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EI And US Adventure: DUB-IAD, DCA-LGA, JFK-DUB  
User currently offlinePhen From Ireland, joined Oct 2007, 316 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 32031 times:

Hello everyone and welcome to my first trip report. I've been reading A.net trip reports for some time now and when the opportunity arose recently for me to go to the United States, I decided to give it a go and do my own! I have been to parts of America before - New York, California and Hawaii but my parents had wanted to go to New York and wanted me to show them around because they're both in their 60s and considered themselves a bit too old to be running around a big city trying to find their way. Of course I couldn't refuse a transatlantic trip. I suggested that they visit Washington DC too, I had never been there so at least it meant that I got to see something that I hadn't seen before!

Six weeks before our trip, I shopped around online for the best prices and settled on two Aer Lingus flights; EI 119 DUB - IAD on the 29th March 2009 and EI 108 JFK - DUB on the 6th April 2009. In total, the two Y class flights came to a mere %u20AC329 per person. EI usually operate DUB - IAD with the A332 and this was scheduled on the website for our flight. As expected an A333 was scheduled for the JFK - DUB leg. Then I set about booking the domestic flight from Washington to New York. The best I could find was US Airways US 2178 DCA - LGA on April 1st 2009, again Y class, for $74 each plus an extra $15 each for 1 checked bag <19kg. The scheduled aircraft was an A319. Even though EI's long-haul baggage limit is 36kg, we kept our outbound bags below 19kg so as not to have to pay the upper $50 fee with US Yeah sure. We then booked accommodation; the Capital Hilton in Washington and the Grand Hyatt in New York. I tried my best to wait patiently for the next six weeks to pass, during which time I found out that EI-EWR was scheduled to operate our outbound flight and, to my delight, EI-DUZ was to operate the inbound. EI-EWR is EI's second oldest A332 (delivered 2000) and is not equipped with PTVs. She is due to leave the fleet this year but some rumours suggest that she may remain on a power by the hour basis. EI-DUZ is the second newest of EI's 5 A333s (delivered 2007) and has AVOD bigthumbsup .

So if you're ready, lets go!


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29th March 2009

The scheduled departure time for our outbound flight was 12:30. EI recommends allowing 3 hours for transatlantic check-in (primarily to allow time for US immigration clearance) so we took a taxi from the house in Dublin at 09:00 which brought us to the airport at 09:30. I was happy to get a good look at the progress of Terminal 2 which is quite visible from the motorway and surrounding areas and although its taking great shape, its nowhere near finished yet. Into the departure hall we went. Being a Sunday morning, the airport wasn't terribly busy but there was still a sizeable crowd. I looked up at the huge information board in the departures area which informed me that we should go to check-in Area 4.

I used the self check-in machines (of which there are were plenty to choose from) to print our 3 boarding passes and we brought our bags to the "Bag Tag and Drop" desks where the agent tagged our bags and informed us that there was no US immigration pre-clearance at DUB for the Washington flight and that the aircraft would be boarding at the D gates. These gates are located in Pier D of Dublin's Terminal (soon to be called Terminal 1 when Terminal 2 opens) which is primarily used by Ryanair and short-haul EI flights. I was surprised to hear that an EI long-haul would be boarding from there, because the last two times I flew transatlantic with EI, we boarded at the B gates which have immigration pre-clearance and of course the all-important airbridges. Thankfully it was a beautiful day so I knew we wouldn't get too wet! Boarding time was 11:40 at gate D69 and after waiting in quite a decent queue for security, we had coffee and a snack airside and I took out my camera and began to snap some shots.

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Progress of Terminal 2 with EI-DEJ "St. Killian" pulling up to the gate



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Progress of Pier E of Terminal 2



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Pier B with a Continental B757-224 (N26123) bound for EWR and a Delta B767-332ER (N1604R)



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A US Airways B757-200 bound for PHL. Note two EI A332s parked in the backgound



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3 in 1! The same Delta and Continental aircraft as above, with an SAS B737 landing on runway 28


And with that done, we proceeded to make the long journey down to the D gates. It takes about 10 minutes walk from "The Street" (Dublin's duty-free shopping area) to get to Pier D. Its a fresh and spacious addition to the airport which only opened a couple of years ago. It was busy but not crowded. Almost all of the flights leaving from here were short-haul. No delays to my flight were indicated on the information screens. Approaching gate D69 I could see the large green bird through the windows but couldn't catch her reg until we were actually at the gate. And sure enough, EI-EWR sat there as scheduled waiting to be readied for boarding. I had hoped that a rota change would occur leaving us with EI-DUO (EI's newest A332 with AVOD) or EI-DAA (an older A332 which had PTVs and has already undergone cabin upgrade to AVOD). Either of these aircraft almost always serves the lengthy 10h plus flight to SFO (I myself having been on EI-DAA to SFO and back again from LAX last summer). We sat and waited to be called for boarding.




Flight: EI 119
Route: DUB - IAD
Scheduled Departure: 12:30 Actual: 12:36
Scheduled Arrival: 15:10 Actual: 15:48
Duration: 8h 12mins
Aircraft: Airbus A330-202
Registration: EI-EWR St. Laurence O'Toole
Aircraft Delivery Date: 09/05/2000
Class: Y
Seat: 37K


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Photo © Michael Carter
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Photo © Ralph Duenas - Jetwash Images



While waiting to board, I noticed that there didn't seem to be very many people waiting at the gate so I suspected that the load may be light.

