I slept at the London Heathrow Marriott Hotel the previous evening so that I would not have to get up that early for my very early departure for Edinburgh. The reason for the trip, to meet up with a mate of mine from South Africa and then to attend the rugby match between South Africa and Scotland. I shall not make any further reference to the match, except to say well done Scotland.
So, to continue, I was up at 04:45, showered and ready to depart for Termianl 1. Outside was blanketed in very thick fog and it was difficult driving. I wondered what effect the fog would have on flight schedules as I made my way to the airport. I had arranged to leave my car with the chauffered parking at the agreed time of 05:45, leaving me with just 45 minutes to the estimated time of departure. Arriving at 05:30, there was nobody at the reception of the parking, so I left the car there and went to check in. This was accomplished and the Business Class counter without any problem, since I had prebooked my seat and only had hand luggage. I was impressed with their good humour so early in the morning. So, as soon as I had my boarding pass, I went back outside to see whether the parking people had arrived. I met two other South Africans there also waiting for the people to arrive. They had arrived from the USA the previous eveing and were also on their way to Edinburgh for the rugby. Eventually, at about 05:55, the girls arrived and quickly processed my car. It would be waiting outside for me at my return the next day.
Re-entering the terminal building, I made my way quickly to domestic departures, cleared security without any problem and then headed down to the Business Class lounge for a nice cup of coffee. The well appointed lounge is always a pleasure to visit. We were informed that the flight would be delayed by ten minutes due to the heavy fog conditions. I was busy with my second cup of coffee when we were called to board at gate 6. Reaching the gate (just a very short walk) I noticed that about 70% of the pax were South African rugby supporters. There was a very jolly atmosphere with everyone laughing and joking about the rugby and both Scotland's and South Africa's chances.
We boarded without incident and I took up my seat (1A) in the A321. I did not get the registration. This must be the best seat, plenty of leg room and the dummy seat between yourself and 1C.
The captain announced that we were about to be pushed back and then there would be a long taxi from T1 to the western end of runway R 09. He was not kidding, it felt as if we were about to taxi all the way to Edinburgh. The fog was very thick and it was difficult to see the taxi lights, never mind any other aircraft.
We took off at about 07:00 and broke through the fog within a few seconds of taking off, turning out to the right of the centre of London and heading north towards Manchester. The take off was smooth and the climb out, cruise and approach were just as smooth.
We were served a warm breakfast comprising of a warm bread roll, orange juice, youghurt and omelette with sausage, mushrooms and hash browns, followed by coffee or tea. The flight is only fifty minutes so there was not much time to savour it. The FAs were friendly and the aircraft was clean and very neat. Down below it was overcast and one could not see anything until about ten minutes out from Edinburgh when there was a very distinct break in the weather and the remainder of the way was clear skies. The west coast was clearly visible and the fields were covered in frost.
We flew past Edinburgh on the eastern side, turning left over the Firth of Forth for our approach to runway 24. The landing was smooth, but the braking very hard. We disembarked at gate 5 and since I only had handluggage, I quickly made my way to the taxi rank where I got a ride to my hotel.
Scheduled Dep: 16:30 Actual Dep: 06:35
Scheduled Arr: 17:55 Actual Arr: 17:50
After lunch with my mate, I collected my luggage from my hotel and took a cab to the airport. The traffic out to the airport was very heavy for a Sunday afternoon. It took us at least 20 minutes, twice as long as on the previous day when I arrived. The taxi dropped me at about 14:05 and I made my way to the check in counters.
There was only one person in front of me so it was only moments before I was checked in and I could make my way to the lounge. I was originally booked on BD059, departing at 14:55, but when I arrived at the lounge the lady at reception asked me whether I only had handluggage. Since I did, she then asked me if I would like to take the later flight and earn either £75 cash or £150 in vouchers. I was in no immediate rush, so I volunteered on condition I was on the very next flight and that I could get seat 1A again. At that time I was holding a boarding pass for the earlier flight and seat 3E (in the middle!). She arranged everything and soon I had a voucher for £150 and seat 1A on BD061 for Heathrow.
The lounge was reasonably full and had not been cleaned for some time. There were glasses, cups, bottles and papers everywhere. The lady at reception did appologise and told me that the cleaning girl had not pitched. She was so busy dealing with the over booked earlier flight that she did not have time to clean. People are strange, it takes no effort what so ever to through your empty beer bottle into the bin, or fold and replace the newspaper that you have been reading in the shelf and yet, very few of us actually do it. I hate dirty places and since I now had an extra hour to kill, I jumped in and started cleaning things away. Just dumping the empties in the bin and placing all the dirty glasses and cups on one table. Soon it looked much better and I could sit down with a glass of wine and read my book.
I was offered another £150 if I again volunteered for the even later flight, but I was getting tired and did not accept.
The flight back was uneventful, we boarded on time (A319, did not get registration), departed five minutes late and arrived five minutes early. It was dark, so I could not see much. Take off was on runway 24 again, with a left turn towards Manchester and London, landing on runway R27 at Heathrow. The taxi to our gate (I forgot the number) was short.
On board we were served sandwitches, scones with jam and clotted cream. I had a coffee. The FAs were once again very friendly and this aircraft also was very clean and neat.
On landing I made my way out quickly, collected my car and drove back in the pouring rain.
Qantas744 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 246 posts, RR: 5 Reply 3, posted (10 years 6 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 1527 times:
You are a braver man than me then! If BA and BMI fly the ame route I would know I got on the wrong plane if it was painted blue, I don't hate BMI but I think they don't compare well with BA. I have had enough of their slow check in process, charmless staff and inability to check me in for return flights when I'm on a day trip.
At least BA do E-tickets and have those wonderful auto check in machines!! I would say that I'd been unlucky with my BMI flights/crews but it's happened on all but one of my flights with them this year.
They do have a nice livery though (the new one)!
you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll