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Old Jul 4, 07, 8:13 am   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
Programs: Mucci, BMI*G, M&M SEN, FB Gold, PC Plat, Father of GhettoIFE
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LHR-BRU-LHR ... or "How do you burn a 50 BMI voucher without too much pain?"

Hi all... well... this is my first proper trip report that I've had the effort or the fear of posting (I've written about life in Y from MAN-ORD but I never got round to publishing it - too scared lol). Constructive criticism welcome

Part one: Lets book!

By some magic means, a BMI compensation voucher fell into my lap. What a to-do. The problem was that there was only a few weeks to lay waste to it before it expired.

So after realising my points total for this year was highly embarrassing (The left overs from TATL flight), it was decided to begin the search to retain BluePlus with the minimum of effort and pain... and keeping my credit card in one piece.

So that rules out semi long distance and places that needed money spent on taxis, and routes that had a reasonable mile to the pound ratio, and day trips were possible.

So after deciding on Western Europe (by default really), it was down to availability for a day return... and LHR-BRU was decided upon!

Unfortunately for compensation vouchers, its near enough impossible to redeem them on-line (unless they're e-vouchers - this wasn't) so its into the dark place know as "The Indian Call Centre".

They were pretty good - but it pays to learn your phoentonic alphabet when talking to them... makes life a LOT easier!

So the letter was sent with the voucher ... and now the wait for a PNR takes its toll...

Part Two: The journey to LHR.

If there's one airport I hate (especially when I have BHX down the road), its LHR. Land of queues, waits and long security lines. But getting there is equally "fun". As I don't have a credit card that can take silly trips nor a job that can afford Virgin Trians, I have to look at "Best value" where ever possible.

Since it was a BMI voucher, you can't exactly use them on Brussels Airlines ... so it was off to London it is.

That normally only means one thing. National Express, the M6, M1 and London Central Traiffic

2 1/2 hours later, and my sanity partially restored, I'm on the that wonder of engineering - the Tube and off to Heathrow Airport.

Part Three LHR T1

After queuing up to use the automated check in machines, I swiped both my Credit and BMI cards, to a response of "Computer says no". I was then directed to manual check in, where it was found out my name had been entered into the system the wrong way round... and also more importantly, there was no ticket number attached to my booking...

So I was sent to ticketing where it was discovered the voucher had been "lost in the post" (thank you again Royal Mail ). Thankfully, I had a copy of the voucher I took, and after swiping my credit card for the remainder of the fare, I was issued my boarding passes both legs... Seat 9F (the exit row on an A319) .. and thus I went forward and multiplied to security (which was quiet for 11ish) and the lovely shopping mall (I mean waiting area... don't I?)

Part Four BD147 LHR-BRU 22/06/07
Seat 9F (Economy), A319-100

Eventually we were called to our flight, and after a very short wait at the gate lounge (no more than a couple of minutes), we were allowed to board (with enough papers to keep me occupied till Brussels national).

After a 15 minute wait, we pushed back to the safety demo, and did a little tour round Heathrow until we reached the runway... and off we went.

Seating was the classic economy leather covered seat - Very LLC style - however the extra space (38" pitch) was very welcome .

After climbing to the required altitude, service begun. This is the one time where being a Blue Plus helped- as I had food given to me (Coffee and and a Chicken Salad Sandwich with black pepper mayo). Not bad, but it seemed like the crew were very rushed for such as short flight. I don't think they made it to the other end of economy by the time we started making our approach to Brussels National.

Security was swift through Brussels National, from plane to train took about 8 minutes.

Part Five BD156 BRU-LHR 22/06/07
Seat 9F (Economy), A319-100

After forfilling my mission objectives for the day (Chocolate, Beer and Photos), it was time to head home. Brussels National seemed to be a quiet airport (with only a big queue for an EY check in), and after wandering around and getting past passport control, I understood why - most of the shops were closing down for the night, so there was nowhere to get a bite apart from the newsagents.

The plane was 10 minutes late on arriving from Heathrow due to traffic issues, and after 20 minute wait (plus another 5 before they decided to open the airbridge doors), and thus boarding begun.

Again, I had managed to secure 9F with the lovely exit space that came with it. This time I was joined by another passenger who was in the aisle seat

Now my appeal of the day - If you take a laptop with you and decide to watch a film on the plane... can you PLEASE bring earphones with you and NOT broadcast it to the rest of the cabin - Twas very very annoying (and he only turned down the volume when asked by an FA as the person sat near me tried to ask, but he wasn't listening)

If the FA's were sluggish on the way out, they were treacle slow on the way back. It was over the English Channel when I got served.. and I don't think they had done much of the cabin before then.

Thankfully we had a good approach into Heathrow, only circling once (and thus allowing me to get some good images of London at Sunset) and we landed about 10 minutes late. Another 10 minutes, I was outside and wandering around waiting for my lift (but that's another story)

So... what do I think and what have learnt?
  • If you've got vouchers, use a proper BMI ticketing desk, and NOT the ICC - things will probably go wrong.
  • Certainly BluePlus is a great idea in concept.. but if its going to be delivered correct, time must be allowed for the staff to get around the plane. (So get as far to the front of it as possible!)
  • The exit row (Row 9) is worth it, with 38" Seat pitch, although slightly uncomfortable at the bulkhead - although I was happy with a row to myself on the way there and an empty middle seat on the way back)



Thus ends my little adventure in Y for a bit. I'll probably do another run somewhere in a couple of months as I strive the very slow way to get into Silver (and I've got plans to do it this year!)
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