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Flying Scot
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have just returned from a two week vacation, with a "European Delivery" on July 6th. We used Lufthansa business class. I found that I was able to beat the BMW "70% off the companion flight" deal by flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday and by purchasing directly from the Lufthansa website. The BMW " two for one" is based upon the full fare for the one, which, may, in some instances, exceed the special promotions for two tickets shown on the Lufthansa web page.

Strongly recommend the services of Rolf Raffelsieper [Mobile 49 171 825 1492] and his associate Peter, for Airport transportation to the BMW delivery center. Apart from the cost saving, they made life much easier and they were a source of invaluable advice. They should be given a vote of thanks by BMW as one of their best sales "unofficial ambassadors". They are both retired BMW employees that use their personal cars for E.D. customer transportation. They are BMW experts and a ride in a 3 series convertible with a diesel engine at 100 mph plus, after a 10 hour flight is just one fond memory of our trip.

As expected, the E.D. delivery point is handled expertly. Kristen was a new trainee. She was very knowledgeable and if she did not know the answer to our question, she was quick to ask one of her colleagues. She also made you feel that you were her only client.

The ED staff does not appear to function during the 1200 to 1300 lunch hour. Try to be there before 1000 hrs. The normal 90 minute delivery process could be extended to two and a half hours when over a lunch hour. They also willingly installed the $25.00 wheel locks that I brought with me from the U.S. A stolen wheel is not only expensive but could take a couple of days out of your vacation to obtain another.

If you propose to travel into any of the large European cities, a navigation system is a dire necessity. I found it invaluable in London, Munich, Florence and Rome. It navigated expertly and quickly through the smallest of alleys and one way streets that I would never have found using the Michelin guide. It found our Hotel in Rome that I could not locate on my AA map. Combined with the "Head up display" it allowed me to anticipate the next instruction, position the car in the correct lane while avoiding the next suicidal mini scooter.

I have visited Europe on business numerous times over the last twenty years; I only wish that I had made use of a Satellite Navigation system on previous trips.

Incidentally, if anyone would like to purchase the new 3 series and 5 series BMW Road Map Europe Professional 06-2 disc that I no longer need. I would be pleased to sell it for $120.00 Plus shipping. [ $160.00 plus tax, and shipping when new ] Contact me through these pages.

London's Heathrow drop off point is managed by Simon Worsley. He was efficient and very helpful. He received the car, and, within twenty minutes was able to tell me that my car would be in Southampton in two days and shipped to New Jersey the following day and the name of the ship.

Although this is my fourth European delivery, I find each experience to be unique. My first E.D was when BMW unexpectedly went on strike the day before I left the U.S.. My car was sent to the airport in Frankfort to meet me. My next was when my vehicle was not ready on time, so I was given a loaner. My car was shipped before I completed my vacation.

Also a first: I became a victim to a pickpocket in Florence. Fortunately, I had been warned of the potential and had used a sacrificial wallet containing only the minimum of cash and a single credit card. They managed to undo the pocket button, remove the wallet and re-button the pocket all without my feeling anything! No bumping, distractions or crowding. There is nothing like being serviced by a professional.

Lastly, I would like to thank all of my fellow members of Bimmerfest for all of the advice and the benefit of their experience prior to my departure. This is a very useful venue and I congratulate Jon Shafer who initiated it.

2007 530xi Sports Wagon,Titanium Silver Metallic with Grey Leather Interior
Steptronic, NAV, Cold Weather Package, Satellite Radio, Premium Sound Package, Premium Package, Comfort Access, Multi Contour Seats, Night Vision and Head Up Display.
 

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excellent posting
 

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Happily Driving
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Excellent post. Thanks for sharing! More pictures please!
 

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Excellent First Post.
More pictures please.
 

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Beemin' in my Bimmer ;-)
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Always nice to hear from any EDer as they return from their trips, but it is especially nice to hear from one with such experience. I think all should take note of the pick pocket experience as I'm sure a lot of us think "it couldn't happen to me." A pro is a pro, and your incident gives us first hand testimony.

I agree 110% with your props for the Nav. I'm not sure I would have left Rome sane without it.

Thanks for the report, and as Me530 said, "More pictures please!"

And.............. Welcome to the Fest! :thumbup:
 

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Premium Member
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flyingscot said:
There is nothing like being serviced by a professional.
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: Touche'! ;)

Thanks for the write-up!
 

