Btriple7 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 1139 posts, RR: 9 Posted (7 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 11044 times:
Hello, this is my first trip report, so I hope all of you enjoy. I took this trip over a year ago, but since I only joined A.net a few days ago, I am now finally getting a chance to tell you about it.
Since my family and I live in the States, we only get to see our relatives and friends back home in Ireland and France every few years. When we do visit Europe, we normally don’t see all of our relations. In the spring of 2004 we decided to go meet up with all our relatives and friends and sail down to France for the month of July 2004. It was our first real family reunion.
We booked our flights directly from Aer Lingus on www.aerlingus.com. As many of you know, this website is not very professional-looking, but it gets the job done.
Since we live in Wilmington, North Carolina, our trip up to Baltimore Washington International was quite some trek. A little word of advice: Do not travel through DC during Friday rush-hour traffic. After over eight hours of driving we arrived at BWI roughly two and a half hours before our flight.
BWI is the nicest airport I have every experienced (or at least the international terminal). The only complaint I have is the lack of restaurants and shops in the international terminal. We proceeded to the Aer Lingus check-in counters, where there were literally no lines whatsoever. Check-in was fast and efficient.
We then proceeded to security. The line was 15-20 minutes long. There was only one station open. When we finally got through, then we walked to our gate. Our plane was there and on time. As anyone, who has traveled internationally from BWI, knows that the gate area for international flights is not very big and there is not much to do but sit and wait. My family and I went to the only restaurant in the international terminal. We got something to eat, and then I went around the terminal to get some pictures.
I apologize for the low quality of these pictures, but my camera is a high-tech camera like the ones some of you guys have.
The plane that would take me from the United States to Ireland:
Lorcan O Tuathail - St Laurence O'Toole - EI-EWR - Airbus A330-202:
An Icelandair Boeing 757-200:
FedEx A310 at the cargo terminal:
BA B767-300 bound for LGW (or LHR, I am not sure):
At about 1940 EI118 was ready for boarding. Like always, the business class passengers and passengers in need of assistance were called first. Then they called passengers from rows 9-20 were called. We were the next set of passengers to be called. We walked town the long jet-way to EI-EWR.
When I stepped onto the plane I was disappointed that our aircraft was not EI-DAA (the only EI plane with PTVs). I walked back to seat 26B. The rest of my family was in seats 26A, 26C, and 26D (I agreed to let my older sister have the window seat.). Boarding was completed quickly. Once boarding was complete, our captain came on to welcome us aboard and tell us that push and start would commence shortly. Once pushed back we taxied to runway 15R (if memory serves me correctly). On the way out to the runway the video screens dropped down to play the safety briefing video. The video was fairly interesting, as the safety briefing is preformed by this amusing computer-generated animated character.
Once we reached 15R we taxied onto the runway and stopped for a second. Then those two large CF6-80E1 engines revved up and we thundered down the runway. Our takeoff role did not last too long. We soon lifted off the runway and into the air. We then set our course to Shannon, Ireland, some two thousand, eight hundred and thirty nautical miles away.
Our flight was fairly uneventful. I won’t go into much detail about it. Upon reaching cruising altitude, the flight attendants started serving drinks and a snack.
Here is my can of tomato juice and some sort of crisps (I apologize for the poor quality. I didn’t want to use the flash):
I suppose it is time for me to talk about EI’s terrible IFE system. I don’t think I have ever seen a worse IFE system. Movies, TV shows, and music videos are played one after another on this row of drop down screens in the center of the aircraft (see picture below). The programs shown were The Simpsons, Everybody Loves Raymond, Laws of Attraction, and a whole bunch of music videos. The worst part was that not once during the flight did the video screens display where we were or how much time we had left in the flight. I sat on that flight wondering how much time was left before we landed (my watch didn’t help because of the time difference). I spent most of the flight looking out the window at the pitch-black, cold Atlantic.
Here is a picture of EI-EWR’s interior:
I was able to find these two pictures of EI-EWR on A.net:
I slept for about half an hour out of this six and a half hour trip. I can’t sleep on planes. One reason is that I am 6’. Finally I saw sunlight.
