When we were going on our multi centre holiday last year we had to fly from Londons Heathrow.
When we booked the package deal, we got our seats very cheap. We would of paid much more for them, after the quality of flight and service we received from first check in, the staff were friendly, kind, and had excellent manners, the represented their company well. They came through the cabin offering beverages, snacks, toys etc all for very reasonable prices. The pilot was good, the flight was excellent.
When we departed we were told the flight would take approx 1 hour and 30 minutes, we managed to do the flight in just under an hour. I am very happy with the service received, and I wouldn't think twice about recommending this company to family or friends as it has been a pleasure flying with them.
I am a bit disappointed now that bmi baby have stopped running the daily service from Glasgow to London Heathrow.
Thanks for reading! I hope this has been of interest to you and has helped assist you in your decision.
Probably the WORST low cost airline operating. When I return from my current trip i will NEVER fly them again. Not only do they rip you off with every SINGLE charge (£27.80 for a DEBIT card booking fee!!!) but their seating policy is specifically designed to make you pay the seat selection fee. Despite the fact we were travelling with a 2 year old as a group of 3 - and the planes were half empty - they have split our bookings BOTH times (..."well if you pay the £15 seat fee we could seat you toegtehr, otherwise we we will split you up"). Once could be a mistake - twice means it is policy. On our return they have now put our 2 year old by herself - how desperate are you for money BMI if you DELIBERATELY split up families to make us pay more. Pathetic. No wonder you are cutting routes & flying half empty.
I flew by BMI Baby to Alicante in July 2010. It was the first time I had flown with BMI Baby and I have to say that the reason that I chose this airline was because it was the cheapest option compared to all other airlines that I looked at. In general, I do believe that you get what you pay for, but for a two hour flight I was prepared to pay less and get less as I believe it's possible to put up with anything for that short a time. My return ticket from Birmingham International Airport to Alicante Airport cost me £180, which included taxes. I booked online via the BMIbaby.com website - which was stress-free and straight-forward and seemed to be efficient enough. However, first impressions can be deceptive, and I have to say that having travelled with many different airlines all over the world, I was not at all impressed by this airline and I will not be reusing them in the future.
****At the airport****
We were advised via the BMIbaby.com website to arrive at the airport two hours before our scheduled flight - and infact we arrived there 2.5 hours before our 1pm flight time. The display board indicated that check-in was available at desks 29 - 39, and so we made our way over to check-in.
When we got to the check-in area we noted that the queue was long......very long.....and snaked four rows deep and about 100m long. However, we were unperturbed because usually these queues move fairly quickly due to the efficiency of the check-in staff. This was NOT the case with this airline. Having stood in the queue for 45 minutes and not moved more than a few feet, we went to have a look to see if there was any obvious reason for the hold up. There was! Despite having well in excess of 400 people waiting in the queue to check-in, there were only two desks that were open for check-in. Not only were only two desks open, but also the staff that were working at these desks seemed to be on a go slow and spent most of the time chatting to each.
After waiting another 30 minutes in the queue, I eventually went up to the sales / customer service desk to complain and to ask if there was any chance of getting a few more desks open. I was told by the assistant (who did not even bother to make eye contact with me) that they never had more than two desks open and if I didn't like it then I should fly a different airline! After another 30 minutes (after almost 2 hours in the queue) they did open 4 more desks.......which obviously proved that the customer services lady had not been truthful at all! Once six desks were open, the queue did move more quickly - and we managed to get to the front of the queue after 2 hours of being stood in it!
Although there was the option of checking in online, this was only available for passengers without luggage as there was no bag drop facility....which would seriously have speeded things up!
When we got to the front of the queue, there were a family in front of us who had paid online for extra baggage which went over there ordinarily allocated weight allowance. Although the luggage came to well under the additional weight purchased, they were then told that they could not check all of their bags in as the weight was split into 4 bags instead of 3. The passenger pointed out that it was well under the weight allowance they had paid for and that nowhere in the terms and conditions did it stipulate how many bags they could check-in. However, the attendant was unrelenting and they were not allowed to fly with the extra bag.....which I thought was completely ludicrous!