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Flying Scot
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33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Slow Learner

mdsbuc said:
Always nice to hear from any EDer as they return from their trips, but it is especially nice to hear from one with such experience. I think all should take note of the pick pocket experience as I'm sure a lot of us think "it couldn't happen to me." A pro is a pro, and your incident gives us first hand testimony.

I agree 110% with your props for the Nav. I'm not sure I would have left Rome sane without it.

Thanks for the report, and as Me530 said, "More pictures please!"

And.............. Welcome to the Fest! :thumbup:
Thank you for the welcome. Frankly, I have read these pages for for some time as a visitor; I did not join Bimmerfest until I felt I had something to contribute.

I apologize for the lack of photographs of the 530xit, but most of our photographs were taken from, rather of, the car.

The following is a few of the observations and details I learned in the fast trip through Europe. They will not be of interest to all, but maybe of interest to a few. They are not meant to scare you off, simply just a "Heads Up"

1] Italian drivers consider that traffic lane markings are a suggestion rather than a confinement. " I am quite content to straddle this line and if you cannot overtake me, it is not my problem."

2] Italian Motor scooters and bicycles are not subject to traffic light control. Not officially, just in the minds of a few.

3] Cars are not allowed in the center of Florence. A Camera takes a photograph of your license plate and then the city sends you a $ 160.00 fine. BMW NAV system will give you due warning. However, if you are booked into a center city hotel, the hotels have a website that they can enter your plate number and notify the local police to avoid the ticket.

4] London has a similar system. You simply pay around $7.00 per entry into the city.It has been such a successful program that all the people that did not park downtown are now stuck in traffic on the M 25 which is the ring road around London. Rumor has it, that, by the end of the year they are going to increase the cost to $25.00 for all SUV's.

5] British Airways have instigated a new ruling for "carry on luggage" In November they will severely limit the size of each bag. This is to get rid of the passenger that endangers the lives of their fellow passengers by trying to put a very large rolling suitcase in the overhead bin. B.A. state that they expect that all of the European lines to follow their example by the end of the year, and the rest of the world's airlines by early next year.

6] An article in a Belgian newspaper described a case where a Belgian was on vacation in Spain. He rented a bicycle for the day, and the rental agency asked him to leave his passport as security. During his absence they copied his passport. On his return to Belgium, he was arrested on drug charges and extradited to Spain. Despite his protests, he languished in jail for three months before his case came to trial. Only then did the Spanish police notice that the passport that they had confiscated showed an entirely different face from the man they were seeking. I understand that the accused is now seeking damages from both police forces.

7] Credit card fraud in Europe is even more rampant that it is here in the U.S.. You will notice that when a European uses a card at the restaurant, the waiter will bring the machine to the table. The card is scanned through the machine and never leaves the owner's sight. The machine is then turned toward the owner and he enters a pin number. This is not required of foreign visitors…..yet. The problem has arisen that when you pass the card to a waiter of gas station operator, some have an additional scanning machine of their own. A quick scan can be gathered and sold and duplicate cards made for sale for a shopping spree that could last two or three days. All of this before the credit card company's computer notices the "out of character" sales and slams the door. I understand that this problem is also beginning to show up here.

8] The very large airports of the world have expanded to handle all of the increased traffic. It is not unusual for a passenger to walk a quarter of a mile to the main terminal building. Make that half a mile if you are catching a connecting flight. Not bad if you are 25 years old. But if you have had recent surgery or are handicapped, this becomes a very real problem. Anticipate the difficulty and ask for a wheelchair and attendant when you check in. I did find some people that simply could not make the flight in time. The flight is delayed because it cannot take off with luggage that is not accompanied, and yes, you will miss your next connection.

9] The new security measures are a slow process for non US residents entering the country. There are long lines at Immigration where they are interviewed and fingerprinted. Because we US citizens come through a different line we hit the baggage carousel first. The carousel system is based upon all of the passengers from the flight being there at the same time. But on large international flights they are not. There is a large contingent still in Immigration. When the cases are not removed they continue to circulate. Then, they jamb up with the other cases coming down the chute. Last week at O'Hare Airport in Chicago I watched a number of cases get crushed. The carousel stops and you must continue to wait for your case to show up.

