Easter getaway 2016: Introduction

Introduction

Being a British Airways Executive Club member it has always been a no-brainer to travel with British Airways whenever possible. I have mostly flown with them (including last time) to earn extra Avios points — it is no longer the case this time. The normally attractive fare from Germany disappeared at that time so I needed to find alternative solutions.

I have decided to do another European city run to save money (and travel to more places) after finding return fare between Edinburgh (EDI) and Hong Kong (HKG) on BA would cost around £1600 in economy, while flying Paris (CDG) in business class with their partners only costs around £1200.

Introduction
Overnight in London
Salon Galaxy Lounge Paris CDG
SriLankan Airlines flight from Paris to Colombo
SriLankan Airlines lounges in Bandaranaike International Airport 
SriLankan Airlines flight from Colombo to Hong Kong (via Bangkok)
SriLankan Airlines flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok
Overnight in Bangkok
SriLankan Airlines flight from Bangkok to Colombo
Srilankan Airlines lounges in Bandaranaike International Airport
Layover in Sri Lanka
SriLankan Airlines flight from Colombo to Paris
Overnight in Paris
Cathay Pacific First and Business Class lounge Paris CDG
British Airways flight from Paris CDG to London Heathrow
British Airways lounges in Heathrow Terminal 5
British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Edinburgh

So which airline have I picked and why?

I had two choices at that time — either Royal Jordanian (RJ) or SriLankan Airlines (UL). With no prior knowledge of either airlines it really took me a while to decide. I read a travel guide on Sri Lanka and the pictures in the book was so attractive that I really want to pay a visit there so I started favouring SriLankan Airlines.

My mind settled after I read reviews on both SriLankan Airlines and Royal Jordanian Airlines. Even though RJ flies B787 between their hub (Amman) to Hong Kong (via Bangkok) I have chosen UL because of their hard product (seat layout and configuration): just like American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, some of the Qatar Airways fleet and many more UL employs reverse herringbone seats on most of their aircrafts. This means the row layout is 1-2-1, unlike 2-2-2 layout on RJ or 2-4-2 (2-3-2 upper deck and 2-2 on B747 upper deck and B787) on British Airways. This not only makes the cabin quitter but this also means you would have more space for yourself.

20160325_135737
A reverse herringbone seat on SriLankan’s A330. Notice the seat is facing towards the window, giving you extra privacy and feel of having more personal space.

 

(lets ignore the price and location factor… would you rather have more space or getting cramped in one of the Club World seats?)

It is because of the seat, cheap pricing (£1145 return), nice things I have seen on travel guides on Sri Lanka and the ability to have a full day in Colombo (14 hours layover before returning to Paris CDG) that makes me pick UL, sorry Royal Jordanian!

How does it effect you by choosing partner airlines instead of British Airways?

There are some nice and not to nice things about picking something other than BA.

Reasons to try their partner airlines

  • Why shouldn’t I try them if they are significantly cheaper than BA? (it costs £1500 more to fly BA) from the same location and I can still earn points on my BAEC account?
  • You would understand more why people pick something other than British Airways, especially when being compared with Cathay Pacific
  • If you route your journey properly you will earn double the amount of Tier Points than BA due to the number of segments you fly, making you getting a higher status faster: for example a direct journey form London to Singapore return in business class earns you 280 in total, while adding a stop in Doha would help you to earn 560 points in total (this is the part where you need to know your frequent flyer programme very well…)
  • I can visit places that I would otherwise not go — so why should I miss out on these opportunities?

Reasons to stick with British Airways

  • If you have flown with BA before then you know what to expect — which makes you feel more comfortable as you know what would happen next
  • As an elite member of BAEC you would earn 25%, 50% and 100% Avios points bonus on distance flown if you are a Bronze, Silver or Gold member, making it much faster to redeem reward flights
  • You would be going through London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 if you fly BA, which is one of the nicest airport terminals out there
  • You will have access to the arrivals lounge at T5, enabling you to have a bath/shower and breakfast before heading to city

Total costs

The return flight from Paris CDG to Hong Kong costs £1145 (£35 for foreign transaction fee…). Since I need to head to Paris from Edinburgh I booked a reward flight for 4,000 Avios and £17.50. I then stayed in Shepherd’s Bush Market for another night (£59) before catching the very expensive train to Paris for £174. I have not booked stays in Bangkok and Paris along with flight back to Edinburgh though I will budget £350 for all these things (assuming I am buying the flights to Edinburgh instead of using Avios points).

This means the total costs of this trip would be around £1763… slightly out of budget but things would be different after I have actually booked everything…

Conclusion

I am only have way through the whole journey though I can already tell you I really enjoyed the experiences so far… it is definitely worthwhile to try SriLankan Airlines and I will tell you why in the upcoming posts.

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Author: Samuel

Samuel, 18, was born in Hong Kong though since 2011 he started studying in Scotland. Samuel is a big fan of travelling, however he is no ordinary traveller -- he is a premium traveller. With the use of different hotel booking strategies and ticketing hacks he is able to turn the dream of business class travel into reality while paying the price of economy (sometimes less than that).

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