I checked in with my sister and a friend and so we asked if it was possible for us to sit together. We were told that requesting seats would incur a £10 per ticket charge - and so if we wanted to sit together it would cost us an additional £30......
which we declined. It seems so stupid to me that seats were available together, but that they deliberately separated us because we didn't want to pay any extra.
The flight was delayed by just over an hour.....which was just as well as after the checking-in fiasco, we probably wouldn't have made our flight in time. However, once we did start boarding, boarding was quick and efficient and without incident.
The seats were comfortable enough for a short haul journey, and although leg room was pretty non-existent, it was in line with other budget short haul airlines I have used in the past.
However the aircraft was pretty dirty and obviously hadn't been adequately cleaned between journeys. There were crisps, sweets and wrappers on the floor and in my seat pocket I had an empty crisp packet. I was only the second person to use the toilet, but immediately upon entering, there was a very strong smell of urine which was unpleasant to say the least.
There were a selection of drinks and food that you could purchase onboard which wasn't overly expensive. A 500 ml bottle of water cost £1.80 and a microwave chill con carne was £4. However, the two drinks i wanted to purchase (Ribena and J2O) were not available as they had run out of these products.
The flight crew were perfectly pleasant and amenable and probably the most positive thing I about this airline.
Duty free was available for purchase onboard, but they apologized before coming through the cabin that most items were not available as this had been the sixth flight of the day and so they had run out of most items.
I cannot recommend this airline and would strongly suggest that if there are any alternatives available that you use them! Although the flight seemed to be safe, the inefficiency of the staff and the lack of care and attention afforded to customers and the aircraft itself did not afford much confidence in the company as a whole. They don't seem to have grasped the concept that "budget" means basic and good value and that it doesn't simply mean "crap"!
I flew from Birmingham to France and back with Bmi baby last June and I don't think I would ever use them again.
From the start the whole process of booking is a complete farce. They advertise cheap bookings and tiny costs, but then hit you with loads of extras. Our return flight was advertised at £1.00 but after we had actually completed the process it was just under £100.00. They charge you if you want to take baggage (which if you are going for any amount of time you will obviously be taking) and you have to pay per bag, so me and my husband had to cram all our stuff in to one suitcase. Then they charge you to pay by card, which unless you are paying cash at a travel agents is completely unavoidable.
The whole luggage allowance is pitiful too, so I would warn people to be aware and check the allowance, as the hand luggage allowance is also very small and they restrict the actual size of it, and they do have special checks.
The main problem for us was the return flight and the poor service we received. We got on the flight only to be told they were having trouble with the air con on the plane and until they fixed it we couldn't fly, so bearing this in mind it was June in the South of France and very hot and they didn't offer us a drink for the whole hour or so we sat on the non moving plane. Then it was decided that they couldn't fix it and we had to get off and go back into the departure lounge and await further instructions.
After another couple of hours of waiting with no information about our flight, we were suddenly told it had been cancelled as they couldn't fix the plane and we were to go back downstairs to the bmi desk to sort out what to do. When back at the desk we were faced with a huge queue and given a letter stating that our flight had been cancelled.
When we eventually got to the front of the queue (there were 2 bmi employees tending to a whole flight of people so it took a while) we were told they would transfer our flight to another bmi baby one the next day for free - how kind. Luckily we got the last seats on this but there were still people behind us in the queue who would have to wait days to come back. They then informed us to go and collect our luggage, they would not pay for a hotel or any sort of compensation and we were just told to come back for the new flight we had been booked on. Luckily we had our credit cards with us and were able to find a hotel (we had to claim all these expenses back on our insurance). I think it's disgusting that bmi made us wait so long before informing us of the cancelled flight, and that they did not offer any sort of compensation or payment for hotels or food or drinks.
The whole process with bmi just felt like a complete rip off, the prices, the luggage situation and the lack of communication, and the cancelled flight scenario. I would not book with them again. I know you get what you pay for but they really just seem like a bad company to deal with.
From the outset, i'll say that I cannot comment on the flight experience of bmibaby - simply because I haven't dared venture onto one of their planes.
I can, however, report on a rather disturbing and creepy event involving them - and it involves their website.
