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My trip to the UKFlying used to be so simple


Jambo
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6 minutes ago, Jambo said:

I remember when making a trip was so simple.

You decided where to go then went on the internet to find a flight; booked it; paid for it and printed off you e-ticket. Job done in less than 30 minutes

Yeah. Not sure when we might return to those days

Also last year, when I was looking at flights, I noticed that some airlines were showing the cost for flight and hand luggage. Then when I looked further, another 150 or so added on for proper luggage up to 23Kg. So their prices appeared cheaper at first glance. How many people go on long haul flights with just hand luggage. I have stopped looking flights for now until circumstances and conditions change

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1 hour ago, Jambo said:

I remember when making a trip was so simple.

You decided where to go then went on the internet to find a flight; booked it; paid for it and printed off you e-ticket. Job done in less than 30 minutes. The following is the saga of my trip to the UK which I made infinitely more complicated by my bouts of paranoia.🙂

On the 15th May Scotland finally joined the rest of the UK and adopted the “traffic light” system of classifying countries for travel purposes. My daughters had by then given up on attempting to visit me in Thailand however for the first time for some 18 months or so I could now visit them subject to 10 days self-isolation in the UK and two covid tests.

So I booked a flight with KLM to Edinburgh for the 3rd July transiting through Schipol Airport, Amsterdam.  As both Thailand and the Netherlands were amber countries……………………..no anticipated problems?

Then I started to get feed back both on the forum and from well meaning friends warning me that Thailand was in grave danger of being reclassified in the “Red” list of countries meaning full quarantine on arrival in the UK at a huge cost to me. So in a knee jerk reaction I changed my flight to the 19th June.

So no more problems…………………………………….?

Then I opened a link to the UK press/media and discovered that Labour were using the differences between Portugal being taken off the ‘Green” list and both Thailand and Vietnam not being added to the “red” list to score points off the Government. Further dire warnings from well meaning friends to travel sooner rather than later.

Panic mode once again so on Saturday 5th June I managed to get through to KLM’s service center in England and changed my flight yet again but this time to the forthcoming Wednesday  9th June.

Sunday morning saw me visiting Memorial Hospital to change my covid pre-flight test to Monday being the next day. Not much sleep Monday night worried about the outcome of the test but satisfactory result on Tuesday when I collected my fit to fly documentation.

Early evening Wednesday  being rush hour at Swampy.

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Very extensive checks to my documentation at Check in and  much of my personal toiletries confiscated as they were all considered over the maximum permitted size.

Plenty of leg room for me on the flight and as the middle row of seats were not being used at all I had nobody sitting next to me. I guess the flight was about half full. On the downside the seat was really uncomfortable and the flight was 11 hours long.

If the checks were thorough at Swampy multiply that by a factor of two at Schipol where they had a whole series of temporary desks just to scrutinize documentation.

I changed my remaining baht at Schipol and purchased 4 of the most expensive slabs of chocolate imaginable for my daughters and grandkids and a bottle of Bailey’s for me.

The most surprising check subsequently took place at Edinburgh’s International Arrival desk. I handed over my passport and held all the other documentation in my hand. My passport was scanned and then handed back to me with a “Thank you Sir”. The lady saw my surprise look and said

“That’s you all done. All cleared with the scan.” 

I had my suitcase inspected by a cocker spaniel who gave me a good tail wag and a “Thank you” from its handler.

Settled in now and working my way through the self isolation. My daughters have found me a really excellent "Condo" which has been completely modernized with new kitchen and bathroom and decorated throughout. I am the first occupant since all the work carried out.

Informative, just one minor point, that airport is called "Schiphol", after the hole ships used to disappear in (yes, the airport is below sea level, a computer manufacturer had to change the allowable altitude range because of that 😉 ).

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Every trip I made within Thailand during the past year and my return back to the U.S.(early March 2021) went smooth as silk. On the JAL flights back from BKK I had half the plane almost to myself, treated like a king. I actually slept for the first time on a flight. 

Once you get past the first check-in you should have clear passage. If you book a flight and they cancel they have to reimburse you. I had three flights early and mid 2020 cancelled, all miles returned (although that was a slight pain in the ass to fix, since then then airlines have made proper adjustments).

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18 minutes ago, thegrogmonster said:

Still waiting to be refunded from Thai for our flights they cancelled in March/April 2021.

My daughters received a full refund from their cancelled Emirates flight in under a week. They have spent the 2,000 pounds refunded plus no doubt considerably more in kitting out the condo they found for me. They refused to accept any funds from me but I sent some anyway.

I feel like the "Prodigal Father." 🙂

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I find it hard enough keeping a face mask on for 30 minutes while I'm shopping in Tesco or Makro, the prospect of having to wear one for 24 hours continuously, while travelling from my house in Thailand to my flat in South Wales, is enough to keep me grounded until they relax the rules.

