BMIbaby Tombola – the cheap flight lottery

From time to time, despite my best attempts, I occasionally have to sit on a chair and fly through the sky. I’d much rather do the train thing but sometimes needs must.

I’d heard about all the changes with cheap flight pricing – but because I hadn’t been doing much flying I really hadn’t taken that much note. I’d heard about the small surcharge for reading the in flight magazine and the need to pay in advance if you were planning a number 2 – but I was “aware of the concept” – not “committed” to it.

Booking my BMIbaby ticket online was therefore a bit of a moment for me. Surely the surcharge for wanting to take a change of clothes with me didn’t apply – did it? So leave that unchecked along with everything else and buy a couple of tickets – job done.

As you, dear flying reader, will know of course is that when we checked in we found our luggage was extra. The check-in lady explained we hadn’t paid in advance and that we should now go pay at the “customer services” desk for the luggage, then come back and she would give us our boarding cards.

Feeling somewhat cheated by all this and 50 odd quid lighter we boarded the plane. But we boarded the plane without having been asked a single security question. The keenness to “up sell” our order to include a side order of luggage had wiped the security questions from the check in lady’s mind.

Once aboard the selling continued – as long as you had the right change and didn’t mind washing out your own coffee cup (ok that’s an exaggeration). We’re all used to the duty free trolley coming round (or whatever duty free is called now) but the one that was new to me (though not you I suspect) was the Scratch Cards!

BMIbaby (what a completely ridiculous name BTW) do a lot of work for Charidee – and god bless them – seriously well done. But what about the poor Cabin Guy who had to walk up the aisle smiling and saying “Scratch Card?…..Charidee Scratch Card?….. Scratch Card sir? Madam? …. Help the something or other? …. Scratch?”

Back in the 50’s you could board a plane in your Tux, sip some champagne, make love to a beautiful woman and arrive for your reserved table at the casino of you choice in luxury. Today we get charged for our luggage, pushed instant coffee from a paper cup and sold scratch cards. It’s just like being in a Texaco Garage on the M1 – where has it all gone wrong? At least in the Texaco garage they let you keep your shoes on.

With only 5 minutes left of the flight the cabin crew made a mad scramble for the cupboards and produced…… yes your wrong – they actually produced a Tombola, a table with a white linen table cloth and a selection of bottles ranging from Blue Nun to HP Sauce. 20p a go. I won a bottle of Mazola Cooking Oil, Mrs O a Jar of Silver Skin Pickles. It made the flight – so well done to BMIbaby – they’ve turned flying into a church bazaar – well done.

Let’s face it – the whole cheap flight thing is now a complete lottery – you can’t compare prices, you get charged for not checking in online, the insurance is a fortune, the arrival airport is actually in a neighbouring country and it’s anybody’s guess if they have checked your side order of luggage for explosive containers of hand cream.

Scratch Card anyone?

ps the flights were on time and overall the price was actually ok and my Tux arrived safely.

1 Response to “BMIbaby Tombola – the cheap flight lottery”

  1. 1 frazing
    July 20, 2009 at 8:59 am

    BMIBaby, Easyjet, Ryanair and Flymaybe – I’ve got a suggestion for a new way of charging (read What Would Google Do before reading any further!).

    When I get in the air I like to do one of three things. 1. Listen to music – normally Air, Moon Safari to help with number 2. Sleep or else if things are hectic 3. Work.

    All three require a bit of peace and quiet which you never get on the budget airlines because they are always trying to sell you something in the air.

    Bing Bong “Cabin crew will shortly be coming round to sell you some awful coffee. Please have the correct change”….

    Bing Bong “Cabin crew will be holding a sponsored mile-high juggling contest in aid of the weak company balance sheet. Please give as much as you can”

    I think they are missing one vital tick box when we buy our tickets. There is a £10 surcharge for peace and quiet during the flight, at cheap air we promise to give you peace between the safety announcement and the “ten minutes to landing” announcement.

    If enough people pay the £10 peace surcharge – the flight is silent. Then enable your community of passengers to talk online to arrange what flights THEY want to be the peaceful flights.

    Again, read What would google do. The Google Air section is great and just the type of airline I want to fly having missed the “golden age of travel” (I’m just a young thing you know!)

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