While browsing possible flights for a trip from Belfast to Manchester, I came upon Bmibaby, who were offered a low rate of £21.99 single. Of course, wise to the fact that they have extra charges (like every other lowcost UK airline), I wanted to investigate exactly what I was getting.
So, I inputed my luggage, insurance and seat requirements, and moved onto the penultimate screen where one fills in their details. Anticipating a further charge at the last screen to my credit/debit card, I entered these and proceeded. At this point I still hadn't entered my credit/debit card details.
Once on the final screen, I discovered that their card charges were ridiculous, and so I quit my entire booking and went looking elsewhere.
The creepy thing is, I soon got a phone call from someone claiming to be from bmibaby, ASKING if I had completed my transaction. When I told them I hadn't, they ASKED WHY NOT. I simply told them I did not like the extra charges. I found this very suspicious. I have booked countless flights online over the years, and at no point has anyone from the airline called me at the booking stage and asked whether I am going to complete the booking. If it was a scam, fair enough, I should have my computer better protected. But if it was bmibaby, it is INCREDIBLY intrusive and innappropriate.
I flew with BMI Baby from Birmingham to Glasgow two months ago. It was the first time I had used the airline and I only chose as it happened to be going to and from my required destinations and it was cheaper than the train (although only just). BMI have one of these dreadful rules whereby you have to pay extra for pretty much everything you want to do; things that I would not consider "luxuries". I was expected to pay £6 to check in with a human at the airport rather than doing it online at home. I was expected to pay for luggage to go into the hold. I was expected to pay to choose my seat beforehand (okay, I can understand this one to some degree, but I still wasn't prepared to pay for it). I paid for none of the extras as I was only going to be on the plane for an hour and I felt I could get away with just hand luggage for my weekend. So that was all fine for my purposes, but I wouldn't have been happy if I needed to take a suitcase and then had to pay for the privilege.
A month before my journey I was emailed to say that my return flight had been cancelled and instead of flying at 4 in the afternoon I had been allocated a seat on the flight at 8 in the morning. Outrageous! That was a whole day of my mini-break stolen. No offer of a refund either, which I was disgusted with. A few days before my journey I received another email informing me that me outbound flight had also been cancelled and instead I was allocated a seat on the flight leaving 1 hour later. Okay, not the end of the world, but the fact remains that I was now not actually flying on either of the journeys that I had originally booked. Again, no refund offered.
The day of my outbound journey arrived. I got to the airport in good time. I waited dutifully for my flight to call for boarding. At the expected time, instead of receiving a call to board there was an announcement to say that the flight had been delayed by 2 hours. No explanation, no nothing. The 2 hours came and went and still we were not being called to board. Another half an hour went by before we managed to get on our plane and, when we did, we were informed that there were no sandwiches on board as they hadn't had time to restock. Marvellous. We ended up leaving 2 and a half hours later than planned, not to mention the fact that the flight had already been put forward an hour the week before.
I was absolutely disgusted with the service from BMI Baby. They seem to show utter contempt for their passengers and it really is all about the money for them. If they're going to cancel flights then surely they should allow passengers the opportunity to cancel with a full refund?
bmybaby: Beware: I reserved flights Cardiff-Alicante return. At Cardiff the check-in lady told me that down loaded boarding passes are not required for passengers with baggage to check in as she would print new Boarding passes. On our return at Alicante airport I explained that I had no boarding passes as I had no printer, so I was told to wait. After ten minutes a supervisor arrived, shoved his finger towards my face loudly stating "You no pay, you no fly". The same man told my daughter "I am fed up with you British". I started to pay, asking if I could pay in Sterling [my flight confirmation stating that the charge would be £6.00 each] - but I was asked for 13 Euros each. I said that is disgraceful, whereupon the supervisor pointed at me again, almost shoving with his finger up my nose and screamed again, "You no pay, you no fly" I repeated that is disgraceful and said "you are a disgrace, too". For this I was not allowed to fly, and had to make my own way home to England, using the far superior EasyJet. BUT, bmibaby flew with my unchecked, unattended luggage in a clear violation of normal safety standards - just as another airline once flew ABDELBASSSET MEGRAHI'S unattended luggage to Lockerbie. I wrote to bmibaby to complain and for that, and for nothing more than what has been written above, I have been banned from flying again with bmibaby. I have only good things to say about the bmibaby flight staff, but their contradictory systems and office personnel are unconscionable. Don't bother to write to complain, letters are largely ignored!
