Welcome to the second and final Travel Spot covering this year’s second trip to Portland (Maine). I flew from London Heathrow to Boston at the start of April (the subject of the previous instalment of this Travel Spot), while this post covers my return to London at the start of May. Both flights were with British Airways and, as I’ve done the last two times I’ve returned from Boston, I took an overnight flight in World Traveller Plus (aka premium economy), leaving Boston in the late evening.
Since I returned from Iceland in July 2021, the rules have been different each time I’ve flown back to the UK, although in this case, the rules were non-existent. After my last flight to the UK in mid-February, the UK Government removed all requirements for testing and withdrew the passenger locator form, so there was nothing to do ahead of the flight. It was very similar to flying in the pre-pandemic era (other than the high prevalence of a highly contagious and potentially fatal airborne virus that is). Naturally, except when I was eating, I wore a mask the entire time I was on public transport, in the airport and on the plane.
Welcome to another instalment of Brian’s Travel Spot. This is a throwback to 2019, almost exactly three years ago to the day, when I was in America on a five-week, multi-city trip, faced with having to get from New Orleans to Foster City (just outside San Francisco Airport). I’d begun my trip exactly a week before, flying into New Orleans to attend a week-long meeting which ended on Friday afternoon. I was then due in Foster City for another meeting, starting at lunchtime on the following Monday.
Sensible options including spending the weekend in New Orleans before flying to San Francisco on Monday morning, or flying to San Francisco on Friday night to spend the weekend in the Bay Area. However, I chose a third option, that of travelling via Los Angeles, which is how I came to be heading to New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong Airport on Friday evening to catch a flight to the famous LAX (Los Angeles International Airport). I was flying with Delta, my favourite American airline, and, since work was paying, I was in first class (although, as you will see, this is a bit of misnomer when it comes to internal flights in the USA).
Welcome to another Travel Spot at the start of another trip to the USA, where I try to think of different variations on the theme of “Brian Goes Back to Boston” for the title. This is my third visit in six months, although my ultimate destination is (just as it was on the previous two trips) Portland, Maine. While I’m flying British Airways again, this time, for variation, I’m in World Traveller (economy to you and me) rather than World Traveller Plus, the first time that I’ve flown to Boston in economy since (check notes) two years ago. So really, not much change there then. In all, I’ll spend four weeks in Portland, before flying back from Boston (in World Traveller Pus) at the start of May.
As before, this Travel Spot covers my flight from London Heathrow to Boston Logan, plus my journeys to Heathrow by RailAir coach and from Logan with Concord Coach Lines. The two previous times I flew to America, the pre-flight process was so involved that it warranted a dedicated post on each occasion. However, this time, little has changed since I flew in January, so I’m going to keep that part to a minimum.
Welcome to second instalment of the final Travel Spot from my first trip of 2022, covering my return from Boston four weeks ago. The first instalment dealt with my flight from Boston to London Heathrow, a familiar route, although it was my first time on a Boeing 787-10. All my recent journeys have ended at Heathrow, but on this occasion, I was carrying on to my Dad’s in North Wales, following another familiar route (from pre-pandemic times), the short hop from Heathrow to Manchester Airport.
I’ve always had misgivings about this, not being a great fan of short-haul flights, but the simple fact is that it’s always been the most convenient option, the additional cost of the Heathrow to Manchester leg being negligible (or sometimes zero) compared to the outrageous cost of train travel in the UK. There’s also the additional hassle of hauling my bags across central London and/or taking the tube, neither of which are particularly appealing after a long flight. However, after my experiences this time, compounded by the difficulty in getting from Manchester Airport to North Wales on a Sunday (three trains and a bus), I’m going to be reassessing my options on future trips.
Welcome to the penultimate Travel Spot of my first trip of 2022, covering my return from Boston in mid-February. 2022 got underway as 2021 had ended, with a visit to North America, flying with British Airways in World Traveller Plus (aka premium economy). This time, however, rather than flying to Atlanta before returning from Boston, I flew to and from Boston. In another twist, instead of returning home to Guildford, I continued on to my Dad’s in North Wales, taking the familiar (from pre-pandemic times) short hop from Heathrow to Manchester.
Initially, I had planned to cover the whole trip in one post, but as is often the case, this Travel Spot grew in the telling. Therefore, I’ve decided to split it into two instalments, with this, the first, covering my flight from Boston to Heathrow. The second instalment covers the short hop from Heathrow to Manchester.
I flew out to Boston in mid-January on my way to spend three weeks in Maine with Amanda before flying back two weeks ago. On my previous trip, I took the bus down from Portland to Boston Logan airport, but this time, Amanda and I caught the Downeaster, Amtrak’s train service linking Boston with Maine. We go to Boston on Friday afternoon, spending 24 hours exploring the city before I made my way to the airport on Saturday evening.
