Jazeera Airways now has online check-in

Posted by Mark

Not sure why it took them so long but Jazeera Airways now has online check-in. What this means is you could now choose your seats and check-in to your flight before arriving to the airport and then just drop off your luggage at their fast baggage-drop counter instead of waiting in the long line with everyone else. [Link]


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Next time you’re in London, rent a bike

Posted by Mark

The last day when I was in London I decided to try their public bike rentals. I was worried it was going to be a bit complicated riding around a city I didn’t really know but it actually turned out to be a lot more fun that way. First of all the bike are very cheap to rent costing one pound for 24 hours and no other costs if you use the bike for 30 minute intervals. The rental process is automated using a touch screen and credit card and once you’re done paying for the bike you get a code which you punch into the bike to release the lock.

Me and Nat picked up our bikes from the corner of Hyde Park and rode across to the other side before returning the bike to another bike dock. We then crossed the street to shop a bit and when we were done we picked up new bikes from a different bike dock further down the street. Since I had already paid for 24 hours worth I just placed my card in the machine which recognized me right away and printed out new codes to release 2 new bikes. We then rode down passed Buckingham Palace where we stopped to watch a ceremony and then proceeded to head down towards the river.

Because we were on bikes we were covering a lot of area much more quicker than if we were walking. We also rode in areas we would usually skip by taking the subway so that allowed us to see and discover new things. The fact they have a lot of bike docks all over makes it easy to pick up a bike when you need one and drop off the bikes when you’re done. So next time you’re in London try renting a bike, it’s worth trying out.


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Heathrow Airport VAT refunds

Posted by Mark

Just a tip. If you’re traveling to London and are planning on getting VAT refunds at the airport on your way out then make sure you get to the airport 5 or 6 hours early. Seriously. It seems Travelex, the company that handles the VAT refunds at the airport actually deliberately try to be very slow so that you give up waiting and leave without collecting your refund. I arrived to the airport 3 hours ahead of my flight and first thing I did was stand in a super long line before check in to get my refund but the line wasn’t moving. I spent around an hour and moved only 2 or 3 spots and I estimated I had at least another 2 to 3 hours just get to the front of the line. In the end I gave up and decided to get the refund as credit on my credit card, a simpler process which involved passing the forms to the manager stationed there but not receiving any kind of delivery proof or even a carbon copy of my forms. According to other people who were waiting in line they tried the credit route before and never got the refund. I didn’t really have another option.

I had a new laptop with me as well so to get a VAT refund for that you need to do it after passing immigration. Once inside I got my laptop VAT Refund document stamped but then had to wait another hour and half in line to get the cash refund for that. It’s the same line you need to stand in by the way once you get your forms stamped in the first super long line before immigration. I ended up collecting my refund just as they were announcing the final call for my flight. So make sure you get to the airport a lot earlier then you think you need.


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The British Museum

Posted by Mark

I’m really not a museum type of guy but I have to highly recommend the British Museum in London. I passed by because I was in the area and curious but I’m really glad I did. The museum is HUGE, I think it’s the largest museum I’ve ever been to, actually I’m sure it is. It’s a maze of rooms after rooms filled with so much random stuff from all over the world that you’re bound to find something that interests you. Nat enjoyed the Egyptian mummies while my favorite section was the old watches and clocks but even the Japanese and Americas history section was fascinating.

What was going to be just a quick in and out tour of the museum ended up taking a couple of hours and I really was just walking from room to room barely stopping. That’s how big the place is.

The British Museum is just a few minutes off Oxford Street and entry is free.


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Phone line with data while you’re in London

Posted by Mark

For just £15 I was able to get a pre-paid phone line from the mobile operator 3 that lasts a month and comes with 300 minutes of talk time, 3000 SMS’s and unlimited 3G data. Works great with the iPhone and Personal Hotspot also works so you could get online in your hotel room with your laptop and avoid the hotels expensive internet rates.


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Follow me in London

Posted by Mark

I’m uploading and sharing a lot of photos on Instagram while I’m here on vacation and you can check them all out by clicking [Here]


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An Electric Car

Posted by Mark

I’ve seen electric cars before but this was the first time I spotted one being charged. In Mayfair they have few parking spots that have electric charging points. Very cool.


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Heathrow Airport to London

Posted by Mark

My favorite method of transportation from the airport to the hotel and vice versa is using the Heathrow Connect train. I tried the black cabs but at 60 British Pounds (around KD25) they’re too expensive and you spend a lot of time stuck in traffic (total trip time close to an hour). I also tried taking the subway which cost me 1.5 pounds but found it too much of a hassle and it wasn’t easy navigating with a bag. Plus the subway took nearly as long as the cab.

Once I discovered Heathrow Connect I haven’t looked back. Actually there are two very similar options the other being Heathrow Express which is the train the airport heavily advertises. Heathrow Express costs around 20 pounds and will have you in London within 20 minutes. The train has room for your baggage and even has wifi on board which I think is great. The other option is Heathrow Connect which is similar to the Express train with some minor differences. Unlike the Express train, the Connect train has around 5 stops before it arrives into London. These 5 stops add around 15 minutes of travel time when compared to the Express. In addition to that the train also doesn’t have wifi. But on the other hand the Heathrow Connect costs just 10 pounds for a ticket and as you can see the from the picture above is usually empty since it’s less popular since the airport advertises the Express train. So that’s around 6 times cheaper than the cab (if you’re 1 person) and gets you there nearly twice as fast.

So next time you’re going to London consider the Heathrow Express and Connect trains. You can get the tickets at the airport and the trains leave every 15 minutes.


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Heading to London

Posted by Mark

I’m leaving to London early Friday morning for a week. It’s going to be a chilled out vacation and so far I’ve got the following things planned, all of which I haven’t done before:

- Cadbury World
- Stonehenge
- The Newman Arms
- G Kelly Pie
- The Last Tuesday Society
- The Hideout aka Trisha’s
- Cabman’s Shelter
- Bicester Village

Still trying to find an interesting castle to visit. Oh and I need to walk through Hyde Park. For some reason I haven’t done that yet. I’ll be staying at Easy Hotel in Paddington again since I had a good experience the last time. I’m going for a slightly larger room this time around so looking forward to that. If anyone has any recommendations on where to go just leave a comment below. I’ll of course be going to the regular places like Harrods, Oxford Street, Portobello Road, Borough Market etc…


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Dubai Airport – Terminal 3

Posted by Mark

I had to go to Dubai for a day and got to experience Dubai Airport’s Terminal 3 for the very first time and I’m impressed. The terminal is huge, but not in the regular sense more like palace kinda huge. Lot’s of high ceilings and very large empty spaces. When I arrived to the airport it was empty with barely any passengers which I thought was cool. Can’t wait until our new airport gets completed. Below is a video I shot of their check in area (the left half, there is another similar area on the opposite side) showing how big and empty it was.


[YouTube]

Picture taken by Patrick


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