London

Virgin Atlantic A330 Atlanta to London: Preview

Here are some quick photos of the Upper Class cabin in the A330-300 that I took aboard Virgin Atlantic. Enjoy!



The mood lighting of the Virgin Atlantic fleet

The mood lighting of the Virgin Atlantic fleet

The seat was tight to sit in.

The seat was tight to sit in.

In flight airshow

In flight airshow

One of the best vegan meals I've had in the air... or on the ground for that matter.

One of the best vegan meals I've had in the air... or on the ground for that matter.

Add A Little London To My Layover

Reviewing my schedule for the upcoming trip to South Africa, I noticed that my layover at London Heathrow would be quite a long time, much longer than I had originally thought. In fact the layover is a full 14 hours from landing to takeoff on my next flight to Johannesburg. That's way too long to be sitting in a lounge.... especially when in one of my favorite cites in the world.



The logical step is to take a day trip into the city, and why not. 14 hours is enough to revisit parts of the city, and maybe even catch a museum or two I had not previously been inside of. Right now I'm only starting to plan the heavy details of this part of my trip, but I've been wanting a chance to go to London again. Certainly not long enough to dive deep into parts of London I have yet to visit, it does give me a chance to look around and add a great city to the list of places I've been this year. 

London for me is one of those cities I can go back to many times. However, there is always the question of what to do with your luggage while your exploring the city. 

Luckily London Heathrow has baggage holding services at most terminals. For a small fee, you can leave your bags there for hours or even days should you want to pick it up on a return trip, or whatever your use case may be. This service allows me to drop off my bag full of clothes and take my important stuff in my small second bag. I'll be free to roam the city for the day and still have plenty of time to return to the airport, collect my belongings and get on my next flight.

Now time to get to planning out my itinerary.

My Top 3 Destinations

Over the last few years, I've started to travel pretty extensively around the world. My international travels started in London, then blossomed pretty quickly from there. Now I've been to 5 different continents, 11 countries, and by the end of the year will have picked up at least 2 more countries and the last of the 6 main continents (sorry Antarctica, you'll have to wait a little while). In all of my traveling, there have been some pretty big stand outs for me that I cannot wait to return to. Here are my top 3 destinations so far:



 

London, England

London was the first place I ever visited internationally. The trip was short, much like most of my trips, but a memorable one. Since that time, I've been through the airport in London many times, but never made it back into the city. This is something that needs to change and soon. London is an amazing city, and one that mixes the modern and old city feels very well.

London boasts one of the most amazing collections of art, science and historical museums anywhere in the world. From the Tate Modern, to the Globe Theater there is so much to see in London. At night you can climb aboard the Millennium Eye, I say at night because the view is amazing with the city lights.

Getting around in London is as easy as hopping on the tube and riding pretty much anyplace you'd want to be. London is amazing and it'll draw you back.

 

Sydney, Australia

Yes, I am highly recommending you go down under for your next trip. Sydney is one of those places people don't often think about because the trip is so damn long in the air. If you do fly there, make it a business class or better sort of trip. I made it in economy, and 15-16 hours in economy isn't fun... though Qantas makes it slightly better.

People in Australia are some of the most friendly you'll ever meet. The food is very similar to England, lots of fish and chips, but they add in a bit of Vegemite to morning meals to make it their own. While I'm on the topic, keep at least 30 paces from Vegemite... don't say I didn't warn you.

A visit to Circular Quay is a must for any visits. There you can eat, shops, walk around, catch a play at the famous Sydney Opera House (yes I did that), and catch a ferry across the harbor. On the other side of the harbor is the world famous Sydney Zoo, an absolute must see for any visitor.

Sydney is a place which always sticks out in my mind.

 

Seoul, South Korea

I know what your thinking, "really? South Korea?" at least that seems to be the reaction I often get. Here I'm breaking from my trend of choosing English speaking countries. There is a good reason for choosing South Korea and that largely to do with the people. South Korean's are very friendly, fun and happy. While there was a major language barrier everywhere I went, there was no point that I felt uncomfortable in South Korea. 

The city is huge, but worth every second of any visit. Museums, observation towers, old temple grounds, and an amazing market. Despite being sick when I visited last time, the trip was a hit with me and continues to stick out as a highlight of all of my travels. 

If you ever get the chance to visit South Korea, do not think twice about it, Seoul is amazing!

 

Future

These stand out at the big three destinations to date. With Dubai, Cape Town, Honk Kong, Tokyo, Melbourne, Queenstown, and so many many more on my list, this is likely to change in the coming years. Still, these are the 3 places I'd most jump at a chance to revisit if the price is right.

 

A Dreamliner Come True

This has been a topic before, but I have gone through quite a bit of effort to attempt to plan my next few trips to happen on a Boeing 787-8. Since was a lead designer on part of the wiring for this plane, I've been itching to get on board this aircraft type. 



Right now I am putting together a trip to France for my day job, I will be flying through London and have the opportunity to overnight in London on my return flight. Fortunately for me, one of the outbound flight options is to fly with British Airways on an American Airlines code share. The flight from PHL to LHR is flown out of Philadelphia around 10:30pm every night on board a British Airways 787-8. Work may have just granted my wish a bit earlier than I had expected.

While I will still be pushing for another flight next year to take place in business class on board a 787-8, flying economy to London will be a treat. I did have the chance to look this flight up and unfortunately the very desirable seats are already taken, but there are still some available with extra leg room. Also, this is a fairly short flight for a trans-Atlantic, clocking in at only 6hrs 30min to London. Flying the reverse direction will be slightly longer, but I'll be covering that direction on an American A330-300, something I have flown plenty of times with US Airways.

This is a dream aircraft for me, it represented 4 years of life designing this aircraft, and I'm excited to have this chance. Granted this is not set in stone yet, plans could change, but I am pushing for this flight and will hopefully have it locked in within the next few days.