Sunrise over the Atlantic (I am embarrassed at the quality of this picture):
To my disappointment Aer Lingus did not serve breakfast. Instead, they passed out OJ.
Descent can be summed up in one sentence. It was quick and uneventful. Some spoilers here and some flaps there.
Landing was also uneventful. We touched down on runway 06 at SNN and taxied to our gate.
Transit at SNN:
This is part the part of my story I have wanted to tell you about. Of all my years traveling to Dublin from the US this had to be the worst SNN transit ever. Upon arriving at SNN we were told to get off with all of our belongings. Once off we were not allowed to wait in the gate area. We proceeded to the main part of the terminal. To our dismay we found out EI118 continuing onto DUB would be delayed. We went to ask an EI agent what was happening. She told us to go a particular gate (I can’t remember which one). So we proceeded back to the gate area to find out that EI118 had had an aircraft change. We would be lumped with Dublin-bound travelers who had just come from JFK on EI. Our new plane was an A330-300 (EI-JFK). We would not get the same seats we had from BWI-SNN, so I was determined to get at the front of the line for a window seat. I have never seen such appalling service from airline agents like those of EI on that day. The EI agents were getting angry at passengers for coming up to the gate and asking what was happening. They gave priority to the JFK-SNN-DUB passengers. Then we BWI-SNN-DUB passengers were allowed to board. My family and I got seats on the right side of the plane (right next to the engine!).
Once aboard I was able to relax. We taxied out to runway 06 in light rain and took to the air once again.
The flight was most enjoyable. The crew was friendly and the skies were beeeaaauuutiful.
Arrival at DUB:
Once we arrived at DUB we taxied to our gate and stopped. We waited a little while as they tried to adjust the jet-way. Since they couldn’t quite get the jet-way right, we would exit through door 1L instead of door 2L, so we got to walk through business class on the way out. Business class wasn’t anything amazing, but it didn’t look terrible.
We got through immigration quickly and proceeded to pick up our baggage.
All in all, I think I caught Aer Lingus a bad time. 2004 was not one of their better years. The service I received was terrible at SNN, but the flight crews seemed to be trying hard not to show their frustrations about EI. Most of EI’s employees looked overworked and overstressed. With all its problems EI is still one of my favorite airlines. Dermot Mannion certainly has his work cut-out for him. I am hoping he steers EI in the right direction.
I love EI and hope to see it regain its international status.
On a side-note I was very disappointed to hear EI dropping the BWI-DUB route. I surprised they did. There seemed to be a market there.
I hope you enjoyed this trip report and my awful pictures. I hope to fly EI again soon!
BTW: I really enjoyed my summer in Europe and I hope to post my very enjoyable return trip soon.
Taichen From Spain, joined Jul 2001, 209 posts, RR: 0 Reply 1, posted (7 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 10957 times:
NIce report. I don't think you need to worry so much about the pictures.
EI was a fairly decent airline, AFAIK. It is sad to see what they have become. It is just me , or anyone else thinks that One World is nothing but a sum of "old glory" airlines like nowadays behave like LCC with an attitude ?
Catatonic From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 1155 posts, RR: 3 Reply 2, posted (7 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 10749 times:
Hi, nice report, I flew JFK-DUB-LPL with EI, I must say after flying out to JFK with AA I was a little dissapointed with EI. I was on an A333 with pretty much the same entertainment as you had. To be honest I thought EI was very good for the price I paid but I suppose I would expect more from a one world partner, OJ for breakfast was just plain poor!
Shamrock_747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 4, posted (7 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 10722 times:
Very interesting report, not many EI transatlantic trips pop up here. There have certainly been some drastic changes at EI over the last few years. It is good to see their financial position improving, though of course it is a shame that it appears to go hand in hand with the cutting of quality service.
Yeah that website is horrible. There are plenty of high school students on Anet that could do a much better job. An airline website without a picture of a plane on it, go figure.
Quoting Btriple7 (Thread starter): To my disappointment Aer Lingus did not serve breakfast. Instead, they passed out OJ.