I recently flew with BMI Baby for the first time from Manchester Airport. I found the service to be of excellent quality and was very pleased with my experience from start to finish.
On arrival at the airport I found check in to be quick and easy. Our bags were checked, tagged and sent down the conveyer belt and after a quick check of our passports and booking we were directed to security and baggage screening. I found the ladies at the check in desks to be well presented, friendly and polite and this was a good start to my short trip away.
Whilst waiting in the departure lounge, I was pleased to note that our plane was on time and sure enough we were soon called for boarding. Again we were greeted by employees with a smile on their face and after checking our passports again we were directed down the tunnel to board the plane.
I wasnt expecting much from the plane as it is a budget airline and I was only going on a short flight. However, I was quite impressed by the standard of the interior and the cleanliness throughout the cabin. Boarding was quick and easy and we were welcomed onboard by the cabin crew. The pilot kept us updated on our approximate flight time and the weather in our end destination which I found to be quite useful information to know. I also like it when the pilot speaks so that I can judge whether he sounds competent and professional or not. Strange I know, but it puts my mind at rest about the flight with me being a nervous flyer.
The flight itself was very smooth and the service on board was more than adequate. A magazine was provided along with a small menu for snacks which clearly stated prices. The products were overpriced, however I consider this to be standard practice for an airline and their prices were no different to any other airline I have flown with.
The seats were comfortable as was the flight and on arrival in our destination we disembarked the plane just as quickly as we had boarded.
Overall I was very impressed and shall definitely consider using them again in the future.
BMIBaby credit cardDon't touch it with a barge pole!! Having just qualified for my 'free flight' I checked availability. Nothing, zero, nada...unless I want to go to Newquay in January! In addition, even if I could find a flight - it's not free, all the taxes, charges, add ons etc are still payable. It's a complete hoax and a rip off. You are better choosing a credit card for it's rate / cash back etc and then get a genuinely cheap flight with Ryanair. If you have a problem the the customer service centre is in Delhi / Bombay....oh and it's 65p a minute to speak to anyone there.Unfortunately there is no option for a zero star rating...because that's what BMIBaby deserve!
I have just returned from Ireland having flown both to and from Ireland West Knock Airport with BMI Baby. I had won a competition which was recently promoted in Manchester Airport and the prize included flights, accomodation, transfers and food. Obviously, I was very pleased at winning this prize, howeve I became very apprehensive when I found out that I would be flying with BMI baby having previously read some bad reviews on here regarding their service.
Their representative had booked our flights on our behalf and they came to £285 return including taxes, two pieces of hold luggage and check in at the desks as opposed to online. Our seats had not been booked for us in advance, but I believe that you can do this for a fee, though I am unsure as to what this charge is. The booking confirmation was posted to us and attached was two pages of terms and conditions. Now, I know that a lot of people probably don't read the terms and conditions and I think that this is where the problem lies as all the information that comes with your booking clearly explains your baggage allowance, the size of hand luggage which you are allowed, the additional surchages should you wish to check in at a desk having previously selected to check in online and numerous other information. I was therefore surprised when whilst queuing for my flight in Manchester, to find so many people complaining. We were about sixth in the queue and nearly everyone in front of us was charged excess baggage or charged because their hand luggage was too big, and whilst I agree that the airline takes advantage of this and makes lots of extra money from it, it is still the case though that all these passengers could have avoided the extra fees had they read there information more carefully.
Anyway, back to the service. After the numerous people complaining before us, I found check in to be very easy, quick and efficient and the lady at the check in desk was very polite and friendly. We checked in and were advised where to go through to departures. The process only took a few minutes and we were soon in the departure lounge having cleared security.
We watched our flight arrive whilst we were stood at the gate waiting to board, I therefore assumed that there would be a delay with the plane only just arriving. However the staff were very quick, and obviously cleaned the plane whilst disembarking as no sooner had passengers got off the plane, we were told we could board.
