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Aer Lingus To London Heathrow  
User currently offlineEI320 From Ireland, joined Dec 2007, 1427 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 11561 times:

Aer Lingus to London Heathrow and Gold Circle Lounge

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It was time to try 5 sectors in one day. To do this, I chose 5 short flights and tried to vary the aircraft as much as possible. Trying to choose some interesting aircraft and airports, whilst at the same time trying to keep costs down and fly from my local airport, isn't always easy so this is what I came up with:

SNN - DUB - LHR - DUB - LGW - SNN

In this report I'll just cover the first three.



Date : 18 February 2009
Flight : EI132
Route : SNN - DUB
Aircraft : A330-301
Reg : EI-DUB
Aircraft Name : St Patrick
Seat : 45K
Class : Economy
Load Factor : 40%
Scheduled Dept Time : 07:00
Actual Dept Time : 07:00
Scheduled Arrival Time : 07:45
Actual Arrival Time : 07:45

I arrived at the airport at 5:30 and checked in using the Fastpass machines where I got all four boarding cards

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I headed towards the security screening area and then went straight to Gate 8

I had never seen Gates 12-15 before as access is usually restricted. The doors were left open this morning so I took a little walk up to take some photos

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Pretty retro!

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After all the passengers who were getting off in SNN had disembarked, boarding began at 06:35. There was a light load on the flight to DUB this morning.

The operating aircraft was EI-DUB, delivered in 1994. The crew greeted everyone at the door and I took my seat - 45K, nicely settled behind the engine.

A330 cabin

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The Safety demonstration was shown on the CRT screens

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After pushback

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The lights were dimmed and we then taxied to RWY 24 for take-off

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It was a powerful, yet relatively quiet take-off and as the A330 climbed out of SNN the sun began to rise.

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Safety card

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30 mins later we began our descent into DUB

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Final approach to RWY 28

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Apologies for the blurred pics

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Touchdown RWY 28

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Fellow inbound A330

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DUB was busy with a lot of EI and FR departures

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FedEx A300

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Terminal 2 is coming along nicely

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A330 cabin

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We arrived at Pier B. I said goodbye to the crew and then headed to passport control which was particularly slow. In the baggage hall there was a sign informing passengers that the transfer facility was closed and passengers would have to head out to departures again for security screening. Not too big a problem though as I had plenty time.



Date : 18 February 2009
Flight : EI158
Route : DUB-LHR
Aircraft : A321-211
Reg : EI-CPH
Aircraft Name : St Dervilla
Seat : 3A
Class : Economy
Load Factor : 80%
Scheduled Dept Time : 9:00
Actual Dept Time : 10:17
Scheduled Arrival Time : 11:40
Actual Arrival Time : 11:28

After security screening I decided to go and get some breakfast and I sat down in the usual spot where I could see the Departures screen. It was only 8:15 and I still wasn't fully awake. As a result I caught the sachet of salt and poured it straight into the tea, I only realised what had happened after it had gone in. I took a chance and tasted it in the hope it wouldn't taste any different. How wrong I was.....  yuck 
One of the cafe employees came over and got another tea for me without hesitation. We just laughed about it, what else could you do?

After that it was time to go to Pier B for some spotting

EY A332 bound for AUH

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BD A319 to LHR

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EI-DUZ

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CO 757 from EWR

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EI-DUB which took me to DUB  Smile

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After a while I headed over to the not-so nice Pier A. EI158 was departing from Gate A14 this morning.

At 09:50 boarding commenced. I was happy to see EI-CPH parked outside, as I hadn't flown on this particular A321 before.

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We were greeted at the door by two very friendly FA's and I took my seat - 3A. The whole row and also the opposite row were left free. The captain welcomed us on board and announced that our flight time to LHR would be 50 mins. He informed us of our routing and told us that we would have to hold for a small time in London. Hardly surprising.

EI have always been my preferred short-haul airline as I find them very reliable and professional from my experiences flying with them. The attitude of both the ground staff and crew members prove that EI are still very much a full-service airline when it comes to ensuring that their customers have a pleasant journey.