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St. Laurence O'Toole at gate D69 almost ready for boarding


Boarding commenced on time at 11:40 starting with those with small children, those needing assistance, Premier Class passengers and finally Ecomony Class passengers. There was no boarding sequence or orderly queue for the Y passengers so people came at the gate from all angles which was a bit disorganised and too Ryanair-like for my taste! Big grin However, since the load was reasonably light, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Down the stairs and out onto the tarmac we went.

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As the photo shows, boarding was through Door 2L. At the top of the stairs, I recognised one of the male attendants. I won't give his name but if any of you watched the Irish Popstars or You're a Star, you might remember him from those shows. He obviously didn't pursue a showbiz career afterall. We were greeted warmly and instructed to pass through the galley and down to the back of the aircraft. On reaching seat 37K I could see an FR B737 alongside us. In my seat was a small foam pillow and in the pocket in front of me was the safety card, headphones, the "Cara" in-flight magazine and the in-flight shopping magazine. The seats on EI's older A330s are reasonably comfortable although after a while your derrière does get sore on a long flight! Seat pitch in Economy is 31" and 17" wide. In Premier, pitch is 52" and the seats are 20" wide.

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Cabin view from seat 37K


I would have estimated the load at about 65-70%. The aircraft pushed back on time, the engines sprang into life and the safety video was played on the overhead CRT monitors. The cabin crew stood in the aisles at the doors facing forward as the video played. We taxied out to runway 28 where there was a short wait to takeoff. Takeoff was smooth, effortless and on time. I recorded the takeoff on video which turned out really well but to my horror, it was destroyed by one of the computers in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York when I tried to copy it onto my USB stick to make room for more photos and video Angry. I did however manage to salvage the first 8 seconds from which I took this grab:


Lining up for takeoff on runway 28


Soon after takeoff the flight deck updated us on our flight path and time. The overhead monitors came down and the in-flight entertainment began. It consisted of television programmes such as Fawlty Towers, Ugly Betty, music videos and promotional videos for various causes. The bar service began approximately 30mins after takeoff. Soft drinks are complimentary but there is a charge for alcoholic beverages e.g. spirits cost %u20AC5 each up to champagne which costs %u20AC15. I ordered a Jameson with coke which always hits the spot for me on a long flight!

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Bar service


Served with drinks was a small packet of savoury pretzels which only really serve to make you hungrier for the meal later on! Enjoyable though nonetheless. Not long after the bar service ended, the first of two movies began to play. The first movie was Quantum of Solace (James Bond always goes down well), the second was Four Holidays (not so much). Cruising altitude was 39,000ft.

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Cruising over the North Atlantic


Before lunch was served, the cabin crew announced tha dinner choices and apologised "in advance if your choice is not available due to previous passenger demand". The choices today were chicken casserole with vegetables and beef bolognese with pasta. Lunch was then served approminately 1h 30mins after takeoff. I chose the beef bolognese which was tasty and did what it said on the tin. Hardly fancy gourmet, but as they say, you get what you pay for. Lunch was served with honey mustard pasta salad, a white bread roll with butter, a tub of water and two chocolate chip cookies. Also on the tray was a packet containing a knife, fork, spoon, salt, pepper, sugar and freshner. Tea and coffee were then served.

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Lunch


Being honest, I thought the lunch satisfactory but not fantastic. The salad and main meal were nice but the 'dessert' was a bit lazy and there was no cheese and crackers as is usual on EI long-haul.

The in-flight shopping service began almost immediately after the lunch service ended. There were various offers on fragrances, cigarettes, alcohol etc. but I didn't but anything. As usual on EI long-haul, the cabin crew then disappeared and it was annnounced that the galley at the rear of the aircraft "is now a crew work area" and that if passengers wanted to cross the aircraft, they should use the area at Doors 3. Non-alcoholic beverages however were available for self-service in the forward galley.

I entertained myself for the rest of the flight with my iPod, a book and I dozed for a while. The IFE is not great on EI's older A330s so I didn't bother with it after the James Bond film ended. Approximately 2 hours prior to landing, the crew served water to those who wanted it. I used the lavatory opposite Door 3R only once. It was small but clean and pleasant. There were some great views of the icy North Atlantic coast of Canada below:

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The view over north-eastern Canada


About 1 hour before landing, the flight deck updated us again. They warned of some turbulence that would last approximately 20 mins. And sure enough, very soon after that we ran into what I felt was light bordering on moderate turbulence which lasted about 20-30mins. Some passengers did not find it amusing at all! About 45 mins before landing, the cabin crew reappeared and served afternoon tea. It consisted of a scone, butter, jam and tea or coffee. It really is a nice touch and goes down very well. My favourite thing about EI long-haul! Unfortunately I was so excited that I forgot to take a photo of it. You'll have to imagine! Descent commenced approximately 30 mins before scheduled landing time. Some time later, I noticed that we were circling in the clouds and were obviously no longer on our normal flight path. By the time we had reached scheduled landing time (15:10) and 90 miles NW of IAD, the first officer informed us that we would have to hold in pattern for approximately 30 mins due to congestion at the airport. I did not particularly mind because I got some great views of some amazing cloud formations.

