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Topic: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: OA260
Posted 2010-08-05 03:56:23 and read 21298 times.

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It was a trip I had wanted to make for a long time now so I decided to cash in some miles and take a weekend trip to Beirut to see a good friend of mine. Due to Gold status I paid Economy miles and got Business Class which is a nice perk. 40,000 Miles and around €200 in taxes.



DATE: 31/JUL/2010
ROUTE: DUB-LHR
AIRLINE: BMI
SEAT: 1A
CLASS: Y+
REG: G-DBCG
A/C: A319

I checked in two hours before at the BMI desk in Dublin. I had tried to check in at the SSK but after going through the whole process it turned out that the machines were not loaded with boarding cards   Quite annoying and quite a few other passengers did the same. The area should have been closed off.

I then approached the Star Gold priority desk where the girl behind the desk had just called over a group of 8 people from the Economy que. Anyway it seemed like there was an issue with their E tickets so 25 minutes later and 8 Premium passengers standing behind me I finally got called forward. Again not great service. I think the thing that annoyed me more was the words '' did you not use the self check in kiosk'' to which I replied quite firmly ''You need to load them with boarding cards and until such time put out of order notices on them, its quite annoying to be honest''. Anyway she appologised after that and asked me if I knew where the lounge was.

I made my way through security and to the lounge buying a few gifts for my friend in Beirut on the way.

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Shortly after it was time to go to the B gates.

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Boarding commenced.

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Shortly after take off free Y+ service began, nothing amazing to be honest dried up tasteless bacon roll. Really bad to be honest.

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Soon time to land at LHR.

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I went to flight connections passing the check in desks.

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Time to enter the Great British Lounge .

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Some great spotting from this lounge.

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Time or a snack

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OA260 heads for ATH

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Any Anetters on this ?

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It will beat me to BEY  http://i955.photobucket.com/albums/ae40/PhilipOA260/BEY/076_800x600.jpg

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Time for a shower before the flight

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DATE: 31/JUL/2010
ROUTE: LHR-BEY
AIRLINE: BMI
SEAT: 3A
CLASS: BUSINESS
REG: G-MEDF
A/C: A321

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We were greeted at the door with a short wait while the crew prepared the A/C.

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Welcome Champagne

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We moved off stand as it was needed for another aircraft the pilot came over the PA and said we would have to wait at a remote area due to congestion and there would be a half an hour wait.

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After the wait we took off.

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First drinks service began.

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Second drinks service

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Needs a new sink

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After a pleasant flight it was time to land in BEY.

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I said goodbye to the crew and made my way to passport control. I handed my passport to the official behind the desk. He said ''First time to Lebanon?'' I said ''yes''. He stamped the passport and said ''have a nice visit''.  http://i955.photobucket.com/albums/ae40/PhilipOA260/BEY/169_800x600.jpg

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So after my bag arrived quite quickly I made my way out to the arrivals where my friend was waiting. That evening we went out for a late dinner and then I was quite tired so went to bed.

The next morning we went to do some sightseeing taking breakfast at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Old building victim of the war.

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An interesting article on the dissapearing heritage of Beirut :

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8665696.stm

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Lots of army everywhere with guns .

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Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: ManchesterMAN
Posted 2010-08-05 04:12:08 and read 21273 times.

Thanks for the great TR as always Philip. I really want to go to BEY although I saw some signs of unrest brewing on the news the other night. Did you generally feel safe there?

What was the load like in J? I'm tempted to buy a cheap Y ticket and then try to use one of those eGUV thingies to upgrade (although I guess the cabin can be empty and you still can't use the bloody things!) Maybe I'll see what the next bmiFriday brings  

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: OA260
Posted 2010-08-05 04:13:57 and read 21313 times.

After a wonderful breakfast we carried on our tour.

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Bullet holes

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The tomb of Rafik Hariri credited with much of the regeneration of downtown Beirut. The previous day the heads of Saudi Arabia and Syria had been to try calm tensions as a ruling on who killed the former leader are due Sept/Oct which could escalate into serious violence. I hope this doesnt happen.

http://i955.photobucket.com/albums/ae40/PhilipOA260/BEY/216_800x600.jpg

The old Theatre

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KU office

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I saw the Iraqi Airways office in Hamra whilst passing in the car but didnt get a shot of it.

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Blocked off streets.

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Beirut is a city of many contrasts. Some areas are evident of the war and some are like a street in Europe with all the best shops. We made our way to the old Holiday Inn which was ruined.

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Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: OA260
Posted 2010-08-05 04:19:24 and read 21297 times.

Then a drive to the famous la roche

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Then we decided to go to the beach. Normally my friend would go to the other side of Beirut rather than South Beirut. There seems to be a big divide between Christians and Muslims in everyday life. Because we didnt have too much time we drove to a beach club called Janna Sur Mer which was really nice. Although we passed through some really run down areas which are Hezbollah apparantly.

Janna Sur Mer

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VIDEO click to view :::




We had such a good time the weather was around 39C and the water was like a bath. You could have been in the Carribean. I never thought such places existed in Lebanon.

After a nice day at the beach club we headed back and showered and changed then went out for dinner.



Amazingly delicious food

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They had entertainment and some people were dancing.

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After that back down the road to the famous rocks

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So after a really nice evening it was time to head back and get some sleep.

The next morning I got up at 5am and then my friend dropped me to the airport at 6am.

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Upon entering the terminal you have to go through scanners and only passengers are allowed in.

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I checked in at the Business class desk and the guy checked my bags through to Belfast.

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Greek products

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And some nice sweets .

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time to visit the lounge.

