Up at 4:00am and not quite awake! I do like to give myself early starts when I’m going on day trips or long weekends. It pays off in the end because you still have a full day when you get there. This time I was going on a 48 hour press trip to Belgium with BMI Regional and Visit Flanders. I had been to Brussels earlier this year and loved the atmosphere, history and food so I was looking forward to exploring another Belgian city; Leuven.
Our departure airport was Newcastle (NCL) which is my local airport. This is an international airport and has flights all over Europe and to the Middle East. I fly from here regularly. We would be flying into Brussels and it takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes. I love how close we are to places in Europe for a short break. It makes part-time travel very convenient.
I took a carry on bag (the blue small suitcase in the photo below) and did online check in. I headed straight to security after getting to the airport. We had fast track tickets and I jumped what was already a queue. Security is always good and straight forward at Newcastle with nice staff. One of the perks of flying to and from this airport is having a pretty short wait for security on the way out and immigration when I get back.
My bag was tagged at the gate and taken on the tarmac to be put in the hold. This happens a lot on smaller flights and they drop it back off at the bottom of the steps with a member of staff when you get off. Great service!
I’d been a bit nervous about flying in a small aircraft after a propeller plane experience in Africa but this was different. The flying experience was smooth and quicker than I expected. One of my favourite things about it was seeing so much as we made our way to Belgium. We saw cities with rivers snaking through them, and the coastal areas where land and sea collide and intertwine from high up. A really nice start to a great morning.
Speaking of great mornings, we were about to be fed…
This was my view down the aisle from my individual seat. Individual seats can be booked if you check in online and allocate your own seat. I really like these big leather ones too. I always seem to be able to sleep in these for some reason. There was a good amount of room and we got a service on the way there and back even though it was a short flight.
I went for a bacon sandwich, orange juice and a cup of tea. Perfect start to the day!
One of the things I’ve come to appreciate in airline service is included meals/snacks. I don’t want to pay for the flight and then find that I’m going to have to pay extra for food or anything else. I’m starting to realise that budget airlines are not always best value if you have to pay extra and have restrictions. Often, you pay the same price in the end by adding on everything you want. Even though I took a carry-on case, I did have hold luggage allowance of 20kgs included. I didn’t have to pay anything extra and it was a very smooth process.
The best part by far was the sunrise. It was this burst of warm golden colour along a sliver of the skyline. It illuminated the fluffy clouds and grew as the minutes passed. The bright energy from the middle spreading its warmth across the sky and welcoming in a new day. It really brought a smile to my face seeing this view.
Just as the day was starting, we were descending into Brussels. It was bright with very little cloud cover and I couldn’t wait to get to Leuven. I was ready to explore.
If you’re thinking of going to Belgium from Newcastle, I can recommend BMI Regional flights to Brussels. Its a great city and also a perfect base to explore the rest of the country via their excellent train network.
Our tiny aircraft weaved its way through the skies with very little disruption. We had a faultless take off/landing and the pilots were very good. We made excellent time and it was a relaxing experience overall. I couldn’t stop looking out of the window at the changing scenery. On our return, we had some beautiful night displays too.
I was pleasantly surprised by the service and the great flights with BMI Regional and I would definitely use this airline again.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I went on a press trip with BMI Regional and Visit Flanders. All views are my own as always