In late January 2018 we had no specific plans to visit Europe again! However, our daughter alerted us to a cheap fare on West Jet to Gatwick London from St. John’s, so we started to look. In early May for around $1000.00 Canadian we could get two return airfares, so definitely worth a second look! Hubby has this problem of cramped seats because of his height and looked at the cost of seats with extra leg room at the emergency exits. So we decided to jump at the opportunity!
Friends had extolled us on the idea of checking out Croatia. So that became our immediate focus of research. Hubby is in charge of itinerary planning under oversight by me of course! He found some reasonable air fares to Dubrovnik, Croatia which matched our itinerary from St. John’s via London Gatwick. We wanted a stop over in London, so we booked in at our favourite hotel in London, The Sherlock Holmes Park Plaza on Baker Street! So we were well advanced in our trip planning when West Jet decided to cancel our direct flight from St. John‘s to Gatwick! They had decided that now we would have to go through Halifax, Nova Scotia instead!
The Red London Phone Booths are Slowly Being Replaced through Wear and the elements!
West Jet emailed us a new travel plan and itinerary with seating and location that didn’t even match our reservation, with the extra money we had paid to get seating with extra room. We were really pissed off at West Jet and still are really! We will only travel with them again in extreme circumstances. We had already invested $1000.00 Canadian on non refundable reservations, but they did say that they would refund the air fare because of the change which was beyond our control. However, we had already paid for the Sherlock Holmes Park Plaza which was non-refundable and I had already paid for half of our accommodation in Dubrovnik and Geneva, Switzerland! So for us unless we were going to get our money back for what we had already spent, cancelling was not an option! We have since seen that West Jet cancel many flights without notice!
Out and About London May 2018
We contacted West Jet about the seating issue, and after 45 minutes on the phone we were able to get our seats with extra leg room back at no additional cost. So instead of leaving St. John’s at 11:00 PM to Gatwick, we had to back track to Halifax, Nova Scotia at 11:00 PM after flying from St. John’s at 7:00 PM earlier that evening! We were not pleased at all! We were even more pissed off on the way back but this is another story! So a lot of drama before we had even left on this trip to Europe! Our options are limited here in St. John’s so the travel consumer is definitely disrespected here in Newfoundland and Labrador!!!!
Baker Street London May 2018
So grin and bear it on Tuesday May 8th we boarded our unnecessary flight to Halifax Nova Scotia to connect with our Halifax-Gatwick flight! Our flight over to Halifax was on the dinky Bombardier Q400, 28 inches in seat room from the seat back in front of you and your nose! St. John‘s or YYT is not even a focus city anymore with West Jet. Our flight to Gatwick on the 737-800 had seats that indeed had lots of leg room in the emergency exits and that was a blessing! We had preordered our meal beforehand which was a good idea. At least you were guaranteed food and it was good quality. The flight over was uneventful and we arrived Gatwick on time 6 hours later at 8:10 AM. It was very distressing however to look out the window as we flew back over Newfoundland knowing that we could have been saved so much time if we had just left from St. John’s! The airlines take Newfoundland and Labrador for granted even though so many of our population fly all over Canada, the USA and now more recently Europe!
Flying Back Over Newfoundland after WestJet cancelled our Flight out of St. John’s!
We caught the Gatwick Express to Central London with tickets we had booked online in advance before we left St. John’s. We picked up a cab at Victoria Station and we were at the Sherlock Holmes Park Plaza by 11:00 AM. We were pleased that our room was ready so we could just chill out for a little bit and have a nap on the comfy bed which we both needed very badly! By 3:00 PM we were out on the streets of London on a gorgeous 22C sunny day!
We walked down Baker Street, dived into a few side streets and found the Coach Makers Pub at the intersection of Hinde Street and Marylebone Road. It was a lovely place for a pint! Hubby had his pint and I had my glass of wine! Very civil for sure! After a bit more of exploring we were back to our room by 6:00 PM. There was a Tesco store quite close to our hotel, so we picked up some supplies, some crisps and gin and tonic to have a quick one before heading out to dinner! Tesco stores are amazing, so little space but there is everything there that you would ever need such as sandwiches, groceries, fruits, liquor, beer, wine, water! Thank you Tesco!
Sherlock Holmes Hotel, Baker Street & The Coach Makers Pub
After our evening Gin and Tonic we walked up to The Globe Pub London on Marylebone Road for dinner! A traditional British Pub with a long bar, upstairs dining and outdoor seating. A very popular place late afternoon where the customers spill out onto the street to drink their pints! The menu offers varied choices from wings, beer battered cod, pulled pork nachos, open faced sandwiches and of course your sausage and mash and all the mushroom and steak pies you might want and of course burgers!
We were interested in the pies but alas they were sold out, so we settled for a burger each! The food was just ok at The Globe and with a couple of glasses of wine dinner set us back 40 pounds, not so cheap for sure is London! We probably won’t go back to The Globe again! We are creatures of habit in that when we find a nice place to eat we tend to go back again because it is reliable and enjoyable! But however, if we go back twice and the food is not great then we don’t go back again! So after dinner we strolled back to the Sherlock Holmes to get some well needed sleep. We had a flight to Dubrovnik, Croatia in the morning!
Roaming the Streets of London May 2018
Booking airline flights for this trip we used Google Flights to search out the best fares to different destinations on different days. For example on Thursday, May 10th we looked at either Dubrovnik or Split, Croatia as possible entry points from Gatwick. Google Flights revealed limited options for Split on May 10th, but on that day British Airways had a perfectly convenient flight to Dubrovnik which departed 12:50 PM and arrive Dubrovnik at 4:35 PM for $155.00 Canadian each one way!
Waiting To Board our Flight to Dubrovnik
Looking Forward to Another New Adventure tomorrow: Dubrovnik Croatia!