on the app shouldn’t make any difference to the website, it doesn’t pass over authentication. You should just be able to go tother website then choose view desktop version and sign in directly to the website.

      • JamesB says:

        Not in my case Alan, when I signed into one I was auto signed into the other. I always thought it was odd but that’s what happened. What is different now is that any time I try to sign into main hilton site in either mobile or desktop view it launches the app and takes me to it by default. I will need to have a look at my phone and see what happens there.

    • Nick M says:

      It might be completely unrelated, but having issues with the iOS app at the moment – it keeps crashing as soon as the calendar is opened… so it may be a temporary glitch?

    • JamesB says:

      Problem solved guys, thanks. I reintalled the app. No more defaulting to the app or auto sign in. Now, when I try to sign in from web I get a pop up prompting me to choose between browser and app. This is consistent with other accounts for which I have an app such as BA and amazon. The tablet is now three years old but despite being uodated regularly that may explain sond if ggd oddities.

      • Excellent! Never experienced this behaviour on Android myself but glad all good now. Overall the Hilton app has definitely improved but some things do still seem to need the full website.

        • JamesB says:

          Despite its limitations it remains my favourite we app so I hope they don’t meddle with it too much in the future. It’s simple and looks good too.

      • Alex W says:

        If it happens again you could try clearing defaults in android app settings.

        • JamesB says:

          Thanks Alex, my best guess is that I must somehow have given permission for it when I first downloaded the app a long time ago.

  12. Adrian says:

    Wow the ANZ Spaceseat, this is/was the best PE product ever, goodbye you were great! I got the best sleep I have had on a plane in this seat using my carry on to rest my feet on, as a fat guy this offered so much space. Also as an aside still the best meal I ever had on a plane, NZ lamb shank, it was delicious, better than anything I’ve had in BA First and that was in PE!

    • Must say, I am not sure why ANZ killed it except arguably to fit in more seats.

    • I absolutely loved the Spaceseat and even preferred (paying for) the Air NZ PE product to (using miles for) BA Club World. Easy to sleep, work, stretch… good service and food that you can hardly believe was prepared in the air. Very disappointed I won’t get to travel this way again. Just tried booking for October and it’s showing the new 2-4-2 configuration – but at least you can reserve one of the few seats where you still won’t get reclined into for an extra £50.

      In comparison, I just experienced Virgin PE on the 787 service LHR-LAX, which… frankly… felt like economy.

  13. OT: Has anybody received the 1000 avios from the recent Marriot signup promotion? Mine still have credited.

  14. A great reminder for me of the Uber sign-up code, as I’m planning to use it heavily in LA in a couple of weeks.

  15. Sorry OT – if I want to downgrade my BAPP to the free BA Amex is it correct that I can apply for it online and it will recognise I have a BAPP and cancel/migrate it across? Would rather not have to call. Thanks.

  16. Scallder says:

    OT but one for bits: Page 2 of The Times today had a bit about a Which? survey about airline compensation and CAA cases For 2016, 83% of complaints put to the CAA against Norweigan were found in favour of passenger (out of 205). Next 2 worst offenders were Vueling (79% on 103 cases) and Ryanair (77% on 800 cases). BA had 1,166 cases of which 48% were found in favour of passenger…

    • That could mean anything though. I would assume Norwegian tries to avoid settling valid claims whilst BA pays quickly (which it does), so the remaining claims have more ‘chancers’ who lose.

  17. RussellH says:

    More OT:

    Just off the plane at OAK after flying CW from Gatwick

    We were both impressed with the new BA CW lounge at Gatwick – wide choice of decent and interesting wines and spirits. Plus plenty of newspapers too.

    We were pleased with BA’s on-board food + drink too, again, better than expected.

    Seating not too bad, though 8 across a 777 inevitably less spacious than 1+2+1 or 2+2+2 on an A340 CPH-ORD / SFO-CPH last year. BA ambience inevitably more formal and stuffy than SAS though.