Trip report – MAN-ORD
BD705 , A330-200 G-WWBM, Seat 35K (yes they do go back that far :P)
EST: 9:40 ACTUAL 15:48
ARRIVE 13:15 ACTUAL 18:16
Ok… whY do I write trip reports in Y? Because sometimes like it not, forced either by our own coin, by our employers, or other, we look for the dreaded “Value for money”. This fare when booked was booked into W, at £269 (with PE at £499). Of course, I didn’t know about the refurb of the BMI A330’s at this point, otherwise I would had ponied up the extra to sit in PE. Especially after the adventure, PE would had been extremely welcome.
Y Trip reports are just a reminder how life is down the back for those of use who don’t upgrade.. or are building status for the first time (I’m doing this as part of my silver run – as well as having a nice break)
I freely admit I’m no KiwiFlyer
as I don’t do a notch of the mileage, nor the amout of legs of a lot of FT’ers. But I might as well put my lot in wirh FT as opposed to… another site, plus, since I’m learning about mileage… this seems as best place to log it as any.
MAN (Mad for it at Manchester)
Arriving in my normal fashion I trundled around MAN until I found the new route to T3 check in. Then I saw the queue. Enough to I’m statusless at the moment, so no queue cutting., and since no web check in for this fight as its deemed long haul. This would have helped as people were on the go slow, with a LOT of bucket and spade crowd leading to long check-ins with only 3 people working Y check-in.
Come on BMI, this IS NOT acceptable… even for Y Pax .SORT IT OUT! 5 agents, with only 3 active is a bit silly (2 were being trained)
By the tine I checked in, I noticed if anything the queue hadn’t diminished. If this was a mix or BWI pax as well as ORD pax is another matter.
I have this very bad habit of looking completely unprofessional, and having a rucksack. It’s a throwback to my student days, plus it allows me to manoeuvre around cities easier. Plus it carries most of my photography gear- always a bonus, so it was a walk to abnormal luggage drop off (which at Manchester is next to domestic security. However, there is also a line of domestic people who need to pass too. Wouldn’t it make sense to have two people doing security at peak, and one person can help with luggage?
Ah. Of course. Too much like sense (especially with the building work going on between T3 and T1 at the moment)
After a 20-minute stumble into security (and doing helpdesk for the office) I settled down.
Then the tannoy called our flight, with the words... “Due to a technical issue, information about this flight will be posted at 9:35
*Swear words emintate from my mouth quietly*
9:35 rolled past and as per guessed, the announcement I was dreading was made "Due to a technical fault with the engine, estimated departure time will be 12:50"
*Lots of swear word emanate from my mouth directed at my laptop – there is no point in even making a noise to the ground staff – things like this are beyond anyone’s control and I for one accept this*
However, the offer of light refreshments was made imminently, with vouchers for £5.95. Thumbs up there
3 hours slowly rolled by (watching planes take on and off only gets so riveting for a while). I managed to get my MR details sorted after little chat to United. I even start planning contingency measures to get to Chicago (it’s a small wonder I have United, BMI’s and the Star Alliance timetable all loaded as bookmarks in case of little “emergencies” like this).
At this point there was a question if the crew will time out or not when we pushed back.
4 hours passed. Another set of vouchers (this time a much stingier £3.75
) were issued. A little chat indicated that there were problems with the engine, and that testing was in progress. The staff were fretting around in case of a cancellation. I merely indicated I knew the load factors for other routes, and pulled up a few global timetables on my laptop. The exact term is “Why can’t we have something like that here?”
Nah. Too Sensible again
The fifth hour began…. With the departures screen showing that magic set of words Go to gate 44
. I saw the rest of the world was joining in, so it was a mad rush to the gate.
Normally, you’re penned in until almost everyone had arrived. They did away with that formality, and it was a free-for-all, with all hands heading into the cabin. Pushback was finally at 15:20, with the pilot making sure everything was working.
Take off was a bit longer than normal I thought for an A330 – I think the pilot was making sure everything was sound before flaps went to 25 degrees for the up.
Thats better.. in the air at last!
We made a gentle swing around Manchester, and then took a different route. Normally, this follows over to Liverpool, across to Ireland and Northern Ireland and up to Iceland. Today we were treated to an overland crossing of the United Kingdom, heading up to Glasgow, then the outer Hebraises, and out. Whether this was on the original flight plan or a change due to the issues we had with the engine earlier, I’m not sure to be honest.