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Holding in pattern in the clouds before landing


During approach the IFE system shut down and the montiors retracted. The crew collected all headphones and peformed final checks. While on final approach to runway 19L, I noticed that we were landing alongside what I think was an ERJ; of what exact type or airline I am not sure. Again I had a great (and my first parallel) landing video, but it too was butchered by the Grand Hyatt computers. Luckily I did salvage 27 seconds of it - enough to get this grab:


Parallel landing at IAD - us on approach to 19L and the other aircraft to 19R


Final approach and landing were very rough. There were lots of storm clouds in the area which I'm sure didn't help. The engines were throttling up an down quite a lot and very audibly too. It was perhaps one of the roughest landings I have ever experienced. Fun though! Big grin Landing was at approximately 15:48. On our way to gate B40, I snapped the following aircraft also at IAD:

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South African Airways A340-642


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Austrian Airlines B767-3Z9ER (OE-LAZ)


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Virgin Atlantic A340-313X (G-VAIR)


We disembarked at gate B40 which is in one of the satellite terminals of IAD. We were ushered onto a strange vehicle which was vertically telescopic to reach the 'docking' doors which were higher off the ground than the vehicle was when not extended. It was the weirdest vehicle I have ever seen! After a short ride over to the main arrivals terminal, we passed though immigration uneventfully and collected our bags from the carousel. We went to Door 4 of the arrivals hall to purchase tickets for the Washington Flyer bus to West Falls Metro Station where we got the orange line metro into the centre of Washington DC.


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We spent 3 days in the centre of Washington DC and I must say it really is a beautiful city - certainly the nicest of all the US cities I've been to. It is extremely clean, the people are very friendly and helpful and there is so much to see. Must sees include The White House, Capitol Hill, The National Air and Space Museum bigthumbsup , The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery etc. The cherry blossom trees were in full bloom while we were there - it is said to be the most beautiful time of year to see Washington and I must agree! Here's a few photos just to put you in the picture.



The Capitol Building surrounded by cherry blossom trees



The National Mall (taken from the steps of The Lincoln Memorial)



The Obama Residence



The Pentagon - you can clearly see the part that has been rebuilt after 9/11. In front of this area lies the memorial to those who perished in the attack



The Spirit of St. Louis at The National Air and Space Museum



Various other aircraft



And my favourite part - the A320 simulator which cycles through takeoffs and landings at DCA


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1st April 2009


I estimated we would need about 2 hours check-in time for our domestic flight to New York. I have flown domestic in the United States once before from SFO to LAS with VX and that was a very pleasant experience. In order to reach Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport at about 14:00, we took the blue line metro and actually ended up arriving at about 13:30.

US Airways' check-in desks are located on the upper floor of the deaprtures area. Check-in was a bit confusing. I used one of the the self-check-in kiosks (where we also paid our $15 baggage fee). At this point I chose our seats. Seats 4 A, B and C were free so I took them and then proceeded to join the queue to tag and drop the bags. When we reached the top of the queue, the agent told us to go back to the kiosk where an agent was supposed to hand us the tags. So we did that but there was no agent manning the area behind the kiosk. So we had to go back and join the queue again and specifically ask to speak to an agent who eventually handed us our tags. Phew. Ironically it would have been far quicker not to have bothered with the self-check-in. I understand that these flights are used mostly by commuters, who know how to work the system well, and not really used by tourists but a little more signage and information would have helped for those tourists who DO occasionally take these flights. Boarding was at 15:30 from Gate 41. We had lunch in one of the cafés in the main concourse.

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The long departure hall


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Information screen


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Some US aircraft


As I approached Gate 41, I noticed that the aircraft parked there was not sporting the standard US livery - instead it was white with a red and orange stripe! I snapped some shots and waited to be called for boarding.




Flight: US 2178
Route: DCA - LGA
Scheduled Departure: 16:00 Actual: 16:20
Scheduled Arrival: 17:13 Actual: 17:10
Duration: 50mins
Aircraft: Airbus A319-112
Registration: N742PS
Aircraft Delivery Date: 31/07/2000
Class: Y
Seat: 4A


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Photo © John Padgett
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Photo © Phil Derner Jr. - NYCAviation



There were not a lot of people waiting around the gate and of those who were, most looked like professionals and business people. Nobody with shades and sombreros! The gate was manned by an efficient male agent.

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N742PS at Gate 41 with The Washington Monument clearly visible in the distance


As you can see, this is a special livery with the old Pacific Southwest Airlines colours. Purchased in 1987, PSA was one of the four heritage airlines that make up the now US Airways. Boarding commenced on time at 15:30 in a very orderly fashion. First class and back rows initially, then working forward. The whole sequence was seamless and effortless. Granted though it is a small aircraft and it was not full. Being in row 4, we were amongst the last to be called.

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Our aircraft from the airbridge


Being in row 4 meant we were at the very front of the economy cabin so there was plenty of legroom between the seat and the bulkhead. Load was about 60% I'd say. The cabin was very comfortable, it had lovely leather seats and was clean. First class also seemed nice with 12 seats. Seat pitch in First Class is 37" and 21" wide. In the main cabin, seats are 18" wide with 31" pitch. Although obviously we had more pitch in our seats.

