MADE BY MEMBERS • October 2021
They’ve been here the longest and flown the most. They’re the travellers you want at your dinner party (and next to you on the plane). Now, The Club gets them all in one place...
Rob Burgess, founder of Head for Points
Last flight: Palma to London City on August bank holiday after a two-week break.
Next flight: My wife, my two children and I are off to Barbados in the new Club Suite, using two British Airways American Express Companion Vouchers.
Favourite destination: Dubai – where we have relatives – works remarkably well for a family holiday. The weather is great when it is poor in Europe, the flight time and jet lag are manageable and the hotels are first-rate.
Do you have any travel regrets? Not flying Concorde. It felt expensive at the time, but it would have been a drop in the ocean to the Avios I’ve earned since. If a good flight deal or redemption comes along, don’t let it go.
Earliest travel memory? I spent my childhood holidays in caravans in Filey, North Yorkshire. I’ve made up for it since.
Amanda Hyndman, Area Vice President for Mandarin Oriental in London, Munich and Prague
Last flight: Zurich to visit our beautiful Mandarin Oriental Palace on Lake Lucerne, which will open in 2022.
Next flight: Hong Kong as I take over as Area Vice President for Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong and Southern China this December.
Favourite destination: Menorca, where I have a home. It is completely peaceful and quiet.
Best thing about the Executive Club? Great lounges, priority boarding and extra luggage.
Earliest travel memory: Peeling langoustine on a quayside in Brittany, France.
Favourite hotel: Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok.
Anisha Shah, trainee medic and pilot
Last flight: This morning, on a Cessna 172, as the captain!
Next flight: Tomorrow morning, back in the Cessna 172. I’m currently learning how to fly in Kenya and it is the single most liberating feeling. Next stop, bush flying!
Best piece you’ve read in The Club? Being somewhat of an AV geek, I really enjoyed reading The female aviation pioneers you’ve never heard of. It came just as I finished reading Beryl Markham’s West with the Night and I knew then that I would learn to fly.
Most vivid travel memory? I’ll never forget the inexplicable feeling of ‘home, in a new place,’ when I road-tripped through southern Ethiopia in a 4x4, breathing in that earthy red soil and the strong scent of the tropics whenever the heavens opened.
Favourite hotel: I could spend the rest of my life flitting between The Lowell in New York’s Upper East Side, the majestic real-life floating palace, Taj Lake Palace in Rajasthan, and North Island – a private island and wildlife sanctuary in the Seychelles… Though the logistics may be tricky.
And now to five of The Club’s longest reigning Members...
(who signed up to the Executive Club back in 1989)
Jonathan Groves, from Wimbledon
Last flight: Edinburgh to London Heathrow
Next flight: London Heathrow to Milan
Favourite destination: I’ll never tire of Rome.
Top travel advice: Always pack lighter than you initially intended.
Favourite hotel: Le Mas d’Entremont just outside of Aix-en-Provence for the rooms in the garden and the breakfast under the trees.
John Bracey, from West Sussex
Last flight: London to sunny Cyprus, return.
Next flight: Cape Town, South Africa.
Favourite destination: Sydney, Australia. Relaxing on the rooftop lounge of the InterContinental Sydney looking across to the Opera House is second to none.
Top travel advice: Always turn left on the plane, wherever possible.
Steve Biddle, from Devon
Tier: Blue (not much flying at the moment!)
Last flight: Larnaca to London after a great holiday in Cyprus catching up with old friends.
Next flight: Los Angeles to visit family and hold a new arrival, probably in Easter 2022.
Top travel advice: Always carry a good book; delays and cancelled flights suddenly become a lot less tedious. Plus, flying is always a great opportunity to read.
Earliest travel memory: Flying in a British Midland Viscount to Heathrow to get a connecting flight to somewhere or other. I remember it flew quite low over Oxfordshire and we had huge oval windows so the views were fantastic.
Charlie Bott, from London
Tier: Gold For Life
Last flight: Back to the UK from Athens
Next flight: Nairobi in October, fingers crossed.
Top travel advice: On any flight that’s more than four hours long, change into a sleeper suit once you’re on board and change back just before landing.
Earliest travel memory: Going on a school trip aged seven to Geneva and assembling at the London Terminal on the Cromwell Road for a BEA flight and waving my parents goodbye.
Favourite hotel: The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand. It’s totally unspoilt and home to one of the best golf courses in the world.
John Montgomery, from Belfast
Last flight: Belfast to London Heathrow to Lisbon.
Next flight: Belfast to London Heathrow to Cape Town.
Favourite destination: Cape Town. Hire a car to the vineyards of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, then continue east on the Garden Route as far as the town of George. Include a stopover in the stunning town of Knysna.
Top travel advice: Never turn down an opportunity to travel.
Favourite hotel: Beho Beho in Nyerere National Park, Tanzania, for unforgettable scenery and wild animals.
Bex Band, founder of Love Her Wild, the UK’s largest women’s adventure community
Last flight: London to Tel Aviv, so my in-laws could finally meet their granddaughter!
Next flight: Using British Airways and oneworld® partners to reach the Raja Ampat Islands in Indonesia.
Favourite destination: Israel, which played host to my first big adventure, hiking 1,000km of the Israel National Trail. The Negev desert is beautiful, and I met so many interesting people.
Best piece you’ve read in The Club? A local’s guide to Northern Ireland. I can’t believe Belfast is such a short flight away and yet I’ve never explored it!
Favourite hotel: Koyasan Shukubo Fudo-in in Japan. Waking up to monks meditating, sleeping on futons in traditional rooms and soaking in hot spring onsens surrounded by nature. It was magical!
Charlie Boorman, travel adventurer, motorcyclist and chef
Tier: I’ve been flying with British Airways for years, but only recently joined up, so Blue!
Last flight: Sydney to London after my Australian motorcycle tour in March 2020.
Next flight: London to Nairobi in Kena, from where I’ll head to Laikipia to stay at The Elkarama Lodge and Almanara Resort on the coast in Diani Beach.
Favourite destination: Sub-Saharan Africa and my favourite city, Cape Town.
Top travel advice: If you’re flying long haul, aim to arrive at 3 or 4pm. By the time you land at your hotel it’s early evening, then you shower, eat, go to bed, and can get over the jet lag much quicker.
Earliest travel memory? Being a little kid flying to LA with my father who was about to start filming his movie Deliverance. I remember thick fog and that we had to divert into Vegas. The film crew we flew with were delighted to have a night in Vegas gambling before we finally made it to LA the next day.
Santa Montefiore, Sunday Times bestselling author
Last flight: Bermuda, back in August.
Next flight: Maldives in February 2022.
Favourite destination: Italy has absolutely everything: beauty, charm, nostalgia (I lived there when I was 21), great food, great climate, a fascinating history and lovely people. And it’s all just a short flight away.
Top three in-flight essentials? White Company cashmere socks. Super soft pashmina. Good book.
Favourite hotel: Rocco Forte’s Verdura Resort in the Sicilian hills. The location is incredible. It’s a massive, sprawling estate on the coast. There’s pool, beach, spa, cycling, tennis, golf, gorgeous restaurants with excellent food, quality and comfort.