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13 hours ago, thegrogmonster said:

Still waiting to be refunded from Thai for our flights they cancelled in March/April 2021.

Did you purchase through a broker (travel site) or direct from the airline ?

 

Also... Thai Airlines are in a mess right now with creditors, could cause delays that you may not see with other airlines. 

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Happy to hear you were able to return to see family, Jambo. All the trouble you went through, all the stress and worry, seems to just fade from memory upon seeing the warm and welcoming smiles from family after such a long time.

Sincerely wish you the best of times back home. 

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1 hour ago, Glasseye said:

Did you purchase through a broker (travel site) or direct from the airline ?

 

Also... Thai Airlines are in a mess right now with creditors, could cause delays that you may not see with other airlines. 

Online travel agent called Aunt Betty. They have been a pain in the arse to deal with.

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On 6/15/2021 at 7:04 AM, Jambo said:

My daughters received a full refund from their cancelled Emirates flight in under a week. They have spent the 2,000 pounds refunded plus no doubt considerably more in kitting out the condo they found for me. They refused to accept any funds from me but I sent some anyway.

I feel like the "Prodigal Father." 🙂

Dear Prodigal

                      When you coming up to London. ?? Will take you around your birthplace and maybe into the newly reopened Archway Tavern. Also can drive you around the ancient shrine to what was once a great team Highbury just down the road. I thought old 'Sweatie John' would have given you the keys to his mansion in Leith ??

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I did think about reviving my old thread about returning to England but as Jambo started this one I'll just do an add on as to what he might expect when he gets out, this post is about a thread I vaguely remember being on here and it's about UK v thai customer service.

I've been out of self isolation now since last Monday and here's my view on the service I've had in every aspect of the often maligned UK customer service including Heathrow airport.

UK passport control. Couldn't fault it, friendly and efficient.

National Express, Heathrow. Spot on even though the bus was late all staff were helpful and friendly especially the driver.

Security woman at smoking point at Heathrow. Again very friendly and helpful and chatty and helped me find the bus station. Even the staff in the WH Smith were really helpful.

Local stores. Extremely friendly and helpful.

The Russian lad I bought my car from. No problem at all.

The girl I dealt with at my local Nationwide bank. So helpful and friendly, brilliant.

The staff at my local Universal Credit office ( Job Centre ). Again no complaints from me.

The Doctor I did my HGV medical with. Fantastic and again helpful and friendly.

My local Doctors surgery where they asked me to go in and confirm my identity. Again they were brilliant, efficient and friendly.

Specsavers branch in town. Brilliant, got me in at very short notice to sort me out for some glasses after I'd failed my HGV medical due to eye test ( I won't comment on the thai opticians who sold me a pair and insisted I'd pass the eye test )

The list could go on and I'm sure I've missed something but so far every member of staff in any shop I've been in has been great and after years of the thai way of customer service I've been really happy and impressed. So far I've never had the feeling they're in any way trying to con me and let's face it how often can you say that about thai shops ?

Hopefully when Jambo gets released he can comment on his experience.

 

 

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13 hours ago, nampla69 said:

Dear Prodigal

                      When you coming up to London. ?? Will take you around your birthplace and maybe into the newly reopened Archway Tavern. Also can drive you around the ancient shrine to what was once a great team Highbury just down the road. I thought old 'Sweatie John' would have given you the keys to his mansion in Leith ??

I still have three days to go before I can leave my isolation cell in Scotland.

Have wifi now thanks to expensive but efficient BT Hotspot so looking forward to watching England tonight. Never thought I would be cheering on Harry Kane but as he looks like he is escaping from the Spuds I will forgive him.

Gosh, everything has happened so fast I never gave a thought to visiting London. I used to play darts in the Archway Tavern. 😄

I will be in touch but not for a while.

I bet you don't get a San Mig light in the Archway Tavern.🤣

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17 hours ago, nampla69 said:

Dear Prodigal

                      When you coming up to London. ?? Will take you around your birthplace and maybe into the newly reopened Archway Tavern. Also can drive you around the ancient shrine to what was once a great team Highbury just down the road. I thought old 'Sweatie John' would have given you the keys to his mansion in Leith ??

 

3 hours ago, Jambo said:

I still have three days to go before I can leave my isolation cell in Scotland.

Have wifi now thanks to expensive but efficient BT Hotspot so looking forward to watching England tonight. Never thought I would be cheering on Harry Kane but as he looks like he is escaping from the Spuds I will forgive him.

Gosh, everything has happened so fast I never gave a thought to visiting London. I used to play darts in the Archway Tavern. 😄

I will be in touch but not for a while.

I bet you don't get a San Mig light in the Archway Tavern.🤣

Let us know when it's gonna happen, we haven't had a London meet in quite some time!

I'd think lots of board members would be up for it, we used to get a good crowd for a London meet, even @Nightcrawler dragging us round Old Compton street and the like ...

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