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That was the MEA lounge but BMI use the sub standard other one :

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Soon it was time to head to the gate .

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DATE: 02/AUG/2010
ROUTE: BEY-LHR
AIRLINE: BMI
SEAT: 4A
CLASS: BUSINESS
REG: G-MEDF
A/C: A321


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Greeted at the door by the same crew. ''Hi welcome back'' I smiled and said thanks.

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Then the drinks came round. ''Hello again'' another crew member said. LOL... did I stand out that much . I asked if they had spent their layover in BEY which she said yes.

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After boarding had completed the guy behind me got up and went to the front of the aircraft. His wife quickly followed, it seemed that he had a panic attack, after the while the air bridge came back to the aircraft and he got off. It seemed his wife was staying on. An announcement was made that as a passenger had got off the area in which they were needed to be searched and all bags in overhead lockers identified. This was done and a crew member searched the pockets and his seat.After that his wife who was still sitting behind me burst into tears. I felt so sorry for her but the crew came and comforted her. It turned out that she was going to see her sick Mother in Canada.I guess it all got to her. Soon after we pushed back.

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Where does this airline fly??

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We took off towards the South flying over the beach resort I had been at the day before.

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After take off drinks were served.

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Free gift.

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Ater an uneventful flight it was time to land at LHR.

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It was time to say goodbye to the crew. As I walked up the air bridge I got speaking to the lady behind me. I said I was sorry about what happened to her husband and offered to help her with her bags as she was not through checked and had to get from T1 to T3. She gratefully accepted and as I know LHR so well it would be alot quicker and I had over four hours to kill. Anyway we had a good chat along the way about Lebanon, she was from Byblos.We got to T3 and I said goodbye , she thanked me so much and gave me her number and told me next time Im in Beirut to call her and I would be a guest for dinner at her home. Im glad I was able to help her out as it must have been a terrible experience for her.

I then made my way to T1 to the new Domestic lounge.

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DATE: 02/AUG/2010
ROUTE: LHR-BHD
AIRLINE: BMI
SEAT: 1A
CLASS: Y+
REG: G-DBCC
A/C: A319


Soon it was time to board.

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Flight was full and soon we made our way to the runway to take off. Shortly after sandwich again very bland nothing to write home about.

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Coming into land

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So thats the end of my report. I took the train from Belfast Central back to Newry and what a weekend it had been. I will certainly be going back in the Autum to see Byblos /The Cedars and Baalbek. Lebanon is a wonderful place and the people are so friendly. The lady I helped said to me ''Lebanon is a wonderful country but its also a crazy country''. Which ever it is I certainly warmed to it .

Thanks for reading the long report   And please leave your comments as usual all are much appreciated .


Philip/OA260

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: OA260
Posted 2010-08-05 04:23:48 and read 21207 times.

Quoting ManchesterMAN (Reply 1):
What was the load like in J? I'm tempted to buy a cheap Y ticket and then try to use one of those eGUV thingies to upgrade (although I guess the cabin can be empty and you still can't use the bloody things!) Maybe I'll see what the next bmiFriday brings  

Hi sorry it took me a while to upload everything in 3 parts as you can imagine. Yes i felt totally safe I have to say due to the huge amount of security forces around. All were friendly also.

The loads were full on both flights its peak season now in Lebanon. Lots of Lebanese ex pats going home. I guess the IGuv thing is a lottery. I hope to use mine in Oct/Nov hopefully.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: johruk
Posted 2010-08-05 04:36:45 and read 21118 times.

Great report! Brings back so many memories of my trip to BEY last November. What a great place!

It is funny to see your pictures and so many are taken from the same spot as some of mine! Will be great once they have finished all the renovation...if they do!

Also travelled J out on BMI and back on the same aircraft you were on, but in Y  .....

Nice also for you to have helped the lady who was sat behind you, Byblos is amazing and if you get the chance you must go to visit. Did you get to go outside of Beirut? Can also recommend Baalbek and Anjar, some of the most amazing Roman ruins...and not a sole to be seen visiting them! Could go on all day...!

Thanks
Joseph

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: OA260
Posted 2010-08-05 04:42:40 and read 21084 times.

Hi thanks for the comment

Quoting johruk (Reply 5):
Also travelled J out on BMI and back on the same aircraft you were on, but in Y  .....

Do you have a pic of Y class? Do they have PTV's? Wanted to take a wander but crew were always up with trolleys

Quoting johruk (Reply 5):
Did you get to go outside of Beirut?

No just South of the Airport we didnt have time , Im going for longer next time so will tour everywhere. My friend said we will stay in different places. I will leave that to him as he knows where to go etc..

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: Serdar
Posted 2010-08-05 04:48:55 and read 21047 times.

Nice trip report and nice pics as well. I would like to visit Beirut in near future hopefully.

But I was surprised how few people there was on the streets....where did they go? Siesta!

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: gpbcroppers63
Posted 2010-08-05 05:14:37 and read 20927 times.

Hey Philip!

You know I've been waiting for this one. Fantastic resport and BEY looks amazing. I'll definitely have to see whether the eGUV is an option on that route.

Thanks again for the report  

Gareth

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: vandenheuvel
Posted 2010-08-05 06:03:16 and read 20743 times.

Hi Phillip,

What a great report about another one of the longer BMI routes. Business class on this A321 looks so much better than I expected it to be. Is the Y product on this plane better than on short flights too?

Your pictures of Beirut are great. It looks like you were the only one walking the streets. Not a standard destination yet it appears very tempting to visit one day.

