mon330
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2000 8:37 am

BMI A319: Leeds-London Heathrow-Leeds

Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:33 pm

BD 413
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Departing: Leeds Bradford (LBA) 11.00AM
Arriving: London Heathrow (LHR) 12.15PM
Fare Type: Economy (X)
Airbus A319


For the first time, I checked in online for today’s bmi flight in the comfort of my own home. I printed my own boarding card and selected my seat. This meant when I got to the airport my duties were fewer: simply proceed straight to the baggage drop-off point to hand over my checked luggage.

Next, I passed through security (where they scanned the boarding card I had printed) and went straight for a coffee and a read of The Times. In the news today was the story on the Devon beachcombers who had been scavenging the washed up payload of stricken ship MSC Napoli.

The boarding process was swift. Once onboard I settled in my comfortable leather seat and surveyed activity out on the apron. The plane seemed new and the wings were spotless. Baggage was still being loaded below, though there were only twenty of us or so flying down to Heathrow today so it didn’t take long. It was a beautiful winter’s morning: blue skies, moderate visibility, and a surface temperature of 1C. I had three seats to myself so I could spread out. This would make up for all those crammed August charter flights I have subjected myself to over the years.

We left the gate on time and departed from runway 32 behind a Jet2 Boeing 737. The takeoff was smooth and composed; no screaming jet engines here. As we flew down England parts of the country were covered in snow, while others were green. A drinks and snacks service (for purchase) followed; the staff were efficient and attentive.

Thirty minutes after takeoff we were nearing Heathrow. Due to the large amount of traffic needing to land, we were placed in a hold – in which we orbited for a good twenty or so minutes. A United Airlines 777 was spitting distance from me at one point. We eventually made a smooth touchdown on runway 09L. Seconds after we had exited, a British Airways 747 direct from Los Angeles landed; the aforementioned United 777 (from Chicago) landed immediately before us. Great skill must be applied by the controllers to draw each aircraft out of the hold with such well-timed precision.

Once I had collected my baggage, I used the Piccadilly Line of the London Underground to get straight into Central London. During the boring train journey I checked live Heathrow flight arrivals on my BlackBerry to determine the origins of the two U.S. flights that landed before and after me.


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BD 420
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Departing: London Heathrow (LHR) 8.40PM
Arriving: Leeds Bradford (LBA) 9.45PM
Fare Type: Economy (X)
Airbus A319


For this evening’s flight home, I checked in at the airport, using bmi’s self check-in machines. Just like online check-in, this method is straightforward also. I simply swiped my credit card (which was my reference number), answered the security questions, chose my seat and out printed a boarding card.

Tonight’s flight could not have had even forty passengers on it. Which is good from a passenger point of view, but surely not from a business point of view. My carbon footprint was not good this week! Our APU (or the “little engine at the back”, as our pilot called it) was not working, so one engine was started while on stand via ground power, and the second started once we had pushed back.

We made our way briskly to runway 09R, where there was a line of a dozen or so patiently waiting aircraft (mostly heavies). Thankfully, we jumped the queue (even though we were operating to schedule) and departed behind a Jet Airways A330, which I think is the most prosaic of names for an airline. A swift left turn steered us clear of downtown.

Twenty minutes into our flight and we were already descending from our short-lived cruising altitude of 20,000ft. It was a clear, calm winter’s night so we could make a direct approach to runway 32. A smooth landing (which is quite an achievement given Leeds Bradford’s undulating runway) was made and we taxied to our gate.

I would highly recommend bmi for both its short-haul and long-haul services. The Leeds/Heathrow shuttle worked perfectly for me: it was prompt, efficient and quick – a good way to do business. The A319s look smart with their leather interiors and clean, airy atmosphere. The airline’s services to the United States are the best I have used; the customer service on these flights goes that extra mile.
 