10] Most hotel room doors in the U.S. are opened with a key and once you have entered the room the outer handle is inoperative. Not always so in Europe. Unless it is an American chain hotel, most hotel doors must be locked with a key on the inside. We did witness an intrusion to a room on our floor early one morning, because the door that was assumed to be locked was not. The police came and checked that we were safe, but we never did find out what had happened.
 

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BMW Fahrer
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Thank youfor your informative post. :thumbup: You are a braver man than me, I'd much rather drive in Italy with all the madness than in London, where heavy traffic meets mirrored traffic rules... :)

flyingscot said:
Rumor has it, that, by the end of the year they are going to increase the cost to $25.00 for all SUV***8217;s.
I've heard about that too... and it would be unfortunate. A system should rely either on physical size (a big Jag or Rolls takes the same space as a medium SUV), or on pollution (displacement or some other measure).

Basing it on car classification it's wrong IMO... :thumbdwn:

Then, they jamb up with the other cases coming down the chute. Last week at O***8217;Hare Airport in Chicago I watched a number of cases get crushed. The carousel stops and you must continue to wait for your case to show up.
Some airports (such as Dulles Int'l) have baggage handlers near the carousels who unload pieces of luggage which have been around 1-2 times without being picked up. :dunno:

Edit: Let me guess: the picture of the bridge in Florence was taken from the corner window of the upper level of the Uffizzi Gallery? :)
 

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Powder Days
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Great tips. Thanks. :thumbup:

What was the Smart Car speed in the photo? Amazes me to see those roller skates clocking 90 MPH and up.

Cheers
 

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Happy Trails!
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Thanks for the informative write-up. I used to work in Europe and would love to go back again. Now that I know so much from all the ED experiences on this site, I will be able to buy my next BMW through the ED program! :)
 

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Flying Scot
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
ED delivery x four

My first was a Volvo picked up in London. I had my two children with me. The car pickup point was on the Tottenham Court Road. I drove two miles away from the Volvo garage and promptly ran out of gas. Left hand drive in a right hand world it is 5 pm and in the middle of rush hour. Told my nine year old to tell the nice policeman where I was and grabbed a cab. Only to be told that there was a gas "petrol" station up the alley right behind me. I drove out of the city cursing the entire Volvo delivery system.

My second was a BMW 528e. I was going on a business trip just when my wife would be needing a new car, I called the local BMW dealer only to be told that three weeks notice was not enough to order a car. To check on their story I called New Jersey and they said that they could provide a car, but it had to be to their specs and not mine. I took it. The day before I left they called from New Jersey and told me of the Factory was on strike. However, they could deliver it to their airport office in Frankfurt. This was actually better for me because I had to drive from there to London for a meeting the following afternoon. I learned about the operation of the car driving through that night to Calais. I drive I really enjoyed.

My third car was a Volvo V760. I ordered it early because this was a planned vacation. Delivery again in London. For some strange reason Volvo had their delivery point on the edge of London, precisely opposite to Heathrow Airport. A twenty five mile taxi ride was my only option. Again I was told a couple of days before we left the US that the car was not going to be ready in London, in fact it was still at the factory in Sweden. Not to worry, they would give me a loaner. It was very hot weather and unlike the car I had ordered it did not have A/C. The delivery agent assured me that it had and demonstrated the ventilation air control. I showed him the lack of a compressor under the hood. I drove out of the London area cursing the the entire Volvo delivery system. However, in their defense, they did go out and rent me a Ford with A/C the following day and when my car was delivered it had many additional accessories that I had not ordered.

My last delivery a couple of weeks ago from BMW was a delightful experience. Assuming that it makes it's way across the pond to my local dealer unscathed I shall be a very happy man. Also this one is mine. The others were driven by my wife. She still likes Volvos.
 

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1] Italian drivers consider that traffic lane markings are a suggestion rather than a confinement....

2] Italian Motor scooters and bicycles are not subject to traffic light control. Not officially, just in the minds of a few
great information....

that is so true in many asian cities... street markings are merely for decorations purpose....and an indication of danger...

if you ignore the street markings, you will fit right in...ignore the lines ....ignore the lines
 

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John Firestone
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flyingscot said:
7] Credit card fraud in Europe is even more rampant that it is here in the U.S.. You will notice that when a European uses a card at the restaurant, the waiter will bring the machine to the table. The card is scanned through the machine and never leaves the owner's sight. The machine is then turned toward the owner and he enters a pin number. This is not required of foreign visitors ..yet. The problem has arisen that when you pass the card to a waiter of gas station operator, some have an additional scanning machine of their own. A quick scan can be gathered and sold and duplicate cards made for sale for a shopping spree that could last two or three days. All of this before the credit card company's computer notices the out of character sales and slams the door. I understand that this problem is also beginning to show up here.
Can you point me to some reports on this? I am curious where in Europe this is happening, for example, Switzerland, the U.K., Serbia?

