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Category: Reviews

BA Terraces Lounge Seattle

BA Terraces Lounge Seattle

I visited the BA Terraces Lounge at SEA as a guest of EVA who are subcontracting access to it for their  premium and Star Gold passengers. I thought OneWorld and Star mixed like oil and water, so I did a double take at checkin when the EVA agent invited me to the BA lounge. Perhaps she gets this a lot so she took the time to write it out on the lounge invitation card.

SEA, home of Boeing, is quite a sprawling airport and after negotiating TSA’s tender investigative mercies I set off to find the BA Terraces Lounge.

Many escalators, a train ride, some more escalators and a flight of stairs brought me to the S gates where the BA lounge and our EVA 777-300ER were waiting.

One more flight of stairs
One more flight of stairs

The BA Terraces Lounge SEA is pretty small. The bulk of the lounge is a random selection of low blueish armchair seating that give the impression that they came from thrift stores. Power is only found along the wall seats which are also treated to a partial view of planes on the runway. There is also small section of high bar stool seating should that appeal to you. It was almost midnight when I arrived for a 2AM flight so the lounge was quiet, but even then the good window seats were mostly taken.

BA Terraces Lounge

Should you feel the need there is a joylessly title Combiz section open plan style ‘office’.

Desk

Perhaps due to the late hour the food selection consisted of a plate of sandwiches, crisps (chips), pot noodles and some fruit.

The Buffet
The Buffet

I spent some time hunting through the fridge looking for a beer to wash down my sumptuous feast but found only fruit juice. Getting desperate I wandered back out to the front desk to ask if they had any there and was directed down a corridor to knock on a door. A hostess popped out and after a bit of confusion was able to offer me a bottle of Heineken. I returned to my seat in triumph and went online to find out what was going on. Apparently Washington State has banned self service alcohol so the lounge normally has a bar ‘hatch’ which was closed during my visit.

Other facilities include wifi, toilets and a shower. All pretty standard.

And that is about that. The BA Terraces SEA is a reasonable lounge, but its not worth getting to the airport early for.

 

Long Term Review: Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 21″ Spinner

Long Term Review: Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 21″ Spinner

Smart travel requires good gear, so here goes with a long term review of my favourite carry on luggage; the Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 21″ Spinner Suiter.

tldr; this is a great wheeled carry on bag.

I bought this bag last year in a US Macy’s store after reading online reviews and spending a long time in the luggage department dragging bags around. In the last six months it has been on four international trips, including to Bali, so I feel comfortable pronouncing on this bag.

Choosing the Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 21″ Spinner Suiter

My first decision point was to go with a flexible nylon bag. I have an existing Samsonite hardshell carry on and based on that experience wanted something with external pockets.

Secondly I like the Wirecutter review site and they had just published a long carry on review (which is still worth a look). They gushed over Travelpro bags, but were strongly in favour of two wheel draggers. For me personally I prefer a spinner as I am quite tall and they just seem to work better for me at the cost of some packing space.

So armed with review opinions that I did not particularly agree with I hit San Francisco Macy’s giant luggage department in November 2015 to try every soft spinner that was not silly money (aiming for USD $200).

Of the selection available I found that the Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 21″ Spinner Suiter ran well, had a reasonable amount of space, looked fairly smart, felt sturdy and came with a good warranty, so I bought it. I think I paid around USD $250 which is what its currently available for on Amazon (before shipping) at the moment.

Review of the Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 21″ Spinner Suiter

Exterior

Travelpro list this bag with dimensions of L9″ x W14″ x H20″. Amazon list it at H21″. I’ve measured mine and its closer to 23″ including wheels! Singapore airlines cabin baggage limit is 7Kg and “Sum of length, width and height of each piece should not exceed 115cm“. I have measured mine and it comes in at L23cm x W35cm x H58cm for a total of 116cm, but really you should have not be concerned. I have seen far larger bashed down plane aisles and I have brought mine on to several carriers without problems. The bag weighs in at 3.6Kg, so not the lightest, but not excessive either.

expansionAs is common with luggage the bag can expand like a chap releasing his belt after a fine meal. Be careful with packing though because if weighty objects are placed in the expansion the bag becomes unwieldy and liable to toppling.

 

The bag’s exterior is super strong ballistic nylon with Travelpro’s DuraGuard® coating. My adventures with hand carry and checkins have barely scuffed it. The zips feel incredibly sturdy and the carry handles are the best I have ever seen with leather covers and steel screws. The handles also extend a little under strain so you can comfortably grip them.

Handle

The wheels are probably the first part to fail as they are basically toughened castors, but these ones feel pretty good. They also have a clever magnetic locking system which will always try to correct to keep the bag rolling straight. This works surprisingly well on hard floors, though less well on Changi Airport’s frustrating carpets.

 

wheels
Magnets!

The extendable handle is solid and has a comfortable grip, which combined with the magnetic wheels allows the bag to run alongside you, rather than being dragged behind.

The front of the bag contains a small document compartment and a larger laptop pocket. Again be careful loading anything too heavy outside the bag’s centre of gravity.

I inspected my bag carefully and the only damage I could find were a few loose threads on a seam and perhaps a few minor scuffs. The wheels are rolling well, though I’ve not taken them particularly cross country.

The bag does not come with a TSA lock, though one is available as an inducement for returning the warranty card. Which reminds me, the bag comes with an excellent lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects, plus airlines damage. So, if you are ever treated to the sad sight of a shredded bag rumbling towards you on the carousel you should know that you can claim from the airline and Travelpro. One flaw is that there is no Asian regional repair centre, so you would need to ship it back to the US at your own cost, though they would return it without charge.

Interior

So it is worth remembering that four wheel spinners have less space than two wheel draggers, but this bag makes the most of what it has.

inside

The interior is lined with nylon and there is a large pocket in the lid. Two small pockets are placed on the inside long edges, one of which is waterproof.

compression

The bag has a reasonable compression system which can also stop lighter loads from rattling around. notice more pockets in the flaps.

suiter

The last interesting feature is the addition of a suit bag – or ‘suiter’ as the Americans seem to call them. I am more of a casual traveller and have not actually used it, but it can carry shirts and a suit or dress safely folded into the interiour lid pocket. If you need to travel with formal wear this would be a neat addition. Some bags have these built in, but it is separate in the spinner model, so scruffs like myself can remove it to save space.

Where to buy

I was lucky enough to pick one up in the US where they are easy to find, but that is not the case in Singapore. Amazon wants to add USD$100 for shipping so that seems to be a non starter. Travelpro has a local reseller; Lohmun Leather Products (Pte) Ltd, which seem to be the holding company for The Travel Store, so they might be worth a look. eBags have a slightly smaller version for SGD$400+, but I have never tried them and its only marginally cheaper than Amazon.

Summary

The Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 21″ Spinner Suiter is the best carry on bag I have ever owned and I hope to keep it for many years to come. It rolls beautifully, holds everything I need for a long weekend and is tough as nails. Recommended!