Also – excuse the poor quality of the images, I had a major dust problem, and as I was on my hols, could not be assed to fix it! Still you get a generally good idea of what the flight is like…
bmi British Midland flight #BD105
Type: Airbus A320-232
Boarding Time: 10:30
Departure Time: 10:40 (Schedule) 11:15 (Actual)
Arrival Time: 1:10PM (AMS time = London + 1)
Photo © Ralf Meyermann
I was woken by my alarm at the unpleasant time of 6:45, and did all the normal things, such as a shower, breakfast, getting my passport, DSLR, and then jumped in my step dads car.
We left at 7:20, anticipating to get there for 8:30 as the rush hour is usually terrible on the M4, but alas, we arrived in under 30 minutes, and with a full 3 hours before departure. Luckily the bmi check in machines were working with no problem so we assigned each other 15 D, E and F. With 3 hours to blow, and Terminal 1, we were in for the long haul - I hate terminal 1!
Instead of going straight through to international, we went over to domestic departures, as it has a very nice view over runway 27, where the planes were landing that morning. I got a couple of shots, including the 757 Blue peter plane.
Also an interesting scene, in which a BA 320 was cornered by three fire trucks and several police cars. Anyone know what happened here?
With another hour to spare, we made our way over to international, and nosed our way round the duty frees, and I had a go at the Vodafone stand and played with the phones a little.
I was really looking forward to this flight, as i hadn't flown in a few months, and i was haivng a break from BA. I was really hoping for the star alliance jet, and not a crappy blue one (especially the really dark, boring old livery)
After an age of waiting and 15 minutes before our scheduled departure time, our gate was finally shown up, gate 38 I think, and we made our way there, where in total there were only about 90 pax.
Best of all, the 320 sitting at the gate was G-MIDX, the star alliance 'billboard' jet, the one i had hoped for, and always enjoy spotting at LHR!
It was obvious that we were going to be delayed. We finally boarded at 10:30, but didn’t push back til 10:40, 5 minutes after our scheduled departure time.
We went to the end of 27, and waited for 20 minutes in a queue of around 12 aircraft, this was very, very boring.
Although while we were waiting, a BA 744 did make an emergency landing (we were told) on the departing runway, about 50 feet from us. Finally it was our turn to line up, and within no time at all we were powering along the runway.
We rotated about half way down the runway, and climbed steeply, although not as steep as what was to come on the RG MD-11 the next day, nevertheless it was quite steep, and a bit bumpy as we hit some cloud.
After take off, we banked steeply to get the correct heading, and crossed over central london while doing so.
We climbed for around 15 minutes (A lot quicker than the 45 minutes i experienced on an A340 going to the states on VS!), before reaching our cruising altitude of 28,000 feet, and the drinks service started.
It’s a shame that BMI have adopted the LCC business strategy, as everything was extortionately priced. I don’t see a bright future for BD if they carry on in this manner, personally.
The flight time was approximately 30 minutes, and soon enough we had started our descent down to the Netherlands, and Amsterdam Schipol.
The seat pitch on this aircraft was very good, and we had no problems stretching out in Y. There wasn’t a queue at Schipol, and we started our descent over Amsterdam’s beautiful outskirts, fields, and rural areas, before reaching Schipol.
We came in quite high, and passed about 1/6 of the runway before finally touching down, where full reversers were applied, along with ailerons, and brakes.
We passed KLM’s store of Fokkers, was a great sight! We taxied for a while, before arriving at our stand. Schipol airport is a wonderful airport, so much better than what I was going to experience the next day at CDG!
On disembarking, I asked to speak to the flight deck, and the stewardess said ‘yes, sure’, and we spent a good 10 minutes chatting to the pilot, F/O, and getting picture opportunities in the captains chair! Really friendly crew on this flight. The F/O seemed determined to explain every function of every button of the flight deck, from the terms they used such as 'glass cockpit', to the altimeter, to the windows! A really interesting 10 minutes, and the captains seat was very, very comfy, much better than in Y!
We disembarked, to find some Schipol staff who had been waiting! They had no problem, and we were through and into Amsterdam in no time at all.
Overall conclusion of BMI on this flight: Friendly crew, especially the flight deck, comfortable journey, but LCC is not the way for BMI in my opinion. British Midland (which I like to call them, NOT bmi!) was a real strong airline in 1999-2002, but they are heading the ways of any other low cost carrier. If they do want this image, why Heathrow? Why not Gatwick. To be honest, I don’t see a future for BMI at this rate, as BA’s rates are not that much more expensive, and they offer a much better service.
All together though, a good flight.
Any comments welcome, also within the next day or so, will be the AMS-CDG on RG MD-11, and MAN-LHR on bmi again and their EMB-145.
I tried to make it detailed, but am not happy with the depth, so will make the others more detailed hopefully!
[Edited 2005-08-21 11:32:51]