Tim,

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: johruk
Posted 2010-08-05 06:07:57 and read 20727 times.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 6):
Do you have a pic of Y class? Do they have PTV's? Wanted to take a wander but crew were always up with trolleys

Didn't get any pics, however they have PTV's and if I remember correctly there were AVOD, although do not quote me on it!! and it was quite comfortable, but the J class was much nicer! I believe the aircraft was and ex GB Airways, hence the different paint scheme?

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: Ryan h
Posted 2010-08-05 06:08:25 and read 20713 times.

Interesting report, somewhere you don;t read about often.

Did you feel safe there?, Were you worried that a suicide bomber would jump out from behind a bush?.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: airbuseric
Posted 2010-08-05 06:18:46 and read 20675 times.

Hi Philip!

Great report. Good pics, giving a fantastic view on this country.

Quoting OA260 (Thread starter):
OA260 heads for ATH

Beirut wasn't it?! LOL

btw, I expected you to fly on the A330 or 757 actually. So a bit surprised to see the 321 showing up. Still looks comfortable, and I always had a good feeling with bmi. I kinda like the airline. It's a shame that they pulled out of AMS lately.

Lebanon,.. not a country I would visit soon. I wouldn't feel very comfortable over there, especially with all the army on the streets. Although, you seems to have enjoyed your short stay up to the max.

You fly out of DUB, and return to BHD. Was this easy to arrange with ticketing?

Regards
Eric

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: tk747
Posted 2010-08-05 07:07:17 and read 20453 times.

Great report as always! BMI looks to have a great C class product. The meals each look delicious and the seats very comfortable for an A321. I wasn't expecting Beirut airport to look so clean and modern.

Beirut looks like a fascinating place as well.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: richcandy
Posted 2010-08-05 07:33:33 and read 20329 times.

Hi Philip

As always great trip report!

The fabric on the back of the business class seats looks to be loose, does not really give a good impression. The food on the way back looks better than the outbound.

BEY is yet another city that I would like to get to one day.

Alex

P.S. Have you changed your phone? didn't you used to have one of the VF branded 360 handsets. (sorry bit of a phone geek)

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: oa260
Posted 2010-08-05 12:22:27 and read 19541 times.

Quoting Serdar (Reply 7):
But I was surprised how few people there was on the streets....where did they go? Siesta!

Hi thanks for the reply, it was around 10am Sunday morning so I guess it was quiet due to that maybe weekdays are alot hectic maybe one of our Lebanese Anetters might know.

Quoting gpbcroppers63 (Reply 8):
You know I've been waiting for this one. Fantastic resport and BEY looks amazing. I'll definitely have to see whether the eGUV is an option on that route.

Hey there glad you enjoyed , certainly a great place to use the iGuvs on.  
Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 9):
Is the Y product on this plane better than on short flights too?

I would like to see the meals that they offer in Y. The BMI meals are a bit bland I would have liked a Lebanese choice also.

Quoting johruk (Reply 10):
Didn't get any pics, however they have PTV's and if I remember correctly there were AVOD, although do not quote me on it!! and it was quite comfortable

Oh ok well at least PTV's would pass the time but I was only watching moving map in J  
Quoting Ryan h (Reply 11):
Did you feel safe there?, Were you worried that a suicide bomber would jump out from behind a bush?.

No not at all I felt so safe, I guess there is always a chance of something happening, its quite weird really maybe a false sense of security but Ive felt more threatened in parts of London. Albeit a different type of crime .

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 12):
btw, I expected you to fly on the A330 or 757 actually. So a bit surprised to see the 321 showing up. Still looks comfortable, and I always had a good feeling with bmi. I kinda like the airline. It's a shame that they pulled out of AMS lately.

Hey Eric I actually found the A321 really nice for that 5 hours flight, it was really comfortable.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 12):
Was this easy to arrange with ticketing?

Well at the start I was waitlisted on all four sectors so back to BHD was a compromise as due to the Irish Bank Holiday weekend the flights DUB-LHR-DUB were packed.

Quoting tk747 (Reply 13):
I wasn't expecting Beirut airport to look so clean and modern.

Beirut looks like a fascinating place as well.

Yeah I was really impressed by the airport and really easy to get through and some nice shops. Thanks for the reply  
Quoting richcandy (Reply 14):
P.S. Have you changed your phone? didn't you used to have one of the VF branded 360 handsets. (sorry bit of a phone geek)

Yeah got an iPhone 4 , Samsung 360 H1 was not the best invention to put it mildly. lol...I think they have scrapped the new one that was due out

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: WA707atMSP
Posted 2010-08-05 13:28:15 and read 19282 times.

Thank you for an outstanding trip report.

Did the BMI flight attendants require you to keep your window shades closed the entire flight on LHR-BEY-LHR?

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: oa260
Posted 2010-08-05 14:45:31 and read 19077 times.

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 16):
Did the BMI flight attendants require you to keep your window shades closed the entire flight on LHR-BEY-LHR?

Thanks for the reply, yes they came round and shut all of them and asked other to shut them. Didnt really bother me because I was quite tired and had a sleep myself.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: SXDFC
Posted 2010-08-05 14:59:06 and read 19044 times.

Wonderful TR Phil!

I am always captivated by your wonderful TRs that you post, when ever I read your TRs I always feel like I was there. Again I look forward to more TR's from you Phil! Keep em coming!

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: SOBHI51
Posted 2010-08-05 16:00:01 and read 18859 times.

Hello Philip

As usual a very nice report. I knew you will enjoy Beirut shame i left there one day before you arrived.
The pictures did really show parts of Lebanon history, the good and the bad, but Lebanese have a way to survive than no other people know how to, As for food i think Lebanon is the best country in the world to sample a big variety of food items, and all of them are really delicious. You should have stayed a couple more days.

