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The HfP chat thread – Sunday 4th July

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We are running this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

Historically, the daily ‘Bits’ articles were the de facto repository for random comments and questions.  With the news flow being lighter, we are running fewer ‘Bits’ articles.

The comments under this article are where you should post questions about travel and, indeed, anything else on your mind.  At this tricky time, and given that many of you are at home, we want the HfP community to have a place to chat.

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Comments (274)

  • ACK says:

    I wanted a back-to back and I got it. Too bad it’s the immigration queue, full length of the entire T5A side faving B. And back. Not exactly what I wished for. This will be approx 2-2.5, maybe even three hours.

    • Aston100 says:

      I feel there is some context missing.

    • Harry T says:

      I assume this person is trying a back to back (?domestic) to earn tier points and has ended up in a queue in immigration.

      • John says:

        It’s not possible to end up in an immigration queue when arriving off a domestic flight at LHR. The only way you could do it is if you take the train from T5A to T5C and then stay on after the departing passengers leave, and mix with the arriving passengers.

      • ACK says:

        I may have been way too brief. I wanted a b2b, yes, but given the pandemic it’s not really what you can do. I was simply arriving back to T5 and faced a long queue to immigration which ended up to be just under two hours. Some people were let through the egates but most had to see an actual human. I have a colleague arriving from a different country with staralliance and therefore into T2, which was no better either. Apologies for the short and confusing initial comment.

        • Matthew R says:

          I am in this queue too. So upsetting. I am considering buying a domestic ticket to get through connections and go landside from departures. Possible?

    • Travel Strong says:

      Meanwhile, came through gatwick this afternoon and literally encountered no one other passengers in the airport through immigration and baggage claim! Total time from touch down to driving out of short stay = 18 minutes.
      (…. However it did then require a further 30 minutes of our day to get the Collinson testing in the APH car park done!).

  • Chris says:

    For those that have attended Wimbledon, looking for some advice. Got tickets for centre court tomorrow with a fixed entry time of ~1 hour before first match. Does that mean I can’t go earlier and take a wander outside outside courts etc?

    • SteveJ says:

      They won’t stop you, turn up as early as you like, from 10am onwards

    • Zoe says:

      Make sure to check the bag sizes you are allowed, then pack a couple of half bottles of your favourite tipple and a few snacks and avoid some of the queues for food & drink.

      • MW says:

        +1 – check the bottle requirements though as my bag was checked rather thoroughly (my wife’s wasn’t).

        No issue if arriving early – consider which gate you want to go through though (queue for entrance 1 is long, but better staffed so decide on the day)

    • Rob says:

      Odd, I have Centres for tomorrow (debenture) with no restrictions. As they clearly don’t want that many people arriving at once I would assume you are fine to arrive earlier. Play starts on the outside courts before then.

      • MW says:

        Could be the Debenture thing! Mine (Cente Ct) have entrance time of 12:15). Will be on the lookout for you, Rob!

      • DZOO says:

        I had a debenture ticket last Fri (which was transferred into my account) – am I still eligible to purchase 2 tickets for this week or does that rule me out under the single household rule?

        • Rob says:

          Do a dummy purchase and it will tell you. I am blocked as a debenture holder from buying tickets but that’s the same as your situation.

  • Harry T says:

    Have unexpectedly ended up in the First Class lounge for a domestic flight – the new table service concept is great!

    • Andrew says:

      Presumably the buffet will be back after 19 July alongside the previous table service menu for the burger etc in Galleries First.

      • Kevin C says:

        I was in the First Lounge this week and thought table service worked well. There was also a small ‘grab and go’ selection of water, crisps, muffins and fruit.

      • bafan says:

        You think? I think table service might stay. They must save a fortune on waste. Plus hygiene wise buffets have always been low key gross AF.

        • Andrew says:

          Then they could have done it years ago.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Sometimes you need a nudge to invest in the infrastructure

          • Tim says:

            Be surprised if it went. New lounge management came from Virgin 18 months ago and seems to have a genuine plan to improve across the board.

      • Harry T says:

        I hope the table service stays – it’s far more convenient and feels more refined.

        • Ben W says:

          Yes, it’s as close as airports come to having a Bob Bob Ricard champagne button.

  • Yorkie Aid says:

    Could I please request some HfP expert opinions? I’m looking at flying Istanbul to JFK in November (planning to visit Istanbul for two weeks so can gain entry into USA just in case rules haven’t changed by then). I did a google search for flights and can go Business with Royal Jordanian via Amman for less than £900pp. However if I try to book this up via the RJ website it just says not possible but it does seem bookable via Lastminute.com. Also the prices for the same flight on the RJ website just for the AMM to JFK segment (which IS searchable on their site) is showing about £4k pp! Am I missing something here? Also as the layover would be overnight, would we be able to leave the airport to say visit the Dead Sea and pop back again in the morning? Otherwise an 18 hour layover in the airport is clearly not very appealing! Thanks in advance

    • Lady London says:

      Dont touch LM with a bargepole Other than GotoGate and one other (forgot name) they have had the worst reports on here for Covid non-refunding.

      Additionally I was just reading today LM has lost a court case and had to pay a couple back 2x the cost of their holiday. Couple booked and paid 2300 back in January for holiday in May. LM told them shortly before departure that their holiday was cancelled. Couple checked flights and not cancelled, LM had resold their holiday for 2800. Court ordered LM to pay holiday cost back+same again to couple.

