Arrive: Manchester (MAN), 1st July at 08:05am Terminal 3
Flight Number: BD582 (Manchester Shuttle Service)
Aircraft: Airbus A320-231
Duration: 1 hour
Distance: 160 miles
Photo © Simon Curtis
BMI British Midland G-MIDZ
This is actually my first flight report, and it’s also my first domestic flight! I’m usually used to passing through security, passport control, immigration etc, but today we practically just walked straight into the departure lounge, it was great!
My taxi arrived at 5am at my house, which gave us plenty of time to get us down to London Heathrow for our flight. Very nice guy, spent most of the time chatting to us about how many Heathrow runs he does per week
We arrived at Terminal 1 at about 5:30am, so we had plenty of time to check in and move through to the departure lounge. We didn’t bother queuing for the main check in, so we went straight to the self-check-in booths around the back of the BMI check-in desks. Had a bit of confusion here! We swiped the credit card, and it noticed we were both checked in on the flight, but for some reason it would only allow one person to check in, and when the other went to check in it said the card had already been used? Anyway a BMI guy came along and pressed something on the screen, and all of a sudden we were checked in .
My boarding pass for the outbound flight
An image of the A320 flashed up with a seat map, and we chose our seats of 19E and 19F. Unfortunatly my Dad got 19F and I got 19E, but I soon sorted that (I swapped the boarding passes ). We decided to go straight through to the departure lounge as there was nothing else to do in the main terminal. We passed through security (my Dad once again gets frisked because he forgets to put his mobile phone through the X-Ray machine!!!!) and we went through to the departure lounge. It said on the TV Screen to go and wait at Gate 8, typical our gate was all the way at the end of the terminal so we had a nice 5 minute walk to get there! I passed by several British Airways A320’s and A319’s on the way.
We finally arrived at the BMI part of the Terminal 1 Domestic Departure Lounge. Lots of BMI aircraft in the stands doing nothing at all. Some new liveries with the white/blue/red, some mixed liveries (the dark blue with white text) and some Star Alliance aircraft.
Waiting at the gate, G-MIDZ
By the time we got down to Gate 8 at the other end of the terminal it said on the screen that we should wait at gate 8c, this was about 5:45am or so. Saw our aircraft at Gate 8c, this morning we were to fly on G-MIDZ. All the BMI aircraft in the gates were empty and shut down, waiting for their crews for their departures today. It was weird to look out onto runway 27R and the side of Terminal 1, and see absolutely no activity except for a few trucks and tugs dashing around the place every so often!!
We sat down facing the 27R, and then a few arrivals started appearing. I had my scanner luckily so I decided to listen in on that for a while. Had a few Cathay’s coming in mixed in with a few South African Airways, United Airlines and American Airlines.
Just landed runway 27R
Our crew then arrived at about 6:20am and entered through the rear door of the A320, and about 20 minutes later at 6:40am our flight was called for boarding. They rushed us on so quickly, they gave the first call, and about four minutes later they were announcing the final boarding call!!
Got on board the aircraft at about 6:50am and went over to our seats. Couldn’t be bothered putting my bags in the overhead compartments, it was such a short flight anyway and I needed secret access to my camera. I’ve never heard of this before, but they let people use their mobile phones until the doors of the aircraft had been shut…pretty useful really but still a first for me!
G-EUPD being stocked up for departure
Next to us was a British Airways A319 which was just starting boarding I think. Anyway we pushed back at about 7:15am, and the captain gave us a few details for the flight. The cabin crew performed the standard safety demonstration, I actually yawn because I’ve been on these A320 aircraft so many times before I could do it myself. They tell you it’s different from any other aircraft you may have flown on, but it really isn’t!!!
Taxiing to runway 27L for departure to MAN
We started our taxi around the side of Terminal 1 and past the Concorde on runway 23, unfortunately I was on the other side of the aircraft so I didn’t get to see it (but I was going on one in Manchester in a few hours from then so it didn’t really matter! ). When we reached the holding position for runway 27L, we had a British Airways A319, a Lufthansa Cityline Canadair, and an Alitalia in front of us to go first, so we weren’t waiting too long.
We then taxied onto runway 27L, and waited for a little while before receiving clearance to depart.
Powering up down runway 27L
We powered up and shot down 27L at about 7:30am, and got off the ground pretty quickly, normally in the A320 it takes a little longer but obviously this guy was a skilled pilot!!
Just after V2 off runway 27L
We departed and got a lovely view of Terminal 3 and then the Terminal 5 construction site. Hit a bit of wake turbulence I think from the departing Alitalia in front of us but the captain handled it well. We took a right turn and then started our journey north towards Manchester.
Making a right turn over the Windsor area
Now I hadn’t flown with BMI British Midland before, but I had flown with the old British Midland when they used to do much more of a holiday airline service. This was from London Luton to Palma Majorca. The food on that old 737 was terrible, we had breakfast and it was a very doughy omelette with pretty raw sausage etc!
So we continued climbing through to 19,000ft and the seat belt signs were turned off at about 7:40am and the snacks were starting to be served. The curtain was then drawn between Business Class and Economy Class…yet it seemed we were getting exactly the same food. My guess is because all the business class passengers would complain if they saw economy class passengers getting the same food as them when they’d paid god knows how much more for their ticket!
To my utter horror, our snack today was….you guessed it, an Omelette Wrap with bacon and sausage and cheese inside. Those words Omelette and Sausage and British Midland didn’t really bring back too many fond memories….but this was surprisingly quite tasty!! Sorry I couldn’t really get a photo of it, my camera was in my bag at this time, and my tray was in the way so you’re just going to have to picture the cheese, sausage, and bacon oozing out of this pretty nice omelette wrap.
The seatbelt signs soon were re-lit again (I really didn’t realise how quick this flight actually was!) and we then started our descent into Manchester at about 7:50am. Hit a little turbulence on our way down which wasn’t really anything unusual. We then did a few turns and established with the glide slope for runway 24R at Manchester.
As we reached about 5 miles from MAN the gear was lowered and the cabin crew were asked to take their seats for landing. Got to around 1000ft and we were hit with an enormous cross wind which sent everyone flying around in their seats! Pretty cool, and the captain managed to pilot the aircraft well and get us back on course with runway 24R.
Photo © Mike Layer
Making approach over Manchester to runway 24R
We then passed by the famous “Airport Hotel” which I really wanted to go to but unfortunately couldn’t, and made a smooth touchdown on runway 24R at approximately 8:07am, only a few minutes after the scheduled arrival which was pretty impressive.
Touching down on runway 24R
Photo © Mike Layer
Speed brake being applied and in full reverse thrust
We exited runway 24R up by the Aviation Viewing Park, was on the right hand side of the aircraft though so couldn’t really get any good shots, but I managed this one of the Monarch DC-10…
Front of Monarch DC10 in the Viewing Park, taken before exiting runway 24R
We slowly taxied towards the terminals, and passed by several white cows (obviously large models) on the grass areas between the taxiways. Could anyone tell me what these were there for as I have no idea!!
We slowly turned into Terminal 3 at Manchester and proceeded through to Gate 18 which apparently is the usual gate for the BMI shuttle service to and from LHR. The engines wound down and we were off the aircraft by about 8:25am or so.
Keep an eye out for the return journey report. Thanks for reading this report, hope you enjoyed reading this as it is my first!! All comments welcome