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The HfP chat thread – Tuesday 21st September

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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 (443)

  • 1ATL says:

    At the weekend I was privileged to meet up with an old friend who invited me to their wedding anniversary celebration – someone who I’ve not seen for 23 years I hasten to add. They hadn’t aged a day since I last saw them which I found rather annoying and I got to meet their husband, friends and family who until now I’ve only conversed with on social media. A great night was had by all. During the evening we relaxed into our travel tales and stories just like old times and we both discovered we’re both avid readers and posters here on HfP. So to my friend, I still don’t know your username here but if you’re reading this, let’s keep the stories flowing and here’s to the next 23! xx

  • Mouse says:

    In which cabins on BA can you request drinks at any time? I had for some reason assumed only First (and acted as such), but the brief discussion on yesterday’s chat about a message on the seat-back screen saying the bar was now closed suggested otherwise.

    • Bob says:

      You can ask for a drink at any time after departure. However, it’s best to wait until after the initial drinks run and meals have been served to allow the cabin crew to focus on serving all customers. But once complete you can press the ball button to ask for another drink. Of course they will also close the bars before arrival, or if you have had too much to drink!

    • Andrew says:

      All cabins, long-haul offer a free bar service at any time within reason. I usually find making a trip to the galley if wanting a drink between service when in economy is less awkward than pressing the call bell – although maybe that is Covid-forbidden now.

      • Lady London says:

        Plus the call bell may be ignored. On several occasions. Like you’ve discovered your seat won’t recline, or your entertainment control isn’t working.

        • Tom says:

          Yup, best to stretch those legs and have a chat with the crew in the galley.

          • Sam G says:

            Agree. My technique was to get an extra wine or two with lunch/dinner (they usually had a few bottles on the cart with the tea/coffee) . That was usually enough for me but I’ve asked for a G&T in the galley before no problem though usually that’d be a couple of diet cokes anyway. Personally wouldn’t ding the bell/ ask in the cabin in Y/PE, no worries at all in CW of course.

            I actually find BA to be quite generous with booze – certainly compared to airlines like Singapore Airlines in economy

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      First is dine at any time (unless that has changed during covid) although the crew will generally offer meal service at the usual times you can ask them for your meal at different times. As it’s a smaller cabin they will also more likely to offer to top up your drinks.

      But on BA (and most other airlines) there’s nothing stopping you asking at anytime in any class of service. I have only flown long haul economy once on BA and had no issue getting extra drinks out of regular service. Same on Virgin (twice in economy). They will appreciate it if you don’t start asking for extra drinks when all the crew are out serving others (but when it gets to your turn you can ask for more than one) but when they’re not doing a service run there’s no problem getting more.

      Usual caveats about stock levels and the right to refuse if they think you’re too drunk.

    • Peter Taysum says:

      Club World has a “help yourself” bar for drinks and snacks. You can ask for drinks, but as per other responses best to ask in between service. Discretely asking for a drink stops the “me-to” as suddenly everyone asks for a drink…

      • AL says:

        This also exists on VS – or, it did. The Wonder Wall was the snazzy name that they’d added to it. If you’ve ever flown DL, imagine the wicker basket that gets handed around but more affixed to the wall. Stock differs wildly, but usually crisps, snacks, a bit of fruit, beer, soft drinks, water, juices. I’ve seen champers there before now, too.

    • Mouse says:

      One of my earliest flights in Club World I asked for water and the attendant looked at me like I’d asked her to sacrifice her firstborn so I assumed I’d overstepped the mark!

    • r* says:

      It was lhr to yyz, 7ish hour flight and the bar is closed msg appeared with 2.5 hours to land. It was definitely triggered by the cabin crew who had just been asked to go get like 8 drinks for 6 ppl and then was asked to get some shortbread (they had run out of pretzels of course) cos he immidiately stomped off to the front and then the msg appeared. Should be added that in the previous 5 hours there had only been 1 drinks service plus a wine with food, and that was about an hour into the flight. It always feels like ba hate giving drinks out.

      I had a vs flight lon to las once where they said alcohol was only given from the cart and wouldnt be given from the galley all flight.