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Ample legroom in row 4, tray table stowed in right armrest and seat pocket mounted on bulkhead in front

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The outside view from seat 4A, with a Delta Connection Embraer taxiing behind us


The Captain then came on the PA to advise us that there would be some rain clouds en route which may make the journey a bit bumpy. Much to the cabin's disappointment, he also advised us that due to congestion, we had been allocated a later takeoff time of 16:29 but he said he would try to gat airborne earlier! Boarding was complete by 15:54. The aircraft is equipped with drop-down LCDs but they were not used at all during this short flight. The safety demonstration was carried out manually by the cabin crew. We pushed back and engines started. We taxied to the threshold of runway 19 where we waited for the aircraft in front of us to depart. We were waiting a total of about 20 minutes. Ahead of us was another US A319-112 in the old livery.

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N740UW ahead of us waiting for takeoff


Where we were waiting was a great spot to observe the inbound aircraft. The largest aircraft I saw at DCA that day was a B757. An AA MD-80 landed alongside us on runway 19 just before we took off at 16:20.

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AA MD-80 landing just before we took off. Washington landmarks visible in the background


Once the MD-80 was out of the way, engine number 1 started up, we movied into position, the throttles opened and we hurtled down the runway. I had never heard a second engine starting up literally just before takeoff. Takeoff was smooth and completely effortless.

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Climbing out of DCA


Soon after takeoff, the bar service began which is complimentary for non-alcoholic beverages. I ordered a coke which came as follows:

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I was pleased to get a full size can of coke, unlike EI who give out the mini-cans. But in fairness to them they will give you two if you ask nicely! First Class passengers, from what I saw, were offered a choice of snacks from a basket e.g. crisps etc. and complimantary beverages of any type. There were 4 attentants to my knowledge, 3 male and 1 female. Cruising altitude was not announced by the flight deck, but I would imagine it was in or around 22,000ft. If anybody is able to correct me on that please do so.

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At cruising altitude


The cabin crew collected the trash a short time later. I did not find the flight bumpy at all despite the warnings from the Captain. Descent commenced at approximately 16:45 and we spent most of it in the clouds where it was a little bumpy but nothing to write home about. When we came out of the clouds in New York, we were quite close to the ground and near LGA. The weather left much to be desired unfortunately.

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Final approach was quick and smooth, with a great landing on runway 22.

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We taxied all the way to Gate 18 of the US Airways Shuttle Terminal where we were amongst the first to disembark and make our way to baggage carousel 4:

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Inside the arrivals area of the US Airways Shuttle Terminal at Laguardia Airport

One of our 3 checked bags came on the carousel with the other passengers' baggage (of which there was very little - I'd say only 10 checked bags in all) but the other 2 made no appearance. It was not until after a 10 minute wait, after everyone else had left, that our names were called over the intercom and we were instructed to go to the baggage office at the end of the building. Inside sat the rest of our luggage, and we had to show tha luggage ID stickers to take it. Strange!! We proceeded to get the New York Airport Service bus to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, where our hotel was just next door. Handy!


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We spent 5 days in Manhattan. I had seen it all before, my only purpose was to show it to my parents all over again! NYC is hectic at the best of times and is certainly a big shock compared to the seemingly sleepy city of Washington DC. I won't bore you with the details, but here's a couple of shots for completeness sake.


The Grand Hyatt Hotel with The Chrysler Builging just next door



The Times Square area of Manhattan from The Epire State Building


Ground Zero as it looks today


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6th April 2009

And so for the final leg of our trip, and the part I was most looking foward to because I had never flown in one of EI's new A330 cabins. It was a terribly rainy day in NY that day so we spent most of it indoors. Our flight was not until late that evening (my rationale for choosing the latest flight was that we would still have almost a full day in NY for shopping etc.) so we had to hang around indoors a lot. Eventually 17:20 came and we got the New York Airport Service bus to JFK from just outside Grand Central Terminal on Park Avenue. The ride took over an hour, but at 18:40 we reached JFK. Our flight time was 21:40 so we were in plenty of time. The bus went to Teminals 3, 5, 7, 8 as passenger demand required and I got some great views of some nice A/C including one of the 4 EK A380s and EI-JFK which was operating EI 110 to SHN and then DUB. Finally we stopped at Terminal 4 - the international terminal from which EI operates. We headed straight to the EI desks, used the self-service check-in kiosk, tagged out bags, dropped them at the secutiry screening machine and we went down to the main departures concourse for a bite to eat and to have a look at the duty-free. Departure gate was A2 and boarding time 20:55. I could't resist going to McDonald's but there are loads of places to eat in Terminal 4. Its bright, clean, relatively spacious and very easy to navigate.

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The departures concourse of Terminal 4 at JFK


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EI-JFK operating EI 110 queues in the distance for takeoff


It was dark now at this stage but I had a look around the Terminal but unfortunately the best viewing spots are enclosed behind the walls of the lounges so its very difficult to see whats happening airside before you go through security. EI Premier Class passengers use The Oasis Lounge on the upper floor along with DL, CO, KL, TG, QR and RJ to name a few. We went through security at the A gates (which was tight but not long) at 20:10. I immediately went to each of the windows to snap some shots before I returned to Gate A2 where EI-DUZ sat waiting as scheduled.