      • Yorkie Aid says:

        Thank you LL, that’s very useful info. I’m wondering whether the low fares shown on LM are just a baiting tactic then to get revenue in. The pricing did sound ridiculously cheap. Funnily enough the other provider with a similar priced fare was GoToGate!

    • Memesweeper says:

      Flying from Istanbul may well be cheaper than just from Amman … BA does similar discounting for indirect routes.

      18 hours is easily time to get to the Dead Sea resorts and back, highly recommended way to deal with the layover.

      Try and find a decent agent: flight centre, Amex travel, propeller travel, etc. Sometimes GoToGate gets genuinely better prices than others, I’ve taken advantage of this before. But given their behaviour recently I’d not risk it again personally.

      • Memesweeper says:

        The Jordanian fare is showing on Matrix so should be bookable through any agent:

        Fare Construction
        IST RJ X/AMM RJ NYC 968.00DLEETR1 NUC 968.00 END ROE 1.00 XT 2.60M6 17.20TR 5.40KJ 2.60O7 4.30YC 5.10XY 2.90XA 13.90US 7.20YQ 105.20YR

        Unlike Saudia will earn TPs and Avios.

    • Colin MacKinnon says:

      You can go with Saudia for around the same price, booking direct.

    • Yorkie Aid says:

      Thank you all so much for taking the time to help me. I really appreciate it. Right, off to a decent agent then 🙂

    • Sandgrounder says:

      I suppose that’s what happens when you are the cheapest, anyone looking on the internet can find that out, and green list travel options suddenly expand. I think I’m probably going to use them for my upcoming day 2 return test, but probably wouldn’t use a postal service for an outbound time critical test.

      • Anna says:

        Majority of complaints seem to be about day 5 tests not arriving, and people who obviously didn’t read the information about “next day” test results taking up till midnight the next day – which is why I have booked same day pre-departure tests!

        • Marie says:

          They made us sweat with fit to fly . Next day Result due at midnight didnt arrive until 3.15am .Left for airport 1 hour later.Bit too close for my liking.
          Are using them for day 2,won’t use them again

    • Mr. AC says:

      Yup, ordered Day 2 and Day 8 tests from them 48 hours prior to arriving (flight landing after testing center closes at LHR so couldn’t take it on day 0 at the airport). Today is Day 2 and no test arrived, no tracking number, courier messages etc – nothing after the payment confirmation. Called Randox hotline, spent 1 hour on hold but got through – they said test dispatched yesterday and to just wait. Informed the track and trace people when they called, they said it’s pretty typical and that it’s not a big deal.

    • Rash says:

      I could be in the same boat but paid by credit card, am I right in thinking I could do a chargeback if the tests don’t arrive on day 2 and/or day 8?

      • Sandgrounder says:

        Feeling like I might pay an extra score and do a Rob now and use Collinson at LTN on arrival.

  • trader363 says:

    Have booked the Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi with points for Jan2022 (5 nights; 570k HH). Unlikely I’ll make it – Am looking for opinions from the HfP community on whether you think the hotel would move the booking to Aug/Sep this year, if I emailed the hotel directly

    Thanks

    • Anna says:

      Do you actually mean this year, isn’t Maldives on the red list at the moment?

      • trader363 says:

        It is – hoping it would be moved to Amber at some point in the next few months?

        And by that time, i’m expecting that double-jabbed individuals wouldn’t need to quarantine for Amber countries

        • Anna says:

          You can ask, but you might be out of luck with standard room availability at this short notice.

    • Tom H says:

      Zero I chance, I have tried to move two different bookings of similar size on points, and they flatly said no.

    • MCO says:

      No chance. I have tried moving just one night before and they refused. According to FT they have even refused people who couldn’t travel due to covid restrictions.

    • Ali M says:

      apparently you can get a full refund.Rob mentioned once.I agree with other comments that it no availability they’ll politely decline

  • Barbuda says:

    Grateful for advice please. I need a family ( 2 adults, 3 kids under 12) annual Travel Insurance policy that covers the following:
    – Two weeks in Antigua (on Green list atm) starting 18th July.
    – Refund on BA flights and accommodation in the event that we/some of us have to self-isolate and can’t travel between now and 18th July.
    – Late August trip to France if it goes on Green list by then.
    – Skiing next year if on the green list.

    Any ideas? Main concern is that we can’t because of having to isolate

  • Andrew says:

    Those crazy scenes at T5 immigration on Rhys’ Instagram! I think I’ll hold off travelling if that’s what it’s like coming back to the UK.

    • Yuff says:

      Came back into east mids today, queue wasn’t great but only took 20 mins, there must have been more than one flight arriving as there was more than 40 ish passengers in the queue and that’s more than our flight

    • James says:

      Tbh queues weren’t too bad at T5 on Friday but the Egates are a bit of a mess some don’t seem to work and they just get you try another until it does

    • MKB says:

      The staff were telling me yesterday — see page 5 of yesterday’s comments — that there was a software update on the T5 eGates yesterday morning. Presumably this was the promised one that should link your passport number to your Passenger Locator Form. The effect was that most people were being rejected and sent for manual processing. They had about six manual desks open for rejected eGate passengers.

      There were barely any queues in the Other Passports section, and passengers were through here in under 5 minutes. They didn’t call any passengers over from the UK/EU desks.

      I was travelling from a green country with my PLF successfully submitted, so I should not have been rejected by the eGate, but was, as was my partner.

      Only 4 of the 16 gates were in use on Saturday. As we were leaving, they announced those gates were closing for another software update, which clearly has also not worked.

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