Today, I flew from London to Edinburgh, which is a fairly frequent trip for me, given Flexiant is in Livingston, and I live in London. I always try to fly BMI, on the basis that it’s not BA, which is the alternative.

Today, however, BMI experienced a complete logic failure in customer service. The London to Edinburgh configuration has 3 seats on each side. It appears to be a single class cabin – all the seat pitches are the same, and BMI has recently advertised it has gone single class.

I was seated in seat 5D, with seat 5E occupied by a rather large gentleman, and seat 5F also occupied. Rows 1 to 4 were almost completely unoccupied (I think a total of 6 people in 24 seats) and the whole right hand side of row 4 was entirely empty. Nowhere was anyone in rows 1 to 4 more than one person to 3 seats. So I slipped forward a row, and the gentleman in the center seat moved one sideways. You would have thought this would have helped everyone, but no.

Within about 10 seconds, I was accosted by a stewardess. Apparently rows 1 to 4 are “reserved for a different class” (of ticket, rather than of person, I assume). I pointed out that the seats were exactly the same – no difference in pitch, and no other passenger could claim to be inconvenienced or have less space as the row was completely empty. She then said she would be “serving differently” in that area, and couldn’t possibly have me there. “Serving differently” means offering people a free sandwich, rather than a paid for sandwich, a deal available as I understand it for silver Diamond Club card holders anyway. I didn’t care, I’d brought my own sandwich. But no, avoiding having to remember not to offer me a sandwich was preferable to having an argument with one passenger and inconveniencing three.

Whilst the volcanic ash had stopped the flights, I went by train instead. Far more comfortable, and a first class ticket cost little more than a standard class flight. And I got work done whilst traveling. Perhaps I shall do that in future.