City Pair: DUB-JFK (Nonstop)
Carrier: Aer Lingus
Flight Number: EI105
Date: 17 Dec
Scheduled Dep Time: 1030, Actual 1040aprox
Scheduled Arr Time: 1300, Actual 1330aprox
Equip: Airbus A330-300 (EI-DUB)
I arrived at DUB at 0725 for a 1030 departure, I felt this would allow good time to clear security and US immigration. The queues at the area for transatlantic check-in were already quite long and only 4 agents were on duty. There were lots of families with lots of luggage ahead of me. I feel that 4 agents to check in flights to New York, Los Angeles and Boston is insufficient. It took me 25 minutes aprox to reach the top of the queue, at this stage it was running (not only through the barriers) but also at least half way down the entire length of the check-in hall. Check-in staff were acceptable. Passenger processing speeds at check in, however, were slow. It took a full 5 minutes to check in some families of 4 passengers.
Having cleared security and US immigration I waited in the departure lounge for the B gates and waited for the flight to be called. Boarding was fast and efficient and ICTS security staff were present in the jetway carrying out additional checks on some passengers.
The cabin itself was clean and bright and the 32” pitch seems comfortable for a transatlantic flight. I am 6’1 and had no difficulties with respect to comfort during the flight. This was aided by adjustable lumbar supports. Safety demo was on video and gave all the standard procedures, it is a cartoon format which hopefully makes it slightly more attractive to PAX who do not pay attention. Entertainment on this aircraft was provided by overhead screens and two movies were shown along with other programmes. There were also a number of audio channels. Crew were professional and friendly, most were young and had a positive attitude to their work. There was a drinks service early in the flight, this was followed by lunch (chicken or beef), the chicken was good as was the starter and dessert. A scone with jam was served prior to arrival. Drinks were not available at all times between services but crew were happy to oblige requests. It should be noted that this flight was 7hrs 40mins aprox due to headwinds.
Arrival in JFK was a little behind time, luggage was off quickly and uniformed staff were available to deal with queries.
City Pair: JFK-DUB (Nonstop)
Carrier: Aer Lingus
Flight Number: EI108
Date: 20 Dec
Scheduled Dep Time: 2120, Actual 2110aprox
Scheduled Arr Time: 0850, Actual 0745aprox
Equip: Airbus A330-200 (EI-DAA)
Arrived about 3 hrs prior to departure again. Aer Lingus operate from terminal 4 at JFK. There were 7 desks open and Aer Lingus were operating 3 flights, 1 to Shannon and 2 to Dublin. EI108 to Dublin was their last flight of the day so I was early. Check in was a breeze and the staff were very professional and friendly, and asked me if I was happy with my seat or would I like to choose a different one. After receiving a boarding card and having bags tagged I was instructed to take them to the security area where they are taken for screening and are sent to the aircraft. JFK T4 is a very pleasant place to spend a couple of hours, its spacious and airy and there is a good choice of shops and food outlets. I cleared security about 1.5 hours prior to departure, it was quick and thorough. The departure lounge is very large and comfortable and there is a good airside view. Boarding was on-time and staff were efficient.
On entering the aircraft I noticed that there were stains on seats and tables and the standard of cleaning could only be described as moderate. Legroom at some seats was slightly impeded by IFE units positioned under the seats. Cabin crew were quite friendly and professional, the older members of the crew tended to be less helpful to passengers. In-flight entertainment was good and was provided by seatback TVs. There was a good choice of movies but they were not on demand. There was also an airshow of the aircraft progress and stats. It is important to note that this flight became extremely turbulent quite quickly and at one point the crew took their stations also. This caused disruption to the in-flight service. This consisted of drinks service, dinner and breakfast. Dinner was delayed by 1.5hrs and the choice was again chicken or beef. The chicken was poor quality and fatty. Cheescake was served with the meal for dessert and this was very pleasant. No hot beverages were served for safety reasons on account of the turbulence. Crew demonstrated a lot of helpfulness with a large number of passengers who became ill during the flight and seemed sensitive towards people. The flight was quite short due to tailwinds and was rather unpleasant due to the turbulence, it was only made more pleasant due to the good attitude of the crew.
Disembarkation took a long time, though this was due to passengers. Luggage took 45mins to arrive and my bag arrived 60mins after arrival of flight, this represents poor service to me.
Overall ratings out of 10:
Aircraft (cabin ambience, seating, cleanness): 8/10
Ground services: 5/10 (Check in and luggage services in DUB require major improvement)
Cabin crew (professionalism, friendliness, presentation): 8/10
In-flight catering: 5/10 (Requires improvement)
In-flight entertainment: 6/10 (All aircraft should be upgraded to have PTVs)
My overall experience with Aer Lingus is consistent with my usual opinion on the carrier, they are consistent in all areas and are not outstanding in any. That said, I have had one very poor experience with the airline on a short-haul flight. For me Aer Lingus represent good value for money and provide a reasonably good service.