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Reality Check 


REALITY CHECK FLIGHT EASYJET


THE FLIGHT: easyJet flight 5439 from London Gatwick's South Terminal to Berlin Schoenefeld, departing 17.40 and arriving at 20.35 local times. At the time of booking the flight was due to be operated to the German capital's new Brandenburg Airport. Following the announcement of its postponed opening easyJet revealed it would continue to operate to Schoenefeld and kept me well informed throughout. There were no changes to the timings of the outbound nor inbound legs. THE CHECK-IN: Gatwick Airport was quieter than expected on this Friday afternoon and the queues at the easyJet bag-drop area and at security were mercifully short. While queueing for the bag-drop, a member of staff was calling out several flights that were departing imminently and, in the separate check-in queue, prioritising those passengers booked on them. From arrival at the airport to the busy departures lounge took no more than 25 minutes. THE BOARDING PROCESS: The gate seating area was pretty packed and there was the usual rush to get onboard and grab a decent seat – something we might see the end of with the introduction of allocated seating this winter. I was towards the end of the queue but nevertheless got a decent aisle seat and


FLIGHTS / HOTELS / APARTMENTS / CAR HIRE / TRAIN JOURNEYS / CHAUFFEUR / PARKING


MORE Flight reviews at www.thebusinesstravelmag.com


squeezed my hand luggage into the overhead lockers not too far away down the aisle. THE FLIGHT: Despite taking off over 20 minutes behind schedule we touched down in Berlin right on time. The seat was perfectly adequate and the cheerful cabin crew were keen to communicate the introduction of a new inflight menu of paid-for snacks and drinks, though I didn't indulge. THE VERDICT: A slick low-cost operation that might be considered a role model for


others in the sector. The introduction of allocated seating after a trial this summer could not come soon enough and should remove one of the biggest stress factors of the journey – the boarding free-for-all. THE DETAILS: easyJet flies to Berlin from London Gatwick, London Luton, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol. Flights from London Gatwick are priced from around £23.49 one way. ANDY HOSKINS


 HOTEL RAITHWAITE HALL COUNTRY RETREAT, WHITBY


THE HOTEL: Situated just a few minutes’ drive from the fishing town of Whitby, the hotel is a 19th century mansion which has been wonderfully redeveloped. The hotel opened in October 2011 with 45 bedrooms and ten self-catering cottages tucked away within the estate, plus a six-bedroom house overlooking the lake which can accommodate 12 guests. A new development called The Keep will open in May 2013 offering a further 28 bedrooms and one meeting room. THE CHECK-IN: A very swift process and we were soon shown to our room. The receptionist accompanied us to the room and asked if we had any questions about the facilities or the hotel itself. THE ROOM: A deluxe, two-floor room situated in the courtyard. On the ground floor was a good-sized lounge with sofa bed, dining table, flatscreen TV, tea and coffee-making facilities and a well-stocked bathroom. On the first floor was a very spacious bedroom with a king-sized bed. THE BUSINESS: The hotel currently has three meeting rooms with the biggest, the Raithwaite Suite, able to accommodate 140 delegates theatre-style. Two smaller meeting rooms offer capacity for 16 or eight in a boardroom layout. Each meeting room has


the latest in AV technology and there is complimentary wifi throughout the hotel. THE FACILITIES: The Brace Restaurant & Grill offers a range of locally produced cuisine while the Poachers Bar provides a pleasant setting for a light lunch and afternoon tea. The spa presents a welcome break from the busy working day, with a heated pool, four treatment rooms, a relaxation area, steam room, sauna and Jacuzzi. There was also a gym. THE VERDICT: The hotel’s location, size and wonderfully manicured grounds create a


wonderful setting for low-key corporate events. The attentive staff make you feel most welcome and the food was of the very highest quality. It's a hidden gem on the North Yorkshire coast. THE DETAILS: Raithwaite Hall, Sandsend Road, Whitby, Yorkshire, YO21 3ST. Rates start from £99 per room for standard bed and breakfast and £160 per room for dinner, bed and breakfast. Delegate rates are from £35 per person, with 24-hour rates from £185. See: www.raithwaitehall.com. DAVID CLARE


86 THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE


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