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Swiss International Airlines A330-223 (HB-IQC)


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Etihad Airways A340-541 and Qatar Airways B773


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Air India B772


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Emirates A380-861 - an awesome sight, unfortunately I didn't catch her reg




Flight: EI 108
Route: JFK - DUB
Scheduled Departure: 21:40 Actual: 21:50
Scheduled Arrival: 09:15 Actual: 08:45
Duration: 6h 05mins
Aircraft: Airbus A330-302
Registration: EI-DUZ St. Aoife
Aircraft Delivery Date: 26/06/2007
Class: Y
Seat: 39A


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Photo © OlivierG
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Photo © Ivan Voukadinov - BGspotters



While waiting for boarding to commence, I took a photo of Aoife.

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Pre-boarding began at 20:55 with those with small children, those needing assistance, Premier passangers and finally Economy passengers. Duty free was collected half-way down the ramp to the airbridge. There was only one person handing out the purchases so it took quite a while. There was a large queue - I'd say half of all passengers had bought something. A bit inefficient I thought and I was sorry we had bought anything by the time we had waited so long for it!

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Queuing to board inside the airbidge


We were greeted warmly once again and made our way to row 39 where I of course took seat A even though technically it was not the seat marked on my pass. On my seat was another foam pillow and a navy blanket in a plastic package. The seat pocket contents were identical to those on the outbound flight. In the left armrest was the removable handset with volume, channel, overhead light and crew call buttons on one side and a keypad with gaming buttons on the other. The new cabin was lovely. Bright, spacious and clean. It seemed much more roomy than EI's older A330 cabins and of course each seat had a PTV with AVOD. I also thought the cabin was much quieter before engine start than the older A330s.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3622/3422634174_f650909109_o.jpg

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The seat itself looks less comfortable that the older ones but is actually just as comfortable. The AVOD boxes were under the seats. They're much smaller than the ones that used to be on EI-DAA which took up a LOT of room.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3609/3421835765_d5cafe06cc_o.jpg
AVOD box under the seat in front


A headcount was conducted at 21:25 and I heard one of the air stewards saying 136 - very light for an A333 I thought! Outside it was teaming rain. The flight deck welcomed and briefed us over the PA, saying that expected flight time was 5h 50mins. The safety video was then shown and I recorded it. Thankfully the Grand Hyatt computers got nowhere near this video so it is intact!

SAFETY VIDEO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNTcWT5yE2E

Again the attendants stood in the aisles at the doors facing forward as the video played. We pushed back at 21:37 and the engines started at 21:39. Taxi took approximately 15mins. I filmed the takeoff, but it didn't turn out brilliantly because it was so dark but its better than nothing.

TAKEOFF VIDEO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ib-W080wSTA

We took off striaght out over the sea so there was nothing to be seen below us in the darkness. We climbed through the rain clouds and the AVOD system was turned on about 15mins after takeoff. Initial impressions were great. It can be controlled by touching the screen or using the handset. It is divided into 6 headings as you can see in the photo:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3409/3422640676_b51838756a_o.jpg

There were 18 movies in total available to watch including Marley & Me, Slumdog Millionaire, Frost/Nixon, Changeling, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Definace and The Spirit. There were 41 TV programmes including Ugly Betty, Fawlty Towers, Family Guy (I watched this episode and it was hilarious), Sex and The City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Desperate Housewives, Top Gear and RTÉ's shows No Frontiers and Showhouse. There were dozens of albums and music videos to watch too. There were 30 games and a kids zone also. The flight information is always interesting (for enthusiasts at least) and it looked like this:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3310/3422646860_41a0e2b24c_o.jpg
The AVOD flight information screen


The bar service commenced about 25 minutes after takeoff. I ordered an orange juice which again came with a packet of savoury pretzels.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3562/3422639036_2760133eda_o.jpg

I entertained mysel for the next while with the AVOD and we encountered some light turbulence for about 20 minutes while leaving the Canadian coast. The flight deck had warned us of this beforehand. Dinner was served at approximately 23:15 (yikes that's late for dinner!). The choices were announced on the PA beforehand. They were beef ravioli or chicken with rice and vegetables. I had the beef bolognese coming out so I tried the chicken this time. It was quite tasty despite the perhaps lacklustre presentation. The tray was quite full this time - there was a tub of water, a white bread roll, salad and dressing, cheesecake for dessert and cheddar cheese with 2 small crackers. There was also an after dinner chocolate mint which I thought was a nice touch. The crew served tea and coffee. The meal was more substantial than that which was served on my outbound leg - probably because they do not serve food a second time on Ireland-bound flights, or maybe it just so happened that way.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3588/3421832933_b278a901e7_o.jpg
Dinner - chicken with rice and vegetables

Once the crew had collected all trays they conducted the duty-free service. Once that was done, they disappeared from the cabin as is traditional on EI long-haul. I used the lavatory once. It was far nicer than I expected. Very roomy - I'd say as much as 50% bigger than those on the older A330s. The decor was swish and it was clean. Big thumbs up.