After 5 hours waiting, seeing Manchester like this was a good sign
Snack service begun… and I’m afraid there’s a dip in economy *sigh*. There used to be a nice Japanese cracker selection, and if I asked nicely… 2 cans of Pepsi and a BMI napkin. Now, 1 pack of cheese and something pretzels, 1 can of Pepsi and a generic cash n carry napkin.
Oh dear... cutbacks
Oh dear BMI… Costs aren’t THAT high are they? Even I know that custom Japanese crackers and napkins don’t cost the earth….
Snacks passed, and shortly after, dinner was served somewhere over the Atlantic, heading to Iceland.
I went for a reasonable option (I had the chicken – There was also sausage and mash and Butternut Squash something)… it was chicken curry. For those with a slightly non-spicy pallet, it would have been a bit hot IMO… to me, it had kick. Perfect for the 18 hours I had been up by that point. The chocolate ice cream was welcome… although the coffee seemed a bit on the weak side. Probably because I’m used to bottom of the pot coffee.
Chicken Curry - no printed menu available
As this was turning into an evening/night flight now as opposed to a daytime flight, the cabin went dark, leaving me to pick up 101 pictures of Iceland, Greenland and Canada at dusk.
It seems BMI has reinstated the water service (somewhere over Iceland). A very good move and good planning by BMI’s part.
It’s a slow old slog over the Atlantic. Unfortunately, I had a person sitting next to me (I’ve been spoiled the past few flights with double Y seating for 1. As a result I felt a bit boxed in, and apologetic when I needed some crap. Oh well. Can’t be perfect all the time.
Looking outside of the window (believe it or not, there’s a world out there) I could see evening being repeated again and again. Its rare experience I’ve had, and even though with the delays, I always consider myself honoured to see the beauty of the world around us (and yes, I’m still not jaded when I’m travel to see everything around me – probably something about me being a Sagittariuses (we like to travel allegedly)
The north end of the Atlantic as usual was cloudy. Greenland was mainly covered by could until we the final few hundred miles to reveal nature in its glory. With the evening light, it was challenging photography wise… but challenges are good in my opinion.
Bizarrely… with 3 hours to go, there was a mass rush to thetoilets.. had the BMI curry had its effects I wonder? (I’m made of harder stuff - maybe they had the fish
The crew made themselves pretty scarce after the dinner service, only occasionally popping out. Unfortunately, the flight is very bucket and spade today – a fair smattering of kids (and one of course in front of me bumping the table as I type this as on the go)
Over north Canada – shock and horror… a SECOND
water service! (Ok, it was in a plastic glass as opposed to another bottle… but another few marks to BMI. Seems the staff are awake and doing well (and I suspect will be going illegal the moment we land)
Snack service followed about an hour and a half from Chicago. The usual lemon chicken and mayo sandwiches were dispensed, along with single cans of pepsi, and the coffee (although when I talked to the FA, I said she was doing it better than Pam Ann could. Here exact response was ‘you f’coffee’
We landed at O’Hare at 18:15 – 5 hours down and after a tour of all the other concourses, we pulled into gate M15 - the home of BD705/BD706 in Chicago.
Immigration was quick and painless, and luggage was delivered within 10 minutes, with the majority of the priority and transfer pax luggage coming out first.
And then I exited into the joy of America…
BMI Ground staff need to learn to communicate more I think. Seeing signs that said “Next Update at xx:xx doesn’t help… but comments and updates do).
I was very happy with the food as usual, although the reduction in take off snack is a bit... cheap.
They worked long this crew, probably on standby since 9 this morning. I can only thank them so we could get to ORD today (it mattered to me as I had 4 people waiting for me
And my final appeal to BMI – I know you’ve delayed the A330 order. I would seriously consider getting an extra on which can cover all turns in case of little engine main computers going dead and causing 5 hour delays…..
Maybe I’ve gone over nostalgic on this. Maybe I have a little a bit of hope
Then again, a little hope has helped a lot today!
Thanks for reading this trip report – I’ll post my mileage run report on Thursday… and the return leg in this thread
Edited to finally add photos