Some here asked about lack of people in the streets, there is few reasons for that, Saturday is the weekend, the day before they received visits from 2 head of states for a day visit then as soon as they left another head of state arrived for a 3 days visit so security was tight a lot of roads were closed so a lot of Beirutians decided to take an extra day off and head to the mountains, and Lebanese are really night people so some areas you visited will be so busy at night you can hardly walk.
And yes Beirut is as safe as any other city in the world, just be smart.

Again thanks for a great report, maybe next time you visit there we might get together.

[Edited 2010-08-05 16:03:14]

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: Aleksandar
Posted 2010-08-05 16:50:12 and read 18740 times.

Wooow,, very nice TR!

I just love those photos from Beirut

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: oa260
Posted 2010-08-05 17:19:34 and read 18676 times.

Quoting SXDFC (Reply 18):
Wonderful TR Phil!

Hey Bobby thanks for that , glad your still enjoying them . We will see some from you soon I hope  
Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 19):
As usual a very nice report. I knew you will enjoy Beirut shame i left there one day before you arrived.
The pictures did really show parts of Lebanon history,

Hi thanks for the reply, it was indeed a shame we missed eachother. You are right Beirut gets really busy at night and we didnt go out for dinner on the Sunday night until 10pm and it was packed.

Quoting Aleksandar (Reply 20):
Wooow,, very nice TR!

I just love those photos from Beirut

Hi glad you liked it and thanks for the reply.  

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: 767747
Posted 2010-08-05 18:31:43 and read 18547 times.

Thanks, OA260 for another good report on BMI!

The A321 J class looks really clean and comfortable; those seats look like the old BA cradle seats from back in the mid-90's .. a bit retro, but fine for a flight of that length... Good photos of Beirut!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 6):
Where does this airline fly??

I don't know where this airline flies, but that CRJ-200 looks like it came from now defunct - Independence Air in the eastern USA from a few years ago!

Thanks for sharing!!  

767747

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: concordechild
Posted 2010-08-05 18:51:08 and read 18496 times.

Great trip report... one of the best destinations in the mid east....

Quoting 767747 (Reply 22):
The A321 J class looks really clean and comfortable; those seats look like the old BA cradle seats from back in the mid-90

my guess is they are exactly the same as the controls are exactly like the old BA cradle seats (and same as the ones they had installed on GB Airways Airbus' doing the lhr-bey route)

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: bwaflyer
Posted 2010-08-06 01:17:14 and read 18046 times.

Quoting concordechild (Reply 23):
my guess is they are exactly the same as the controls are exactly like the old BA cradle seats (and same as the ones they had installed on GB Airways Airbus' doing the lhr-bey route)

They are the old BA cradle seats (and the economy seats are the same as the current BA economy seats) as BMed (not GB Airways who were a short haul airline at LGW taken over by easyJet) were a BA franchise. PTV's are fitted on all the mid-haul aircraft in business (some on a loop, some on AVOD) and in economy PTVs are on about 1/2 the fleet with drop down screens on the remainder. It's expected that new seats and IFE will be fitted next year. Currently the fleet are finally being repainted from the BA / BMed livery to the current bmi livery.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: oa260
Posted 2010-08-06 02:03:50 and read 18008 times.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 22):
I don't know where this airline flies, but that CRJ-200 looks like it came from now defunct - Independence Air in the eastern USA from a few years ago!

Oh ok I liked the logo on the tail its the famous rocks along the seafront of Beirut. Certainly will have to try find out more about them.

Quoting concordechild (Reply 23):
Great trip report... one of the best destinations in the mid east....

Hi thanks I agree it has a really nice charm to it and there are lots of things to do, ideal for a unqiue city break or longer vacation touring.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: rogerbcn
Posted 2010-08-06 04:48:10 and read 17747 times.

Hola Philip!

Another great report.

It is really nice to see that a country that only makes it to the news in case of attacks, war.... has such beautiful places. That may bring us to consider a little bit what we are shown on TV about certain areas...   

BMI looks a really nice airline, their levels of service are pretty nice for European standards.

Thanks again and keep them coming.

Salut!

Roger

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: shamrock321
Posted 2010-08-06 06:08:09 and read 17707 times.

Really dissapointing to see hoiw bad the BD economy+ offering is, the funny thing is, it is really doing well on DUB-LHR-DUB! How do you compare BD on the medium haul routes with LX for example?

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: ODAFZ
Posted 2010-08-06 07:14:53 and read 17631 times.

