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The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 28th July

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

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Comments (467)

  • Sam says:

    Recommendations on day trip from London? Been to Margate etc!

    • BJ says:

      Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath all on the same day? I think you need to state whether travel would be by car, train or coach tour.

    • Michael C says:

      Oxford – 52 minutes from Paddington!

    • C says:

      Cambridge and Ely

    • Andrew says:

      Inverness on Easyjet. Out 08:00, back 19:00 £89 4th August.
      Edinburgh on Easyjet. Out 08:10, back 21:15 £97 3rd August

    • Rob says:

      Whitstable – high speed trains too

    • AJA says:

      If you’ve got a car Blenheim Palace is well worth visiting followed by a drive to Broadwater in the Cotswolds. Lunch in a pub in between. Or a bit further afield Warwick Castle. In the other direction there’s Leeds Castle and the other link to Churchill, his home Chartwell. Assuming any of the above are open, Covid permitting.

    • ChrisC says:

      Depends what you want to do when yo get there,

      York, Manchester and Birmingham are all around 2 hours from London by train and each have their own individual charms and attractions.

  • MattB says:

    My father in law was recently turned away by Ryanair for a flight back to the UK as his test was taken 75 hours before – even though it was within the 3 days prior as described in the example on the gov.uk site. We specifically told him there was a risk this may happen and not to push it but there you go.

    I seem to recall someone mentioning a similar experience a few weeks back… Would he have grounds to request compensation for costs incurred such as new flight or the extra test and hotel cost?

    • Ls says:

      Denied boarding EC261 compo and hotel and food costs. You’ll have to take Ryanair to MCOL to get it though. Pretty open and shut case- U.K. website is clear on calendar day, not 72h requirement.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Agree.

      • Lady London says:

        +1. The UK official rules are unusual (most are 72 or 48 hours) in making how the 3 days works and it’s very clear.

        Worth perhaps mentioning in the complaint that an old and potentially vulnerable person was illegally denied boarding.

    • AFKAE says:

      On a recent trip we had a flight cancelled due to weather and replaced with a flight 24 hours later. The BA ground crew (in Madeira) were also quoting 72 hours expiry, sending some people into a panic. Although the example on gov.uk is perfectly clear I succumbed and got another test done (it didn’t cost me anything), I was confident of my grounds, but didn’t fancy arguing it with someone who didn’t understand but could stop me boarding.

      • Pete M says:

        This is the problem with FR at the moment (more so than any other airline from my experience) – the staff have their rules, which they think are correct, and there is no time or space for discussion. If you don’t meet them, you’re offloaded, no matter how right you may be. Then you have 0 recourse, save MCOL, as they just do not care.

        • John says:

          That’s why I’ve never flown FR and never intend to unless my actual origin and destination are right next to those airports which are 80km from the city they purport to serve

          • Rob says:

            Ryanair stopped flying to ‘out of the way’ airports 10 years ago.

            Where it is still done (eg Frankfurt Hahn) it is because the national Government has deliberately blocked their attempt to get slots elsewhere. Look, for example, at what happened when Lufthansa was forced to surrender slots as part of its bailout last year. The German Government wrote the rules in such a way that Ryanair was not allowed to take the slots given up.

      • John says:

        Think you took the right approach. Personally, have a lot of sympathy for airport staff (often outsourced contractors) trying to keep up with the rules in multiple destination s.

        Think MattB’s father in law will have to write to his local UK court requesting permission to serve a claim outside the jurisdiction ahead of any MCOL, as the prospective defendants are based at Dublin airport.

        Suspect Ryanair will defend any claim, and would put this down to experience myself.

  • Patrick Cold says:

    Does the annual fee for the BAPP count towards the welcome bonus £3,000 spend? Thank you.

  • Egar says:

    Heathrow T5 (or nearby) hotel, a few seem to have not reopen after lockdown, recommendation for a pre-flight stay? Thanks

    • Andrew says:

      They’re all open but most are being used as quarantine hotels.