For the rest of th flight I watched half of The Day The Earth Stood Still then dozed and woke to find dawn approaching us:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3603/3421839861_646a39ab2f_o.jpg

The crew served the traditional tub of orange juice about 1 hour before landing. I didn't feel the 6 hours going at all and it is most certainly down to AVOD which really keeps you occupied for longer than you might expect!

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3362/3421843859_f197296f11_o.jpg
The infamous EI breakfast on Ireland-bound flights!


By this time it was getting almost fully bright and before I knew it, we were over Irish soil. Descent commenced at about 08:15 local time.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3369/3421841141_586c8756ba_o.jpg

The crew collected headphones and did some final checks. Not long after, the spoilers were deployed:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3333/3421842299_0da1aa0f2a_o.jpg

We flew up over Kildare and to the south of Dublin where I got some great aerial views oft the city:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3658/3421845655_56e26ec2de_o.jpg
Dublin city - if you look carefully, you can see DUB in the distance with Terminal 2 under construction

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3405/3422656316_994a1d31ba_o.jpg

We flew out over the Irish sea and made a gentle 90° left turn and began out approach. I filmed the approach and landing which you can see here:

LANDING VIDEO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv6x-ZekIDk

Landing was textbook as you can see. I couldn't even hear the forward sets of wheels on the main gear touching the runway. The reverse thrusters were also very very quiet. We taxied to the B gates where we parked beside a Delta B752.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3386/3421852449_be032f80c3_o.jpg

Disembarking and passport control were easy but there was a considerable wait for the baggage which is almost always the case in DUB. Our baggage came on Belt 2 while Premier passengers have their own Belt 1. We then took a taxi back to the city.

And so ends the third and last leg of my trip.


<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>


Overall impression of Aer Lingus' long-haul product
Good consistent service which doesn't offer that many perks like EK of SQ but you get what you pay for. This was my 6th individual Y class long-haul flight with Aer Lingus and they have been consistent every time. With the upgrading of their A330s soon to be complete, it should boost consistency even more.


Overall impression of US Airways' short-haul product
Good friendly service simliar to EI and pleasantly surprised with the complimantary beverages. Comfortable aircraft. Confusing check-in though!


<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

If you have managed to make it this far, thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed my trip report and please feel free to leave feedback beacuse afterall its my first one!


Regards,

Phen

[Edited 2009-04-10 19:26:47]

31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinePlateMan From United States of America, joined May 2007, 922 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 32009 times:

Really great report, can't believe it was your first, so much info.

Glad that you enjoyed my adopted hometown of Washington. I pass by the Capitol Hilton during my lunchtime walks every day...I just hope you didn't stand on the right of the Metro escalators! ha

Every time I fly out of Dulles I see that South African jet, but yet to see the Air Lingus planes,.

I fly that US Shuttle quitte often, always the same product.

Thanks again for the great report! If your ever back in DC, just holla!

Brian

[Edited 2009-04-10 19:33:47]


"Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain
User currently offlineBZNPilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2006, 262 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 31985 times:

Great report, thanks for sharing! You included lots of detail and your pics were fantastic. Glad you enjoyed Washington. This is definitely the nicest time of year to visit--nice cherry blossoms and before the heat of the summer sets in.

Quoting PlateMan (Reply 1):
Cruising altitude was not announced by the flight deck, but I would imagine it was in or around 22,000ft. If anybody is able to correct me on that please do so.

Flightaware shows the altitude for this flight on 1 April as FL190. Seems like good service on the US flights on this leg. I was recently on a DCA-JFK flight on Comair (DL Connection) and there was no service at all.

Thanks again for your awesome report, I really enjoyed it. Hope you'll post more in the future.

BZNPilot


User currently offlinePhen From Ireland, joined Oct 2007, 316 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 31942 times:

Thanks guys, I'm well aware there's plenty of typing errors in there but I can no longer edit it so apologies!

User currently offlineSemsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 31604 times:

I am amused that EI are now copying US airlines to save expenses on the eastbound serving 2 measly chocolate chip cookies as a desert. I flew them 3 years ago and we had excellent meals in "both directions." We got a "real desert" not cookies.

User currently offlineInterpaul From Germany, joined Jul 2004, 409 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 31541 times:

Very nice trip report. I really enjoyed reading it.  yes 

User currently offlineNQYGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 31445 times:

Great report.. I really enjoyed reading it. The new Y product seems quite good- just shame about a single orange juice for breakfast- I mean, they could of at least served you with a soggy croissant like I have many memories of on KL and VS.

What language is the FA speaking at the end of that arrival video? I daren't say it sounds a bit.. Irish? Or maybe not, who knows!


Fab report again.


User currently offlineEI320 From Ireland, joined Dec 2007, 1436 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 31414 times:

Very impressive report, really enjoyed reading it. The photos were great too.

The in-flight service on EI long-haul clearly hasn't improved much, neither meal looked great to be honest. A complimentary drink with the meal would be a nice touch. The new cabins with the AVOD are excellent though.

Quoting Phen (Thread starter):
was surprised to hear that an EI long-haul would be boarding from there, because the last two times I flew transatlantic with EI, we boarded at the B gates which have immigration pre-clearance and of course the all-important airbridges

Not all transatlantics are able to pre-clear immigration due to the facilities in Pier B being too small. IAD, MCO, and the evening JFK (EI109) don't pre-clear.

