tristar4ever
Posts: 83
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2000 2:00 am

Bmi Baby- What Are They Playing At!?

Tue Nov 16, 2004 1:42 am

bmi baby
MAN-BFS
7/11/04
737-300 (Robin Hood Baby)
Sched dep./actual -17:15/17:50
Sched arr./actual -18:15/18:35

I arrived in Manchester terminal 1 just after 14:30 for my flight for home. Baby now use the bmi mainline desks located beside the Aer Lingus counters, this area is much more spacious especially given the large ques for baby flights, today was no exception, with my Belfast flight, along with Cork and Prague departing close together. Initially only one desk was open, resulting in a long slow queue, a second and third desk where eventually opened. The bmi agent was friendly and efficient informing me of a 15min delay, while my online seat reservation was confirmed, a handy feature when traveling with baby.

The surrounding desks where crowded, with two Air-Berlin flights departing at the same time, I had no idea they had such a presence in Manchester. The channel Islands, and Ireland security channel was typically crowded, especially with airport staff skipping the queue, while the security area itself was fairly quiet. After watching the BBC documentary `Whistle Blower` showing gaps in the airports security I was interested to see how the screening would go. The kid in front of me had a metal belt buckle and was asked to remove it, however my aircraft seatbelt style buckle was hidden by my jacket and wasn`t detected by the metal detectors, this seemed worrying. Otherwise the security seemed fine.

I sat drinking Starbucks looking out the huge glass windows observing the terminal 1 pier, there was clearly an afternoon lull, seeing only a couple of Thomas Cook A320`s and the Air Berlin flights, 737-800 and F100 come and go. The 14:30 baby flight to Belfast was suffering from the typical baby lateness syndrome and was only boarding at 16:25 from gate 5 as I wondered up to gate 15 for my flight. The very end of the pier was completely full, standing room only, again the joys of flying low cost! At 16:45 there was no sign of the aircraft, however it was a relief considering the earlier delayed flight was still sitting, doors open with a full load people trapped onboard.

At 17:00 our vintage 737 finally arrived, and after a swift turn around we started boarding at 17:30, just as the lunchtime Belfast flight took off. The flight was almost completely full, mainly with families coming home after watching the football. The crew consisted of two girls and a guy, all under the age of 25, but where friendly and professional. An apology was given for the delay, usual story of late inbound aircraft. The take-off was slow with the plenty of vibration being felt in the cabin. The aircraft was clean, however it appeared very worn, while the crew still wear those terrible unprofessional looking t-shirts. The flight was routine and uneventful, while the crew had an easy flight as nobody pressed the call button to buy anything.

We made up time well and landed in a quiet Belfast only 20mins late. We parked at the old BA gate, I didn`t think baby used these gates, but it was handy considering the small walk to the baggage carrousels. Saw the earlier baby flight parked, along with a couple of eastJet 737`s from Edinburgh and Glasgow. Our bags took ages to be unloaded, while mine fell off the belt into the middle meaning the belt had to be stopped to rescue it.

bmi baby
BFS-MAN
12/11/04
737-300 op. Hola Airlines
Sched dep./actual -15:55/16:50
Sched arr./actual -16:45/17:30

After a nice few days at home it was time to head back to uni. I arrived at 14:30 for my flight, this is later than I would have liked and accordingly there was a huge queue for the flight, a group of 20 school kids where checking in, I just knew they`d be sitting near me. The agent said there was no delay, and that all the baby flights had been running on time that day. I was due in work at 18:00 so was hoping for a delay so I wouldn’t have to go in. I hadn’t traveled from BFS in over a year, and the changes where shocking, gone are the panoramic windows overlooking the apron, instead a series of narrow corridors guide you through a new retail space. The entire departure lounge seemed like half a construction site and half a shopping center. This is all very well but there is virtually no seating for passengers around the bmi baby gate, around 50 chairs meant people where forced to sit on the floor or just stand around, this really isn`t good enough. I bought a coffee and found the last few remaining windows at the Coffee outlet, observing loads of easy flights come and go, a Jet2 and baby flight to Barcelona and Teeside.

