Airline reviews bmi Hints & Tips

bmi Hints, Tips and online

The cheapest seats

Many of bmi's seats can seem like bargains - at £8 for an interntional flight, it can be worth looking around the weekend before the next, to see what's around. However bmi's load control is very good - at three days before the flight bmi will stop selling all the cheapest economy seats (all except seat classes C, D, J, Y and S) regardless of how full the plane is.

Business cheaper than economy

When booking international flights from abroad (IE: Continental Europe) sometimes restricted business (if you can find it) can be cheaper than economy, and booking two singles can work out cheaper than a return.

Getting an upgrade

bmi have very few business class flights left - so getting an upgrade is firstly dependent on finding a flight that has two cabins. Even if you are on one of the flights, bmi look carefully at upgrades now, and they are harder to find than they were. If the flight is overbooked you can try waving a bmi Diamond Club card (preferably Gold, but Silver sometimes works), and it may get you into the pointy end, although more often if you try this trick at LHR, and not at some of the more remote outstations. This is know as an "operational upgrade" - because bmi had to move you to make room in economy for someone else. You may also have some more success if you are on full economy (fully flexible) rather than a cheap ticket. Sometimes the desk can't help you, but the situation changes. I've been refused an upgrade at check in, only for the gate to know my name and have an upgraded boarding pass ready. Don't get arsy with the desk though - this is a sure-fire way to ensure you don't get an upgrade, as is waving a copy of "Getting an upgrade". If you have them, try waving the Gold Diamond Club Upgrade certificates - you might find them slightly more effective.

Of course, there is one guaranteed way to get a business class seat. Pay for it. And by the way, some of my comments here are designed to be taken with a bit of a wry English sense of humour - and Emailing me to complain that the system above didn't work probably shows you have a sense of humour bypass.

Fokker 100 at Venice November 2003 Fokker 100 at Venice

Diamond club extra points

Each November and December bmi often have a double points promotion - and flights credited to your account in this period (including all Star Alliance flights) earn twice the normal number of destination points (but alas not membership points) on all but the cheapest tickets. Some years this promotion is just limited to United flights.

Operational Upgrades

One of the common questions is "How do I get an upgrade on bmi to Business or Club class?". Alas, getting upgraded to business class on bmi really isn't that easy. The airline has the Western, rather than American, model for upgrades longhaul. Which is to say you'll only get an upgrade if your paid for class is full, and then upgrades are processed accordingly to a pecking order of elite frequent flyer status. You are very unlikely to ever get an upgrade unless you are at least a Gold Star Alliance member.

To start with, make sure you are a frequent flyer, and you do fly frequently: after all, if bmi are going to upgrade anyone, they will upgrade those passengers who fly with them pretty regularly, and hence will enjoy the upgrade enough to put more business bmi's way. Then if the flight is full in economy, and someone needs to be moved up, the check in staff will first look at Gold Diamond Club members, and then Silver level, and then at other Star Alliance members at the equivalent levels (Gold, then Silver). Another thing that bmi look at is how much you paid for your ticket: it's much more likely to happen with a full fare ticket (although occasionally you can get lucky with a discounted economy ticket). On bmi the airline has heard - probably hundreds of times a day - requests for an upgrade: the general consensus seems to be that if you ask for an upgrade, you're less likely to get it, although opinions differ on an upgrade strategy for bmi.

As always, my advice on dressing properly in the pages on how to get an upgrade applies.

bmi website

bmi's website has undergone several revamps over the past year, and most of its bugs have now been removed. It looks a lot prettier than it once did: alas some of the functionality has also been removed: the price, it seems, of making it look better.

Beware that bmi are notorious for their IT: it is as excentric as the airline. Sometimes it works wonderfully: other times it can have you shaking you head and wondering just what happened. As always with bmi, it is be best to be prepared for the unexpected. It must be said however that bmi are very good at handing out extra Diamond Club miles when their website, inevitably, has a "glitch".

Booking tickets is pretty easy, with the cost of each flight segment broken down for all outbound and inbound flights where the flights are run by bmi, however it is impossible to see if there are cheaper flights on other days than those entered. Tax is added at the last stage of booking as does using a credit card. However you can get around this by using a bmi credit card - or just book on the Austrian Airlines website, which avoids this.

Clicking on the flight code on the first "Select flights" page when booking shows you the aircraft operating the service - it's not shown afterwards.

At last, after some "contracual differences", the bmi website will also let you book SAS flights that are bmi codeshares, however these will not display in a grid format, and you only get the total price when you confirm the flight.

Old style livery on a 737 at LHR November 2002
Old style livery on a 737 at LHR

Some parts of the site do not have a "go back" item - use the back button on your browser to return. The worse bug on the site is that when using a dial-up connection, if you move your mouse over a menu item to select it, it disappears!

About bmi
bmi's aircraft fleet
bmi's inflight entertainment
bmi's Diamond Club
bmi's Diamond Club: mileage earning tables
bmi's Diamond Club: mileage spending tables
bmi's transatlantic A330 Cabins
bmi's purchasable food on board