Date: 25 January 2003
Airline: Bmi british midland
Route: Manchester (MAN) - London Heathrow (LHR)
Time of Departure: 10:50
Aircraft: Airbus A321
I arrived at Manchester Terminal 3 at 9am where i was to meet my friend Ryan for our trip to Heathrow for the day. The ticket was only £50 return so we thought why not! After meeting my friend we took a look at some of the aircraft on stand at terminal 3, including an American 767. We then checked-in, suprisingly we didn't need to show any identification at all and we were issued with our boarding cards for both the outward and return flight as we had no luggage.
After passing security we had a look around T3, not much new since I last travelled from there over a year ago. Got some munchies and then sat in the lounge overlooking Terminal 1. Not much was going on although I did see a newly painted Thomas Cook 757-300. Our aircraft that we would be flying on arrived on stand at 10am.
Photo © Tamsin Zvereva
Boarding was at 10:20 and we headed to gate 18 where a fair few passengers were already sat and it looked as if the flight was pretty full. I, along with some other passengers got given some blue card by a gate agent and i was then interviewed by some guy from the CAA about my trip and how much I paid etc. He never told me what it was for. Anyway, after that boarding was announced. I was sat in row 33 so we boarded first via the airbridge. The plane seemed to get pretty full, about a 75-80% load i'd have guessed. We were given the usual announcements, and we were told that flight time today was 30 minutes subject to any delays at Heathrow.
Just after 10:50 we pushed back, started engines and headed to runway 24L behind a Cathay Pacific Cargo 747. Shortly after we began our roll down the runway, it was windy so we swerved about a bit which which added to the thrill! Once we were airborne we made a turn giving a great view of MAN and luckily there was not much cloud (by Manchester standards!)
Shortly after take off the cabin crew came round with the bar and I had a coke and a packet of what bmi call "nibbles" which were either cheesey flavour mini pretzels or some nuts and things that my mate got.
We were now flying over the east midlands and got some cool aerial views of EMA and other airfields. The captain made an announcement telling us of delays at LHR so we'd be in a stack for 25 minutes which doubled our flight time to an hour, i was happy with that lol! He also warned us that there would be a fair few aircraft flying close to us in the stack!
We got talking to the crew, and made a request to see the flight deck on arrival at LHR. We soon entered the stack over north west london and there were lots of aircraft circling with us. A member of the crew was filling in paper work in the row behind us and also pointed out other aircraft with us. Highlights were a BA A320, 777 and Bmi F100. We circled for ages and one passenger was sick which didn't suprise me as my head was starting to spin too.
At 11:55 we left the stack and headed for approach to Heathrow. We passed over east London, Buckingham Palace and what I think was Lords Cricket Ground before touching down on 27R at 12:05. The First officer welcomed us to London and thanked us for flying bmi. A short taxy to terminal 1 meant we arrived only 10 minutes late. We were the last to disembark and the flight deck crew allowed us into the cockpit and we had a brief talk to the cabin crew who were very friendly and even gave me and my friend a salute as we left!
Terminal 1 seemed busy, as you would expect and we got some lunch before heading to the observation terrace at Terminal 2. After a few hours there it was time to catch the return flight to Manchester.
Date: 25 January 2003
Airline: Bmi british midland
Route: London Heathrow (LHR) - Manchester (MAN)
Time of Departure: 17:05
Aircraft: Airbus A320
As we already had our boarding cards for this flight we didn't need to check in and so headed straight through security to the domestic pier of Terminal 1. We waited in the departure lounge and watched the usual array of aircraft taking off from 27R. A few other bmi flights were departing to Teeside, Edinburgh and Belfast. A call for our flight was made at 16:30 that we should go to gate 6. We headed over to the gate and boarded buses which took us right over to the other side of Terminal 1; the international piers.
Photo © Dean Barnes
Our aircraft was waiting on stand for us and we boarded up steps through the front door. We were sat in row 22 about two thirds down the plane. Unusually it was an all male crew onboard this flight who also seemed pretty young. One of the guys was a spitting image of the air steward from the High Life (anyone in the UK remember that!?) Boarding was slow and it was after 17:05 before doors were armed for departure with the sun almost set. Again, the flight was pretty full. Our flight time back to Manchester was to be 35 minutes. A short taxi past a South African 747 took us to 27L where we didn't have to wait long before we were lined up for take off.
Take off was smoother than the outbound, due to the calmer air and it wasn't long before the seat belt sign was switched off and the crew came round with drinks. I had a vodka and coke which came with the complimentary "nibbles" again. We flew over Milton Keynes, visible by the illuminated grided streets and roundabouts! The captain informed us shortly after that we'd be flying over East Midlands Airport and would be landing in the next 15 minutes. I barely had time to drink my drink before everything was cleared for landing.
We descended over the pennines, passing over Buxton before making a turn onto finals for 24R at MAN. Got a great view of the two runways lit up at night before flaps were set and gear was lowered over Stockport for landing. We touched down firmly at 18:03, followed by some heavy braking and reverse thrust which was cool, before turning off the runway and returning to gate 18 at Terminal 3 which we had departed some 7hrs earlier. I had a brief chat to the crew and then disembarked and headed for the rail station to get my train home.
That was my trip and I have to say thanks to Bmi, they were fantastic! Especially on my outbound trip, the crew couldn't have been better and i've never seen such a happy crew. I'd definately recommend them, and for £50 return I can't fault them. Certainly a nice change to enjoy some of the old frills that exist with the full service carriers too. It was also my first trip on an A321 and i was very impressed by it and the bmi cabin was very light and spacious with good legroom. Thanks Bmi, you made it a great day!
Hope you enjoyed reading this anyway,