Dear Philip,

I am Lebanese and I hold the dual citizenship (Greek + Lebanese).
Thank you very much for your report , It was certainly "eye-watering" to see some places I used to go when I was younger.
Though, From the photos you took I know exactly what it did look like before the war and after the war.
For example, the virgin mega store is located in a n old cinema-theater house, it was called if I remember well "cine opera". before that it was the site of the main railway station linking Beirut with Damascus and then onwards ( the Hedjaz line) .
The first image of the church is Mar Elias ( O profitis Ilias) , the old Greek embassy was situated some 500 meters from that church.
The picture of a destroyed theater is in fact a movie house called the City palace , I saw a film called skyjacked with James Brolin circa 1973.
The security is not always as tight but because of the visit of head of states, security was tighter and no but frankly no suicide bomber is jumping from behind the bush to kill you.
The square with the bell tower is called Sahat al nejmeh , and in Greek it will be the equivalent of Syntagma square as one of the building you photographed was the Parliament.
Some the streets around this area are called after heroes of WW1 ( the cartier photo  Allenby Street, Weygand Street,.
The picture with the "Brazilian coffee shopr" shop is located on what was called Maarad street , in english exposition street, all the buildings were built in the early 20s to cater for an exposition sponsored by the French as Lebanon was under the French mandate until 1943.
The martyr square in the early seventies was bustling with life .
And frankly Philip, we are people of the night ( Greek and Lebanese ), of course non one is on the street at 10AM on a Sunday morning we are either recouping from dancing, already at the beach or as many of us at church (catholic and maronite and melkite churches run hourly services )
Should you wish to visit Lebanon, the best season is November and early spring and it is a MUST to visit the Jeita Grotto ( on your way to Byblos for example, very nice restaurant at the old port, visit the souk also), on your way to Anjar or Baalbaeck stop by Zahle and enjoy along the Bardowni river in the multiple cafes an arak drink served with zillion of mezzes and try to go with to go the cedars and visit along the road The Qadischa valley, Becharreh, Zghorta and Qozhaya convent ( where the first arabic printing machine was installed, and the bible in arabic was printed in the early 17th century).
As for food and desserts , I will certainly advise to eat Kneffe bil Gibn , and Aych bil Saraya ( lousely translated Bread from the seraglio).
Last but not least the Holiday Inn hotel is a tragic remnant of the brutality of the Lebanese civil war, I was there when the fight for the hotels erupted (believe me it was ugly, and very nasty) and the trauma still lives on after almost 35
years.
If you wish some other info and detail check my profile (email me) or meet me on Facebook (Kristian Sagia)

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: FlyingFinn76
Posted 2010-08-06 10:28:03 and read 17287 times.

Hi Phil,

Amazing stuff, once again. Your pictures always tell far more than a million words could! You certainly have a soft spot for both BMI and the Middle East, don't ya?

Beirut looks great, modern development and beaches mixed with old buildings and the scars of the region's violent history.

BMI biz class food looks great and the seats very comfortable, although I think flying all the way to Khartoum from Heathrow would be a bit pushing it. I think in economy it would be lethal - did all the pax have a chance to deboard at BEY or only the pax terminating there?

Quoting OA260 (Thread starter):
OA260 heads for ATH

I thought you were heading for BEY? Hah.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: ojas
Posted 2010-08-06 10:54:06 and read 17237 times.

Lovely TR and thanks for sharing some pictures of Beirut.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: FLIEGER67
Posted 2010-08-06 13:53:51 and read 16956 times.

Hi, Phil,

what a pretty interesting story, well done.

I really like you´re local Lebanon pictures, a country that I still want to visit also,
amazing differences there.

Greetings,
Markus(FLIEGER67)

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: oa260
Posted 2010-08-06 15:08:50 and read 16830 times.

Quoting rogerbcn (Reply 26):
It is really nice to see that a country that only makes it to the news in case of attacks, war.... has such beautiful places. That may bring us to consider a little bit what we are shown on TV about certain areas...

Hola Roger , I hope you are well? Its certainly different than BCN   ... Seems like an eternity ago that I was there every month! Times changed. You are right , we see things on the news just like Northern Ireland and there is always another story to tell.

Quoting shamrock321 (Reply 27):
How do you compare BD on the medium haul routes with LX for example?

Hey , well LX still wins hands down for J class, I would like to try MEA and CY sometime on future trips .

Quoting ODAFZ (Reply 28):
I am Lebanese and I hold the dual citizenship (Greek + Lebanese).
Thank you very much for your report , It was certainly "eye-watering" to see some places I used to go when I was younger.
Though, From the photos you took I know exactly what it did look like before the war and after the war.

Hello and thanks so much for your reply, I hope Greece treats you well. When I am back visiting family we can maybe meet sometime. Your advice is much appreciated and interesting. My friend did tell me about the theatre etc.. not so much detail about the streets etc... It was great to read from your memories. The Holiday Inn is indeed a reminder of the past. When I was growing up we always saw Beirut for the kidnapped British and Irish hostages and refugees sailing on ships to Cyprus. Also I used to see the MEA B707's roar over my house near LHR with black smoke coming out of them . They used to fly very changeable schedules due to the war and I always loved the Cedar tree on the tail fin. I always wanted to go when I saw that. My dream is to see the Cedars and in November I hope that I will be able to see them with my friend. Greeks and Lebanese are not too different in many aspects.

My friend just read your post and said we will do all that when i go next time  

Im glad you liked the report and even more special from someone from Lebanon.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 29):
Amazing stuff, once again. Your pictures always tell far more than a million words could! You certainly have a soft spot for both BMI and the Middle East, don't ya?

Thanks , Yes I love the Middle East , the food,people,lifestyle I really feel at home there.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 29):
I think in economy it would be lethal - did all the pax have a chance to deboard at BEY or only the pax terminating there?

Yeah Y would be a bit long, to be honest other than the menu there was no sign the flight had come from KRT and the crew overnight in BEY so I wonder if they fly LHR-BEY-KRT-BEY then overnight for two nights then BEY-LHR ?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 29):
I thought you were heading for BEY? Hah.

LOL.... not this time  
Quoting ojas (Reply 30):
Lovely TR and thanks for sharing some pictures of Beirut.

Thanks so much Im glad you enjoyed it .

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 31):
what a pretty interesting story, well done.

Hey Markus glad you enjoyed it .

I really like you´re local Lebanon pictures, a country that I still want to visit also,
amazing differences there.

Yes you would love it there , you must do a MEA report , that would be cool.  

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: flightsimboy
Posted 2010-08-06 17:41:20 and read 16641 times.

