It was time to try 5 sectors in one day. To do this, I chose 5 short flights and tried to vary the aircraft as much as possible. Trying to choose some interesting aircraft and airports, whilst at the same time trying to keep costs down and fly from my local airport, isn't always easy so this is what I came up with:
SNN - DUB - LHR - DUB - LGW - SNN
In this report I'll just cover the first three.
Date : 18 February 2009
Flight : EI132
Route : SNN - DUB
Aircraft : A330-301
Reg : EI-DUB
Aircraft Name : St Patrick
Seat : 45K
Class : Economy
Load Factor : 40%
Scheduled Dept Time : 07:00
Actual Dept Time : 07:00
Scheduled Arrival Time : 07:45
Actual Arrival Time : 07:45
I arrived at the airport at 5:30 and checked in using the Fastpass machines where I got all four boarding cards
I headed towards the security screening area and then went straight to Gate 8
I had never seen Gates 12-15 before as access is usually restricted. The doors were left open this morning so I took a little walk up to take some photos
After all the passengers who were getting off in SNN had disembarked, boarding began at 06:35. There was a light load on the flight to DUB this morning.
The operating aircraft was EI-DUB, delivered in 1994. The crew greeted everyone at the door and I took my seat - 45K, nicely settled behind the engine.
The Safety demonstration was shown on the CRT screens
The lights were dimmed and we then taxied to RWY 24 for take-off
It was a powerful, yet relatively quiet take-off and as the A330 climbed out of SNN the sun began to rise.
30 mins later we began our descent into DUB
Final approach to RWY 28
Apologies for the blurred pics
Touchdown RWY 28
Fellow inbound A330
DUB was busy with a lot of EI and FR departures
Terminal 2 is coming along nicely
We arrived at Pier B. I said goodbye to the crew and then headed to passport control which was particularly slow. In the baggage hall there was a sign informing passengers that the transfer facility was closed and passengers would have to head out to departures again for security screening. Not too big a problem though as I had plenty time.
Date : 18 February 2009
Flight : EI158
Route : DUB-LHR
Aircraft : A321-211
Reg : EI-CPH
Aircraft Name : St Dervilla
Seat : 3A
Class : Economy
Load Factor : 80%
Scheduled Dept Time : 9:00
Actual Dept Time : 10:17
Scheduled Arrival Time : 11:40
Actual Arrival Time : 11:28
After security screening I decided to go and get some breakfast and I sat down in the usual spot where I could see the Departures screen. It was only 8:15 and I still wasn't fully awake. As a result I caught the sachet of salt and poured it straight into the tea, I only realised what had happened after it had gone in. I took a chance and tasted it in the hope it wouldn't taste any different. How wrong I was.....
One of the cafe employees came over and got another tea for me without hesitation. We just laughed about it, what else could you do?
After that it was time to go to Pier B for some spotting
EY A332 bound for AUH
BD A319 to LHR
CO 757 from EWR
EI-DUB which took me to DUB
After a while I headed over to the not-so nice Pier A. EI158 was departing from Gate A14 this morning.
At 09:50 boarding commenced. I was happy to see EI-CPH parked outside, as I hadn't flown on this particular A321 before.
We were greeted at the door by two very friendly FA's and I took my seat - 3A. The whole row and also the opposite row were left free. The captain welcomed us on board and announced that our flight time to LHR would be 50 mins. He informed us of our routing and told us that we would have to hold for a small time in London. Hardly surprising.
EI have always been my preferred short-haul airline as I find them very reliable and professional from my experiences flying with them. The attitude of both the ground staff and crew members prove that EI are still very much a full-service airline when it comes to ensuring that their customers have a pleasant journey.
It's the little things that set them apart from the competitors. I saw this once again when one of the cabin crew directed an elderly lady to her seat. EI had reserved 2A for her and told her that the seat beside her had been blocked so that she'd have some extra space. I thought this was a nice touch.
There was also a BA and a VS crew member on the flight both seated in Row 1, going to work I guess.
Old Dublin Airport terminal from the 1930's
The crew perfomed the safety demonstration and we were shortly on our way. We taxied to RWY 28 and held for 5 mins.