It's the little things that set them apart from the competitors. I saw this once again when one of the cabin crew directed an elderly lady to her seat. EI had reserved 2A for her and told her that the seat beside her had been blocked so that she'd have some extra space. I thought this was a nice touch.

There was also a BA and a VS crew member on the flight both seated in Row 1, going to work I guess.

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Safety card

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Old Dublin Airport terminal from the 1930's

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The crew perfomed the safety demonstration and we were shortly on our way. We taxied to RWY 28 and held for 5 mins.

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Pier E

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Runway 28

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We rolled at 10:20 for an on-time departure

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When we reached our cruising altitude of 35,000ft the crew began the service without delay. As usual I opted for the Irish breakfast for 9EUR. I was still hungry even though I had already eaten.

The breakfast was very tasty, in fact one of the nicest I've ever had

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Inflight pics

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It was soon time to begin our descent into LHR. We were put on hold for just over 5 mins, not long at all.

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On final approach to RWY 27R

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Touchdown RWY 27R

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BD ERJ

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I was happy to get some final photos of BA 757's at T1

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AA, AC, BA tails

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I then said goodbye to the crew and left the aircraft to find that BD were offering complimentary newspapers in the airbridge, just after I'd bought the Irish Independent on board. I know they probably weren't meant for EI passengers but it's a little annoying  Wink



Date :18 February 2008
Flight : EI165
Route : LHR-DUB
Aircraft : A320-214
Reg : EI-DEO
Aircraft Name : St Senan
Seat : 29F
Class : Economy
Load Factor : 60%
Scheduled Dept Time : 15:20
Actual Dept Time : 15:17
Scheduled Arrival Time : 16:35
Actual Arrival Time : 16:15

I had almost 4 hours in LHR before the flight back to DUB so I headed over to Terminal 2 to take a look around. I then returned to T1 and went to the EI desk because I had forgotten to select an aisle seat for this flight. The machine in SNN had randomly selected an aisle seat for me which was a big no-no . The Menzies agent was very helpful and issued me with a boarding card with seat 29F. I also got a voucher for the GC lounge as entry is now permitted for a fee of £18. I'm a bit dubious about this new policy but it was years since I was last in it so I decided to try it.

Shortly afterwards I headed to security screening and then made my way to the lounge located at the EI gates 77-86

Aer Lingus Gold Circle Lounge Heathrow T1

The remaining Gold Circle lounges could be described as relics of the 1990's. They haven't been updated much since then. If you lower your expectations you might be impressed.

On entry I was greeted at the desk by the single lounge staff member. She was very friendly and I handed her the voucher. There was a total of 3 people in the lounge, including myself.

Lounge photos

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There was a reasonable selection of drinks and snacks

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Review

Out of the remaining lounges, this is the biggest and probably the best Aer Lingus has to offer these days. This truly is as good as it gets.

 thumbsup 

  • Comfortable seats
  • Nicely decorated and clean
  • Friendly staff
  • Reasonable selection of drinks and snacks
  • Good selection of newspapers/magazines
  • Excellent location
  • Not overcrowded

     thumbsdown 

  • No sandwiches/food available
  • No toilets
  • Charge for Internet access, both Wi-Fi and on the computers (very tacky)
  • Certain seats are not much better than what you'd find outside

    Overall this is a very average lounge. However it is comfortable, and the surroundings are quite nice, particularly the green carpet and the lighting. Far nicer than having to sit outside in the "tube" and probably worth £18 if you have a couple of hours to spare.

    At 14:55 I left the lounge as boarding was well under way. The load was one of the lightest I've seen on this route , about 60%. We were greeted at the door by very friendly cabin crew again and I made my way towards the rear of the aircraft.

    Seat 29F is in the final row. Phil seems to be very fond of this particular seat so I decided it was time to try it out  Smile I had the row to myself so it was comfortable.

    A320 cabin

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    Some very attractive cabin crew performed the safety demonstration and we pushed back at 15:15...

