bmi A320-200 Economy (short haul)

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  • Anonymous
    Guest

    PatJordan
    Participant

    DUB-LHR-DUB (Economy)

    Booking and check in

    http://www.flybmi.com is an easy site to navigate and selecting flights for my preferred dates and times was no trouble. BMI do not charge for checked in baggage which gives them an edge over their rivals on this route.

    I hold Diamond Club Gold status, and decided to use either my DC upgrade facility or destination miles. My initial enquiry (by email) to Diamond Club gave a response that I certainly could use miles to upgrade, but when I telephoned the D.Club to do this, I was told that it was not possible. Ok, I said, I’ll use my vouchers.

    Inbound there was no problem, but outbound there was no availability. However, I was placed on a wait list and advised to call back after a few days. This I did, but I asked it I could pay for the upgrade….to be told that I was already upgraded. Happy days indeed! However when I tried to select my seat on-line, the system would not allow it. A further call gave me the reason why: I was not yet upgraded! Confused? I certainly was!

    As it transpired, I was not upgraded after all. The question remains: how could it happen that BMI were unable to accept my offer to pay for an upgrade? Unless they’re so flush that they can afford to refuse revenue?

    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. At this point I noticed that I had been allocated seat 14F by the system. I changed this to an aisle seat without difficulty and proceeded to print my boarding passes.

    I arrived at Dublin Terminal 1 just after 6.00am for my 7.15am 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. However, early Saturday morning is a busy time, and it took a good 15 minutes to clear security.

    There is a good range of shops and cafes, most of which open around 5.00am to cater for the early birds.

    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.

    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.

    Boarding

    Boarding is through an airbridge and rearmost rows are called first to minimize delays. Diamond Club Gold holders and economy flexible passengers are invited to board at their leisure.The gate was quite close the lounge, so I didn’t have far to walk. Servisair are BMI’s handling agents and are quite efficient.

    The Airbus 320 was immaculate and cabin crew warmly welcomed passengers.

    This Airbus 320 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 7.00am and were airborne quickly.

    Economy passengers are offered a very limited pay menu: basically biscuits and drinks. This is in contrast to Aer Lingus who offer a more extensive menu, thus giving choice and providing a useful revenue stream.

    We landed in Heathrow at 8.35am after some minutes in a holding pattern, but this was barely past the scheduled time so not an issue. After a short taxi we were on stand and deplaned into T1 on a coach.

    Return Check in and security

    Having my boarding pass already printed, I went directly to security at Heathrow T1 and was processed very quickly. I was airside within 5 minutes.

    Lounge Heathrow

    Being Diamond Club Gold, I visited the Star Alliance lounge. This is a large, very comfortable facility with on site restrooms and excellent showers.

    The food consists of soup, rolls,salads, sandwiches, cold meats, hot savoury snacks, rice crackers. Additionally, there was a chicken tikka masala with rice and naam bread. I had a very pleasant lunch, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

    There is a very pleasant shower area, and after a day trudging around London, I was very much refreshed after my shower.

    As this lounge is quite a long walk from the BMI boarding area, I went to the BMI lounge shortly before boarding. 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.

    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.

    Boarding was by rows, and was quite efficient.

    This Airbus 320 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. As I had chosen row 1, the bulkhead ensured that I didn’t have a seatback close to my face.

    After a welcome announcement from the Captain, the cabin crew gave a safety demonstration.

    We pushed back shortly after our scheduled time of 8.15pm, and were airborne shortly afterwards.

    I was offered a chicken wrap which was quite tasty, along with a cold lager which was most welcome.

    Conclusion

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

    The earlier departure time ex-Dublin and return ex London gives an additional two hours in London than was previously the case. Much more beneficial for business or leisure purposes and a welcome change. However, I remain puzzled at the (uncharacteristic) confusion over the upgrade scenario. Nonetheless, BMI staff in the lounges and aircraft are most pleasant and helpful and make flying with BMI a pleasure.

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