The plane itself was very clean, basic but comfortable, with adequate seat space for an hour long flight. There was an inflight magazine which was a good read and a price list provided for refreshments. You do not get any onboard beverages or meals included in your flight, so you need to take some spare change if you think you may require something during your flight.
The flight crew were very polite and attentive to their passengers. Very friendly and greeted everyone as they boarded the plane. They were quick with their service and I found them to be very commendable. On arrival in West Ireland Knock airport, we disembarked just as quickly as we had boarded which I found to be great, having previously spent half an hour waiting to get off some flights in the past.
Overall I found it to be a great service and I would gladly use them again in the future. Careful reading and paying attention to the small print, will prevent any problems for you at check in.
I have only travelled with BMI baby once and doubt I will ever again.
I searched prices via a compare website and opted for BMI baby as their return flight from Manchester to Malaga came out the cheapest, howver this was not actually the case.
Firstly, I was charged almost the same as the flight cost to to take luggage and secondly i was charged over £30 (not including taxes and charges) to bring my nephew with me; bearing in mind he was only 8 months at the time and was to sit on my sisters knee, all of this really bumped the price up and it ended up being far from cheap.
The in flight service was tolerable, however without sounding like a snob the in flight crew were a bit common and un tidy. Despite this i have to say they were very helpful when my nephew decided to be sick on landing, there were very quick to help clean him and my sister up and rushed them through security and bag collection (but i should think so for charging him nearly £50 for the privilege of sitting on his mummys knee).
BEWARE : the BMIBABY hold luggage standard size is smaller than that of RyanAir / Easyjet etc.. so although you may be used to your regular hold luggage going on other flights without problems, BMIBABY will charge you £30 for the pleasure of carrying it !
If you do online checkin, you will only realise this once you are at the boarding gate, and the BMIBABY staff bring out a "tester frame" significantly smaller than the regular ones (my bag passed the Ryanair tester frame at the neighbouring gate AND the airport tester frame at security). So you are left with no option but to stump up the £30 or miss the flight. A total rip off. I will never fly with them again.
For info, I'm a frequent business flyer France to UK with RyanAir, Easyjet, AirFrance etc. not a holidaymaker with a bag full of souvenirs or duty-free.
If you are planning to travel with this airline, beware; they may appear to be cheap and suitable for people on a budget but their prices are very deceiving. You have to pay a premium to check in at the airport (3.99), as opposed to checking in online. Now, the only way you can check in online is if you aren't checking any bags so if your going on holiday, forget it, you'll have a suitcase and have to pay the premium. If that wasn't bad enough, you then have to pay for each piece of luggage that you want to check into the hold. Your are able to check up to 5 pieces per person, however, even though you are paying for extra luggage, you get zero extra luggage allowance which by the way has been reduced to 18kg from the beginning of April 2009. Everything over 18kg is charged at £7/kg each way. To check luggage costs £8.99 per item per flight (ie outward and return). You are allowed 5kg of hand luggage provided it doesn't exceed their maximum dimensions. Their website is quite deceiving and the luggage system is way to over complicated. I wrote a letter of complaint to their airline and they didn't even bother to respond. Be careful.
All the prices above are quite heavily discounted online prices, if you book through a call centre, expect to pay even more.
No meals are provided in the price but you can purchase food onboard, everytime I have flown with them they have run out of pretty much everything and what they do sell is very poor quality, take your own food if possible.
BMI Baby are probably the best of the no-frills airlines. We've taken many flight with them from East Midlands airport in Nottingham, and we've always found them to be superior to Easyjet in a number one ways. One is that if you ask for a glass of water, they bring you one - for free - without fuss or question. I was absolutely appalled to be told on an easyjet flight that I wasn't able to have a free glass of water unless it was for medication or because I was feeling ill. Apparently, if I wanted water, I had to pay £1. Not good. BMI, however, are always most obliging on this score. I also find BMI's prices quite reasonable, and they also beat ryanair and easyjet on the cost of carrying hold luggage. In every way, the BMI brand just doesn't seem as tatty as the other cheap airlines. The service we've received from staff at all levels has always been really good, they always look smart and we do find that when you're in a situation where flights get delayed on a large scale (e.g. due to snow at Geneva airport, back in December), Easyjet will struggle to manage the situation, where as BMI seem to get people quickly, quietly and efficiently onto the next possible plane. I suppose it's the benefit of being a smaller company. Also, you don't feel you're being 'sold to' as much on board. I hate being constantly told over a piercing tannoy that I can buy revolting food or tacky merchandise for "just £5", and I don't really care if they're selling raffle tickets, or that they've got special hire car rates. Just fly me there, tell me to look out of the window at pretty things, and that'll do!