Quoting PlateMan (Reply 1):
but yet to see the Air Lingus planes,.

Aer Lingus planes  Wink

The National Air and Space Museum looks very nice too.

Thanks for posting,

EI320


User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26845 posts, RR: 58
Reply 8, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 31385 times:

For your first report this was excellent. Well done. Just enough writing and also photos to match. Really enjoyed it.

As for the catering I have to say the outbound was quite lame. I got more than that on 3hr40mins LHR-ATH with OA in Y class.

The return looks an improvement like you say but I still feel EI should either offer or set up a system where you can pay for a full Irish Breakfast as they do on European routes.

It certainly makes a difference having EI-DUZ or similar PTV A/C.

Thanks for the report and hope to see more from you in the future.

OA260


User currently offlineAirthanet From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2009, 95 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 31206 times:

Nice trip report, and this is one of the best I've seen in the past few weeks.

I expect more trip reports from you soon! Happy Flying.



Recently Flown Airlines: Air Malta (KM), My Travel (MYT), First Choice (FCA), Swiss (LX), Virgin Atlantic (VS), Monarch
User currently offlineShamrock350 From Ireland, joined Mar 2005, 6321 posts, RR: 14
Reply 10, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 30987 times:

Great report!

The overall product from Aer Lingus seems reasonable, the new cabins are clearly a huge improvement but the meal service is obviously the biggest let down. The outbound beef and pasta meal is poorly presented and looks like it's missing something but the chicken on the return looks much nicer and I suppose the fact both meals tasted good is the main thing. Also nice to hear the United Airlines reference after landing, the crew on my flights to Heathrow in March were still saying in partnership with British Airways and American Airlines while on another flight they mentioned BA, AA and UA were in partnership with the fight.

The US Airways flight sounded good, the complimentary drink would come as a surprise to me. I think I'm too used to European low fare airlines like Aer Lingus and Ryanair charging EUR2.00 for a can!

Thanks for posting

Kevin


User currently offlineLGA777 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1145 posts, RR: 19
Reply 11, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 30971 times:

Phen, great first TR, as others have already said lot's of detail without overdoing it.

Now some coments about your flight on US. The Shuttle has a seperate check in area actually behind where the normal ticket counters are at DCA.. As this is a Buisness product most passengers are regulars, many flying every week, some even more often. Does not mean there should not be better signage but if you had flown US to say CLT and used the regular counter I am guessing it might have been less confusing. DCA-LGA flights are normally filed at 21 or 22000 feet. As their was less than perfect weather it sounds like that day maybe it was different. Speaking of weather it is a shame it was not a nicer day when you landed at LGA, approaches to LGA often have "GREAT" views of NYC and are some of the most interesting in the US. And finally re your baggage in LGA, while I am not sure why your bags where not all 3 together the two that where in the baggage office probably went on the 1500 DCA-LGA flight because of your early check in time. Normally the agents are really good and would have paged you right away to come retrive them in the office, they must have been busy at the time.

Both the US and DL Shuttle's are not anywhere what they used to be, no more dedicated aircraft, food, and many other of the unique ammenites are gone. However they both are still unique operations, each with seperate dedicated staffs at the three airports, and both with unusually dependable operations.

Regards

LGA777


User currently offlineAmricanShamrok From Ireland, joined May 2008, 2871 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 30831 times:

Thanks for posting; very enjoyable & good pics.

Quoting Phen (Thread starter):
I didn't feel the 6 hours going at all and it is most certainly down to AVOD which really keeps you occupied for longer than you might expect!

 checkmark   checkmark  my sentiments exactly!

Quoting Phen (Thread starter):
The infamous EI breakfast on Ireland-bound flights!

We all got ham and cheese rolls with that orange juice prior to landing in DUB from ORD last summer  scratchchin 

Quoting Semsem (Reply 4):
real desert

Yeah there's usually cheesecake with mints-not cookies.



Shannon-Chicago
User currently offlineStarAlliance38 From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 1445 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 30713 times:

Great TR! Thanks for sharing!

Quoting Phen (Thread starter):
As I approached Gate 41, I noticed that the aircraft parked there was not sporting the standard US livery - instead it was white with a red and orange stripe! I snapped some shots and waited to be called for boarding.

LUCKY :O I have looged about 40 flights with US and I have never flown some type of special livery  Sad. You are very lucky  Smile!



Roar, lion, roar
User currently offlineInterpaul From Germany, joined Jul 2004, 409 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 30604 times:



Quoting Phen (Thread starter):
Emirates A380-861 - an awesome sight, unfortunately I didn't catch her reg

A6-EDD operated flight EK202 from JFK to DXB that day.  Smile


User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8486 posts, RR: 55
Reply 15, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 30604 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Nice report and pictures, really enjoyed, thanks  Smile

Quoting Phen (Thread starter):
In total, the two Y class flights came to a mere %u20AC329 per person

- How much?

Quoting Phen (Thread starter):
As you can see, this is a special livery with the old Pacific Southwest Airlines colours

- Nice to get a retro jet, the PSA one is the best looking of the bunch.

Quoting Phen (Thread starter):
The AVOD boxes were under the seats.

- They look the same as the ones on the Air China A330's - as you say, much smaller than earlier ones!