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    BD Hangar and SAA A343

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    We rolled just after 15:20 and take-off was from RWY 27R

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    M25 I think

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    The crew then began the service and I purchased the Calzone meatball pizza for €5. It was very hot, but delicious. Looks pretty small but was very filling.

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    I decided to stand up to get a decent cabin shot

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    I listened to my iPod for a while, took a small sleep and it was then time to land.

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    Ireland's Eye

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    The camera batteries suddenly went dead at this point so I had to rush to get those spares I had packed  Big grin

    On final approach to RWY 28

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    The soon not-to-be SR Technics hangar

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    Terminal 2......again

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    Dublin Airport with EI-JFK taxiing for departure to JFK

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    Spoilers deployed

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    BD A320 off to LHR

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    We taxied to Pier B

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    EI109 climbs out of DUB

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    The crew seemed very happy on the way out and thanked us for flying with EI.

    After that I proceeded back to Departures to check-in for my next flight to LGW.

    My final two flights of the day took me to LGW (18:55 - EI248) and then back to SNN (21:45 - FR1185). At this time of the evening it was getting dark and and I decided to sit back and sleep for the final two flights, so I won't include them in this report. Both flights were on time and were uneventful for the most part. I arrived back in Shannon at 23:00.

    EI248 - Final pics

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    Well that's it, my first time trying 5 sectors in a day. It was tiring, but well worth it as always. The fact that all the flights were on time also helped, any 1 major delay could have destroyed the entire schedule, something I was hoping would not happen!

    Thanks for reading, and as always, comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.  Smile

    Regards,
    Colm

  • 11 replies: All unread, jump to last
     
    User currently offlineJFKMan From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 584 posts, RR: 1
    Reply 1, posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 11450 times:

    Really cool TR! Sounds like a fun day.

    I had the Irish breakfast when I traveled from BRU to DUB. Mine was nice...just not hot enough.



    Hey! I'm Tommy (US AIRWAYS RULES)
    User currently onlineB747forever From Sweden, joined May 2007, 17004 posts, RR: 10
    Reply 2, posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 11400 times:

    Nice TR

    Like all the pics.

    Quoting EI320 (Thread starter):
    It was only 8:15 and I still wasn't fully awake. As a result I caught the sachet of salt and poured it straight into the tea, I only realised what had happened after it had gone in. I took a chance and tasted it in the hope it wouldn't taste any different. How wrong I was.....

    Hehe, well when one is tired, it is easy to make mistakes.

    Quoting EI320 (Thread starter):
    Charge for Internet access, both Wi-Fi and on the computers (very tacky)

    That is extremely poor.

    Would also love to try 5 flights in a day.

    Glad that you didnt hit any major delays which would have ruined your day.

    Can I ask how much you paid for all your 5 flights?


    Thank you for sharing

    B747forever



    Work Hard, Fly Right
    User currently offlinePs76 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
    Reply 3, posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 11257 times:

    Hi,

    Just to say many thanks. Was quite a cool trip report and 5 flights in a day definitely sounds pretty cool (plus you get to fly on an A330).

    Many thanks,

    Pierre.


    User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26502 posts, RR: 58
    Reply 4, posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 11217 times:

    Hi Colm ,
    Excellent report . Great photos. The EI lounge in LHR has not changed I remember it well lol.. Pay per view internet I dont like but EI are not the only one. Wifi should be free in all lounges IMHO.

    The closure of the transit area in DUB is a discrace. Someone could have missed their flight having to go out and back in again. It really does not send the right message to businessmen and tourists alike. In a time when DAA should be pulling out all the stops to attract business and give a good impression.

    EI-DUB looks tired . I miss the old seats with the yellow/blue/green and poetry. It looked really classy and unique.

    The Calzone pizza is a fav of mine. Really nice.

    SNN is also looking very tired. Its a shame they cant rebuild a larger version of Cork which is a really nice airport.

    Really enjoyed the report. Keep them coming

    OA260



    AEGEAN-OLYMPIC AIR - ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑΚΗ " μέλος στη Star Alliance
    User currently offlineLHR380 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
    Reply 5, posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 11161 times:

    Thanks for an interesting TR, would love to do something like tha,t just a random bunch of flights in a day.