BMI also send reminder emails when they're having a sale or whatever, which I find particularly useful, especially as my boyfriend and I often take last-minute trips to the Netherlands.
Overall, a cracking airline, and I'd recommend it to anyone!
So you've chosen your destination. You've even chosen your accommodation. But how do you choose which airline to get you there? Basically, you have two options: you can simply play it safe with a good old reputable firm such as BA, or you can take a chance, save yourself a few pennies (which could be better spent on a few holiday cocktails), and opt for one of the low cost budget airlines which appear to be thriving nowadays.
When booking my holiday, I decided to take advantage of that modern little invention called the internet and have a look round to compare prices, rather than take my usual course of action, select the safe option and fly with a company I had used on numerous occasions. As we would be travelling with our 4 year old son, we had opted for a week's holiday in Jersey in the Channel Islands, simply because it is only a short flight, usually lasting around one and a quarter hours from Manchester Airport.
And so my search began. The first couple of airlines I searched seemed a little too pricey, namely British European and Flybe (who, I understand, now seem to be part of the same company). My next option was Easyjet, which had recently only started doing routes to the Channel Islands. Next on my list was BMI Baby - well, this was going to cost £100 less than the others - so guess which one I booked with...?
~~~A LITTLE BACKGROUND INFORMATION~~~
As many people are aware, BMI Baby is the 'offspring' of British Midland Airways. Founded nearly 70 years ago, British Midland enjoyed continuous growth over the years, but it was not until 2002 that BMI Baby was born. In just three years, BMI Baby was carrying more than 3 million passengers per year, and in August 2004, one million passengers were carried in one month alone.
~~~MY EXPERIENCE OF BMI BABY~~~
My experience with BMI Baby was extremely straight forward and hassle free, which in this day and age, is a rare occurrence!
Our flight was scheduled to leave Manchester Airport at 11.50 am. We arrived at the check-in desk with ample time to spare for a coffee and a mooch around the duty free shop. After our flight had been called, we arrived at the gate and were very quickly boarded onto the aircraft. Our flight was on an A330-200 which meant it took us only 55 minutes to get to Jersey, unlike the usual 1 ¼ hours it usually takes on a prop plane, which many airlines operate over to the Channel Islands. The aircraft itself was very clean and in good condition (no cracks in the wings etc.) The seating structure was three seats each side with two washrooms on board, which in my opinion was sufficient for the size of the aircraft. On such a short flight, there was no inflight entertainment, unless you count the moment where my husband happened to notice that one of the cabin crew was 'popping' out of her uniform. He said he couldn't help but notice. I said he shouldn't have been looking!
Throughout the flight, we were offered refreshments to purchase on board, such as tea, coffee and alcoholic drinks, together with snacks and hot toasted sandwiches. We were also offered the obligatory duty free goods to purchase.
All in all, the flight was very pleasant and uneventful (with the possible exception of the flight attendant's blouse...!) and we arrived ahead of schedule at Jersey.
The flight home was similarly hassle free, though we were delayed by an hour due to late departure of our aircraft from Manchester.
~~~EASY BOOKING PROCEDURE~~~
Booking a flight with BMI Baby could not be simpler. For any technophobes out there, you can book direct by phone, or like me, take the quicker option and book online. (Contact numbers and e-mail address at the end of this review).