Welcome to the second and final part of my Travel Spot dedicated to Amtrak’s Downeaster, which connects Boston with Brunswick, Maine, providing five daily services in each direction, departing from/arriving at Boston’s North Station. In Part I, I took a trip from Portland, where I was staying, to Brunswick, taking the opportunity to check out Amtrak’s business class along the way, before returning by bus.
Part II covers the journey Amanda and I took two days later in the other direction, from Portland to Boston, where we travelled in coach class (Amtrak’s standard class for travel). Incidentally, although I’d travelled in coach class many times before, this was my first detailed look at Amtrak’s refurbished coach-class seating. Along the way, we tried out the café car, sampling the on-board coffee which we put up against some of our own that we’d made on the train.
Other than my trip to Brunswick two days before, I’d only taken the Downeaster once before, at the start of my Portland-to-Portland trans-America train trip in June 2015. Since then, for a variety of reasons, the bus had always proved more convenient, so I was keen to see how the train stacked up against the bus.
Welcome to this two-part Travel Spot, dedicated to Amtrak’s Downeaster, connecting Boston and Maine with five daily services in each direction, departing from/arriving at Boston’s North Station. Regular readers will be aware of my hit-and-miss relationship with the Downeaster, having been on it just once before, at the start of my Portland-to-Portland trans-America train trip. Since then I’ve found the bus more convenient when travelling between Boston and Portland, although tomorrow that will change when Amanda and I take the Downeaster from Portland to Boston, the subject of Part II of this two-part Travel Spot.
So, what’s Part I all about? Well, the Downeaster doesn’t just connect Boston with Portland: there are two more stops north of Portland, Freeport and Brunswick, where the train terminates. Ahead of tomorrow’s journey, I decided to catch the train in the other direction, from Portland to Brunswick, just so that I could say that I’d travelled the full length of the line, albeit in two separate trips. Ideally, I’d have taken the train back to Portland, but Amtrak’s schedule is quirky to say the least. Returning by train would have required a 2½ hour wait, so I caught the Greater Portland Metro BREEZ bus instead.
Welcome to the second instalment of my Travel Spot, covering my flights to/from Dublin in October 2019, at the start/end of a two-week trip to Ireland. I spent my first week driving around Ireland, enjoying the beauty of the Wicklow Mountains, Waterford, Cork, the Ring of Kerry and Galway. This was followed by a weekend in Dublin (visiting coffee shops, of course) and a week working in Leopardstown, just south of Dublin, before I flew home on Friday afternoon.
The first instalment was about my flight from Heathrow to Dublin, travelling in Club Europe with British Airways, while this post covers my return, which saw me take the slightly bizarre route of Dublin – Heathrow – Manchester, again flying Club Europe with British Airways. This was partly due to laziness on my part (it was the seventh trip of a hectic year, sandwiched between two trips to Japan) which made the default option of booking with British Airways the easy way out, and partly down to airline madness, which makes this sort of routing cheaper than flying London to Dublin with British Airways, then returning from Dublin direct to Manchester with Aer Lingus (which would have been the logical route to take).
Welcome to another Travel Spot post and, no, before anyone wonders why I’m flying from Boston to Dublin, this isn’t part of my current trip. Instead, I’m catching up on my backlog of past trips that I didn’t get to write up at the time. In contrast to the recent diet of long-haul flights, this covers the short hop I took across the Irish Sea in October 2019 to visit Ireland for a couple of weeks, one for work, with the other spent driving around Waterford, Cork and Galway.
It was the seventh trip of a hectic year, sandwiched between two trips to Japan (more long-haul flights!), so represented a welcome change of pace. This post covers the flight out from Heathrow to Dublin, travelling in Club Europe with British Airways, while a separate post covers my return, which saw me taking the slightly bizarre route of Dublin – Heathrow – Manchester.
Welcome to another Travel Spot, all about my first trip of 2022. I’m starting 2022 as I ended 2021, heading back to Boston, once again flying with British Airways in World Traveller Plus (premium economy to you and me). In a change from my usual habit (on trips to the USA at least), I’ll also be returning from Boston when I fly home in mid-February (World Traveller Plus again). It’s not quite a repeat of the trip I made at the end of last year, since on that occasion I flew to Atlanta, but otherwise it’s pretty close.
The reason I’m off is to spend three weeks in Maine with Amanda (as opposed to spending those three weeks by myself in Guildford). As I did when I flew to Atlanta in November, I’ve already written a separate post about the various pre-flight processes now in place when flying to America during the COVID-19 pandemic. This Travel Spot will therefore focus on the flight, along with the usual bits and pieces about getting to/from the airport, etc.