We rolled at 10:20 for an on-time departure
When we reached our cruising altitude of 35,000ft the crew began the service without delay. As usual I opted for the Irish breakfast for 9EUR. I was still hungry even though I had already eaten.
The breakfast was very tasty, in fact one of the nicest I've ever had
It was soon time to begin our descent into LHR. We were put on hold for just over 5 mins, not long at all.
On final approach to RWY 27R
Touchdown RWY 27R
I was happy to get some final photos of BA 757's at T1
AA, AC, BA tails
I then said goodbye to the crew and left the aircraft to find that BD were offering complimentary newspapers in the airbridge, just after I'd bought the Irish Independent on board. I know they probably weren't meant for EI passengers but it's a little annoying
Date :18 February 2008
Flight : EI165
Route : LHR-DUB
Aircraft : A320-214
Reg : EI-DEO
Aircraft Name : St Senan
Seat : 29F
Class : Economy
Load Factor : 60%
Scheduled Dept Time : 15:20
Actual Dept Time : 15:17
Scheduled Arrival Time : 16:35
Actual Arrival Time : 16:15
I had almost 4 hours in LHR before the flight back to DUB so I headed over to Terminal 2 to take a look around. I then returned to T1 and went to the EI desk because I had forgotten to select an aisle seat for this flight. The machine in SNN had randomly selected an aisle seat for me which was a big no-no . The Menzies agent was very helpful and issued me with a boarding card with seat 29F. I also got a voucher for the GC lounge as entry is now permitted for a fee of £18. I'm a bit dubious about this new policy but it was years since I was last in it so I decided to try it.
Shortly afterwards I headed to security screening and then made my way to the lounge located at the EI gates 77-86
Aer Lingus Gold Circle Lounge Heathrow T1
The remaining Gold Circle lounges could be described as relics of the 1990's. They haven't been updated much since then. If you lower your expectations you might be impressed.
On entry I was greeted at the desk by the single lounge staff member. She was very friendly and I handed her the voucher. There was a total of 3 people in the lounge, including myself.
There was a reasonable selection of drinks and snacks
Out of the remaining lounges, this is the biggest and probably the best Aer Lingus has to offer these days. This truly is as good as it gets.
Overall this is a very average lounge. However it is comfortable, and the surroundings are quite nice, particularly the green carpet and the lighting. Far nicer than having to sit outside in the "tube" and probably worth £18 if you have a couple of hours to spare.
At 14:55 I left the lounge as boarding was well under way. The load was one of the lightest I've seen on this route , about 60%. We were greeted at the door by very friendly cabin crew again and I made my way towards the rear of the aircraft.
Seat 29F is in the final row. Phil seems to be very fond of this particular seat so I decided it was time to try it out I had the row to myself so it was comfortable.
Some very attractive cabin crew performed the safety demonstration and we pushed back at 15:15...
BD Hangar and SAA A343
We rolled just after 15:20 and take-off was from RWY 27R
M25 I think
The crew then began the service and I purchased the Calzone meatball pizza for €5. It was very hot, but delicious. Looks pretty small but was very filling.
I decided to stand up to get a decent cabin shot
I listened to my iPod for a while, took a small sleep and it was then time to land.
The camera batteries suddenly went dead at this point so I had to rush to get those spares I had packed
On final approach to RWY 28
The soon not-to-be SR Technics hangar
Dublin Airport with EI-JFK taxiing for departure to JFK
BD A320 off to LHR
We taxied to Pier B
EI109 climbs out of DUB
The crew seemed very happy on the way out and thanked us for flying with EI.
After that I proceeded back to Departures to check-in for my next flight to LGW.
My final two flights of the day took me to LGW (18:55 - EI248) and then back to SNN (21:45 - FR1185). At this time of the evening it was getting dark and and I decided to sit back and sleep for the final two flights, so I won't include them in this report. Both flights were on time and were uneventful for the most part. I arrived back in Shannon at 23:00.
EI248 - Final pics
Well that's it, my first time trying 5 sectors in a day. It was tiring, but well worth it as always. The fact that all the flights were on time also helped, any 1 major delay could have destroyed the entire schedule, something I was hoping would not happen!
Thanks for reading, and as always, comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.