BD 482 and also Lufthansa LH**** (can't remember)
MD), Spain">MAD - LHR
Photo © Tobias Rose
Scheduled & Actual departure: 1305
Scheduled Arrival: 1430 Actual: 1420
I had arrived earlier in the morning from Buenos Aires, with Aerolineas Argentinas. I left the airport to visit an Argentine friend in Madrid, and see the Vermeer exhibition at the Prado before taking the metro back to Barajas airport.
There were about 3 check-in desks open for the flight to Heathrow, one for Business Class. I checked-in at about 12:30pm, and the queue was thankfully short, although the flight was apparently full. I was offered a window seat at the last row, and accepted. On my right was the Air Canada Executive First check-in, for a flight to Toronto.
Check-in staff were pleasant enough, although they were not employees of the airline, but of an airport handling company. Also, the boarding cards that were issued were not those of BMI, but of the handling company too. The queue to go through to immigration was immense, and tailed right back along the length of the terminal building. It took a while to get through, as you can imagine.
There was not much time left by the time I was through to airside, and in fact, the flight to Heathrow was already being called, so I grabbed a copy of the Spanish paper "El Mundo" and quickly walked towards the gate. There were a lot of other British Airways flights boarding in the vicinity, at different times. The aircraft was evidently parked at a remote stand, because as soon as we were through the gate, we took the stairs down to the apron, and boarded a bus.
I always enjoy these little "airport tours" on buses; especially in Madrid, it is possible to see many lovely airliners from all over the world. There are always airlines from the Middle East, North Africa, all over Europe, North America and of course many large intercontinental Iberia craft, all with personal names like "Concha Espina" "Lope de Vega" "Cervantes" "Maria Guerrera" "Brasil" and so on and on.......
On the apron next to the BMI aircraft was an Avianca 767-300. For those of you who don't know, Avianca is a Colombian airline. As you can imagine, Barajas MD), Spain">MAD gets a lot of traffic from the new world, specifically Latin countries.
Our aircraft was an A320, G-MIDS, and was painted in an attractive blue & white colour scheme which I thought looked different to the usual. There was a British flag on the tail, but it was faint, and not painted in the official colours, simply a lighter shade of blue.
I boarded the rear stairs, as of course, that made sense if you were seated on the last row. An interesting piece of information is that this flight was being shared with Lufthansa, so I think BMI and the German airline must have some close connections.
The crew greeted us nicely at the door. It wasn't far to my seat of course, on the left side of the aircraft. Of course, the view was splendid as I was far behind the obstruction of the wing.
I fly Boeing aircraft more than Airbus, but I enjoy the few Airbus rides I have had. I like the interior architecture of the Airbus 320, the different shape of the windows, the wing and so on. The interior colours of a BMI aircraft are a pleasing blue, not too different to that used by this website. The cabin was very clean, everything was in good condition; this was a contrast to the cabin of the Aerolineas 747 I had just arrived in, earlier that morning.
The flight was indeed full, which is good to see in these difficult times for airlines. The Captain introduced himself, and informed us of the routing, the weather we could expect in London, the expected airborne time and that he would be flying us to Heathrow today.
As with most flights on remote stands at Barajas, we simply rolled forward to begin our very long taxy to the runway, which I believe was 36L today. Joining us at the holding point was a Lufthansa CRJ, an Alitalia MD aircraft (I get confused with the MD series aircraft, they all look the same to me) and an Iberia A320.
The take-off in an A320 is of course more impressive than on an A340, but I believe the 737 still feels faster. The weather was partly cloudy, and the climb out was rather bumpy. I always find flights in and out of Barajas to be bumpy, I don't know why.
Well, in-flight the service was quite good. First we are offered a selection of drinks, and some pretzels. Then we are offered more drinks and a small bite, usually a cheese or chicken sandwich, which I think was fine for this length of flight. The sandwich comes wrapped in a blue and clear packet called "fresh". The sandwich was actually quite nice, and yes, it tasted more or less quite fresh. I opted for a Coke on the rocks, as I was struggling to stay awake, having flown the previous night from Buenos Aires.
I eventually fell asleep anyway, so it was only when I saw the "white cliffs of Dover" as the British like to say, that I realised the journey was coming to an end. Our descent over London was as always, quite interesting, although some cloud was sometimes obscuring a good view. I am pretty certain we landed on 27R; the landing was quite bumpy though. As we taxied towards to the Terminal 1, a Pakistan 747-200 landed next to us, then a stream of British Airways Baby 'buses (A319).
The final verdict for British Airways' competitor in Europe? Well, I actually think they are very good!! They were cheap (just over 100 pounds), the aircraft was in very good condition inside and outside, the service and food were good, and we were punctual.
I definitely recommend this airline to all of you. I am finding that most "frills" UK airlines are all quite good, and even the cheaper airlines are ok too, but their schedules are not as good as BMI and BA, for flights in the European region.