We had to leave our house pretty early that morning because of the stricter security measures in place at Dublin Airport .All transatlantic passengers are asked to check in 3 hours before your flight, the good thing about this is that you clear US immigration at Dublin before boarding your aircraft so it means less time spent in queues at the other of your trip. Dublin Airport wasn’t that busy and it took us less than 10 minutes to check-in so we had a good bit of time to kill which we did in the departures area bar!!
Our flight aboard a very spacious and comfortable 767 N1612T (I think) started boarding 40 minutes before scheduled departure and that meant an on-time push back and virtually no time spent at the runway 28 holding point except to let a Ryanair 737 arrive and an Aer Lingus A330 depart ahead of us. I guess our aircraft was very heavily loaded because we used virtually every bit of runway before getting airborne.
The 8 hour 30 minute flight itself was a pretty boring one spending nearly 7 hours over sea and then quite a lot of the US eastern seaboard was under cloud but the on board entertainment was OK and the meals were very good also.
We landed in Atlanta pretty much to the minute that we were told we would by our Captain and taxied to a stand surrounded by Delta aircraft except for a BA 777. We now had a 3-hour wait for our connecting flight to Chicago, but by the time we had “identified” our luggage and checked it in again we only just had time to grab a bite to eat and a drink. They must be tight for space at Atlanta because there was a 757 parked on stand beside our window in the bar and the wing tip was only a couple of feet away from us.
Ageing 727 N524DA operated delta flight 728 but it was a very enjoyable 1hour 30-minute trip over the night time American midland followed by the normal 30-minute hold into ORD.It really is a spectacular sight to see the American country at night , the lights just seem to go on for ever in the distance.
I wont bore you with our touristy side of the trip except to say that the Sears Tower and The Hancock Center are both definitely worth a trip to the top at night .The constant string of aircraft landing lights is amazing to see from here.
Our return trip was two days after AA587 flight went down so everybody was a little on edge and security was as tight as I’ve ever know anywhere .Our flight was supposed to be Delta to JFK and Continental from Newark to Dublin but we didn’t fancy the idea of getting from JFK to EWR in 3 under hours so we asked our check-in agent if he could transfer us over to Aer Lingus who fly out of JFK also. After a quick phone call he managed to get us the last 2 seats on EI 104 to Dublin, so we were able to relax on our Comair flight (operated by CRJ N719CA). We were brought in over Manhattan and down over Queens so although our pilot didn’t mention it I was able to see both the WTC site and AA 587’s crash site. A very sad sight but I didn’t say anything to anyone about it , passengers were on edge enough without actually seeing it for themselves.
We parked amid other Comair regional jets and ASA aircraft and transferred to a coach which brought us too Delta’s terminal and from there we had to make our way to terminal 4 to check in with Aer Lingus. I must say that the signs showing directions from one terminal to the next are non-existent at JFK and we had to ask someone for help on more than one occasion. However we got there and checked-in with a little time to spare so we took a walk around the shops and grabbed a quick and very expensive drink in one of the bars before making our way to the gate.
A very full Airbus A330 (EI-SHN) was to be our lift home and we departed pretty much on time and again got a lovely view of Manhattan at night before turning out over the North Atlantic and heading for home.
As nice as all the Delta staff were to us on all our flights , you still cant beat coming home to Ireland on board an Aer Lingus aircraft and Shamrock 104 touched down on runway 28 at Dublin at 06.20 bringing to an end my latest trip abroad. I really had a great time in Chicago and would recommend it to anyone, the only problem is that with security being so tight I hardly got a chance to photograph an Airplane over the week I was there.
Hope you enjoyed reading my report if you have any questions I’ll gladly reply to them.