At this point the baby syndrome kicked in, while the departure status for every other flight was constantly being updated, our flight number and destination was the only thing on screen. The boarding time came and went, as did the departure time, no information was given. Delayed easy passengers where being given constant updates regarding flight status on the departure screens and over the PA system. The baby gate is really only a door that remains looked, I`m guessing this is to a avoid a stampede of angry passengers trying to find out whats happening.

Our only clue to the status of the flight was the arrival of an all white anonymous 737-300 arriving at our gate. At 16:30 our flight was called, one announcement for all passengers with no apology for the delay. The stampede began as we where slowly herded down a dingy flight of stairs into what can only be described as a cattle market. Once our boarding cards where checked at the door, everyone was forced to stand like lemmings in the room. Clearly designed for easyjet, the room was divided into boarding sequence zones, welcome to low cost flying I thought. Anyway after 20mins standing, a lone agent opened the door and another stampede began towards to stairs of our aircraft.

Boarding took forever with only one door in use, the three crew members looked exhausted, while exchanging vague sheepish glances with passengers. The interior of this aircraft was in tatters, legroom was tight, seat fabrics worm and torn. The seats had baby head covers, but otherwise this was clearly a vintage aircraft from another carrier. Looking around me I noticed how filthy everything was, all plastics looking yellow and battered. While the mounting around the emergency exits and some ceiling panels was falling off, my seat behind the wing gave a perfect view of the blackened wing, while grey paint was peeling of the flaps. Once boarded we where welcomed onboard this Hola airlines flight operating for bmi baby.com. The Spanish cabin crew struggled with every announcement, the safety demo had the attendants laughing as the performance struggled on culminating in a round of applause from the bemused passengers. For first time flyers this would be far from reassuring.

We finally departed after 16:50, the full load led to a slow labored take-off, the rattles and vibrations echoed throughout the battered interior. The cabin lights remained off for the entire flight, this was actually very relaxing. An announcement was made from `Julie` the onboard baby rep saying only that no catering would be available, until completing their landing checks the crew where not visible for the any off the flight. Decent was rough as we made our way through dense cloud cover, although the view was stunning once we cleared the cover as the skyline was illuminated. Final approach was disorientating as we banked heavily and frequently, raising a few scared looks for people sitting around me. Heavy winds meant for a rocky approach, as we passed the perimeter fence the rocking continued, I really thought we where going to clip a wing tip. Passing terminal 3 our aircraft slammed to ground, after a couple of bounces, brakes where applied and we eventually stopped, interestingly no reverse thrust was used.

While taxiing to our gate we heard from Julie again, she completed the final announcements, it seemed strange she did these, but not any of the other more important announcements, I figured this was a contractual rule, but at least she apologised for the late arrival. After a long day I waited for everyone else to push their way off and I was last to leave. I said goodbye to the crew, I felt sorry for them as they looked wrecked. There where no awaiting passengers at our gate, so I figured that was the last flight for our aircraft. In typical Manchester fashion the luggage took nearly half an hour to arrive, a baggage cart was visible through the plastic slats, but it took a bmi agent to begrudgingly walk out to eventually retrieve our luggage.


Overall this was a very disappointing experience with bmi baby. The entire operation seems shoddy and unprofessional, there is a real lack of care for passengers. While the flight crew where friendly, it is the ground operation that lets baby down so badly, it seems like passengers cattle, with no real face or representative to deal with. The treatment at Belfast summed up the whole operation, no information, nothing, just an opened door when the flight finally showed up. The entire operation is completely over stretched, too many bases, not enough aircraft or staff, while I realise the Hola aircraft was probably chartered to cover the damaged aircraft from the `collision` last week, it provides a very negative impression to the flying public of a inconsistent operation. With the imminent invasion of Manchester from Jet2, baby have lost a golden chance to build up a true hub operation, while their notorious unreliability will see them crumble under the competition. To conclude, the problems at baby echoe those at the parent company, a bitty inconsistent route network, over stretched and unreliable.


Hope you like the report,
Mike
 
ThomasCook
Posts: 677
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 12:43 am

RE: Bmi Baby- What Are They Playing At!?

Tue Nov 16, 2004 3:25 am

Hi,

Good report and very reassuring because I will be flying that same route in January. I thought bmibaby had a new uniform?

Regards
ThomasCook
A380 Crew
 
SunCEO
Posts: 356
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2001 4:42 am

RE: Bmi Baby- What Are They Playing At!?