  • KP says:

    Marriott Best Rate Guarantee – I’ve been granted a price match for these dates and the rate is fully cancellable.
    Am I able to now request a second price match for the same/overlapping dates at the same property? I want to book a second room and/or change to higher another room type.

    Also, what benefits l, if any, do the guests of the second room I book receive given I am Marriott Platinum?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Yes you could’ve done them at the same time. but you can’t do more than 2 in any city on the same dates.

      Technically none as they are only for your room but the property may give you all or none.

    • Harry T says:

      No benefits for second room, officially. My understanding is that you can only apply for one BRG for each set of dates, so it would have probably been better to book two rooms in the first place. I’ve had a BRG rejected before because I have another hotel booking for those dates.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        You can have TWO bookings in the same area / perhaps state for USA at any one time for BRG to be applied.

        Your issue is you had another booking and the 2nd BRG would’ve been a third booking.

        • KBuffett says:

          If I have two rooms on the same booking, and a BRG is granted for the booking, can I then cancel one of the rooms and retain the BRG price for the second room?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            If it’s the same booking reference you can’t cancel just 1 room without a reprice? which would remove the BRG rate.

    • Michael says:

      Your platinum benefits will only extend to the room you are staying at. You can only collect points for the additional room (no night credits).

  • Zoe says:

    Can you take your second jab less than 4 weeks from the first dose?

    • Rob says:

      Look at Israel …. not recommended.

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      I think that is too soon. In Italy I had Pfizer five weeks apart and the UK the gap is normally longer than that. I think less than 4 weeks apart would be too close to be considered effective

    • Tracey says:

      There are a few places (Reddit r/getjabbed to find them) that will give Pfizer after 21 days. Gov advice is to wait 8 weeks, the data looks like the gov advice is correct.

    • babyg_wc says:

      You can, it’s not straight forward and against uk/NHS guidance, we needed a letter from our GP before any of the walk up covid clinics would give the 2nd jab early.

    • JRC says:

      Funny how everyone is now saying have them 8 weeks apart. Am sure Rob + everyone else was saying not that long ago to queue up and get them ASAP. I think Rhys had his jabs 3/4 weeks apart which was used as the example… there was another guy banging on about his granddaughters getting them early and how useless you must be if you can’t get them quicker than 8 weeks apart!!

      • Tracey says:

        Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

        Just waiting now to get my booster and whether to time it for future holidays or get it as soon as possible. Double vaxxed with AZ by end March, so that’s starting to wane. Have Israel booked for June 2022 and on current performance they may want a booster within the last 6 months, which means waiting until December. Not sure if that isn’t too long to wait.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          The vaccines are to stop serious illness/hospitalisation/deaths and that isn’t starting to wane at all.

        • Andrew H says:

          On ITV news they were interviewing someone at a vaccine centre saying you could just walk up if your previous vaccine was more than 6 months ago. Maybe no need to wait for invites.

          The best way to get longer immunity is to catch Covid after double vaxxing…. happened to me. Good for Austria in December…

          • Tracey says:

            My vaccine centre (GP led clinic serving 8 local surgeries, but probably looks like a mass vac centre on the outside) is doing invite only initially. We have 6000 patients who have had their second vaccine more than 6 months ago, we need to prioritise them before we open to walk ins.

      • Graham says:

        Haha yes, that was Chris directing at me. I was trying to find out if it was possible because we had a trip to Poland. BA cancelled anyway so it would have been useless. Glad I waited the eight weeks now.

        • Chas says:

          What’s happened to Chris Heyes? I know he switches his phone off when he’s on holiday, but he’s been gone a long time now… [lol!]

      • Rob says:

        Rhys is 25 – if I was 25, I’d also be happy with a short gap because I’d be at no real health risk anyway. If I was 50 – which, of course, I am – I wouldn’t risk it.

        • BlueHorizonUk says:

          And of course Pfizer/Moderna/AZ themselves recommended 3 weeks between the two doses. U.K. didn’t have enough so they changed the rules first and gave a longer period between doses and it has proven to be ok.

          • Super Secret Stuff says:

            Proven to be better, not that I want to give the politicians any credit, butt they and PHE did follow the anecdotal evidence at the time and the gamble paid off….

          • TGLoyalty says:

            AZ is proven to be better with a longer period between jabs.

