Arriving in Edinburgh before 11 AM on day 1

I just booked the ESW trip for 2020. For the first time, I'm using my Gift of Time day at the end of the trip, rather than the beginning, as I feel it would be more useful in London than Edinburgh.

While it's still too early to book the flight, I did a quick search and there's a paucity of flights arriving Edinburgh before 11 AM, Tauck's arrive-by time. Curious what people have done who booked this trip. Did you extend the trip on both ends?

Comments

  • I would arrive a day early, that’s usual for flights into Edinburgh. You might look at flights that get into Glasgow as there are likely more flight choices to that city. Then get a taxi to Edinburgh from there. Tito avoid jet lag, please consider going early too.

  • We took a day at both ends, but still did stuff on arrival day in Edinburgh. Since we couldn't get in our rooms right away we took the bus to the Ocean Terminal in Leith and took a tour of HMY Britannia.

  • Definitely go early. There is so much to see in Edinburgh that isn't included in the tour. The Scottish National Museum is an easy walk from the Sheraton, as well as Princes st/gardens, old town, etc. We used GofT and still feel there is so much more to see. If you can afford it, add more than one day.

  • Hi Barry,
    We did this trip last year and it was great. We tacked on a Week in Ireland after and enjoyed that as well. We extended on both ends, using the London piece for our Gift of Time as the Savoy is the more expensive hotel. We had been to London previously, but we certainly found things to do that we had not done on a previous trip. Here's a warning. We booked on British Air (San Francisco to Heathrow, Heathrow to Edinburgh) , but they did not leave enough time for our connecting flight! Yikes! There were a number of people in the same boat...holiday weekend, one immigration officer, a huge line and a family with many, many children who had not filled out their immigration cards correctly at the head of the line!! Long story short, it took us hours and anguish to score the last two seats on an overbooked connection, and that's only because we called rank as our business seats put us to the top of the list. BTW, we got last row seats and no compensation from BA. But, we did arrive within a few hours of our original flight. Fortunately, Tauck had given us the airport transportation info, and I was able to keep in touch with the driver about our arrival. I would not count on airport connections to get you there in time for the first activity...cutting it too close for my comfort, not to mention jet lag. There's plenty to do in Edinburgh to low-key it while you adjust to the time difference.
    Joyce

  • Thanks. all. Seems to be unanimous that I should arrive a day early, so that's what I'll do.

    Joyce - I've only flown BA once in recent years and was disappointed with the flight (biz class). It was a very run-down 747 that probably hadn't been upgraded in 30 years. And then there was that seemingly forever Heathrow bus ride to get from one terminal to another for a connection. Ever since that experience, I've successfully avoided BA. Hopefully I'll be able to do the same for this trip.

  • Admittedly, I always leave flight arrangements to Mr. B. Wondering if depending on where you live, could you fly into Manchester Uk airport and then to Edinburgh? It’s quite a big airport though nothing like as big as Heathrow, but is one of the most efficiently run and security conscious airports we have ever used and we often fly into the UK on American to that airport.
    We used British Airways code sharing with American this past week to fly into Heathrow on Business class and it was very comfortable. Flying on to a final destination. The cabin crew always treat you with great respect, I kinda like being called Madam. I always recommend plenty of time for connecting at that airport. If you don’t like the short time you are given between flights, choose a better connection time. That’s why it is often better to book the flights yourself, or look at the choices and ask Tauck to book the flights you want.

  • If you haven't yet booked your flight, BKMD, consider going to Glasgow for a couple of days before heading to Edinburgh. There's lots to see and do there, and it's a short train ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh. I did that last month. Also, getting through immigration in Glasgow was a breeze. US citizens can use designated kiosks. I have Global Entry, and I've never gone through any immigration process anywhere -- even in the US -- as easily. (I also agree with those who suggest that you spend more time in Edinburgh than Tauck allows.)

  • I am curious if you booked, small group or the regular tour? In reading the comments, I am not getting a clear direction on which one to choose for 2020.

  • I booked the regular tour. There are a number of threads discussing pros and cons of each, which cam be found with some searching. Comes down to personal preference. My feeling - even if the price was the same, I'd choose the larger group.

  • We booked a regular sized for ESW but when it started we only has 28 and 8 of that was a family leaving 10 couples to have a great small group. Enjoyed it so much we picked small group for Ireland. As BKMD said there are pros and cons. We're doing regular for Switzerland next year mainly because it's already an expensive tour and that adds $900 each to the price. Not worth the pros to me at that price.

  • Been quiet here lately, so thought I'd update my original post.

    Just booked air for my ESW tour in Sept 2020. I did find a good flight (1.5 hour layover at ORD) arriving EDI early morning the day the tour starts (I know... Changed my mind... Only second time I've done the arriving day of tour thing), and staying 2 extra nights in London at the end, using my gift of time at the Savoy. If I left London after the one extra night, airfare would have been $800 more (United, biz) than staying 2 extra nights, so it pays for itself. I suspect I won't have trouble finding something to do in London :-)

    And I managed to avoid British Air and a layover/immigration at Heathrow! I have enough FF miles on AA, but BA charges exorbitant fees ($700+ each way including seat rez fees). Flying DEN-ORD-EDI going and non-stop LHR-DEN returning, United Polaris both ways.

