[Note: Click to enlarge all pictures]
I decided to go to EDI for the day to get some different movements, and I like the airport. I arranged a date when Stu (ScottishLaddie) when he was also available to show me around. I had a choice of getting there. From Gatwick there was British Airways and EasyJet, from Heathrow, British Airways and BMI. I decided, not having much money to splash out on the trip, to mix and match. Fly BMI up LHR-EDI and then my usual EZY flight home to LGW. I got the midday BMI flight and my usual EZY flight home and the total only came to £40 in the end, only £5 more expensive than EZY both ways. I was on an A321 on the way up and the boring, but pleasant EZY319 home.
This would be a big day for me. My first flight out of LHR, my first flight alone and my first flight on BMI. I left home at 7.30am for the 12.50 flight to EDI, BD056.
After 1 hour 40 minutes travelling, the underground train rattled into the Station for Terminals 1, 2 and 3. I followed the arrows to Terminal 1 and after numerous escalators I entered the busy check in area. BMI open check-in 2 and a half hours before departure, however I was there at 9.20am, an hour before that even. I went to the loo and strolled along the entire terminal, popping in and out of a number of shops.
I got bored after 10 mins or so, so decided to use the self check-in. There was a lady from BMI assisting at this machine, she was very helpful, but those BMI hats are ridiculous ! She helped me use the machine and I selected seat 11F, just in front of the wing, so I capture the IAE’s wining away and the wing behind.
I headed straight through Security with my gold boarding card (very swish) and to the usual BMI area, gate 8. I had ages to kill, so sat in front of the huge windows looking at the movements and got my camera out. They were landing on 27R which was directly in front of me so I got some great shots (click to enlarge):
Change for good
The KL pilots seem fascinated by me photographing them
On one of these soon with Kaz and Chris
I was amazed, having only been to LHR once, at the amount of traffic! Planes just kept coming in minute after minute, it is amazing all the people that travel through LHR every day. I also saw some things I have never seen before in my life, it was fantastic!
A rather nice world tail
After a while of staring out, watching aircraft after aircraft arrive it was getting near boarding time. The familiar series of bongs rung out across the terminal, as did my name!
I was told to head to gate 8b along with a few other passengers, I was worried that something was wrong. I got to that gate and there were a couple of BMI staff who looked frantically busy. I heard the mutter of an a/c change. When I got to the desk she looked at my name and gave me a new boarding pass, seat 10A and confirmed that the aircraft had changed. Excellent, this is my chance for the 320 !
I looked up at the screens and it said ‘Boarding Gate 7’ so I looked around and followed the signs until I came to a small area. There were no BMI aircraft around, just a line of Union Flag’s dominating the window view.
I was second in line, they took my boarding pass and did the usual with a smile, they sounded cheerful. We were directed down stairs, I knew this meant we were not on a jet bridge, which is great . We emerged into the dull gloom of the outside and there was a bus waiting. Things turned a bit chaotic as more and more passengers were squashed onto the bus. One thing that surprised me was that the Captain and one of the cabin crew joined us for the ride!
Once they had fitted as many of us as possible in, the doors were shut and we were off. I didn’t have a clue where we were going; LHR is an unfamiliar place to me. We passed a line of BMI 321’s and drove under buildings and through gaps, breaking sharply now and then to let other ramp traffic pass.
We then were out on a ramp in the open, numerous BA aircraft surrounding, and a selection of VS tails appearing, meaning Terminal 3 was just across the taxiway. The bus swung round and a hybrid A320 came into view all alone on a remote stand! I looked at the nose door and it said ‘DY’, meaning G-MIDY. I saw this aircraft almost exactly a year ago in GNB, it was the only other aircraft on the ground and was the first ever BMI I had seen close-up.
BMI British Midland
Departure time (Scheduled/ Actual): 1250/ 1313 (Local Time)
Arrival time (Scheduled/Actual): 1410/1408 (Local Time)
Photo © Estelle Calleja
Photo © Gary Watt - AirTeamImages
I queued up the steps and when I got to the door I noticed the ‘STAR’ alliance logo, looking like it had been badly painted on, up this close, almost as if it were done by a paint by number kit . I was greeted by two cabin crew who smiled and seemed friendly. I asked for a flight deck visit and I got the Sep 11th usual rubbish, even though I know many, many people who have been in on BMI since, so just nodded politely and walked down the isle. I found row 10 and was pleased to find it was an emergency exit row!
The legroom on BMI is already a good 32” and on the exit row it seemed I had absolutely loads. I stretched out and looked around the cabin, my first Airbus A320. The cabin was in mint condition! The carpets looked brand new, the cleanliness and upkeep of the aircraft was great, bar my floppy armrest and the comfort was great! The seats were extremely wide and very comfortable.
The aircraft was very empty even after a second bus load of passengers arrived; I’m estimating 50-60% full. It was nice, the middle seat was left free and a nice business man took the aisle seat. He took great interest in ‘secretly’ looking at my notepad of bullets on the flight .