Food looks pretty ok for economy, the return flight food being better, interesting as often the food from the states os not as good as from europe.

Breakfast was weak, however this is a relatively short flight in real terms so I guess this is ok, that said, I'd never pass a meal  Smile

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offlineSemsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 30553 times:

It is interesting that EI do not serve any breakfast at all eastbound. But they did 3 years ago give orange juice. As the meal was so good, coupled with at least 1 hour shorter flight than to most northern European destinations it was OK. The orange juice really helped.

User currently offlineShamrock604 From Ireland, joined Sep 2007, 4159 posts, RR: 13
Reply 17, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 30352 times:



Quoting Semsem (Reply 16):
It is interesting that EI do not serve any breakfast at all eastbound. But they did 3 years ago give orange juice. As the meal was so good, coupled with at least 1 hour shorter flight than to most northern European destinations it was OK. The orange juice really helped.

Its pathetic. At least a bloody croissant, or perhaps a yogourt could be added. It is just so cheap to hand that out, and not even do tea and coffee.

Gone are the days of the full cooked Irish Breakfast on the 747.. ;-(



Flown EI,FR,RE,EIR,VE,SI,TLA,BA,BE,BD,VX,MON,AF,YS,WX,KL,SK,LH,OK,OS,LX,IB,LTU,HLX,4U,SU,CO,DL,UA,AC,PR,MH,SQ,QF, EY, EK
User currently offlineCrimsonNL From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 1844 posts, RR: 42
Reply 18, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 29979 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
CHAT OPERATOR

Great report! I made a very similar trip myself last February! Good to see you enjoyed it too!

Greetings, Martijn



Fly DC-Jets!
User currently offlineEICVD From Ireland, joined Mar 2008, 2146 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 29805 times:

Hi Phen
Great report for your first try. Thanks for posting.

Quoting Phen (Thread starter):
Dublin city - if you look carefully, you can see DUB in the distance with Terminal 2 under construction

Cant quite see my "gaff" LOL

Quoting Phen (Thread starter):
but if any of you watched the Irish Popstars or You're a Star, you might remember him from those shows. He obviously didn't pursue a showbiz career afterall

I think someone might watch a little too much reality TV  Wink


User currently offlineDfwops From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 4 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 29735 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Very good Trip Report Phen and good job capturing the EI safety video. EI diplomatically shows their passengers the brace for impact position without actually saying as such on a routine pre-departure safety video. Catering on EI is distinctly low budget and I would agree that the outbound first service tray DUB-IAD was smaller compared to the JFK-DUB due to the scone/tea service that followed later on. From a catering budget standpoint the cost has to be the same in either direction.

Excellent job on the landing video back to DUB and yes, NQYGuy, the Purser is speaking Irish at the end of her taxi-in PA.


User currently offlinePhen From Ireland, joined Oct 2007, 316 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 29538 times:

Thanks everyone for the positive feedback!

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 15):
How much?

The € symbols didn't come out wery well for some reason there! The two EI flights cost €329 in total per person.

Phen


User currently offlineSkyhigh777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 377 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 29500 times:

Glad to hear you enjoyed my hometown of DC! It's by far the nicest time of year to be here, you won't freeze your ass off in the winter or sweat to death in the summer!

NYC is definitely more hectic than here, although if you go to the right parts of town on a weekend night (like Adam's Morgan or the U street/Dupont area) it's definitely bustling. Hope you come back again soon!



Prepare for take-off.
User currently offlineEIRules From Ireland, joined Aug 2007, 745 posts, RR: 10
Reply 23, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 29475 times:

Nice trip report.

Looks like the service on EI wasnt bad, looking forward to my own flights to BOS at the end of the summer, food looks a bit dodgy though!! The new aircraft is looking really good though!

Good to see US have brought back a beverage service, maybe this is something EI should follow!!

Well done again,
Andy



Next Flights: EI DUB-LHR A320, BA LHR-SFO B744, UA SFO-LAS A320, BA LAS-LHR B744, EI LHR-DUB A320
User currently offlineEIDAA From Ireland, joined Oct 2006, 828 posts, RR: 16
Reply 24, posted (5 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 29406 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Excellent trip report, thanks for taking the time to write it up and post.


Most Flown:- G-BUVA (20 Flights), EI-DEB (12 Flights), EI-JFK (11 Flights)
25 FlyKev : Brilliant report with great detail. I look forward to future reports from you. Kev
26 Signol : Great first report, keep them coming I may even have seen you, on the 29th I was at DUB, pier D, waiting for FR's 13.40 flight back to STN! signol
27 EISHN : Excellent report Phen. Delta do (or at least did when I flew with them in October '07) a fairly good breakfast for the type of flight you were on. It
28 COEI2007 : Fruit salad, yoghurt, pastry, orange juice and tea/coffee!
29 Nibog : excellent trip report Phen,just enough info and photos,really enjoyed reading it all!!!.Hopefully the first of many!! I have an up and coming trip sho
30 JFKMan : Excellent report! BTW...you could of saved yourself a lot of trouble by checking in at the handy US Airways Shuttle stands downstairs at DCA. You were
31 FCA767 : Nice Pics...I tried to do an ACARS search for JFK on that day for the EK but acarsd.org/ in my search didn't find it...but there's many servers...
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