    • Graham says:

      Premier Inn T4 was great for us. You can get the TFL 482/490 bus and be at T5 in just over 15 mins. It’s the new spec Premier Inn and in normal times the bar and food was decent. Does the job for one night IMHO.

      • Memesweeper says:

        +1

        bizarre that’s it’s stayed open throughout the closure of T4 but cheap and does the job

    • Sandgrounder says:

      What’s the budget? Barring the Sofitel (still closed to the general public I think?) the easiest one I have used for T5, although not the most luxurious, was probably the Hounslow Travelodge. Right by the tube, so no messing with buses. I know the HGI at Hatton Cross has its fans, but the walk over the footbridge is a PITA with luggage, and I just don’t like the place.

    • Aaron C says:

      Last few times we’ve stayed at the HGI T2/3 and then Ubered over to T5. The Uber is a bit expensive but seems like less hassle and is certainly faster than getting the train or a bus. It doesn’t seem like any of the T5 hotels are open to the public currently.

    • Oh! Matron! says:

      HGI at Hatton Cross. Then bus or tube (or if you’re feeling flush, Uber).

      Always love either the sunsets over heathrow (on the north side) or watching planes fly past on the south side

    • AJA says:

      The Atrium Hotel across the A30 from Hatton Cross? Much closer than the HGI but no reward points. Reviewed here: https://www.headforpoints.com/2019/09/24/review-atrium-heathrow-hotel-london/

      • andyT says:

        When I looked last week the Atrium Hotel was not accepting bookings (quarantine hotel?)

  • Eric the Half a Bee says:

    Telegraph reporting that red list status being removed from hub airport countries (UAE, Qatar etc.) and no need to quarantine as long as passengers remain airside during transit. This is meant to happen in the next review, so great news for anyone looking to use ME3 from next month!

    • Andrew says:

      But remain red list if you want to enter the country?

      • VerdantBacon says:

        This will usefully give us Green, Green Waitlist, Amber, Amber Plus, Red and Red Plus. Lucky the government wanted to create a simple, easy to understand system. Would hate to see what they’d come up with if they didn’t try make it simple!

        • Andrew says:

          I guess it would be more of a red minus (rather than red plus) for UAE etc, fewer restrictions if you don’t exit the airport. Paul Charles in the i is saying there won’t be any change due to government nervousness about hub airport mixing – so I guess we will await the actual announcements rather than unsubstantiated press speculation.

    • Rhys says:

      That doesn’t make sense – they joined the red list BECAUSE they hub airports with inflows from lots of different countries.

      To then say that anyone transiting is fine but anyone entering the country needs to quarantine still is bizarre, as the risk was never from local population (who are very highly vaccinated!)

      • K says:

        But Rhys, when did this government’s pandemic travel policy made sense?

      • Eric the Half a Bee says:

        None of the government’s travel policies have ever made sense. If this report is true it just underlines the totally nonsensical approach it has taken from the outset. These ‘transit hubs’ should never have been on the red list to start with.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        It was always a complete load of BS.

      • David S says:

        Aren’t London, Paris, Amsterdam, Lisbon and Frankfurt also significant Transit Hubs ?

    • Ls says:

      The telegraph quite often report what they hope to happen, rather than what actually will.

      • ChrisC says:

        They are flying kites on behalf of the government to see what the public will find acceptable.

        • Mutley says:

          Absolutely Chris, this is pretty much how they conduct all govt policy. Get a “spokesman/woman” to issue a statement , gauge public reaction and If they mess it up it’s attributed to no one.

      • Pete M says:

        But according to Dom C, Boris has said that the Telegraph is his real boss, so this is a good approach, no?

  • SteveKicks says:

    Arrived back in Scotland last night, can confirm that there’s no problem using a Randox day 2 test. (Rather than the £88 CTM test the Scottish government suggests is required)

    Departing from Malta, our pre departure test results were never needed, the airport staff accepted our vaccine documents instead.

