Back to Innovation, Back to Hamburg
To Aircraft Interiors Expo with British Airways
It’s that time again! Come and Travel with Kevin.
In this trip report:
- Back to the industry
- Sunday adventures to Heathrow featuring FlixBus
- British Airways Galleries – Club South Lounge
- BA974 London Heathrow to Hamburg Airport
- Into Germany, IBIS Budget, Saint Pauli
- When cables go walkies (A trip to Saturn)
- Sights of Aircraft Interiors Expo 2023 (What you might have missed)
- Back to Hamburg Airport
- Hamburg Airport Lounge
- BA967 Hamburg Airport to London Heathrow
- The joke of Heathrow Luggage delivery and the ride home
- Innovation continues
It seems that Aircraft Interiors Expo is slowly moving things around as the dates close in. And thus, the Economy Class and Beyond roadshow goes where the passenger experience news is… even things are less than rosy in the real world.
But no matter – the show goes on.
Welcome to a second run of British Airways flights this year, this time looking at the Short Haul experiences, as well as hotels… and a few other things that happen in life.
And maybe life beyond the trade show. As well as travelling with a walking stick.
No, I’m not going into why here. It’s a story for another day at this time.
Whilst I am using Grammarly a lot more than I should (dyslexia is a pig and gets me most days of the week), my usual detractors who moan, yell and shout about my spelling and grammar can read this press release I wrote a few years ago about this inconstancy and how I deal with it. Mainly because I’ve got better things to worry about than spelling something just right to please one or two people.
Back into the Industry
As I clear Chicago behind me, it’s time to go more professional than usual and focus on my love of aircraft interiors.
Well, love is a strong term, but it will work in this context.
I find a show like Aircraft Interiors Expo excellent for research work (and there’s a lot that goes on, to produce the articles that we write at Economy Class and Beyond) as well as to spend time understanding the direction the industry is going as the year progresses.
And we’ve seen things that have been unveiled a year ago, with actual customers attached to them, with planned entry into service. It’s great to see.
But it’s also a busy week – My diary goes from “that’s nice and empty” to “so, sleeping is fast becoming an optional thing.”
As I’ve said before – the most I see of Hamburg normally I see are:
- The airport
- The transportation network
- The hotel
- The conference centre and halls
- Maybe a supermarket to get food if I’m lucky.
As to the city – I hardly see much of it. That’s the thing when it’s trade show week – you become laser-focused on what you need to get the job done, as opposed to being a tourist.
So with that being said, let’s go into the planning side of things.
For flights, I sighed and just went with British Airways. I could have done other things, with various routes around Europe, travelling from local airports, playing connection roulette and so on – but honestly? I just need to get there and back with the minimal pain possible.
Thankfully with Reward Flight Saver, it turns the costs down to £50 return + 18,250 Avios in Club Europe. I could have cheaped out for EuroTraveller… but stuff it. I need a place to snooze on the flight, home whilst I fight for a coach when I get back to London.
Plus paying a stupid amount for a Eurohop with 20 Tier points is not my idea of value for money.
As for hotels – sigh – when conference season hits a city, you know the prices are going to be sky-high. You just don’t know HOW sky-high it’s going to be.
My usual options for Hamburg are either the Ibis Budget, the Ibis, or the Premier Inn, all near St Pauli U-Bahn. We’re talking quality low-budget hotels here. Whilst one of my friends found some hostels with separate rooms which aren’t shared, I have… rules.
And hostels don’t qualify any more – especially when all I want to do when I get into the hotel room is to fall flat on the bed and not get up for 30 minutes.
I promptly cried when I saw the prices:
£468 upward for a one-star hotel????
The breakdown for the nights gets eye-watering for a one-star hotel.
Yes. You’re reading that right. A night peaked out at £144.89 in an Ibis Budget.
They involve having peace and quiet, my own space, toilet, and shower, as well as being within spitting distance of public transport to the venue. After all, having to walk after pounding 12,000 steps around a conference hall can be a challenge (least of all my legs after 4 days of conference and show walking, with a dicey knee).
Therefore, it’s down to the lowest cost – and once again, it’s the Ibis Budget that wins. Because I also enjoy banging my head against a bed above my bed.
Although breakfast at €35 for four nights was not worth it – considering that supermarket catering was on the cards for this trip in the evenings.
And it was £120 cheaper than the Ibis next door – which adds up when all you’re using the hotel for is a crash pad and not for entertainment.
Finally, it was onto airport travel. I did some very quick numbers – On a bad day, I’d spend around €25 for train/tube tickets within Hamburg. That rules out the Deulchland Travel pass for €49 (as I wouldn’t have time to use the thing, other than commutes). To be honest, it was looking a lot easier to spend €29.99 for a weekly ticket and proceed.
In terms of getting to Heathrow, I decided to try something different – and try FlixBus which seems to have a growing presence in the United Kingdom.
And for £9.99 (including the £1 booking fee to Heathrow and an extra 99p for an assigned seat), I was reasonably happy. Getting back proved to be a little more difficult – mainly because of a certain British airline and its dismal performance at its home hub, where it’s taking over 40 minutes to deliver luggage at any time of the day on any route. It also didn’t help there was a time change on departure from Hamburg too.
Working on the best-case scenario (and that I carried my bags), I could be through immigration in 15 minutes. That was dismissed, as luggage on the way back tends to be a thing (as long as don’t leave my keys in the bag this year). That, and Hamburg Airport security has ideas about baggage they don’t like and love to rip bags apart.
Ask me how I know this.
Back to hard numbers. Give it an hour to clear luggage pickup and that would take me to 22:20 – deep into the night. That would give me 1 hour and 10 minutes to cross London for the last train back to Birmingham.
That isn’t happening in the dead of the night.
Thankfully, there’s either a Flixbus or National Express Coach within an hour of each other. For the sake of comparison (and also because I can’t be bothered to move my backside from Terminal 5 after a flight – and for £13 one way – I wasn’t exactly arguing.
With the bones of the trip now all together, it’s time to see what is new in the aviation interiors industry.
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