#932685 by tontybear
14 Feb 2017, 00:17
This was a last minute booking for a random weekend away to Amsterdam.

To start it was a trip of an amazing coincidence. I was at Brighton Station waiting for my train to LGW when checking face book and saw that a friend was also travelling to AMS. I messaged him asking what flight he was on and airline thinking if it was BA I could get him into the lounge.

But the dolt didn’t answer his messages until an hour and a half later meaning he’d lost out on a visit to the VS er sorry BA lounge. Not only was he on the same flight as me. He was also staying at the same hotel. For the same length of time. And the same flight back the following Monday. This lead to a few nudge nudge wink wink comments from some mutual friends.

My trip was on the 2nd day after the BA terminal switch. I’d seen on flyer talk some pictures of the spiffy new check-in area which garnered several positive comments. Soon outweighed by a cacophony of ‘disgraceful’ and ‘incompetent’ when it was announced that due to an electrical certification issue BA couldn’t open their new lounge.

But BA and GAL (and likely some cooperation from VS) saved the day by putting some flights into one of the commercial lounges and the remainder into the VS clubhouse quickly renamed the ‘Speed Bird’ lounge.

I made my way from the station to Zone A the new location of BA. There were plenty of signs and BA staffers about but I simply followed the First and Club zone which was surrounded by a turbine blade themed art work / screen which was actually very attractive. I was called over to a desk by a very bright and breezy agent.

I commented on the ‘new spiffy area’ to which the response was

“BA doesn’t do tacky”.

Well if you say so dear but I laughed.

She then informed me about the ‘Speedy Bird’ Lounge. Yes she called it that.

Me ‘Ah is that where the old Virgin lounge was? I’d seen something on the internet about it”

Her – “um yes but it did use to be the old Bow-Ack (as pronounced) lounge so we’ve gone full circle. Laugh”

So I was off to see the delights of the Speedy Bird lounge via a long walk to security. I reached the priority area and the two automatic gates but one was blocked by man arguing the toss about something and the other by his case but the staffer soon removed both.

Security was the usual procedure. I like the multiple tray / numbered bay system as it means the faster passengers can push their tray onto the belt whilst the slower people don’t block the whole system. Well until they get to the other end!

I passed through with no problem and collected my tray, put belt and coat back on etc and started the long walk to the lounge – long because I forgot the short cut.

So I arrived at the newly BA branded VS CH. They had obviously worked quickly the previous afternoon and overnight to remove any VS brand identity and signs etc and if you didn’t know it’s history you wouldn’t have been any of the wiser. I’d never been to the proper VS CH so can’t comment in detail but the chairs looked like those in pictured V-flyers have posted over the years and the physical space obviously couldn’t be changed.

There were no tacky paper signs anywhere for example the entrance was BA branded signs so BA were obviously prepared in advance. Even the wi-fi was BA branded and their standard password.

I found a space to sit and grabbed a coffee and fruit salad and a bacon sandwich. All very much the standard BA offering for its club lounge. No alcohol passed my lips (honestly) due to feeling the effects of an unplanned visit to the pub (ok two) after seeing the Brighton Alternative Pantomime (contained adult themes) not to be confused with Brighton’s Original Adult Pantomime (splitters) (oh no they aren’t ... oh yes they are ...)

Anyway at 11.00 my friend decided to respond to his messages. I toyed with inviting up but he was already at the gate so I made my way to him as he’d really only get a couple of minutes in it. I redeemed myself by guesting him into the AMS lounge on the return.

Priority boarding was in place and general boarding was generally efficiently handled. There was a little moaning about people having to gate check some bags due to it being a busy flight. Take off was delayed as ‘two passenger decided not to join us today’ and they needed to offload their luggage.

CE was 4 rows but only 6 passengers so the two crew had a light workload. Hot towels distributed and drinks ordered (as it was not post noon I did avail myself of a Honey Lamb special) and delivered followed by the cheese and ham salad.

Down the back were the two crew doing the Buy on Board run. Apparently were several unhappy passengers as they only reached row 20 before they had to stop and start clearing up. It seems BA are even limiting the number of complaint forms being in the flight kit and that the iPad shouldn’t be used for recording BOB complaints unless the passenger insists.

On the descent I overheard the 2 CE crew talking to a passenger in row A. They basically said the BOB had been badly implemented and they were getting a lot of complaints. When there was free food and drink one of the CE crew could go and give the ET staff a hand but with BOB that’s not possible.

After the short flight we landed on the Polderbann runway. This basically means you land in Belgium. Or so it feels but it is over 3 miles and a 15 minute taxi to the terminal where we arrived at the farthermost gate so a long walk to passport control.

I’d agreed with my mate that we would meet at the carousel as I had luggage and he was hand bag only. It felt like I was walking back to Belgium but the e-gates worked well and the carousel was virtually behind. There was some delay in the bags arriving (maybe Belgian customs needed to inspect them as well?) so my mate caught up with be but soon the belt started and my bag was first off. And then it was off to the train station for the trip to Amsterdam Centraal.

Very much a standard BA flight of more interest due to the new check-in area and use of the old and de flowered VS clubhouse.
#932688 by Hamster
14 Feb 2017, 04:28
Thanks for the TR!

When I visited LGW for a BA flight they had managed to open the First and Club lounges (well they were open but not allowing everyone eligible in for some reason, still using the 'Speedbird Lounge') and they have removed most of the plug sockets (you can tell they were on every table). The new lounges are very nice spaces and a great view out of the First lounge.

Had wondered about BOB on flights such as AMS, I tried it LGW-GLA-LHR and it worked well, apart from many things not being in stock and one of the payment devices not working on the return - but the crew handled it very well and managed to serve everyone. Apparently they are selling LOTS on some flights and it is adding a nice chunk of commission to their pay packets.
#932721 by pjh
14 Feb 2017, 21:34
Sounds very similar to my weekly EZY experience from STN...only probably much more expensive... :)

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