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Trip Report, Part I

Hi All -

I'm not much of a poster, more of a lurker/reader but I still want to detail my trip report to help new or even seasoned travelers! While I'm sure that some people could find things to criticize in my trip reports, I hope that no one does. Our trip worked for us and it was amazing and that's all that matters. :)

I'll start with logisitcs and later do a Part II breakdown of trip locations in detail.

My husband and I traveled 4/29-5/18. We flew St. Louis to Heathrow via Chicago using British Airways. It was never our intention to fly in/out of London but it's hard to pass up business class for $1600/ticket, espectially when your husband is 6-5 and needs knee room. Three of 4 flights were American Airlines and our flight home was a BA 747 making my husband giddy. I don't know how we are ever going to fly coach again! :) I need to thank the person on this forum that posted last fall about the BA sale for AARP members. It was amazing.

One last thing about our London flight - we left St Louis at 5am, connected in Chicago and landed at 10:30 pm. We passed through immigration, retrieved our luggage and were at our airport hotel by 11 pm. It was amazing how fast we moved! We were pretty tired since we were up at 2:45 am so it wasn't hard to sleep once we settled into our room. I found the jet lag to be better than usual but I had a few nights where I woke up in the middle of the night.

We took one other flight - a non-eventful flight from Heathrow to Munich on Lufthansa.

Other Transportation

We rented two rental cars - a Hertz car for the week in Germany and a Sixt car for our time in Normandy. I know there's a great German train system, but part of our trip was visiting my family's small town so it was more convenient for us. No issues with either car or company. Ironically, both cars were pretty nice - a Jaguar and an Alfa Romeo.

Trains: we used trains to get to Bruges, Paris, Normandy and to back to London. we enjoy using the trains for sure, especially since my husband is tall. He's able to get up and stretch his legs often!

Technology and Apps:

We have Sprint cell phone service and enjoyed decent coverage while in Europe. Some places were better than others, but overall it was great. We were connected to home and our kids JUST enough!

Apps and websites we used: Tripit, Mobile Pass, Rome to Rio, and Yelp. The Mobile Pass App from Customs and Border Protection allowed us to breeze right by everyone when we landed in Chicago. We don't have Global Entry and I bet that the day we came home, it was just as fast as Global Entry.

Odds /Ends:

HATED my suitcase. Was hoping it would fall apart at some point. I used a pretty heavy bag even though I didn't pack too many clothes. I realized it a few days into the trip. But, live and learn and I'll be looking for a better bag!

Things I used this time that I thought was awesome - the money belt and my scarf. The money belt meant my husband didn't worry about his wallet and I didn't have to carry a purse! my infinity scarf has a hidden pocket that zips so I was able to carry a few Euros and my phone during the day in Paris and not worry about someone taking off with my phone!

Laundry - washed laundry in Garmisch where we paid the worker who did all the work and even somewhat folded our clothes when dry. It was like 5 Euros/load so it was affordable and we were able to get coffee while it washed. I did wash a few pairs of underwear in the sink using shampoo and drying on the radiator.

We did go to a laundomat in Bruges and it was no problem. It was a rainy day and we both enjoyed a down morning sitting and drinking our coffee while we waited for our laundry.

I can't think of any more odds and ends right now. I'll post again here if I think of something!

If you made it this far, thanks for reading!

Posted by
13210 posts

Sounds like a great trip so far! Great deal on airfare too. I've always wanted to do a daytime flight to Europe which it looks like yours was.

If you are going to shop for a suitcase in a brick and mortar store I recommend having a tape measure and a small digital scale with you! Sorry your suitcase was a pain on the trip but now you know, lol! Take it to a charity shop!

Thanks for posting. I love to read Trip Reports!

Posted by
12040 posts

Care to elaborate a little further on where you visited?

Posted by
149 posts

Tom - per my original post, I am going to detail where we went in another post. However, dinner for my family called as did helping my kids with homework. That post will hopefully come tomorrow. :)

Posted by
920 posts

I posted about the BA sale last fall and I am so excited for our upcoming trip! Glad you were able to take advantage of it! We are scheduled to fly business class to London in August and paid the same as you. Our return flight is to Chicago on a 747, too! I am very excited to fly that plane. It is one of a handful I haven't flown yet. Did you fly in the upper deck? What did you think of their business class seats vs. American? We have seats in the upper deck from London to Chicago. We are on a 777 from Philly to London so that will be interesting as well. We are on American for the other 2 flights to/from Charlotte but these will just be domestic first class seats which is a far cry from international business class! But it's still better than coach, especially for the price we paid!

Posted by
458 posts

Thanks for posting. Interesting about the Mobile Pass App. Looking forward to the rest of your report.

Posted by
149 posts

Stephen -

We did fly in the upper deck of the 747. It. Was. Amazing. I feel like such a poser since we aren't really first class people - it's just way too much money for us especially since we are looking at college for our oldest in 2 years! But like I said, I cannot thank you enough for posting that sale. I owe you, as does my husband. I can't wait to hear about your experience when you get back from your trip.

I enjoyed both business class seats over the pond and back. Personally, I liked the 747 better since it had storage containers right next to the window seat. I liked not having anything in the overhead storage or having to reach down by my feet. My husband though liked the 777 better. He disliked having the wall between us in the 747 set up - he felt constricted if that makes sense.

One other note - we were surprised on the way over how empty our flight was. Business class was probably half full as was coach. Since there were many empty seats, we both sat by windows and had no one next to us the entire flight.

Posted by
2251 posts

Sounds like a most successful trip-well, except for your suitcase! Thanks for posting all the particulars and I am looking forward to the remainder when you have the time.

Posted by
6082 posts

Stephen, we also took advantage of the BA sale - can't thank you enough. We are spoiled! Next year we'll haunt the Forum, hoping someone will post news of a similar sale.

Posted by
2393 posts

Sounds great so far - can't wait to hear the rest.

I know about the spoiled part - we flew home (cruised over) last time in Global First on United om points - best flight ever! We'll be booking our next one with points as well.

Posted by
731 posts

I would like to know more about this Mobile App as well......I, too, enjoy reading trip reports!

Posted by
731 posts

Oh, and Amy.....I am also in should come to one of our travel meet ups. They are always posted in the meetings section of the forum. Our next one is June 18 at the Sunset Hills Panera (or as us St Louisians say, StL Bread Company) :)

Posted by
920 posts

Jane, I'm happy that you got to take advantage of the sale! They had some great prices! If you have a Facebook or Twitter account, follow The Points Guy and One Mile at a Time. They are really good about keeping up with sales like this.