No guts, no glory

Trip Start Dec 10, 2012
Trip End Jan 12, 2012

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Flag of Finland  , Southern Finland,
Saturday, December 15, 2012

We've finally arrived in Helsinki, having completed the 'hard' part of the trip - 12 hours of overnight flying on BA (British Airways which should be renamed Budget Airways) in cattle class, followed by a 6 hour wait at Heathrow before a 3 hour flight to Helsinki.

This is the part where I have a whinge. I don't like to whinge normally but if this is going to be a true travel diary I need to note the good with the bad.

It was quite a come down from the comfort of the Qantas First Class Lounge to seat 45D, which was located towards the very rear end of a Boeing 747. The seat dimensions have shrunk. My derriere may have got larger over the years but my legs haven't got longer, and when the child in front of me reclined after take off I can only say that there wasn't a lot of room to move. No games for the kids, amenities packs, just a blanket, pillow and a tooth-brush. We did get a pre-dinner drink however when I asked for pretzels or nuts I was told 'not in this cabin' which was another reminder that a cheap fare usually turns out to be exactly that. It was a stark contrast to the treatment we got on the Qantas flight to HK which offered everything that BA didn't.

The girls and Daniel handled the flight well, sleeping for the most part. There were a few screaming baby moments (other people's) but it's to be expected. Unfortunately Alexandra vomited just after the plane landed (she gets a little motion sickness, which I had completely forgotten about and that, combined with the orange juice over breakfast...) so the poor love was a bit tired and overwrought. Luckily I had packed some spare clothes in the carry on luggage and we managed to change her and clean her up. She pulled herself together admirably and we got off the plane looking forward to a nice hot shower in the BA Executive Lounge which is the lounge Qantas Club members have rights of access to.

However, having walked about 2km and then taken a bus to Terminal 3 the very unfriendly man on the door informed us that my membership did not allow children free entry. Bear in mind this was 6am in the morning and nobody was about. After requesting to speak to the Manager I suggested that I would enter with one family member at time so that we could take a shower and refresh ourselves. She told me that this was not permitted. I won't go into the legalities but suffice to say I was not happy with her response and will be taking this further when I get home.

I was faced with the option of getting annoyed and upset or moving to plan B. Thankfully Heathrow has lounges which you can use for a fee so we found the 'No.1 Lounge' which had everything we needed. It probably had more benefits than the airline lounges as it had a separate cinema and a 'Snug', a nice, dark room with little cubbies for the kids to take a nap. We had lovely hot showers, a healthy relaxed breakfast and hung around until our 3 hour stay was up. It was very good value at 30 pounds an adult and 15 pounds a child. Given the food prices at Heathrow it was money well spent.

Heathrow was very busy and our plane was about 30 minutes late but when we did board it was a nice, quiet flight. First impressions of the Finnish people are very positive. As we landed we descended into a winter wonderland, sooo beautiful. I'll go more into that in my next post. However I just want to finish (pardon the pun) by saying what amazing little people our girls are. They were so resilient. They stuck out a long, tiring journey with stoicism and a sunny disposition and we are so proud of them. Thousands of families do this a year and they all seem to cope, but I'm still glad to know that my children are, at this early stage in their lives, equal parts Princess and Adventurer.
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Leonie on

Yes I've heard BA is nothing much to write home about! Must've been tricky with no inflight screen and DVDs or shows to entertain. I don't think BA fly into AUS any more like so many European carriers nevertheless sounds like u all got to Santas land safely and happily!

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