Having spent a few days in London, it was time for our side trip to Palma. Since it was a 7am departure and our hotel was on the other side of London, we thought we would sleep at Heathrow. I posted a thread on A.Net and read sleepinginairports.com and the verdict was it's liveable, but not the Ritz by any stretch of the imagination. So we scouted out the terminals and settled on the departures floor of terminal 2. I pulled 2 benches together and tried to fall asleep. A few problems: they don't turn the lights down, which bothers me. Security announcements were rare, but always woke me up when they occurred. Other people spending the night, and walking around, just the slightest noise was enough to wake me up. If I ever did that again, I'd choose a spot on the floor, not the benches. Earplugs and an eye mask are essentials as well but if your properly prepared, a good nights sleep isn't out of the question.
May 4, 2005
dep. 7:05am arr. 10:25am
flying time: 2:20
The bmi desks open at 5:30am for the morning flights, so I arrived at that time and there was already a small line up. However, a bmi agent was at the end of the line directing passengers to the next available desk, so we were checked in very quickly. Security was a breeze, and we were into terminal 1. I wandered over to where a few BA 744s were arriving and ate my bagel and orange juice. Boarding for BD163 began at about 635am in the usual manor, babies, small kids, and elderly first. General boarding by row number began shortly after. I was greeted at the door by 2 smiling flight attendants who pointed me up the aisle, as if I was going to go somewhere else! Seat pitch on the A320 was very reasonable, and the seats are very comfortable. We pushed back from gate 116 just after 7am. The safety demo was shown on the flip down screens as the engines were fired up. I could smell the jet fuel as the IAE engines spooled up. Engines running, flaps set, and cabin ready, we began our taxi to 27L.
Passsing the BA hangers.
We taxied past the British Airways hangers, with the usual cluster of 747 and 777s. That green DC10 looking fire mockup was parked as well. It was a very rainy and cloudy morning in London, and I could see all the morning flights arriving through the clouds for 27R. We arrived at the active, and after a short few minutes we were in position for take off.
In position on 27L.
Acceleration was brisk and we climbed out with a nice view of terminal 4. We entered the clouds almost immediately, and it got fairly bumpy.
Climbing out of Heathrow on a rainy morning.
Skimming the clouds as we climb to cruising altitude.
We passed through several layers of clouds before we emerged into the sunshine, and the seat belt signs were turned off. The flight attendants came around with tea and coffee to begin with, and I ordered an orange juice. I didn’t get the can, but I got a fair sized cup with ice and a napkin. Followed by the drinks, we were served a delicious egg, sausage and cheese type sandwich. It was warmed up, and was very good! We were then given some time to eat, before they came around to collect the garbage and offer another round of drinks.
Enjoying some nice scenery en route.
The clouds had cleared a bit as we begun our descent for Palma. We arrived over the island from the north and turned west and followed the coastline.
First sight of the Mallorca coastline.
A turn to the south brought a fantastic view of some of the resorts on the west of the island.
We turned east on approach for 06L, and made a beautiful approach over the Bay of Palma.
We touched down on 06L, exiting to the right after a smooth landing. We had a long taxi around to the south end of the airport where our gate was located. We pulled on stand about 10 minutes early. To sum it up, I couldn’t ask for a better flight. Flight attendants were very friendly, flight was on time, food was good, and the aircraft was clean and comfortable.
Time to head to the beach!!
A plug for Spanish tourism!
May 9, 2005
dep. 11:10am arr. 12:40pm
flying time: 2:30
After a wonderful holiday in Mallorca, it was time to return to the airport. PMI has got to have the most walking a person can do at an airport. From check-in to our gate was an endless maze of long hallways, at least they had moving walkways. After security but before we got to the gate, there was a passport control booth where my passport was stamped on the way OUT of the country. Anyone know why that happens, never heard of it before? I found a window with a nice view of the landing runway.
G-MIDU arrives and pulls up to the gate.
Our A320 touched down on time from LHR, and in the new colors too! The windows at PMI are also very dirty, so it’s hard to get clear pics through the glass. Boarding starting at about 1050am, and we were all on board and pushing back by 1120am.
Thomas Cook 752 bound for Glasgow.
Once again, we had to taxi around the big terminal building from our gate on the south end to runway 24R. We took off after an Air Berlin 738, and climbed out to the south of Palma before turning north towards London.
Climbing out of PMI.
Service was the same as the inbound flight, except we got a salad sandwich for lunch, which was equally good. Weather was clear outside, so I got some nice views of France. Flying time was a little over 2 hours, so I’m wondering why BMI don’t use their fold down tvs to show the news, or a documentary or something. Seems easy enough to do.
Cruising over France.
Descending towards LHR.
We began our descent for Heathrow a little after 12, local time. It was a decent day in London with some partly clouds, so we had a nice view of central London as we approached 27L at busy Heathrow.
Arriving over London.
Rush hour at 27R!
As we got close to touchdown, I could see the long line at 27R for takeoff. We touched down, and the pilot made full use of the reversers and brakes as we tried to make one of the first high speed turnoffs.
Reversing on 27L.
Loosing speed quickly as we try and make the high speed exit.
Something came loose in the front galley and made a crashing noise, as we really slowed down quickly, and started turning off the runway with reversers still open and spoilers up. I looked back and could see another aircraft right behind us, and several more on approach.
No time to waste between landings. The following aircraft hot on our tail.
We had to wait for an aircraft to leave the terminal 1 gate area, before we could get in there and to our own gate. Oh well, I got a great view of that line up for 27R takeoffs, including the Singapore Star Alliance 744.
Concorde waits patiently for terminal 5 to be finished.
Line up for takeoff at 27R includes United 763 and 744, Malaysia 744, Air Lingus A321, BA 763 and A320, with an alitalia MD80 and Singapore 744 about to join the line.
Never put your camera away till you arrive at the gate, you never know what will appear when your not prepared. Just got the camera back out in time!
We pulled up to get 118 with a bmi A319 and BA A319 right behind us and pulling into gates alongside ours. Must be difficult, since on aircraft in the little cul-de-sac of gates prevents anyone else from getting their gate. Once again, BMI provided us with a great flight! Stay tuned for my trip report on the transatlantic portion of my holiday, with Westjet, British Airways, and Air Canada.