To finish off the trip report, I thought it would be good to compare our highlights and favourites of various aspects.
MA: Of all the flights taken, I think the most enjoyable was the Dreamliner 787-9 LAN return flight from FRA to MAD. The plane appeared clean(er), and cool. The cabin crew were possibly more welcoming and their English was better. I enjoyed the meal on board which was a chicken salad. The flight was also less turbulent than that from Madrid, and without a doubt, it is quieter with none of the stuffiness that other planes seem to have. It had wide comfortable seats with acres of leg room, but not a lot of nooks and crannies for storage. I watched ‘Eye in the Sky’, a drone film with Helen Mirren, and, whilst they had a few recent films the overall selection and range was ‘fair’ rather than ‘fab’!
MrA: Definitely the Dreamliner MAD-FRA-MAD. There was so much space, the seat was comfortable and the experience was much more like long haul; pre-departure drink and nuts, in flight entertainment and a lie-flat seat. The aircraft was clean and I definitely felt fresher stepping off than compared to the 767 or the A340, thanks to the lower cabin pressure.
MA: We experienced several lounges, all with different layouts, views and services. Galleries at Heathrow is always crowded, and cluttered, and we usually have to hunt for a seat. However, plenty table availability for breakfast and there was a wide range – I enjoyed my bacon butty, MisterAirmiles his porridge (as befits a true Scot)
The DAA lounge in Dublin is restful, but no apron views. It has a nice choice of snacks, and I did enjoy my biscuits, cheese and wine there. Frankfurt is a plane spotter’s dream, as you can see many plane types and liveries with a good view of the apron. It is certainly a busy airport. I enjoyed a nice green salad and would have had seconds if they hadn’t been clearing the salad bar. It was the only lounge where I was able to get a proper latte – and it was nice! However, navigating the airport is no mean feat, even for geographer MisterAirmiles.
Madrid lounge is very large, with a great view of the apron and runways, and not busy. I thought the snacks were not exactly impressive and I actually went out and bought a Starbucks coffee! The lounge is a bit tortuous to get to, being right in the middle of the Duty Free shop.
MrA: I had been in all the lounges before, except the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Frankfurt and, for me, that was my favourite. Maybe it was because I felt so good after a shower, or because there was beer on tap, or the little tree with lovely soft pretzels – either way, 90 minutes went past in a flash.
MA: The InterContinental Madrid was very nice, and the extra for Club access was worth it. Our twin bed room / suite was very comfortable, but we didn’t really have time to savour it as we were only there for one night. The Crowne Plaza, where we stayed 2 separate nights was very convenient with the free shuttle minibus service, Queen beds, nice toiletries.
The beds and bed linen at all the hotels we stayed in were very comfortable and of excellent quality. Air conditioning was very welcome and not so loud it prevented drifting off to sleep.
MrA: This was definitely a good advert for IHG – specifically their Crowne Plaza and InterContinental chains. The standard was consistently high, and the prices very reasonable. My favourite was without doubt the InterContinental Madrid – I like the feeling of grandeur and luxury in these older style hotels, particularly when they are combined with modern features. The Club lounge was excellent, and proved fantastic value, and all the staff were friendly and efficient. I would, most certainly, stay here again.
Meal on board
MA: The LAN chicken salad on the return leg.
MrA: The Champagne Afternoon Tea on our first BA DUB-LHR. It was the first time that I had tried the afternoon tea service or the new champagne they now serve, and I was very happy with both. I only ate 1/3 sandwiches, and it would have been nice to see a proper vegetarian alternative with sandwiches, rather than the salad you get if you pre-order.
MA: Madrid – vast, cool, loved the design, easy transport. Never felt crowded and was actually a relaxing experience. I am starting to feel, as other frequent flyers have said, that traipsing through the mob of passengers in T5 at Heathrow as it is becoming more of a hassle to be endured.
MrA: I agree with MummyAirmiles – Madrid was a good airport. It is huge, and that obviously helps with the feeling of tranquility there. The very clever thing about the newer T4 and T4S layout is that it is in the centre of the 2 sets of runways. Whatever the wind direction, when you land you roll into the terminal area and onto stand, and when leaving it is a short taxi to the end of the runway. None of this taxiing to the other end of the airport perimeter that you get at Heathrow!
You can follow the whole journey here:
- Episode 1
- Episode 2
- Episode 2 and a half
- Episode 3
- Episode 4
- Episode 4 and a half
- Episode 5
- Episode 6
- Episode 7
- Episode 8