Beirut looks like a great place to visit, yet such a grim reminder of the war in some places. The food looks great and it looks like you had fun.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 2):
I said I was sorry about what happened to her husband and offered to help her with her bags as she was not through checked and had to get from T1 to T3. She gratefully accepted and as I know LHR so well it would be alot quicker and I had over four hours to kill. Anyway we had a good chat along the way about Lebanon, she was from Byblos.We got to T3 and I said goodbye , she thanked me so much and gave me her number and told me next time Im in Beirut to call her and I would be a guest for dinner at her home. Im glad I was able to help her out as it must have been a terrible experience for her.

This has to be the best part of the trip report. It was very noble of you to offer help!

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: oa260
Posted 2010-08-06 23:07:04 and read 16405 times.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 33):
The food looks great and it looks like you had fun.

Hi thanks yes the food was really nice and I had a really good time.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 33):
This has to be the best part of the trip report. It was very noble of you to offer help!

Thanks for me if someone is in need of help then I try my best. I had the time to kill I could have spent it in the lounge but this lady needed help. I knew I would have her over to T3 in a quarter of the time she would trying to negotiate the way and her bags. My heart just went out to her as it must have been quite traumtic for her. Firstly the shock of her husband taking the panic attack and secondly the embarrasment of having the security check around her. ( Although it was obviously needed). Anyway she was smiling and chatting when I left her so Im glad for that. Sometimes you need to be the good samaritan rather than follow others and just walk by.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: ronerone
Posted 2010-08-07 00:40:59 and read 16327 times.

Hey Phil!

Great TR! Quite interesting to see that you have gone to Lebanon! .. I knew you would like it.
I have been there once before a while back, and i didn't sleep the entire 4 days i spent over there.

Your BMI flights seemed ok. The food on your BEY sector looked alright and the quantity was adequate. I was also quite impressed with their attention to detail (i.e. the Arabic language on the menu and the IFE screen). If anything, i think the UK airlines do this best out of others in the region. Only thing though, the J class seats seemed a little messy,

Quoting OA260 (Thread starter):
dried up tasteless bacon roll.

You didn't eat that did you?  
Quoting OA260 (Thread starter):
Some great spotting from this lounge.

You always provide some great spotting shots in your TRs   
Quoting OA260 (Thread starter):
Any Anetters on this ?

Haha .. there has been over a 1,001 TRs on this flight, half of which documented the unfortunate experience of the legendary last minute switch to the A321  


Thanks a lot for sharing!

Cheers,
Roni

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2010-08-07 01:40:21 and read 16264 times.

Hi Phil,

very interesting report with many nice pictures from Beirut.

Quite disappointing to see what bmi had to offer. I recently flew LHR-VIE and was surprised about the nice crew and tasty free sandwiches.


PH

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: LondonJamie
Posted 2010-08-07 05:09:20 and read 16106 times.

Shame that the bacon & ketchup roll is getting such bad press on here! The customer feedback has been really good on the flexible economy products. The cheese & mushroom panini is much better than the bacon though.

As for the Y offering on the midhaul flights. It's a complimentary bar service including spirits, liquers, wine and beer. Followed by a hot lunch consisting of roast chicken dinner, beef casserole with mashed potatoes, or vegetable lasagne. This is accompanied with cheese and biscuits, twix bar, and a chocolate cheesecake desert. Tea and coffee follow. Then another bar service.

Loads on all the midhaul services have been very busy this summer. Beirut has been overbooked by an average of 10 on most of this season's flights. The domestic flights have also seen very high loads.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: oa260
Posted 2010-08-07 07:01:15 and read 16028 times.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 35):
The food on your BEY sector looked alright and the quantity was adequate.

Hey Roni I just think their food is very bland thats all, I know maybe its traditional English fair but Id like something with a kick in it  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 35):
You didn't eat that did you?  

Half of it shame to admit lol..

Quoting ronerone (Reply 35):
You always provide some great spotting shots in your TRs   

Yeah I love getting some shots of different airlines especially when you have a nice view like that.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 36):
I recently flew LHR-VIE and was surprised about the nice crew and tasty free sandwiches.

Thanks for the reply, I heard that other routes have decent food mostly the ones operated for LH etc..

Quoting LondonJamie (Reply 37):
Shame that the bacon & ketchup roll is getting such bad press on here!

Well it was like eating a rock , its shameful to offer such a product. The CEO should actually take a team of food consultants and make them eat it , Im not a food buff and will eat most things but that was a disgrace. A Sausage and Egg MC Muffin from McDonalds is gourmet compared to that. And to think that us DC Golds complained about the old offerings, we didnt think it could get any worse. Aer Lingus beats BMI on DUB-LHR now without a doubt, even the Aer Lingus lounge has sandwiches and for €5 you get a proper wrap not torched dry in cheapo Y .

Quoting LondonJamie (Reply 37):
Beirut has been overbooked by an average of 10 on most of this season's flights

So has MEA/LH etc.. etc... its normal for this time of year on all BEY flights. ( according to people Ive spoken to)

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: bwaflyer
Posted 2010-08-08 08:41:29 and read 15473 times.

Quoting oa260 (Reply 32):
Yeah Y would be a bit long, to be honest other than the menu there was no sign the flight had come from KRT and the crew overnight in BEY so I wonder if they fly LHR-BEY-KRT-BEY then overnight for two nights then BEY-LHR ?

Crew will operate a 4 or 5 day trip;

Day 1 - operate LHR-BEY mid afternoon

Day 2 / 3 - operate BEY-KRT-BEY through the night

Day 4 (or day 5 if on longer trip) - operate BEY-LHR arriving back early afternoon.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: Contact Air
Posted 2010-08-08 11:56:49 and read 15329 times.

