American Airlines #116
SKD DEP: New York JFK T8 2330
SKD ARR: London Heathrow T3 1130 +1
ACT DEP: 0035
ACT ARR: 1125
Boeing 777-223 N780AN
Seat: 30C Economy
Photo © Daniel Werner
Summer was over and now these flights take me back for my final year at TCD. I was looking forward to this flight for several reasons….namely the fact that I can do everything I normally do in a day and then head to the airport. The fact that the 777 is my favourite aircraft doesn’t hurt either. So, we left my house at around 8:45 and arrived at the chaotic T8 around 9:40pm and I was checked-in by 9:55pm. Bags were tagged to DUB and I was given by boarding card for the EI flight. The guy who checked me in was pretty smart….he knew I booked the EI flight under the BA codeshare to qualify for mileage. The Admirals Club closed at 10:30pm so I didn’t even bother. Sat down for a cup of coffee in au bon pain and then headed out to Gate 10. The only other flight going out at this time was the EZE flight, which looked rather light. I believe that is still operating as a 777.
Boarding began just after 11:00 and we were ready to go at 11:30pm but for some reason we weren’t going anywhere. The flight was quite empty. It was about ½ full in economy. I was in the bulkhead and had the 2 seats next to me empty. At around 11:45pm I saw a few passengers boarding. I thought this quite strange and only could think that the VS 11:10pm flight was either cancelled or oversold. Sure enough I was right when they announced another airline had a cancellation and that AA 116 was taking them on. There weren't that many - only about 25. The crew reassured everyone who was connecting that we would still be arriving on time at 11:30am – that our flying time was very short at 5 hours and 40 minutes.
Finally – at 12:35am we pushed back and were on our way to London. The crew were rather quick to get the meal out but that was entirely reasonable given we all wanted to sleep. This evening’s choice was the usual chicken or steak. I thought this time I would give the steak a try. It was slightly overdone for my taste but it still ranks as one of the better airline meals I’ve had. I can’t say I’ve ever not enjoyed a meal I’ve had on AA. I took a look at the inflight entertainment but "Insomnia" just did not peak my curiosity so I decided that since I only had 2 hours sleep the night before I would sleep. I slept most of the way across the Atlantic. Our routing was JFK-BOS-YHZ-just under SFJ-ORK-CWF-LHR. Just off the coast of Ireland I woke up. We were cruising at 39,000 feet at 690mph. The plane was still dark inside though. The purser had come around and turned all the shades down. I had forgotten that the other time I did this flight that half way through you hit broad daylight due to the very late departure. So, that was great a few hours of so called sleep.
I started then to play with my radio and do the crossword in the American Way magazine. I have to say that was a great idea to put some mind games in there to keep you occupied. Shortly thereafter breakfast came around which consisted of a tray with blueberry yogurt, a banana, orange juice, coffee/tea, and a hot croissant. I ate everything except the banana. Again, a very good meal from AA. I think EI have eliminated this part of their inflight service bar the cup of tea/coffee.
Landing was ahead of schedule into LHR on the runway parallel to the ROI departures (Gates 82-90) – I don’t know the runways yet at LHR.
The transfer to the EI flight was uneventful and easy. I arrived at the Gold Circle Lounge somewhere about 12:00pm. Had a few cups of coffee before boarding was called for the 1325 to DUB.
October 7, 2002
Aer Lingus #163 / BA #5963
SKD DEP: London Heathrow T1 1325
SKD ARR: Dublin Ireland 1440
ACT DEP: 1335
ACT ARR: 1440
Airbus 321-211 EI-CPF
Seat: 14F Economy
Photo © Colin K. Work
It amazes me that every LHR flight EI operates is sold out. This flight was jam packed – more than the usual because this flight was only 6 rows of Premier (2-3 configuration) and the rest a 3-3 config. Usually there are about 10-12 rows Premier. Needless to say there were a lot people on this flight – mostly Americans. I took my seat at the windowless window seat 14F. I fell asleep immediately and did not wake up until after we had landed in Dublin.
I couldn’t tell you what the inflight service was or anything else. The seats were VERY cramped – I was in pain when I got up in DUB. We arrived into the C Pier – the new pier at DUB.
As I have said before DUB is a dump and it only gets worse and worse and worse. Years ago, the Irish would complain that as foreigners they did not arrive in the USA with money to pay for trolleys/carts for baggage. The Port Authority then allowed free carts to international arriving passengers. Now, the always free carts in DUB are now subject to a 1 euro rental. It seems things have gone backwards. Now, I’m not complaining about paying a euro…..but the fact that there were 4 change machines out of order was totally unacceptable. 45 minutes after landing baggage finally started to come out and then I wheeled the two pieces out into arrivals where I had a relative meet me.
Overall…..It was a good trip. AA lived up to what I have come to expect from them. I won’t comment on EI because I slept but I think they are deteriorating.
My next report will be my first ever Ryanair report. I took one of the free flight deals to Manchester and although such a short flight I will post my reactions to Ryanair. I wasn’t overly impressed with Go so lets see how FR do.
I’m also doing DUB-LHR-CPT, VFA-JNB, and JNB-LHR-JFK in November/December so anyone having done those routes with BA I would appreciate any advice. I will be in Club World for those monster long flights.
Thanks for reading!