  • If you can, avoid British Air at all costs. We flew BA Business Class October 2018 From DC Dulles to Tel Aviv via London retrurning via Amman to London for the Israel and Jordan trip and it was terrible. Everything about Heathrow was bad - the Business Lounges, the Terminal itself, the long walk to the bus, the long bus ride to the plane, walking up the stairs to the plane. What was even worse was the Buisness Class. On our flight the Business seats actually faced each other with a up and down window divider between us. If you did not raise the window you would be staring directly at your neighbor. Even if you raise it, the staff will lower it multiple times to ask you questions or to serve food. In addition, we found the seating area to be as narrow as some economy seats. The topper was that the seating arrangement was such that if you had a seat near the window you would have to actually step OVER someone if they were in a stretched sleeping position to go to the restroom. We even paid extra money to sit in the upper level where there were only Business Class seating and that was a total waste of money. My suggestion is to do a lot of research on the type of plane. We use SEATGURU.com all the time. We saw some of this info on the site but we were limited in flights and times. Needless to say, we should have listened more carefully.

  • edited December 2019

    Virginia_Travelers, 8:16PM, If you can, avoid British Air at all costs.

    Amen! Their crazy business class seats and Heathrow, make flying BA a lose - lose situation! A few years ago when I was researching flights to Africa I was amazed at the number of bad terrible reviews for both. I read a great blog review about the BA seats in FlyerTalk or the Points Guy. It went something like this, "My, how the queen has fallen! The airline that invented lie-flat seats now operates perhaps the worst ones on the planet. Reclining these seats, which have a separate foot rest blocking aisle access for window and middle-seat passengers, has even been described as painful. It is truly amazing that an airline would buy and install these terrible opposing seats in any aircraft, but what is even more unbelievable is that someone would design such a terrible seat arrangement in the first place and why!"

    I also understand BA is charging for seat selection in Business Class!

  • Virginia_Travelers - IIRC, we discussed British Air in another thread. One and only time I flew them was a year or two ago. I can't recall if it was for my Scandinavia or Central Europe trip, but in any case, I agree 100% with you. Only positive is it was nice to sit upstairs in their ancient, non-refurbished 747, as it was very quiet. I recall the headphone jack didn't work on my eastbound flight. That was not a big deal, as I slept most of the way. On the return, I got to see their 30+ year old, grainy, video screen.

    Alan - In another thread we discussed the efficacy of booking as soon as the flights become available vs.. waiting. I tend to wait, as I don't like to be surprised with multiple schedule changes along the way. This time I didn't wait too long, as on the 787, I like to be sure I get a seat on the north-facing side of the plane to avoid the inadequate darkening of the shadeless windows. Funny thing is within 24 hours of booking, there was a schedule change in both directions. This one wasn't a big deal - a 5 minute change eastbound, and a puzzling 20 minute later arrival time, with no change in departure, on the non-stop return. Guess they're expecting a strong head wind that day :-)

  • BKMD, 9:37AM, Alan - In another thread we discussed the efficacy of booking as soon as the flights become available vs.. waiting. I tend to wait, as I don't like to be surprised with multiple schedule changes along the way. This time I didn't wait too long, as on the 787, I like to be sure I get a seat on the north-facing side of the plane to avoid the inadequate darkening of the shadeless windows. Funny thing is within 24 hours of booking, there was a schedule change in both directions. This one wasn't a big deal - a 5 minute change eastbound, and a puzzling 20 minute later arrival time, with no change in departure, on the non-stop return. Guess they're expecting a strong head wind that day :-)

    Wow, getting down to which side of the plane to sit!! That is something I didn't realize about the 787. We usually cross the pond on a red eye flight so book the adjacent center seats in planes with 1 - 2 - 1 business seating. Since it is hard to hear each other when we are wearing headsets and watching movies or one of us is sleeping, anyway, my wife suggested we try the single outside seats- with one of us in front of the other. We are doing that on a flight to CDG (Jordan & Egypt) in March in one of Delta's newly refurbished 767-400's with semi- suite (no door).

    I'm finding it harder and harder to confirm savings by booking early vs booking later (at least on Delta), though I still think it can be considerable. Right now my gauge is what Tauck will charge. I know I can always get the Tauck rate for some routing, so if I can beat that by booking early directly with Delta, that is what I typically do.

    What worries me is that I suspect that if they (Delta and other airlines) are not already using the Amazon pricing model they soon will be. By that I mean they utilize online tracking and pricing algorithms to their advantage by constantly adjusting their prices up and down based on demand, interest, etc. That makes it nearly impossible to predict when the lowest prices will be available for a given itinerary. I guess I need to investigate a price tracking service. In the past I have noticed that often the price will go up, sometimes considerably, within just a day or so after the earliest booking date, but lately it doesn't seem like that happens as often or the price doesn't change as much. It will take a lot more observations, analysis, and time to make any kind of statement either way. I don't want to devote the amount of time necessary to do that. :D

    Another thing I have noticed is that Delta is using more and more multiple stop itineraries involving AF or KLM legs and stops at Paris (CDG) or Amsterdam (AMS) to get from the US to locations in Europe and Africa. I typically leave from Raleigh (RDU). Even though Delta flies non-stop RDU to CDG, unless there is a significant price difference or flight is not available, I will chose an itinerary that goes from RDU via ATL (or JFK) to my final destination over an itinerary that goes from RDU via CDG (or AMS) to my final destination. I would much rather have a layover in a US airport with a longer long haul flight leg to (and from) my final destination than a shorter long haul that has a layover in CDG or AMS and a short leg in Euro Business seats to my final destination. Many times however it is not available or the price difference exceeds my pain threshold. Now that we are getting older and have been spoiled, I don't think I could handle a long haul flight in anything but business class. The cost reduces the number of trips we can afford, however. Oh well, it is just our kid's inheritance.

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