Hi Philip,

Really outstanding report and lots of fantastic pictures. Especially your pictures of Lebanon with all its contrasts are really impressive. They also show that the country seems to become a nice place again that is worth a visit.

BMI Business Class on the medium-haul flight seems to be a good product with "real" Business Class seats - not like many other airlines that only leave the middle-seat empty in a 3-3 seating layout.

Quoting OA260 (Thread starter):
Time to enter the Great British Lounge

Nice name for a lounge!

Regards
Christoph

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: MEA330
Posted 2010-08-08 12:42:16 and read 15261 times.

Great TR as usual!

Hope you'll try MEA on your next trip to BEY; as there are very few TR s on MEA.
BD has same configuration as MEA in Business Class on A321; but on LHR route it's mostly A330's.
BD very nice lounge in LHR, average in BEY.
MEA has very nice lounge in BEY, average in LHR

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: oa260
Posted 2010-08-08 16:04:10 and read 15103 times.

Quoting bwaflyer (Reply 39):
Crew will operate a 4 or 5 day trip;

Arr great thanks for that an interesting schedule.

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 40):
Really outstanding report and lots of fantastic pictures.

Thanks very much glad you enjoyed it.

Quoting MEA330 (Reply 41):
Great TR as usual!

Hope you'll try MEA on your next trip to BEY; as there are very few TR s on MEA.

Thank you, I would love to try MEA but everytime I check they are either full or only crazy fares available, maybe things will calm down price wise in the Winter. Would love to try their A330

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: ODAFZ
Posted 2010-08-09 01:08:03 and read 14889 times.

Quoting oa260 (Reply 32):
When I am back visiting family we can maybe meet sometime. Your advice is much appreciated and interesting

Philip,

Good morning and good week.
Thank you for your thoughtful answer and I will be very glad to meet you on your next visit to share our love of aviation.
Please do not hesitate ,should the need rise, to contact me for your next trip to Lebanon.
I was so overwhelmed the other day that I forgot to congratulate your empathy compassionate and humane attitude you showed in helping that woman navigate at the airport.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: oa260
Posted 2010-08-09 09:39:01 and read 14690 times.

Quoting ODAFZ (Reply 43):
Please do not hesitate ,should the need rise, to contact me for your next trip to Lebanon.
I was so overwhelmed the other day that I forgot to congratulate your empathy compassionate and humane attitude you showed in helping that woman navigate at the airport.

For sure , thanks again for all the useful info .  

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: globetraveller
Posted 2010-08-11 11:03:01 and read 14153 times.

Hi there Phil,

Thank you for another great trip report. That was quite a long flight for an A321! I thought BMI operated the A332 on this route. I guess the demand just does not warrant such a large plane.

Globetraveller

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: BA319-131
Posted 2010-08-11 12:18:28 and read 14110 times.

Hi Philip,

Finally found the time to get around to reading, lovely report and very nice pictures, especially of Beruit.

I've always wanted to visit the place, your pictures just re-inforce that wish, place looks lovely!

Quoting OA260 (Thread starter):
I had tried to check in at the SSK but after going through the whole process it turned out that the machines were not loaded with boarding cards Quite annoying and quite a few other passengers did the same. The area should have been closed off.

- Indeed it should have, poor service to day the least!

Quoting OA260 (Thread starter):
I then approached the Star Gold priority desk where the girl behind the desk had just called over a group of 8 people from the Economy que. Anyway it seemed like there was an issue with their E tickets so 25 minutes later and 8 Premium passengers standing behind me I finally got called forward. Again not great service

- Now if they are going to do this it should be 1 or 2 at a time, not a bloody group of people!

The contrast between the flights was quite amazing, taking stage length aside, you can see bmi can be a decent airline and provide a proper service. In some respects this is part of the problem, because they have cut back so much on the UK & short haul service, which most travellers see, would your risk spending your hard earnt money on a medium haul with them?

Cheers

Mark

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: oa260
Posted 2010-08-13 14:26:55 and read 13689 times.

Quoting globetraveller (Reply 45):
That was quite a long flight for an A321! I thought BMI operated the A332 on this route

Hi yes I guess it was but most comfortable, MEA uses the A330 but maybe BMI never had the loads even when thay ran the A330's to CAI and TLV.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 46):
Finally found the time to get around to reading, lovely report and very nice pictures, especially of Beruit.

Hey Mark thanks for the comment.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 46):
Now if they are going to do this it should be 1 or 2 at a time, not a bloody group of people!

Thats my point exactly , glad someone else thinks the same  

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: eastafspot
Posted 2010-08-15 06:38:10 and read 13086 times.

Hi Phillips,

BMI J product looks really fair, especially the renovated lounges at LHR.
concerning the white color scheme is for aircraft used on international route? what about this Bmi regional G-EMBN?

thanks again for sharing your great journey

East African Spotter

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: bwaflyer
Posted 2010-08-15 08:20:40 and read 13001 times.

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 48):
concerning the white color scheme is for aircraft used on international route? what about this Bmi regional G-EMBN?

The white livery is (was) on aircraft inherited from the purchase of BMed. These aircraft wore the BA livery (as BMed was a BA franchise), and the livery was quickly changed to an interim livery which has now been with us for a couple of years. Our new management have decided that we need to have a single livery, so the ex BMed aircraft are now being repainted one after another. G-MEDM / L / J have already been repainted into the full bmi livery. Rumour is that the aircraft will receive a new interior next year.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: oa260
Posted 2010-08-15 11:18:03 and read 12906 times.

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 48):
BMI J product looks really fair, especially the renovated lounges at LHR.

Hey thanks for the reply , yes the LHR lounges have improved. The international one is perfect , all they need to do is up the catering in the other one.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: BA
Posted 2010-08-15 13:10:44 and read 12845 times.