What you describe is exactly the procedure people often follow for paying for something with their bank account debit card or Eurocheque card. Or sometimes you just sign the receipt, like with a credit card. It is possible to get a PIN attached to a European credit card (just like the U.S.), but few people do that. You don't need to unless you want to use the card to withdraw money from a cash machine (like the U.S.) or to pay for fuel at an unattended gas station. Almost everyone already has a debit card for either.
 

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Flying Scot
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Edit: Let me guess: the picture of the bridge in Florence was taken from the corner window of the upper level of the Uffizzi Gallery?

You are correct....... There was just me and fifty others!!!
 

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flyingscot said:
Also a first: I became a victim to a pickpocket in Florence. Fortunately, I had been warned of the potential and had used a sacrificial wallet containing only the minimum of cash and a single credit card. They managed to undo the pocket button, remove the wallet and re-button the pocket all without my feeling anything! No bumping, distractions or crowding. There is nothing like being serviced by a professional.
I think I did even better job - I just left my credit card on a counter of a small gas station in Saint-Tropez. Find out only when we got in our hotel in Nimez 5 hr later. Call Citibank and cancel my credit card. When we arrive in Madrid - our number was given to some body else, because our CC was not working that morning for 1 st day charge. :thumbup:
 

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M 5875Z
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flyingscot said:
They also willingly installed the $25.00 wheel locks that I brought with me from the U.S.
That's a great idea. I was planning on buying the wheel locks in Germany, but it'd be a lot easier not to have to hassle with that there. THANKS! :thumbup:
 

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flyingscot said:
[5] British Airways have instigated a new ruling for "carry on luggage" In November they will severely limit the size of each bag. This is to get rid of the passenger that endangers the lives of their fellow passengers by trying to put a very large rolling suitcase in the overhead bin. B.A. state that they expect that all of the European lines to follow their example by the end of the year, and the rest of the world's airlines by early next year.
Although I never carry a large "carry on" luggage, on my last ED trip I learnt that perhaps I should. Basically, our luggage got lost and arrived in Munich with a few days delay. Since it was a weekend we had a hard time buying anything (the weather was cold and I had only 1 t-shirt). I wished I had packed a few extra pieces of clothes in my 'carry on'.

When the luggage finally arrived I noticed that two items from my suitcase were stolen :yikes: (two crystal globes - gifts for family). After a lot of hassle and time wasted I recovered a portion of the value of those items from Lufthansa in the USA. I guess you should pack all your valuable items in a 'carry on' as well. But now how do you do this if they limit your 'carry on' size? :eeps:

On top of that, on the way back one flight was so late that we missed another plane and Lufthansa put us in a hotel for 1 night. That of course involved 3 hours waiting in a line to customer service, 45 minutes for a hotel shuttle and eventually a smoking room because non-smoking were not available. Sorry for spoiling the mood :) I wonder if anybody else had such negative experience with Lufthansa.
 

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Greg220 said:
On top of that, on the way back one flight was so late that we missed another plane and Lufthansa put us in a hotel for 1 night. That of course involved 3 hours waiting in a line to customer service, 45 minutes for a hotel shuttle and eventually a smoking room because non-smoking were not available. Sorry for spoiling the mood :) I wonder if anybody else had such negative experience with Lufthansa.
I guess they all have problems. My BA experience on a Volvo OSD was very positive but it was nonstop from Seattle so that minimized their exposure. In 2002 for a BMW ED I had an absolutely terrible experience with Northwest/KLM. Spent the better part of 2 days being shuffled around Amsterdam while they didn't seem to have a clue. To make things worse it was the Queen's birthday, or some such, so we were put up in a hotel so far from the city we were stuck there.

Just recently my Lufthansa experience was excellent. Again it was nonstop - Portland to Frankfurt - so there were minimum chances for error. The biggest issue on the Lufthansa flight was the change of planes in Frankfurt which was the longest, most convoluted one I can remember.
 
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