Tue Nov 16, 2004 3:27 am

Hey,
Great report although i wouldnt take your disappointment of the return journey as bmibaby's fault. Flew with Hola airlines about 2 years ago, awful airline with rude crews, and the aircraft was in tatters i was actually comcerned with the airworthiness of the particualr aircraft - Trives!

SunCEO.

 
bmi
Posts: 317
Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2002 5:01 am

RE: Bmi Baby- What Are They Playing At!?

Tue Nov 16, 2004 5:13 am

shame you had a bad baby flight, ive flown with them four times and will be flying them again in abotu two weeks time, and cant say ive ever had a bad flight *touch wood* lets hope they sort it out.

mark
 
Contact Air
Posts: 1143
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2001 4:13 am

RE: Bmi Baby- What Are They Playing At!?

Tue Nov 16, 2004 5:29 am

Hello Mike,

thanks for this interesting report. I also had a trip on BMI baby (MUC-CWL-MUC back in 2003 - an other route they have dropped by now). The flights were all right - basic low-cost service; nothing really special.

Regards
Christoph
 
Capital146
Posts: 2099
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2003 8:45 pm

RE: Bmi Baby- What Are They Playing At!?

Wed Nov 17, 2004 3:27 am

I enjoyed your report, thanks.  Big thumbs up

My only experience so far with WW was MAN-GVA-MAN in January this year (yes, yet another of their dropped routes) where the service and punctuality were excellent, actually arrived in GVA 30 minutes early. Only problem was that loads were awful on both flights (about 50 pax outbound and about 30 pax on the return) Even got a rare bargain fare with them, just £30 return incl taxes!!  Smile

All in all, I was very pleased with them indeed, sorry your experience wasn't so good!

Like a fine wine, one gets better with age.
 
ba319-131
Posts: 8150
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

RE: Bmi Baby- What Are They Playing At!?

Mon Nov 22, 2004 4:45 am

Thanks Mike,real interesting reading.

I've not flown WW,don't plan to despite the fact they may not last much longer. With U2 invading MAN next year,WW are not likely to last much longer,too many bad moves on their part.

Rgds

Mark
111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
 
2000first
Posts: 162
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2001 11:50 pm

RE: Bmi Baby- What Are They Playing At!?

Tue Nov 23, 2004 1:46 am

Good report!

I have flown on WW on about 5 rtn flights (all BFS-MAN) and about 7 out of the 10 individual flights have been delayed! maybe its just my bad kuck, or maybe their punctuality is poor. on 3 occassions these delyas have been over 3/4 hrs!

I seem to almost always be on Baby Dragin Fly, or Baby Robin Hood aswell hehehe... they are following me i think. I also noticed the generally shabby state of the Baby aircraft, which is mainly due to the fact that i dont think they have been refurbished since the British Midland days. they still have the OLD dark blue seats with a few red pin stripes, which i can clearly remember from my flights on B'Mid in the early 90's. Maybe if they survive long enough they will get their own interiors?? and also some new uniforms hopefully!! the current ones are awful  Smile
 
A340600
Posts: 3893
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2003 10:24 pm

RE: Bmi Baby- What Are They Playing At!?

Sat Nov 27, 2004 8:47 am

Has anyone got a pic of their uniforms?

Nice to hear about them. They are dropping their serfvice here at LGW, they look crap but mixed responses from people I know,

Sam Big thumbs up
Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
 
UK_Dispatcher
Posts: 2254
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2001 8:44 pm

RE: Bmi Baby- What Are They Playing At!?

Thu Dec 16, 2004 12:36 pm

2000first - the seats on board the WW 737s are not the seats from the BD days. The seats on the BD 737s were the Recaro convertible ones, not the fixed ones which were fitted when the 737s were re-configured for WW.

Tristar4ever - It was interesting to read your report, especially with the return flight being operated by HOA! There is a European Aircharter 737-200 operating for WW out of MAN at the moment, and there'll be an Excel Airways 737-800 this weekend (18/19Dec). This is mainly due to G-ODSK being out of action after the taxying incident when it was struck by an Excel Airways 767-200.