Great trip report OA260! I know you've been wanting to visit Lebanon for a while.

About the streets of downtown Beirut being empty, it's a part of the city that is mostly visited at night. Sunday mornings are also the emptiest times of the city. Driving in Beirut on a Sunday morning is moderately pleasant.  

Here's a photo taken at night:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/43/Nejmehsquare.jpg

Quoting OA260 (Reply 2):
Where does this airline fly??
Quoting oa260 (Reply 25):
Oh ok I liked the logo on the tail its the famous rocks along the seafront of Beirut. Certainly will have to try find out more about them.

They fly charter flights to Iraq mostly. Now that MEA is serving both Baghdad and Erbil, I think a lot of their business has been taken away.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 22):
I don't know where this airline flies, but that CRJ-200 looks like it came from now defunct - Independence Air in the eastern USA from a few years ago!

You are correct. This is an ex-Independence Air aircraft.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: lh526
Posted 2010-08-15 15:44:34 and read 12747 times.

Those BEY downtown streets loke extremely empty ...

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: globalflyer
Posted 2010-08-20 06:52:13 and read 11994 times.

Awesome TR! Now I really want to go to BEY. Did you feel safe at all times? What is the best hotel to stay? Beaches look fabulous too!

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: akhmad
Posted 2010-08-20 11:51:16 and read 11876 times.

Hi Philip,

Wonderful trip report with interesting insight review of Beirut. I especially like the way you show the contrasts within the city. Well done!

Good to know you still had a great flight with BMI despite the unimpressive encounter with the ground staff in DUB.

What intrigued me most are the moments you were making a contact with the poor lady, helped her the way out to her connection flight to Canada and got her invitation in return for your kindness.   

Thanks for sharing this lovely experience.

Cheers,
Suryo

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: BA
Posted 2010-08-20 17:20:37 and read 11742 times.

Quoting lh526 (Reply 52):
Those BEY downtown streets loke extremely empty ...

He took those photos on a Sunday morning when Beirut's streets are empty.

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 53):
Awesome TR! Now I really want to go to BEY. Did you feel safe at all times? What is the best hotel to stay? Beaches look fabulous too!

Depends on your budget. If money is not an issue, the best hotels would be the prestigious Phoenicia InterContinental or the new Four Seasons that OA260 stayed at.

http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/interco...tal/en/gb/locations/overview/beyha
http://www.fourseasons.com/beirut/

This boutique hotel is also getting a lot of praise:
http://www.campbellgrayhotels.com/le-gray-beirut

Of course, it's not cheap...

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: MEACEDAR
Posted 2010-08-20 22:40:39 and read 11653 times.

Amazing trip report. Your trip report reminded me how much I love Lebanon and how much I care about it. LOL most of the pics you took are identical to the ones I took the last time I was over there.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2010-08-21 12:24:17 and read 11445 times.

Ha, looks like you have the same favourite corner of the BMI lounge in LHR as me. Those day beds in the corner are a great place to while away a few hours before a flight.

I was in Beirut back in 2004 - it was such a nice city. I hate to think what it's like now. So much of the stuff I saw was newly built, I imagine a lot was damaged/destroyed since.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: oa260
Posted 2010-08-21 23:39:42 and read 11337 times.

Quoting BA (Reply 51):
Great trip report OA260! I know you've been wanting to visit Lebanon for a while.

Thanks yes it had always been on my list, hope to go back soon

Quoting BA (Reply 51):
They fly charter flights to Iraq mostly.

Oh ok thats interesting, they have a nice livery.

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 53):
Did you feel safe at all times? What is the best hotel to stay? Beaches look fabulous too!

Hi yes I felt totally safe to be honest things like that dont phase me ie: military everywhere,Ive been to countries like Iran that have lots of security. It was actually alot more developed ( downtown areas) than I thought. Indeed some parts reminded me of Athens which is actually twinned with Beirut.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 54):
I especially like the way you show the contrasts within the city. Well done!

Thanks Im glad you liked it, not alot of bombed out buildings left now but enough to make you see how bad it must have been. My friend had to live his early years underground hiding from the fighting with his family , no one can imagine what thats like unless you have been through it.

Quoting MEACEDAR (Reply 56):
Your trip report reminded me how much I love Lebanon and how much I care about it. LOL most of the pics you took are identical to the ones I took the last time I was over there.


Thanks Im glad you enjoyed it, Beirut being a small place I guess everyone takes the same things lol..  
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 57):
I was in Beirut back in 2004 - it was such a nice city. I hate to think what it's like now. So much of the stuff I saw was newly built, I imagine a lot was damaged/destroyed since.

Hi I dont think too much was damaged since then in Beirut IIRC it was mostly Southern Lebanon.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: gpbcroppers63
Posted 2010-09-18 13:00:13 and read 10239 times.

Interesting to compare your TRs of BMI Business with MEA Economy. I see what you mean about the food in economy on MEA being on par or better than business on BMI! Quite amazing really. Always interesting to see how two different carriers compare on the same route, albeit in different classes.

Topic: RE: Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics
Username: oa260
Posted 2010-09-20 15:37:12 and read 9816 times.

Quoting gpbcroppers63 (Reply 59):
I see what you mean about the food in economy on MEA being on par or better than business on BMI! Quite amazing really. Always interesting to see how two different carriers compare on the same route, albeit in different classes.


Indeed and I cant say Im inspired other than earning miles to fly BMI on the route again over MEA or other neighbouring airlines. Maybe if there is a cheapo sale and I can use my free Gold Upgrades I would go.


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