On logging onto BMI's website, the first thing you see at the top of the page is an option to 'book a flight'. Firstly, you are required to select whether you require a one way flight, or a return flight, together with your departure airport and destination airport. The second column of the 'book a flight' section requests your dates of travel, both outbound and inbound. Thirdly, you need to select how many people are travelling and which of those people are adults, kids (2-13 years) or infants (1-23 months). Infants can fly free of charge as they do not require a seat. In these instances, the infant obviously sits on their parent's lap with an extended safety belt. On selecting the next page, depending on the flight availability on the dates you wish to travel, you may have a choice of flight times. If so, you simply select which flight you require, both for your outward journey and your return journey. When you click on the next page, you need to give full details of the passengers travelling, together with how many bags you wish to check in. Unlike some airlines, BMI Baby make a small charge for any checked bags.
Once all your information has been inserted, you are given the grand total of your fare, including airport taxes and insurance (if applicable).
Once you have completed the painful section - PAYMENT - BMI Baby will send you an e-mail which is basically your e-ticket. All the relevant information is included on the ticket, including your flight numbers and flight times, what you have paid for and the terms and conditions. We were required to take this e-mail with us to the airport when we checked in, as this was basically our 'ticket'.
~~~ONLINE CHECK-IN OPTION~~~
This really is a Godsend if you want to save some time. However, this service is only available if you are travelling with hand luggage - not too convenient for holidaymakers. You simply go online no earlier than 24 hours before your departure time and input your information from the comfort of your own home/office.
However, in the event that you have suitcase, which admittedly is usually the case when going on holiday, you can do an automatic check-in at the airport. You simply enter the requested details onto the screens in the airport's departure hall, where you are also required to confirm your credit card details with which you originally booked the flight. This is a very quick procedure and takes only a few minutes. Once 'checked in', you drop your luggage off at the specified 'drop-off' point and that is all there is to it. I had used this service on a separate occasion and found it very useful, but unfortunately, just prior to our holiday departure date, I received an e-mail from BMI Baby informing that this service would not be available on our travelling date. I am unable to comment on whether cancellation of the service happens often, but nonetheless, I found check-in to be fairly quick and efficient at the normal check-in desk so this did not cause us any problems.
~~~MANAGE YOUR BOOKING ONLINE~~~
Again, you can obtain easy access to all your booking information on your home computer. When you initially book your flight online, you are allocated a booking reference and, once you select the 'manage my booking' option on the BMI website, you simply need to insert your booking reference. You are then free to make any alterations to your booking, request your seating allocation, special requirements etc., and you may also cancel your booking.
When we travelled at the beginning of July last year, the baggage allowance was 20 kg for checked baggage and 7 kg for hand baggage. I flew with a different airline the previous year and the allowance for checked baggage was only 15 kg, and this extra 5 kg really does make a difference.
BMI Baby will also book your airport parking for you. We arranged this independently rather than through BMI, so I cannot comment on how efficiently BMI handles this. However, on looking at BMI's information, it does appear a fairly straight forward procedure, and again, you simply select the option on their website, insert the relevant flight details and everything is arranged for you. They do cover the majority of UK airports.
~~~ARE YOU A FREQUENT FLYER?~~~
BMI Baby offers various incentives to regular flyers such as the chance to earn extra miles on flights, specialist rates, exclusive airport lounge access, complimentary in-flight food, though this is only available on Heathrow flights at present, which of course will not benefit everybody.
~~~WOULD I RECOMMEND?~~~
Most definitely. My overall experience of flying with BMI Baby was certainly a positive one, namely because of:-
*The simplicity of booking online from the comfort of home, rather than dealing with telephone advisers which, in my experience, can sometimes be more trouble than it is worth. Online booking allows you the chance to double check your details before submitting your confirmation.
*The reliability of the service. As I mentioned earlier, our flight out of Manchester left on time with no unexpected delays.
*Cleanliness of the aircraft and service of the cabin crew. As I mentioned previously, BMI use jets rather than prop planes, which usually serve the Channel Islands, so our flight time was significantly reduced by approximately half an hour. Basically, you are getting a speedier flight for less money!
All in all, I cannot fault any of the service we received from BMI Baby and would most certainly recommend them to anyone considering using a low budget airline.
0870 6070 555 (short haul)
0870 6070 222 (long haul)
+44 (0)1332 64 8181 (callers outside UK)
Fax No. 01709 314993
Opening Hours: Mon to Sun 7am to 9pm
Thanks for reading - and happy flying!!
(NB: I have reviewed this product on Ciao under username matthewsmum)