            It’s unlikely there’s any difference for the mRNA ones, you’re offsetting it’s lower effectiveness for the 5-7 extra weeks against serious illness etc vs a minor impact on its ability to stop symptomatic infections.

          • Andrew H says:

            The only reason for the 3 weeks is that was what the trials used.

            And the reason for 3 weeks in the trials was to expedite the start of mass vaccination.

            If they’d trialled 12 weeks – (which vaccines generally work better with) – then mass vaccination would’ve started 9 weeks later, and many more would have died

        • Mikeact says:

          That counts me out as well then (+50)

      • davef says:

        I ended up having mine 14 weeks apart since there were no pfizer supplies in my area. Would love to know what the actually effectiveness is for my case…. desperately waiting on my 3rd jab tbh.

        • The Savage Squirrel says:

          davef please don’t worry. 14 wks will be just as effective as 12.

      • Ianmac says:

        Yes, lot’s of armchair experts in this pandemic. Remember the BMA (yes, they are included in that description) and the opposition slating the Government (on scientific medical advice) for their decision to go with a 12 week gap between jabs in early 2020?

    • Peter Taysum says:

      Which vaccine? Pfizer-BioNTech was ONLY tested between 19-22 days; with over 99% getting it on day 21. Yes there’s data coming from the rollout of the vaccination program; but for Pfizer you’re fine. Arguably when it was released without any data for three months dosing regime this was unethical and possibly illegal, as informed consent wasn’t gained for ostensibly a clinical trial.

      • Jonathan says:

        It wasn’t a clinical trial, the safety data was out there for all to see plus the rationale for longer interval was freely available. You gave consent when you rolled up your sleeve for a voluntary vaccine.

        mRNA trials were run with a 3 week interval for commercial reasons alone (ie. how can we generate short terms positive results asap). Experts in the field of immunology/vaccines (ie. JCVI) always knew with 99% certainty that longer dose interval of any vaccine would give better/longer protection but unsurprisingly Pfizer etc were in an arms race so had no interest in having sub groups. The cynic would also say shorter protection is a positive for them.

        Israel is providing good anecdotal evidence that a short interval is not optimal.

        • Peter Taysum says:

          There wasn’t no data for Pfizer-BioNTech.

          My parents rec’d vaccine and the paperwork stated would be given second one at three weeks. At the time they were given appointment for three months. They rolled up their sleeves (implied consent) however they did NOT know there was no data. I specifically checked with them. There is a huge difference between implied and informed consent when there is no data.

          If there is no data; by definition it is a clinical trial. A decision was made by JCVI to give Pfizer at three months. BTW Moderna and Astra Zeneca both DID have evidence for three months.

          JCVI stated that “there is no strong evidence to think that Pfizer will be different”. Very interesting wording; so there was some “not strong” evidence to suggest that it would be different…

          As you point out the data from Israel suggests benefits; that’s what happens when you don’t have data points; it’s a trial that hasn’t been called that. Anecdotal evidence is just that; anecdotal.

          To make a decision for someone else without giving them the correct information goes against “Duties of a Doctor”. Deciding “what’s best for someone” has long been recognised as being unacceptable; with specific exclusions “children of Jehovah’s witnesses and blood transfusions”, lacking capacity etc.

          I would argue it’s too soon to know if it paid off. Coronaviruses mutate much more quickly and there were many epigeneticists raising concerns that this would lead to “the perfect” conditions for vaccine resistant mutations… such as Delta Variant…

  • cinereus says:

    When returning to the UK, how thorough are the checks for a pre-departure test? Do you just need to flash a printout at the airport or do they actually verify it?

    • FCP says:

      Travelling via Amsterdam in June all UK travellers had to go to a gate where all paperwork was checked. Once in order you got a sticker on your boarding pass.
      No sticker, no boarding as papers were not verified.
      Only after the sticker were you told the actual gate number.

    • Sandgrounder says:

      My certificates have all been on my phone and not checked too closely, but I have used large local providers so check-in staff are likely to be very familiar with the correct format of the document. Something more exotic might be subjected to closer scrutiny.

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Last 3 or 4 times (since July) coming back nothing has been checked. Other than the passport of course.