Jet2Leeds
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:48 am

RE: BMI A319: Leeds-London Heathrow-Leeds

Tue Feb 13, 2007 4:20 pm

Nice report, shame you didn't manage to get some pictures of the interior.
You're absolutely right about landing at Leeds, have had some pretty hairy moments flying into Leeds!
Cheers,
Mark
 
CXtra
Posts: 255
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 6:25 pm

RE: BMI A319: Leeds-London Heathrow-Leeds

Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:10 pm

Quoting Mon330 (Thread starter):
A smooth landing (which is quite an achievement given Leeds Bradford�s undulating runway

ok.. i look forward to touching down there in april!

thanks for the report..
Cathay Pacific, Now you're really flying
 
sam1987
Posts: 550
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2005 11:27 pm

RE: BMI A319: Leeds-London Heathrow-Leeds

Tue Feb 13, 2007 10:43 pm

Quoting Mon330 (Thread starter):
there were only twenty of us or so flying down to Heathrow today



Quoting Mon330 (Thread starter):
Tonight’s flight could not have had even forty passengers on it

Are all BD flights between LHR and LBA this empty? How do they make money?

I flew from LHR to LBA on Sunday night on a half full Embraer (which was an extra service, in addition to the usual A319) - watch out for the trip report soon.
Next flights: LGW-LBA-LGW, LHR-SIN-SYD, SYD-BKK-LHR, LGW-GRO, GRO-CIA, CIA-MAD, MAD-LGW
 
BrianDromey
Posts: 1957
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2006 2:23 am

RE: BMI A319: Leeds-London Heathrow-Leeds

Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:44 pm

Quoting Mon330 (Thread starter):
I would highly recommend bmi for both its short-haul and long-haul services. The Leeds/Heathrow shuttle worked perfectly for me: it was prompt, efficient and quick – a good way to do business. The A319s look smart with their leather interiors and clean, airy atmosphere.

The interiors on the A319s are beautiful, very, very, very, comfortable seats. You did not say what row you were in, but if you were forward of Row 10, teh exit row, you may have noticed that there is a lot of legroom. Somewhere around 35" of pitch, I guess. Im still not sure about the deep red carpet and light blue seats, but other than that the interiors are beautiful.

I also fly this route quite often, and the service is great. On my last flight the APU was also inop on the 319. Actually lookng at my diary it was on the following day I flew LBA-LHR! you must have been on G-DBCJ.

Quoting Sam1987 (Reply 3):
Are all BD flights between LHR and LBA this empty? How do they make money?

In my experience the loads are very light on the BD419(LBA-LHR) I had assumed that the flight in the opposite direction might be fuller, but perhaps not.

For whoever it is who wants some pics, Ill do a TR, some time in mid--March-ish!
Next flights: MAN-ORK-LHR(EI)-MAN(BD); MAN-LHR(BD)-ORK (EI); DUB-ZRH-LAX (LX) LAX-YYZ (AC) YYZ-YHZ-LHR(AC)-DUB(BD)
 
ba319-131
Posts: 8159
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

RE: BMI A319: Leeds-London Heathrow-Leeds

Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:58 am

Good report thanks.

I recently flew BD for the first time in some 7+ years. The route was LHR>ABZ and back, I only flew them to get the EMB-145 on my 'flown' list.

The same week I also flew BA on the same route, both flights were booked on the same day, BA were some £10 cheaper & I felt the service was better than BMI offered,which was very little.

As a foot note, the self service BMI check-in machine would not allow me to change the return flights seat allocation, so I asked a BMI staff member before leaving LHR, he claimed I would have to do it in Aberdeen as he could notchange it there, what utter rubbish!! - not impressive at all.

Rgds

Mark
111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
 
mon330
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2000 8:37 am

RE: BMI A319: Leeds-London Heathrow-Leeds

Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:51 am

Many thanks for your kind comments.

I imagine the Leeds/Heathrow shuttle is often a pretty empty flight. One reason is probably that bmi offers five scheduled flights each and every weekday. This is obviously better for the customer; the airline will presumably make enough money on busier routes to compensate.

BrianDromey, it was indeed G-DBCJ that I flew back on with the faulty APU. I wonder if they've fixed it yet?!

Mark

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