bmi A319-100 Economy (short haul)

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  PatJordan 9 Feb 2012
at 15:08
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  • Anonymous

    PatJordan
    Participant

    DUB-LHR-DUB (Economy Flexible)

    Booking and check in

    BMI do not charge for checked in baggage which gives them a competitive edge over their rivals on this route.

    I hold Diamond Club Gold status, and decided to use my destination miles to get a reward flight. There was availability for the dates I wanted, and little trouble in making the booking. The total charges and fees were 56euro.

    I later tried to select my seats on line, which is a feature of economy flexible tickets, however this does not apply to redemption bookings, Not a problem, a quick call to the Diamond Club call centre and my preferred seats were allocated.

    On line check-in is available 24 hours prior to travel, and I used this facility to print my boarding passes for my same day return flight.

    I arrived at Dublin Terminal 1 just after 8.30am for my 10.45am flight and proceeded straight to security. Since Aer Lingus and transatlantic operators have migrated to Terminal 2, there is a lower number of passengers using T1 which makes it far less crowded than heretofore. BMI economy flexible includes use of the fast track security lane which is useful. I was airside within less than a minute.

    Lounge (Dublin)

    The Diamond Club lounge is adjacent to the main shopping area and is furnished in the usual BMI manner: bright colour sofas with a business section for those who wish to work. Restrooms are outside the lounge and are shared with the Dublin Airport Authority lounge.

    There is a limited range of food: biscuits, sweets and packaged pastries. The coffee is good and strong (perfect for early morning!) with a good range of soft and alcoholic drinks.

    The lounge is a short walk from gates 301-313 (the old B pier) and makes boarding quite easy. We boarded from Gate 311.

    Boarding

    Boarding is through an airbridge and rearmost rows are called first to minimize delays. Diamond Club Gold and Silver card holders and economy flexible passengers are invited to board at their leisure. There is now a dedicated lane for economy flexible and Diamond Club Gold/Silver card holders.

    Being in row 1 my hand baggage has to be stowed in the overhead bins, so if the flight is busy it can be worthwhile boarding early to ensure space is available close to the seat.

    A new addition was the provision of a separate entrance to the boarding desks for Gold/Silver Diamond club members and those traveling in flexible economy. A nice tough, but one which might easily overwhelmed by a group of non elite passengers.

    The Airbus 319 was immaculate and cabin crew warmly welcomed passengers.

    This Airbus 319 was configured in full economy mode, all seats 3-3. The first rows were reserved for economy flexible. Seats were in the newer BMI brown colour, and very attractive.

    Inflight

    The Captain gave a brief welcome and details of flight times, followed by a safety announcement from the cabin crew. We pushed back shortly after 10.35am and were airborne by 10.45.

    On mid morning flights, Economy flexible passengers are offered a cake slice and beverage. The Victoria sponge was quite tasty, but I still hanker for the old business class product.

    We landed in Heathrow 11.40am , well ahead of schedule.

    Return Check in and security

    Having my boarding pass already printed, I went directly to security at Heathrow T1. It was quite busy and with almost half the lanes closed, it was slow getting through: almost 20 minutes.

    Lounge Heathrow

    The Great British Lounge is very big with plenty of natural light. However as it was after dark, the lighting was very pleasant and relaxing. Staff are very welcoming and tend to greet passengers by name, which is always a nice touch .

    The food is soup, rolls, cheese, crackers, biscuits, crisps, nuts, good quality cheesecake and gateaux. I particularly like the jars of old fashioned sweets, always brings me back to my childhood!! There is a full bar service.

    Boarding

    Unusually the Dublin bound flight boarded at gate 8, almost beside the lounge. Heretofore it used to be gates 72-78, adjacent to the Aer Lingus departure area and quite a walk from the lounge. Using gate 8 for the evening flight seems to be the norm lately and is most welcome.

    Boarding was by rows, and was quite efficient, with the usual invitation to flexible economy and elite diamond club members to board at their leisure. The Cabin crew were very welcoming indeed. As with Dublin, there is a dedicated lane for economy flexible and Diamond Club Gold/Silver card holders.

    The Airbus 321 was a two class configuration with the front being 2-2. The large seats are upholstered in brown leather.

    The seats themselves are wide and have a footrest/recline facility and are very confortable.

    After a welcome announcement from the Captain, we pushed back at just before 8.00pm. However, we soon learned that due to a technical problem we would have to return to stand. The crew kept us fully informed, and we departed shortly before 9.00pm.

    I was offered a hot wrap which was quite tasty, but somewhat small. It came with Pringles and a good red wine.

    Conclusion

    A very impressive return flight. Excellent service, and pleasant lounges make BMI a very pleasant airline to travel on the Dublin-London route

    On both flights, the cabin crew were truly excellent. That they remain so friendly and professional despite the uncertainty they face at present is a testament to their excellence. I trust the new owners will appreciate this in the future.

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