    Finally, Malta airport suggests getting to the airport 2.5 hours early to ensure time for documents to be checked, but we had documents checked and were through security in under 5 minutes, so no need to rush 🙂

    • Tracy says:

      Very good to know, flying to Malta from Edi on 3rd Aug and back 12th August. 4 of us so didn’t fancy forking out £88×4. How much did you pay for the Randox day 2 tests? Thanks

      • SteveKicks says:

        Randox tests were £43 with code FLYRYANAIR

        We used the project screen pre departure tests, £26 via this link. Just did the test ourselves in the hotel, and uploaded a photo of the test after to verify the result

        https://web.projectscreen.co.uk/add-to-cart?product=uk-lfd-fit-to-fly-departure&tag=virgin

        • Rob says:

          How does this make sense? I thought the ‘positive’ line fades after 30 minutes so even if you are positive you can still submit a negative result?

          • SteveKicks says:

            Theoretically they give you instructions on the website, and then force you to enter your result between 15 minutes and 2 hours after starting a timer.

            However the photo just needs to be uploaded from your camera roll, so could easily be taken an hour before even starting the timer.

            Definitely could be open to abuse

          • Ben W says:

            It’s probably just a standard lateral flow and the positive line stays on those for days (I have recent experience unfortunately).

        • Tracy says:

          Thanks SteveKicks, flying Ryanair too to Malta unfortunately. Will probably do Randox as well. Glad all went smoothly for you…

    • Tracy says:

      Also, where did you get the pre departure tests? We are staying in st julians….

  • Roberto says:

    Anyone know what lounge in Zagreb BA passengers can use?
    Thank you

      • meta says:

        Yes, BA doesn’t want to pay for the lounge in Zagreb. They used to, but now dropped it. Only way to enter is with Priority Pass. Needless to say that it’s not crowded at all. Also, currently no alcohol apart from bottled beer is served, pre-packed food, though same as usual just packed. The restroom is also in need to repair… It used to be a great little lounge, but now it’s gone downhill. I guess to be expected in the current situation.

        • Lady London says:

          TBH BA and LH (but especially BA) have always had a tendency of avoiding providing lounge access at outstations.

          When Swiss flew out of LCY, Swisd at least had the class to hand Business Class passengers and Star Alliance Golds a cash voucher usable at the cafe and shop in LCY to compensate for the lounge.

          BA should do the same and a relatively small voucher would createna lot of goodwill for BA from passengers and airport shops at outstations

        • Muhammad Abdullah says:

          Weird, I was there recently and spirits were been given to pax from a stock in the back? Did you ask?

          • meta says:

            Yes, I did ask. Only bottled beer. I didn’t probe further. It might be also because it was at the end of the day, so they couldn’t be bothered.

  • Ed says:

    Hi, I know I’ve seen the answer for this before on this chat, but can’t recall the answer 100%. I’ve got a 241 that expires in jan 2022, I’m planning to book a redemption and cancel for an FTV so I can use it later in 2022. Planning on combining that with a second 241 to allow travel for 4. In terms of the ghost booking to enable the FTV, you’re not tied to either that destination or Avios zone when using the FTV at a later date are you? Thanks in advance.

    • roberto says:

      Correct, you’re not – you are however tied to the four original passengers currently.

    • Mike says:

      Ed – I am with you on this one we have 6 x BA AMEX 241’s expiring and are about to do the same by booking a LHR to EDI rtns for all of them to extend their life via the FTV process

      • Ed says:

        One of those things that probably couldn’t be an HFP article as pushing the spirit of the FTV scheme but something that many people with 241’s probably should consider

        • ChrisC says:

          What’s also not in the spirit of the scheme is cancelling for a voucher and immediately rebooking the same flights because the fare has gone down and getting another voucher for the difference.

          It’s been mentioned numerous times before as well as in BA hols sale post today.

          I’ve done it myself so not judging those that also have done it.

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