Airline: British Midland
Flight number: BD149
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Seat: 3F (Business Class)
Distance: 226 miles
Date: Friday 30th December
Photo © Guy Daems - Brussels Aviation Photography
Photo © John Thompson
This journey was a bit of a jolly with my father, a regular BD flyer who has been unfortunately grounded by his company for the duration of a rather lucrative promotion. Fly Business / Premium Economy and earn 12,000 BD miles As a result we decided to take a day out to Brussels, booking myself in the cheap seats both ways, my father returning in business. I’d run my BD account down to only about 4000 miles and thought if I signed up for this promo I’d then be desperate to try and get myself another award flight! Instead I creditted my flights to my Lufthansa Miles & More account. Personally I hadn’t flown bmi post-modularisation and was vaguely interested to see what was happening.
We both drove to Heathrow in the late morning and checked in at the bmi desks, thanks to a combination of various shiny coloured Star Alliance cards that freed us the restraints of having to use a SSCI machine. We were assigned exit row seats on the outbound although some confusion was caused as my father was on two one way tickets. I received both my boarding passes and asked if we could get some Fast Track stickers to avoid Plebtrack security. Afraid not, bmi don’t have any apparently so Plebtrack it was! Fortunately the line wasn’t too long but was a little confused as we were directed away from the lounge area into a shopping mall. After all it would be breaking a habit of a lifetime for BAA to do anything else! Thanks to BA’s mall free premium check-in area I had avoided this security line for over a year now and was a little disorientated although easily found my way round to the Concourse with the bmi lounges. Again since my last visit the old Diamond Club had closed and both consolidated into the old Business Lounge by Gate 16. We showed boarding passes and shiny cards and were waved into the lounge.
bmi Diamond Club Lounge
Was pleased to see a couple of internet terminals, Irn Bru and a HUGE fridge stocked with just Cobra beer! Less pleased to see 2 litre bottles of Pepsi replacing cans, biscuits in jars etc. Although I can understand why bmi are doing this it is frankly cheap and comments in the guestbook reflected my thoughts. The lounge was empty which surprised me, and after a bit of internet surfing and a couple of Irn Brus I had a nose upstairs. Only one family up there and a businessman in the corner! Appeared the numbers of premium passengers were light today!
bmi Business Lounge
I leafed through Conde-Nast Traveller for a while before my father was called up to the desk. He had been moved up to business class although initially declined as he’d rather have sat with me. The agent then called me forward and checked my status and upgraded me too . Our boarding passes were exchanged for 3E and 3F, the last row of business.
We took a seat for a few more minutes before the flight was called from Gate 16 right next to the lounge. A couple of other people got up too and as we turned the corner it appeared the gate was rammed. No priority boarding call or line heck, even UA managed this on a 25min flight on Xmas Eve! And with differences between C and Y being so small it makes sense to introduce something like this. As it happened a chap was sitting in 3E so we asked if he’d mind taking the aisle seat. He seemed happy with that. At the front of the cabin a chap decided he’d wrestle with the crew and try to get a bag offloaded. He wasn’t having much luck with the crew!
bmi Business cabin
Not a good day, weather-wise, at Heathrow
After pushback the safety demo was shown, the bmi version annoys me just because of the background music throughout! Afterwards we were offered newspapers by the FA, by the time it got to me the only option was the Daily Mail. If I was short of toilet paper I’d have accepted the offer. We taxied out to 27L and a short line meant I had prime viewing spot of a number of takeoffs, notably a CX 747 that kicked up so much spray it disappeared and when the spray cleared there was no evidence of the aircraft!
In line for takeoff
The takeoff was rather noisy, had forgotten how whiny the engines are on the A320 and I was treated to a rather great view of Terminal 5, shame I’d put the camera away! We climbed up through heavy cloud, the rain had relented and it was time for a speedy lunch.
Approaching cruising altitude of 24,000ft
The lunch offering was egg mayonnaise or chicken and bacon. With service starting at the front of the cabin I thought I’d end up stuck with egg mayonnaise, alas I was spared and ‘enjoyed’ it with a coffee and white wine (not all at the same time!). To be honest it was ok but the kind of thing I’d expect in BA short haul economy, especially with the offerings being purely from the box. Certainly not as tasty or easy on the eye as one of my many Club Europe meals BA Club Europe: LGW-AMS-LGW (with Pictures) (by Fbgdavidson Sep 26 2005 in Trip Reports) BA Club Europe: Gatwick-Jersey-Gatwick (with Pics) (by Fbgdavidson Jul 19 2005 in Trip Reports) BA Club Europe: LHR-TXL-LHR Aug 2004 (w/ Pics) (by Fbgdavidson Dec 3 2004 in Trip Reports) BA Club Europe & IB Business: LHR-BCN-AGP-BCN-LHR (by Fbgdavidson Nov 15 2004 in Trip Reports)
Roast chicken and bacon with tomato and mayonnaise on a seeded roll
The descent through the cloud revealed the Belgian countryside with a light dusting of snow and it looked rather picturesque!
SN Brussels Bae-146
During landing and our taxi to the terminal the airport looked very quiet with only a few stands occupied. A far cry from my recent experiences of LHR, LGW, IAD and AMS. We taxied to the gate right next to passport control allowing a swift exit from the airport and into the city