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Fly BMI? Give It A Try!
bmi British Midland in general
Member Name: ukusa
bmi British Midland in general
Advantages: Direct flights to Las Vegas, Excellent Food, Friendly Service
Disadvantages: TV boxes unders some seats cutting leg room!
Back in July, my husband and I decided to take an adultís only holiday to Las Vegas. We thought we should have a bit of couple time to recharge our relationship and have a bit of fun. However, we didnít want to pay an arm and leg for it.
We decided to use my husbandís Star Alliance points and fly economy class from Manchester to Las Vegas for free (plus tax of course).
We used the online booking system to book our flights. The system was very easy to use. I was worried about the process and the usage of points. However, there was no problem with the booking of the flights and were even given the option to choose our seats. We had to pay for the taxes which came to £104 each. We thought that was a fantastic deal as those flights were showing up at over £800 each. The points required to fly free in economy was 45,000 per person. There are a variety of options where you can use points and do partial payments as well.
We were immediately given a booking reference number, an email with our e-tickets was sent to us and it appeared on our Star Alliance online account quickly.
Approximately 2 weeks before the flight we received a message from BMI that our flight times had been changed. The flight was now going to depart 10 minutes earlier than originally quoted. No big deal. However, they also had to change our seats because we had pre-booked exit seats and those were not pre-bookable. They had then given us other seats. I was NOT happy about this because when I checked the seats on Seat Guru, the window seat was at the point of fuselage curvature and there was less shoulder space in this area. Since my husband is a large ex-rugby player, his shoulders already overlap into my space and I couldnít deal with lose of even more shoulder space. So, my loving husband gave them a ring and they quickly and politely changed our seats to more acceptable seats I had found on Seat Guru.
We were told that you had to check in at least 3 hours before the flight. We arrived at the airport 4 ľ hours before the flight to find that check-in was not even open yet! We had to wait 15 minutes and we were the first ones to check in. We were told at check in that the flight was a full flight. Darn, no chance of getting extra room! But, we were pleased to get the seats we requested the second time. We were told that the flight was on time. The check in staff was very friendly and happy. I found this n ice since this was Easter Sunday and many would rather be with their families and not working.
~Departure to Las Vegas~
We quickly found out that the check-in staff were not lying when they said the flight was full. There were lots of women with wedding dresses and a surprising number of children. Loading of the plane was done quickly and efficiently and the plane actually departed about 10 minutes ahead of schedule!
My husband has flown BMI on several occasions. I have as well, but only on domestic flights. I always find domestic flights and long haul flights can be very different. However, my husband had always raved about the BMI flights and I was anxious to see for myself.
The seats were standard seats, nothing special. There were personal tv screens in the backs of the seats. There was also a pillow, blanket and earphones at each seat. As I settled in, I found my first major fault with BMI. The plane has be retrofitted for the tv screens and underneath every 2-3 seats is a box for the tv equipment. I really hate those because they really cut down on leg room. Luckily, it was actually under my seat and not husbands. Otherwise we would have had to changed seats.
Within 30 minutes of take off, drinks service came around. Soft drinks were free. However, alcohol had to be paid for. We were not bothered by this and each had an ice cold orange juice. We also got a snack pack of rice crackers.
Then, 30 minutes later, lunch was served! I must say that I was impressed by the food. I am not often a fan of plane food. I find it bland and unappealing. However, this meal was probably the best I have had on a plane. I had chicken and roasted potatoes. It had a lovely green salad, roll, cheese and crackers, chocolate biscuit and ice cream served later. All the food was tasty and I finished my meal very satisfied. My husband had the sausage and mash with all the other bits the same. He also was very impressed by the quality of the food.
During the flight I went to the toilets and was thirsty. So, I asked the stewardess for some water and I was given a PROPER bottle of water. This is the first time I have been given a bottle of water. I usually get those small little cups of water. I was pleased with this as I was able to sip on it during the remainder of the trip.
A light lunch was served just before landing. It consisted of sandwiches and a chocolate biscuit. These were served with soft drinks of choice. Again, I found the meal to be tasty.
The tvís had 12 different channels that consisted of various tv shows and up to date movies. I watched ďNight At The MuseumĒ. I didnít care to watch anything else. So I read. These are not movies on demand. They are all set to pre-determined times and you could pause them or start them when you wanted.
The landing was smooth, 1 hour early and we were able to quickly depart the plane and get down to immigration and luggage claim.
The Las Vegas airport is not a big airport. Because 99.9% of the plane consisted of Brits and 2 Mexican flights had just arrived, immigration was long for foreigners. However, I am American and my husband is allowed to come with me through immigration under USA citizens and we were through immigration within minutes.
But, the luggage didnít arrive as quickly and we had to wait a good 30 minutes for our luggage. It arrived all in one piece.
~Departure to Manchester~
Check-in was ok. There were lots of people waiting to check in with this flight. However, because my husband is a gold card member, we were able to have priority check-in. But, that wasnít as quick as we would have liked because the guy checking us in was brand new (only 2 days on the job but very nice) and the computer systems kept going down. We asked for exit seats and told we could have them. Then the system went down and the seats were taken by someone else! I was NOT happy about that. But, could really do nothing about it. We ended up with the same seats we came out on.
Again, the flight was completely full. Loading was again quick and efficient and we took off on time.
The return flight was much like the outgoing flight with the same efficient service. It was a night flight and once our meal was served (just as tasty as the other meals), I went to sleep and didnít wake up until my husband woke me for our breakfast.
Breakfast was a mixture of fruit salad, muffin and oat biscuit served with a soft drink of choice. It was fine but not up to the quality of the other meals.
The flight landed on time and again we unloaded quickly and without fuss.
This flight only cost us £208 total because we used Star Alliance points. Originally the flight showed £800 per person. 2 weeks before departure, I decided to check what the cost was. It had gone up to £1,200 per person in economy!!!
I felt that overall this was one of the best airlines I have flown with. The service was superb. Never once did I see the staff rude or frustrated. All requests were dealt with quickly, efficiently and with a smile. The food was outstanding! I donít usually say that about airline food. But, I really could not find fault in it!
The value for money is debatable. You can fly to the states cheaper than the price quoted. However, this was during school holidays and prices always go up during that time. I believe that prices at other times of the year would be less and thus value for money would be acceptable.
I would recommend this airline to family and friends. We enjoyed the flight so much that we are looking at using them to fly to Orlando in summer 2008.
Summary: An excellent airline that provides friendly service and quality in flight meals!
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