      • Polly says:

        We did also last Tuesday at Calais. Took an age. They were also doing people searches on the Thule carriers.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        The airline did no checks? Where were you flying from?

        • stevenhp1987 says:

          Alicante & Malaga – Ryanair definitely did no checks from memory.

          The lady in front of me in the queue at UK Customs at BOH (back from Malaga) hadn’t even filled in their PLF or bought a Day2/8 test kit… no idea if they took a pre-departure test or not!

          No-one checked my documentation when taking the Eurotunnel on Sunday but I did upload them prior to arrival.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Completely different experience to the 9 of us @ Malaga flying Ryanair. All checked as was everyone else infront or around us at gate.

            Maybe a relaxed crew …

    • Lyn says:

      Friends who travelled back from France by ferry in mid August had theirs checked very carefully.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      They check your name is on the PLF and test. Electronic copies on a phone etc are fine.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        And the dates etc Ofcourse to see it’s a valid negative test.

        100% check on the flights I’ve done.

    • Tracey says:

      They read it, generally. They will also check you have a completed plf.

    • Sam G says:

      Flying back Ryanair from Spain recently it was the only thing they really looked at in any detail and I couldn’t hear why fully but someone was getting denied boarding as something wasn’t right with theirs. Used the egate this end so no further checks

    • AFKAE says:

      Two flights I’ve done it was checked on both occasions. Just a name vs passport and date of test……and negative of course.

    • Memesweeper says:

      Porto last week : thorough checks

    • AndrewM says:

      We travelled in July to Malta, thoroughly checked in Malta, but in UK didnt bother. August we travelled to Germany and on return docs thoroughly checked, arrived in UK they didnt bother checking again. We came back from Ibiza & Mallorca 2 weeks ago, again in Spain docs were checked and in UK the guy at the Passport Check told us, dont need to see the Passenger Locator Form.

  • Ant says:

    Is there any clarity on whether BA are still allowing cancelled reward flights to be moved up to 12 months from the original departure date rather then the ticketing date) there were some comments suggesting BA had reverted to the old policy.

    • BJ says:

      Unfortunately, recent comments seem to indicate they are taking a hard line on 12m from ticketing at the moment.

      • Memesweeper says:

        hard line = incompatible with your legal rights

        if it’s long haul and premium cabin I’d kick up a stink (and, indeed, I have!)

      • Paul says:

        +1
        This is not a sustainable position. If they cancelled then you alone have the rights to determine when you fly.

  • JK says:

    chase.co.uk is live! Debit card, 1% rewards of spend, with a long list of exclusions (of what you’d expect). Currently on waiting-list mode.

    • BJ says:

      Dilemma is whether it will be smarter in the medium term to jump on board now or wait a while.

      • Sandgrounder says:

        They offer very generous switching incentives in the US, I’d bet that once they’ve got the early adopters signed up they will do the same here. Free overseas usage but nothing mentioned on free access to Chase ATMs in the US, which is what I was really hoping for.

        • BJ says:

          I think I’ll hold fire for now and see what happens. We seem to be awash with opportunities at the moment. With amex aggression plus Barclays, and now Virgin today it’s getting to the point I’ll be stockpiling vouchers in addition to the miles and points that built during the pandemic. But Nectar undoubtedly the gem of the year as it provides a backdoor out of BAEC when carrying too many avios.

        • Justin says:

          Personally, I don’t think we’ll see anything like the US incentives since the system is quite different. For example, paying for a standard checking account is the norm…. additionally paying to use different bank atm’s normally charge (unless you’re on a higher tiered paid account).

    • Mouse says:

      Most importantly, what will the codename be? Bradley?

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      It appears as though direct debits are currently not supported by Chase

    • Andrew says:

      Looking at the screenshots. See they have 12-34-56 as a sample sort code. That’s within the Bank of Scotland sort-code range.

      Just a bad gaffe by marketing, or are the accounts hosted by LBG’s Core Banking system?

    • Bob Cratchety says:

      ‘live’ is a figure of speech! Something went wrong error when trying to join via the app 😂

  • Jimbob says:

    Transfer of avios to nectar initiated on the 11th of September, at what point do I start to get worried that the nectar points aren’t going to turn up?

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