LHR-DUB-LHR on British Midlands International (BMI), 24-27 Jan 2011 by Bruce

My coach dropped me off at Terminal 1 at 9:40 for this 11:20 departure. I had an electronic boarding pass on my iPhone and security was very easy. Shoes on, laptop and belt in the bin, I was through in less than five minutes. I did not alert the magnetometer and was not randomly selected. 

My first time in Terminal 1 with time to spare, I spent 45 minutes in the BMI lounge. While there are plenty of signs, it is down a couple of hallways and through the area where ID is checked for international departures. The usual self-service bar with fridges full of canned beers and sodas and bottled spirits. A few light snacks. Lots of seating with very few power outlets. I ended up unplugging a lamp so I could charge up. Free wi-fi.

A boarding announcement was made in the lounge at 10:30. A medium-length walk but boarding was already well underway when I arrived. Down a flight of stairs and sardined onto a coach out to the apron. We then boarded through the rear door of this A319. Overheads were very full but I was able to jam my rollaboard in and take seat 6F. Standard legroom, I’m glad it was a short flight though we were held behind a QF 747 for 20 minutes that had already made it onto the runway ahead of us. The Captain made an announcement that it was to due to a departure route clearance that needed to be straightened out.

100% full. No IFE with a single food and beverage service on this one hour flight. Nothing is free. Soft drinks and a few snack options between £1 and £2, beer/wine/spirits for £3.50. They accept cash and cards – £ and €. I read the in flight magazine “Voyager” and enjoyed an interview with Anne Hathaway. No crossword puzzle. The flight attendants wear these really cute hats during boarding and disembarkation. I couldn’t work up enough courage to ask for a picture, but I found one online.

Immigration in the Republic of Ireland was very simple – a quick glance at my UK passport (a fellow member of the EU) and I was in. Customs was even easier. Taxi stand right out front.

For the return, the website didn’t give me an electronic option and I didn’t have a printer. I printed the boarding pass at a kiosk in Terminal 2. Security was similarly easy, though I was a little thrown off when I was asked if I had an umbrella. The security officer opened it fully to check for I-don’t-know-what before collapsing it and returning it to my rollaboard’s pocket.

The Star Alliance and Sky Team lounges are across the hall from each other, well sign-posted. The “Anna Livia Lounge” was very crowded with simultaneous departures to LHR and FRA. I managed to snag a workstation seat as the place went from being wall-to-wall to deserted within 10 minutes. The same options as the BMI lounge, with peanuts, a tray of brownies and self-service liquor and canned beers/soft drinks. Again, free wi-fi.

I left the lounge early and wandered the airside of the terminal for an hour, picking up some postcards and other trinkets. There are a lot of shopping and food options here.

At gate 303, I took a seat and waited for the boarding call. The gates that use US Customs personnel for US flights are nearby, but unoccupied at this late hour.

General boarding call, but I was prepared and therefore second down the jetbridge. The gate agent was the first person so far to examine my passport. No one in security had done so. Odd.

Seat 15A was the best I could do for this A320. Standard economy seat that was exactly the same as the outbound. My middle seat was one of the only open seats on the aircraft and remained unoccupied for the short and on-time flight.

Arrivals in the UK was easy with no Immigration or Customs check.

Total Trip Cost: $ 156.32
Actual Airfare: $ 68.80
Actual Miles Flown: 559
Yield: $ 0.123 per mile
Taxes & Fees: $ 87.52, 55.99% of ticket price

Summary: No seat assignments until checkin, 23 hours prior to departure. Even with Star Alliance Gold. Nothing free onboard. On time flights that were reasonably priced. Grade: B+.

PS. I don’t like Guinness in the UK or the US. Too dark, too bitter. But the Guinness in Dublin is completely different and I was able to enjoy four or five of them.

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One thought on “LHR-DUB-LHR on British Midlands International (BMI), 24-27 Jan 2011 by Bruce

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