Yes, well in September of this year I was going to visit some of my family who live in Tyrone, Northern Ireland. I live in Auckland, New Zealand, so I had to get to London to connect to Belfast first. This trip report starts after I have just ended the HKG-LHR leg of my trip on CX. That trip report will be filed later.
After arriving from my Hong Kong flight, I went to the flight connections centre. A bus took me from T3 to the T1/2 terminals I think. Correct me if I am wrong. It was 5am in the morning and trust me, I was jet lagged, so it was frustrating that when I went to Customs and Immigrations that only 2 officers were handling connections from my CX flight, 2 QF flights from Australia, an SQ flight from SIN as well as numerous long haul BA flights. Security was MUCH more tighter since my last visit in 2001 before 9/11, and there were heaps of video screens which were playing demonstrations about not being allowed fluids e.t.c.
Bmi had quite a few check in agents waiting for passengers after we cleared customs and they assigned me my boarding pass and preffered seat. After being questioned by Passport officers and getting a stamp, I was allowed to go through into T1, where most of the Domestic and Irish flights depart from.
I had a 5 hour connection but was by no means bored because as you can imagine, such an aviation enthusiast like me from all the way on the other side of the world, was being treated to some wierd and wonderful airlines most of which I had never seen before.
T1 was nice but it was a bit to small and I was dissapointed about how people could smoke in the terminals, I mean the designated 'areas' for smokers was a joke, wasn't even roofed off! Nonetheless, I'm probably ranting on now I mean after all I am from New Zealand!
(Above) - a shot of the seating area opposite the BD last minute check in desks I think.
Flight : BD084]
Aircraft : G-MIDW *Star Alliance logo-jet*
Seat : 23A
Gate : 02
Scheduled departure : 10:55am
Actual departure : 11:35am
Scheduled arrival : 12:15pm
Actual arrival : 12:35pm
Apparantley Gate 2 is a designated gate to Belfast flights for BD which was nice. Business Class passengers were called upon first with Star Alliance Gold passengers. Economy class was then done by seat rows. We were welcomed on board by 2 flight attendants - One male and on female, both were very nice. My seat was just past the wing and when I got there I was pleasently surprised at the comfort of it, not to mention the fact it was leather! Seat pitch was also very good at 32" especially for me, as I am 6ft 2".
The plane soon began filling up and it was evident that today's flight, in Y at least, would be 100% full.
The captain soon welcomed us all on and said that there was some late passengers and that their bags had to be taken off meaning a delayed departure. Then, apparantley there was a fault with the front door so we would be delayed again! However, eventually we pushed back 40 minutes late and the over head screens popped down ready to show us the safety video. The video was all cartoon drwaing which surprised me, mind you I haven't really ever flown on a 'low cost' airline before.
We took off (not quite sure which runway) but to me, it was a long take off for an A320. Before we had even reached cruising altitude, the captain came on and said that the winds were co-operating today and that we would have a reduced flight time of only 50 minutes. BAD for me! Shortly after, the cabin crew said that they were coming around with food and gifts for purchase. We still had not reached cruising altitude. I bought 2 model planes for my mates back home and a can of pepsi. Together it was 16 pounds. Of course at the time I didn't think it was that much because I was so used to the dollar!
Our flight path took us over the Irish sea, up to the Isle of Man before making what appeared to be a circular turn into Belfast City Airport.
On board, there was issues with the passengers behind me. They had been on my flight from Hong Kong and were Filipino. Apparantley they had forgotten their bag in the terminal in London and wanted it back. The Flight attendants said that it was probably gone as it would have been assumed a bomb threat. The woman was only one word, pissed. Not to mention the family which got quite agressive towards the Stewardess.
Before we knew it we were landed in the Emerald Isle 20 minutes behind schedule.
The usual 'please remain seated' was done by the F/A's, but no'one seemed to care and whilst we were still taxiing to the gate, people just got up got their bags and were standing in the aisle! Cell phones were turned on immeadeately then and suddenly a rage of business people were screaming into the mouthpieces in a broad British accent 'Yeah, I'm here, I'll see you in five." Fat chance! Because when we landed there was issues with getting the airbridge to the door so we were left waiting for 10 minutes meaning an exit from the plane 1/2 an hour late!
It was only when I got off the plane that I realised that I had just travelled on the Star Alliance get G-MIDW :
Walking to get our bags :
In the arrivals area, officials were there waiting for the Filipinos. Bad news I think, because there was a surge of words being exchanged between themselves and the Belfast Airpot staff! Funny stuff. Anyway, after my bags had come thorugh, an officer asked to inspect my passport. My NZ passport! Of course then I got quesitoned AGAIN but was eventually led out into the public where I met my family who I hadn't seen in five years!
Belfast was great - much better than Dublin I thought :
While I was there I got some spotting at Aldergrove done :
(Above) - Why was she there? I thought Flybe go to City Airport?
I had a blast and really think Ireland is one of the best places in the world! BMI is great also, and despite people bad-mouthing them here on A.net with the service reductions, they really are a great airline and don't hesitate to fly with them.
Thanks for reading and look out for my next reports :
EI on DUB-LHR
CX on LHR-HKG-AKL
[Edited 2006-12-12 04:22:10]
[Edited 2006-12-12 04:23:09]
[Edited 2006-12-12 04:30:27]