Work

Work trip to the UK (Leicester)

In my ongoing effort to catch-up to the present day I bring you a quick photo report of my business trip to the UK in Spring 2016. My client has a location in Leicester that was deemed important enough for us to spend a week reviewing procedures so plans were made and tickets booked. In order to sample more products I booked Delta Business Class (ATL-LHR) on the outbound and Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (LHR-ATL) on the return. This was also done so I could visit the Virgin Clubhouse at LHR.

From London, I took a East Midlands train to Leicester the same day of arrival and then 5 days later on the return. Hotel options aren’t great in the city center of Leicester so I booked at the MERCURE LEICESTER THE GRAND and the final night in London was spent at HILTON LONDON METROPOLE. The Mecure property was OK but was definitely starting to show its age. The Hilton Metropole was a pretty standard big-city Hilton property. I wouldn’t go out of my way to stay at either property in the future.

One really cool aspect of the trip was that Leicester City was one week away from claiming the EPL title. The city was alive with team spirit and was quite enjoyable to experience the pride the city felt in the team. To this day, I will support Leicester City when I happen to turn on EPL.

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Delta Business Class seat. Booked last minute so got stuck in a middle section on the older hard product. I know, first world problems.

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View from outside looking in to St Pancras Station in London. This is where the East Midlands train departed to Leicester.

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Brick Lane Market. The London Marathon was going on the day I arrived so a lot of areas were blocked off due to the marathon route. This was a really cool market scene with lots of good street food and great people watching.

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Shot of the Tube in London.

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Another view of St Pancras Station.

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City center of Leicester. Overall, pleasant enough city for a work trip but not much to see for a tourist. In the evenings the city center felt pretty empty.

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Pedestrian road (New Walk) in Leicester. Used this path each day from the client location to the hotel.

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Near the University of Leicester campus. Passed through on the way to lunch one day from the client location. On a slightly unrelated note, the weather was ridiculous. During the span of 1 hour it snowed, rained, and was sunny.

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Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

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Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse

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Quick Travel Question?

First, I need to provide some background.  I took a flight for business this past Monday morning and on the United flight from Houston to St. Louis the flight attendant forced all passengers to remove liquids (waters bottles, coke, coffee, etc.) from the seat back pockets during takeoff/landing as she claimed this is a FAA Regulation.

I have flown a fair amount in the past 5 years but have never once heard this pronouncement.  I have flown on the type of aircraft before as well and never heard it.  I was just wondering if anyone else has ever had a flight attendant force you to hold water bottles during takeoff/landing?

Trip Report – St. Louis and Jacksonville, IL

10/24/2011 – Southwest Flight #1232 MSY – DAL (Leave 6:10 AM, Arrive 7:35 AM)

                          Southwest Flight #1256 DAL – STL (Leave 9:30 AM, Arrive 11:10 AM)

10/28/2011 – Southwest Flight #1568 STL – HOU (Leave 8:55 AM, Arrive 11:05 AM)

                           Southwest Flight #2675 HOU – MSY (Leave 12:05 PM, Arrive 1:10 PM) 

As part of my writings for this blog I am going to try and squeeze in a few trip reports from my business travels, if possible, and all personal travels.  I had flown this same exact itinerary the previous week so I did not expect any significant deviations.  However, as we boarded on the 24th in New Orleans the Captain mentioned that there was some pretty thick fog in and around Dallas.   He said he did not expect it to be an issue and anticipated an early arrival (+/- 10 minutes).

The in-flight services were what I have come to expect with Southwest, efficient and friendly.  Nothing spectacular on that front and there typically is not, I have found Southwest to be quite uniform across the board.  The interesting part of this flight came as we were in our final approach into DAL.  Coming in, I could see there was fairly dense fog near ground level but did not think anything of it as you could still make out items on the ground.  We had circled around downtown and had begun our decent DAL from the north.  After extending the flaps and lowering the landing gear, as we were about to break into the fog barrier, I could feel the engines powering up and then I saw the flaps retract back into the wing.  At this point, I was not sure whether we were making a go around due to the density of the fog or if there was some mechanical error.  We did not receive word from the Captain until we had climbed back up through the upper cloud layer.  He notified us that just as we were on final approach DAL closed down flight operations due to the dense fog and that we were being diverted to Austin, TX.

Our landing in Austin was uneventful and we spent the next 3 hours on the ground in Austin.  Some of the time (approx. 45 min) was spent on the tarmac waiting for a gate to open up and the remainder was spent parked at the gate.  While at the gate Southwest gave us the options of returning to the terminal and made use of the old numbered boarding cards.  I really enjoyed getting to see those again!

Around 11 we were told to board the flight again and we took off for the short flight back to DAL.  At this point, I was not sure if I was going to be able to make it to my connection and feared having to wait in the ill-equipped Dallas Love Field.  However, as we taxied to our gate I was able to look up on Southwest.com that my flight to St. Louis had not departed due to the fog.   Thankfully, there was nothing special to report on the flight from DAL to STL and I was happy enjoy some fresh air.  Unfortunately, that fresh air didn’t last long as I had a 2 hour drive to my final destination. Not fun, but such is the life of an accountant.