Did they serve you any food? You just got crisps on a transatlantic flight? That is pretty horrible for an airline that is supposed to be full service across the ocean. And to think that people complain about no food on domestic flights within the US.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
Btriple7 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 1139 posts, RR: 9 Reply 7, posted (7 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 10663 times:
Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 6): Did they serve you any food? You just got crisps on a transatlantic flight? That is pretty horrible for an airline that is supposed to be full service across the ocean. And to think that people complain about no food on domestic flights within the US.
We did get dinner, of course (Chicken or beef ). I would hate to see the day when an airline stopped serving dinner on eastbound transatlantic flights. This was the first tome, however, that I did not receive breakfast. I supressed my hunger by buying a packaged ice cream cone (FOR BREAKFAST!!! ) at SNN. SNN doesn't have any real restaurants. I was starving by the time we got into Dublin. I am hoping EI changes its "no breakfast" policy soon.
Shamrock350 From Ireland, joined Mar 2005, 6100 posts, RR: 15 Reply 9, posted (7 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 10446 times:
Its sad to see that as Aer Lingus' short-haul improves its long-haul disappears completely. I did fly with them earlier this year from Dublin to Chicago and found them great I had a tasty dinner and a very nice breakfast but I agree on the terrible IFE, but that should soon be upgraded with the new order and new routes whenever they may be.
Btriple7 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 1139 posts, RR: 9 Reply 11, posted (7 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 10099 times:
Thanks for all the replies. I will try to post the return trip by the end of the week.
For anyone who is wondering, I really enjoyed my vacation in Ireland and France. We spent about a week in Dublin. We then took a P & O Ferry from Rosslare, Ireland to Cherbourg, France. I was able to visit the town where I was born, Fontainebleau. I hadn't returned to visit there in over seven years. I was also able to spend a day in Paris. I forget how much I miss Paris and its diverse cultures. We then drove to Cherbourg to catch the ferry back to the Emerald Ilse. I hope to go home and visit Europe again within the next two years.
LH459 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 886 posts, RR: 1 Reply 13, posted (7 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 9950 times:
Quoting Btriple7 (Thread starter): suppose it is time for me to talk about EI’s terrible IFE system. I don’t think I have ever seen a worse IFE system. Movies, TV shows, and music videos are played one after another on this row of drop down screens in the center of the aircraft (see picture below)
Too young to have flown in the 80s (and early 90s) then?
Just teasing. Seriously, I'm just as shocked as everyone else that they didn't serve breakfast!
"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is temporary; the evil it does is permanent" - Ghandi
ZRH From Switzerland, joined Nov 1999, 5540 posts, RR: 40 Reply 14, posted (7 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 9967 times:
I flew on EI on short-haul ZRH-DUB-ZRH. I have to say that their A 320 are nice and the pitch is ok for a two hour flight. But there is nothing more. No free service at all. It is like a LCC carrier but the fares are higher. Actually I don't mind at all having no service on short-haul but then I would like to fly for a reasonable price. Actually the flights with AerLingus are ok and but there is no reason to fly them when you find cheaper flights with other airlines, like RyanAir or EasyJet. Or an other example: I flew on Helvetic between ZRH and Naples. The "service" was the same but the fare much lower and the seat pitch 33 inch on their F 100, which is very good for short-haul (and you even got a free chocolate at deboarding ).
AA767LOVER From Hong Kong, joined Aug 2007, 551 posts, RR: 0 Reply 15, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 8248 times:
I find it very strange. In my experience, we were not even to get off the plane in SNN. I would have loved to at least step down and see what the SNN terminal was like and then get back in. But the layover in SNN was short, and the doors closed again, so no point to really get off.
That was a shame, however, it was nice to touch down in Ireland. The approach into Shannon was absolutely breathtaking and I could not think of a better experience! The green hills were visible and the cliffs, and all! It was soooo nice! Even better, I had taken up the offer for the $500 upgrade to Premier and will never regret it!!!
Don't be surprised about the breakfast. We didn't get served breakfast either, even in Premier. Or else I was asleep?
Anyways, we did get a meal because we left at 7 or 8 p.m. from JFK. Mine was the second last flight leaving JFK for DUB via SNN.
Glad you like going home to Ireland. If I were Irish, I would be proud too!!!
My one desire (make that two): Guinness and a Pub pie . . . or two.
J.I. Tsui, American Advantage Member, United Mileage Plus (Premier)