I've only flown WW once - it was EMA-PRG-EMA in summer 2003, and I thought the flights were very good. A lot more basic than BD, but then that is the idea.

 
tristar4ever
Posts: 83
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2000 2:00 am

RE: Bmi Baby- What Are They Playing At!?

Sat Dec 18, 2004 8:48 pm

Cheers for the replys and positive feedback. I`m flying with baby again on tuesday this week, returning on New Years Eve, I dont hold much hope for getting back on time, but it was cheaper than BA so I didnt have a choice. It would be great to fly on the the chartered 737-200 tho, a bit of retro flying!

I think new uniforms are being phased in, similar to mainline bmi`s, but as uaual any kind of progression is slow within the company. The seats are the original BM interiors from the very early 90`s when they adopted the airline for Europe slogan and under-went a minor rebrand. As a graphic design student I wrote my dissortation on the subject of branding in the airline industry and looked at baby as a good brand idea that is poorley executed, there is huge scope for developing the brand and injecting real personality into it, like changing the interiors and colour sceme to reflect `baby` themes, but sadly like the airline itself, it is merely and half hearted unfocused attempt to solve a critical problem of low cost competition!

Anyway enough of my ranting! I will post a report when I get back, and for anyone else keep sharing those baby experiences to see any other views.

cheers
Mike
 
ThomasCook
Posts: 677
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 12:43 am

RE: Bmi Baby- What Are They Playing At!?

Sat Dec 18, 2004 9:28 pm

Hi,

UK Dispatcher

Do you know which routes WW are using the B737-200 on and is there any chance of an XLA B737-800 on the 5th January?

Regards
ThomasCook
A380 Crew
 
UK_Dispatcher
Posts: 2254
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2001 8:44 pm

RE: Bmi Baby- What Are They Playing At!?

Sun Dec 19, 2004 11:16 am

European are only supposed to be operating the 732 for bmibaby for the next few days - until the 22nd I believe, but I shall check when I get back into work and hopefully be able to let u know.

The XLA 738 is only operating 18/19Dec.

If there are any other WW sub-charters I'll try and post the details here.
 
ThomasCook
Posts: 677
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 12:43 am

RE: Bmi Baby- What Are They Playing At!?

Mon Dec 20, 2004 2:12 am

Hi,

Thanks for that info! I saw the XLA B738 parked at T1 today. If its any help I am flying with them from BFS-MAN on the 5th Jan on WW3008.

Regards
ThomasCook
A380 Crew
 
UK_Dispatcher
Posts: 2254
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2001 8:44 pm

RE: Bmi Baby- What Are They Playing At!?

Sun Dec 26, 2004 7:47 am

Thats the European a/c gone now. All the WW flights are back to company 733's out of MAN. I'll let you know if any other carriers appear!
 
ThomasCook
Posts: 677
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 12:43 am

RE: Bmi Baby- What Are They Playing At!?

Sun Dec 26, 2004 7:59 am

Hi,

Thanks for that info UK_Dispatcher!  Big thumbs up

I have heard it could be operated by a B735. Do you know if there is any truth in that?

Regards
ThomasCook

A380 Crew
 
UK_Dispatcher
Posts: 2254
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2001 8:44 pm

RE: Bmi Baby- What Are They Playing At!?

Mon Dec 27, 2004 2:41 am

Not sure, ThomasCook....

The intention was that the MAN base would always be 733's, but there have been periods where a 735 has been based here. At the moment there are 3 x WW 733's at MAN, with the 735 only appearing on the 'W' pattern from JER, which is an EMA-based a/c. I would expect a WW 733 on your BFS-MAN flight, but if it's likely to be any different I shall post something here for you.

Work is also about to start on getting G-ODSK fixed. The Boeing engineers should be arriving any time now, and are going to be working on seperate shifts 24hrs a day for 3 weeks, i've beeen told!
 
ThomasCook
Posts: 677
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 12:43 am

RE: Bmi Baby- What Are They Playing At!?

Mon Dec 27, 2004 2:57 am

Hi,

UK_Dispatcher

Thanks once again for your info!  Big thumbs up

A B737-300 is fine but as I have never flown on a -500 that would be a nice change. Big grin

I saw G-ODSK the other day. Its a real mess! Does anybody know what the deal is with XLA's crippled B767?

Regards
ThomasCook
A380 Crew

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