So after my 3 week extravaganza visiting my Dad's side of the Family in County Tyrone and my Mum's side of the Family in County Dublin, it was finally time to say Slan leat to the Emerald Isle and head home to New Zealand.
Dublin was a great city and I loved it there! To be honest I thought Belfast was a bit better but Dubliners posed to be more friendly and there was some great scenery and history to be explored in Dublin. I chose to leave from Dublin Airport as opposed to Belfast because Aer Lingus is my favourite airline (of course) and most of my family is down South.
10th October 2006
Flight : EI168
Seat : 21A
Scheduled departure : 1440
Actual arrival : 1600
Gate : A4
I arrived at Dublin Airport at 10:40am for a 1:40pm departue. I did this because, I wanted to make sure the bag would be checked right through to Auckland. When we got in, we looked at the Departure boards and saw that my flight was not on it! My family and I all began to panick and ran to the nearest EI agent we could see. We told him my situation and he told us to go to the stand-by counter as my flight had been cancelled!
Anyway, we made it to the Standby counter and were greeted by a very nice EI agent. She said that I had been booked onto an earlier flight but had the option of going on a later one. Of course, this did not suit, as I had to connect to Cathay Pacific to go to Auckland! In the end I got the later flight, but it meant that there would be a rush the minute I got to Heathrow! Also I'd just like to take the opportunity to thank that EI agent for not charging me for extra luggage, she let me take 27kg CHECKED luggage and didn't weigh the hand luggage! Also, all my bags were checked through to AKL even though I had booked the EI and CX flights on seperate tickets.
I was supposed to depart at 1:40pm on the EI166 but would now be departing at 2:40pm (pushed back to 3pm) on the EI168!
Dublin Airport is PACKED and should be expanded more. But I loved the accents and the numerous little airlines that I usually don't see like Aer Arran and Cityjet! After waiting around I went through Customs and Immigration. Ireland is the only European country to have pre-US customs clearance but I was surprised when I found it to not be as strict as LHR security.
Here are some spotting pics :
All flights to the UK leave from section A of the Airport and once in section A, you can't leave it again to visit section B and C of the Airport so I left going to the gate untill the very last minute. I did some last minute duty free shopping for family back home and got an Aer Lingus model plane A330! EI flights were going all over the place to cities like Rennes and New York and most of them seemed packed! I also saw a few unusal carriers like Turkish Airlines - don't know why they were in Dublin!
At about 10 past 2 I went into Section A. It was by no means pretty and it was not signposted very well. When I got to the gate for boarding at 14:15 like it said on my Boarding pass, there seemed to be a delay and the plane now wasn't leaving untill 3pm :
After getting some food and drink, having a last little spot of planes like Ryanair and Aer Arran, it was time for boarding. Well, so I thought. There was no announcement, just a rush of passengers to the gate. No lines. One staff member was checking everyone's passports and boarding cards. But nonetheless, I was in good spirits and it didn't get me down because I was going back to NEW ZEALAND!
Boarding was not done through an air-bridge. We walked out onto the aircraft which made for some awesome shots! Oh and today's flight was on an A321 - EI-CPC or simply 'St Feargus' :
Once onboard we were greeted by 3 female F/A's and 1 Male F/A. All were lovely and very well presented. I absolutely love the EI uniform, hope it doesn't change. My seat was just over the wing and I would say that the flight was about 60% full meaning an empty seat next to me. It was clear also, that the majority of the PAX onboard were connecting onwards and were not O&D traffic. South Africans, Chinese and Australians made up the majority of the passengers.
Safety demo was done manually as there are no over head screens. Announcements were only done in English, not Gaelic which surprised me. Anyone know why? Taxiing :
The line up:
The new Water Tower :
An EI 332 landing :
Taking off :
While we were reaching our cruising altitude, the Captain came on to say that flight time today would be 1 hour, so we would be arriving as expected even though we had the 20 minutes delay due to late passengers. Shortly after, cabin crew came around with food, drink and gift offerings. I was impressed by the 'Skyshopping' catalogue and bought the Aer Lingus pens.
The new leather seats on Aer Lingus are VERY comfy and I thought they were better than the CX one's in terms of comfort! Also, I was very lucky to have 32" of seat pitch as opposed to 29" on Easyjet, 30" on Ryanair and 31" on British Airways!
Traffic was heavy over LHR so we had to do a circle but only once. This meant we got some beautiful views whilst coming through th clouds TWICE, before we came into land :
Announcements were again only done in English which confused me and also there were advertisements for 'Hertz' car rental and 'Aerlingus.com'
After landing, I had to rush to the Flight Connections centre for my connecting flight to HongKong. What also puzzled me was the fact that Aer Lingus flights were seperated from the other flights, like in DUB where once you were in, you couldn't get back out again.
Anyhow, I hope you all enjoyed my Trip Report. Sorry it was brief.
Aer Lingus is a fantastic airline and even with the buy on-board service, the airline definately is still one of the best in Europe. Never hesitate to fly with them.
GO THE SHAMROCK!
My next trip report should be :
AKL-HKG-LHR-HKG-AKL on CX - coming soon.