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Fly BMED - Not if I Can Avoid It

I forgot to give BMED (British Mediterranean Airways) a promised “roasting” when I returned from Heathrow the other week. It was a nice enough flight, I slept most of the way and I was enchanted by the co-pilot who was only a little older than my daughter and who had a wonderfully confident command of English.



Back at Heathrow T4 and we are taxied to a distant stand with no gate. Buses only and par for the course for BMED. It takes a good twenty minutes before the steps are down and passengers start to disembark from the Airbus into, well, THE bus and I joke with the flight attendant that we always seem to get stuck at the edge of the airport and that BMED is BA’s poor relation. “Worse than that”, she says, “We’re a distant third cousin.”

At the top of the steps, I wait with the remaining half planeload of passengers for the next bus to take us to the terminal. At the bottom of the steps, the women member of ground staff in British Airways uniform who is supposed to look after us, is busily texting and ignores the passengers standing on the aircraft steps in the cold behind her.

After almost thirty minutes of standing patiently, I lose my temper and walk back into the aircraft. “Why” I ask the purser, “is there no bus and why has nobody taken the initiative to tell the passengers what is happening or apologise for the delay?”

She tries to placate me. “A bus will be along shortly sir and after all, we did arrive forty minutes early.” “That’s not the point”, I tell her. “This is a customer relations disaster. It’s no use saying to me that because we are early you are going to keep half a planeload of people standing on the steps in the hope that a bus will come along soon. Use your initiative and say or do something.”

The poor woman is rescued by the timely arrival of a bus. “There” she says, “I said a bus would be along.”

Back on the bus there’s a traffic jam back towards the terminal while we wait for a 747 to move. The female ground staffer continues texting and I wonder if she even knows if there are passengers on the bus with her. A Labrador with a yellow jacket would be more useful and possibly demonstrate a little more initiative and awareness.

So there you have it. From experience best have your meals before flying BMED and be prepared to find yourselves parked as far away from Terminal 4 as is possible. Sadly though, when flying to the Middle East and the Mediterranean rim Arab countries, there’s very little to choose from in good airlines but next time, I’m determined to try someone else first.

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