    Very shocked at the state of the EI lounge, and you had to pay £18 to get in!!!

    No free wifi, thats a big shock for a lounge.
    The brekkie actually looks very nice  Smile


    User currently offlineDALCE From Netherlands, joined Feb 2007, 1661 posts, RR: 7
    Reply 6, posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 11140 times:

    Now that is what I call a nice way to spend the day!
    Flying around just for fun is just great, especially since you selected a nice range of different aircraft. What type did EI run the DUB-LGW leg?
    At least you got the 332,321,320,738 on a day. Not bad!!!

    The EI food looks actually quite good, both the Calzone as the full Irish look attractive  Smile

    Thanks for sharing!
    Cheers,
    Joost (D-ALCE)



    flown on : F50,F70,CR1,CR2,CR9,E75,143,AR8,AR1,733,735,736,73G,738,753,744,319,320,321,333,AB6.
    User currently offlineEICVD From Ireland, joined Mar 2008, 2128 posts, RR: 4
    Reply 7, posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 11101 times:

    Hi Colm
    Brilliant trip report. Wouldnt mind flying a few times a day just for the fun of it, be well worth it even if you do collapse at the end of the day with tiredness LOL
    Thanks for posting.



    Dublin, where Sam Maguire will be coming home to in mid September
    User currently offlineShamrock350 From Ireland, joined Mar 2005, 6279 posts, RR: 14
    Reply 8, posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 11019 times:

    Hi Colm

    Great report, sounds like a fun day! Aer Lingus did a good job, I really like the Calzone Pizza and of course the Irish breakfast is always a winner. The lounges are a big let down, Aer Lingus desperately need to do something about them as they were left behind as the rest of the airline moved forward. I think we'll have to wait for Terminal 2 in Dublin before we see any kind of new lounge but I'm hoping that the rumours of a new Gold Circle come true.

    Thanks for posting.

    Kevin


    User currently offlineEI320 From Ireland, joined Dec 2007, 1427 posts, RR: 0
    Reply 9, posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 10795 times:

    Thanks for all the replies everyone!

    Quoting JFKMan (Reply 1):
    Really cool TR! Sounds like a fun day.

    I had the Irish breakfast when I traveled from BRU to DUB. Mine was nice...just not hot enough.

    Thanks - The breakfast is one of the best things about the service on EI. Still though for €9 it would want to be pretty good!

    Quoting B747forever (Reply 2):
    Hehe, well when one is tired, it is easy to make mistakes.

    True, just don't try putting salt in tea, doesn't mix well!

    Quoting B747forever (Reply 2):
    Can I ask how much you paid for all your 5 flights?


    SNN-DUB €65 (fixed fare)
    DUB-LHR-DUB €55
    DUB-LGW €15
    LGW-SNN €15

    €150 in total. The A330 domestic flights are very expensive considering it's just an add-on from the BOS-SNN flight. The other flights were cheap. The 7:00 departure is very convenient though and of course the A330 is great.

    Quoting Ps76 (Reply 3):
    Just to say many thanks. Was quite a cool trip report and 5 flights in a day definitely sounds pretty cool (plus you get to fly on an A330).

    Thanks, it's not something I'd do too often though, a 20 hour day travelling is tiring.

    Quoting OA260 (Reply 4):
    Hi Colm ,
    Excellent report . Great photos. The EI lounge in LHR has not changed I remember it well lol.. Pay per view internet I dont like but EI are not the only one. Wifi should be free in all lounges IMHO.

    Hi Phil, the GC lounge was the same as the last time I saw it, must have been 2001/02. The amount of people in the lounge tells a lot though, and was probably one of the reasons EI have opened it up to everyone. There was never more than 4 people in there when I was there.

    Quoting OA260 (Reply 4):
    The closure of the transit area in DUB is a discrace.