The doors were shut and we were welcomed aboard by both our Captain, who introduced all of the cabin crew by name (a nice touch) and then the cabin crew themselves. The safety demo was professional and very modern, the flip down screens actually worked . We pushed back at 12.52pm, 2 minutes after we were due to leave, pretty impressive considering such an aircraft change and our long journey out to MIDY. The IAE’s wound into action. I was amazed at how quiet they were! The air con system took over the engine noise! Music played throughout our time on stand and our taxi out to the runway, including Gabrielle- Rise, song I haven’t heard for while.
We rolled forward with a quiet increase in thrust and the cabin crew rushed around doing final cabin checks.
At this stage some guy in his late teens got up looking embarrassed and rushed to the toilet. By this time we were holding for the runway. Was quite funny, the whole cabin laughed.
We queued for about 5 minutes, it was weird not seeing any aircraft land in front of us , before the pilot gently released the brakes and we rolled forward swinging onto runway 27L. We slowly came to a halt, a BA744 looking straight at me, coming from T4. The engines wound up slightly and we started to move. The thrust increased and I was pushed to the back of my site as we sped down the runway.
It was a very brief takeoff and the Airbus A320 was launched into the chilly air at 1313, 23 minutes late. We passed the huge BA Speedbird:
The wheels went up, and for the first time in my life there was no bong after confirming this. We then making an immediate right turn and the wing was soon slicing through a layer of lower cloud before it was engulfed in a sea of white as the cloud thickened. The climb was steep and the engines weren’t wound down.
We emerged into blue skies and sun, but seemed to level out for about five minutes, skimming along the top of the clouds, the wing bobbing up and down gently every now and then. The clouds rushed past and I really got an idea of the speed we were travelling at. We then continued our climb and reached our cruising altitude, of which I didn’t know the altitude.
By this time the cabin crew had been around with the first trolley with a pile of sandwiches. I was offered the choice of egg or Chicken, tomato and bacon. I took the latter and it was very very nice! I stared out of my window, the IAE window whining away as we sped up the country above a thick blanket of cloud.
Drinks soon came around and the cabin crew were absolutely fantastic, some of the best I have experienced! They smiled, joked with me and were extremely polite. I opted for a Pepsi with Ice and Lemon to wash down the sandwich. I got out my ‘Of Mice and Men’ revision book and stuck into it for 20 minutes or so as we continued our cruise.
At 1346 the Captain announced that we were currently cruising at 33000ft and that we were just about to start our descent into EDI, where the weather was pretty much the same as LHR but slightly warmer at 9C.
One of the cabin crew’s voices sounded through the cabin as she announced they were going to show a short video on Thailand on behalf of STAR Alliance partner Thai. It was beautifully presented but seemed utterly pointless on this flight. One thing is clear, BMI is a very strong STAR member!
Before I knew it I looked out of my window and could see the ground below and the engine power was reduced, speed brakes aiding.
Runway 24 was in use today at EDI which meant a beautiful approach, especially as I was seated on the left hand side. We turned this way and that, bringing us over ports, lakes, towns and villages.
Port of Leith, pronounced Leeth as I am told
Beautiful water effects, spot Matalan !
We made a final left turn to line up with the runway as a rumble started from under my feat signifying that the gear was being lowered. The flaps were set gradually as the ground neared, an Anet member’s school is down one of these roads :
The taxiways of EDI rushed past and the pilot swung ‘Delta Yankee’ right then left and brought us down nicely. We braked very softly until the Captain obviously realised that he wanted to get off the runway quicker and slammed on full brakes! Still used no thrust reverse to aid.
New control tower being constructed
The BA flight, which was an A320-100 and had exactly the same flight time beat us
We followed it in and turned off to park at BMI’s usual EDI gate; 4.We arrived at 1408, 2 minutes ahead of schedule, pretty impressive for our departure time! We came to a halt and the engines shut down, drowned out by the clinking of everyone unbuckling their seatbelts as if in desperation to get out .
I stayed behind to try and get a flight deck visit but once again I was unlucky, so just took a pic of the C class:
I exited onto the jet bridge.EDI / EGPH), United Kingdom">EDI / EGPH), United Kingdom">EDI / EGPH), United Kingdom">EDI, as always, was a breeze, out in a matter of minutes.
I exited onto the jet bridge.EDI, as always, was a breeze, out in a matter of minutes.
Met up with Stu (ScottishLaddie) and we drove to a spot and got some great shots for a couple of hours, cheers for showing me around mate, much appreciated ! Here are some shots from the afternoon, shame the weather was so dull:
After a few hours we drove back to the terminal where I met up with another Anetter to fly home on EZY714. Overall, a great day, BMI were fantastic, fresh and professional and EDI was great, good to see some new movements !
[Edited 2005-03-12 01:24:04]