    Didn't affect me much, but if the connection time was short it would certainly be a pain. It only takes a minute to go round, it's just having to join the queue again thats the problem

    Quoting OA260 (Reply 4):
    EI-DUB looks tired

    The older cabins on the -300's are in need of a major facelift. I agree the old poetry covers were nice, it added a bit of variety to the cabin. This was the seat back on the seat in front of me:

    http://i460.photobucket.com/albums/qq326/EI320/100_4006DesktopResolution.jpg

    Not acceptable really

    The IFE is also shockingly poor for T/A flights.

    Quoting OA260 (Reply 4):
    SNN is also looking very tired. Its a shame they cant rebuild a larger version of Cork which is a really nice airport.

    A major refurbishment of the departure areas will be underway soon and should be finished by the time the US customs facility is open. Personally I like the airport, it's unique, but then I again I'm probably biased  Wink

    Quoting LHR380 (Reply 5):
    Thanks for an interesting TR, would love to do something like tha,t just a random bunch of flights in a day.

    Very shocked at the state of the EI lounge, and you had to pay £18 to get in!!!

    No free wifi, thats a big shock for a lounge.

    Thanks. The lounge is what you should expect from the shambles that is Gold Circle . Very hard to join and very few rewards in return for doing so. Not a single improvement has been made to it for years.

    Quoting DALCE (Reply 6):
    The EI food looks actually quite good, both the Calzone as the full Irish look attractive  

    Hi Joost, the DUB-LGW flight was another A320. The selection of aircraft was as good as I could make it.

    The food is very good quality and the prices are reasonable. New things are added now and then which is nice.

    Quoting EICVD (Reply 7):
    Brilliant trip report. Wouldnt mind flying a few times a day just for the fun of it, be well worth it even if you do collapse at the end of the day with tiredness LOL

    Hi Mark, it was just a bit of fun really. Better than sitting around doing nothing anyway!

    Quoting Shamrock350 (Reply 8):
    Great report, sounds like a fun day! Aer Lingus did a good job, I really like the Calzone Pizza and of course the Irish breakfast is always a winner. The lounges are a big let down, Aer Lingus desperately need to do something about them as they were left behind as the rest of the airline moved forward. I think we'll have to wait for Terminal 2 in Dublin before we see any kind of new lounge but I'm hoping that the rumours of a new Gold Circle come true.

    Hi Kevin, EI were as good as always. It's only when you do those flights and then finish off with an FR flight that you realise how comfortable the EI seats really are. I've come to like those headrests on the 320's a lot!


    User currently onlineAmricanShamrok From Ireland, joined May 2008, 2808 posts, RR: 0
    Reply 10, posted (5 years 1 month 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 10609 times:

    Great TR Colm, you took good pics, especially of SNN. I've never been down as far as Gate 14 - it looks different. Do all the gates from 6-14 have airbridges now?

    Quoting EI320 (Reply 9):
    A major refurbishment of the departure areas will be underway soon and should be finished by the time the US customs facility is open

    I was thinking that-they've really modernised the landside part of the airport, then when you get past security you find a leak in the roof dropping water on you (well I did anyway Big grin).



    Shannon-Chicago
    User currently offlineEI320 From Ireland, joined Dec 2007, 1427 posts, RR: 0
    Reply 11, posted (5 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 10471 times:



    Quoting AmricanShamrok (Reply 10):
    Great TR Colm, you took good pics, especially of SNN. I've never been down as far as Gate 14 - it looks different. Do all the gates from 6-14 have airbridges now?

    Hi Kevin, thanks for the reply. Yeah I posted a good few pics of the upper gates because I was interested in them myself!

    Almost all of those gates have airbridges. If you look Gate 12 in one of the pics, it's in the centre of the floor. It has a stairs leading down to the ramp.

    Quoting AmricanShamrok (Reply 10):
    I was thinking that-they've really modernised the landside part of the airport, then when you get past security you find a leak in the roof dropping water on you

    Yes definatly two contrasting areas! Considering though that the older terminal opened in the early 70's, including the pier building (and hasn't changed much since then lol), I think it's holding up nicely  Smile


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