Six weeks before our trip, I shopped around online for the best prices and settled on two Aer Lingus flights; EI 119 DUB - IAD on the 29th March 2009 and EI 108 JFK - DUB on the 6th April 2009. In total, the two Y class flights came to a mere %u20AC329 per person. EI usually operate DUB - IAD with the A332 and this was scheduled on the website for our flight. As expected an A333 was scheduled for the JFK - DUB leg. Then I set about booking the domestic flight from Washington to New York. The best I could find was US Airways US 2178 DCA - LGA on April 1st 2009, again Y class, for $74 each plus an extra $15 each for 1 checked bag <19kg. The scheduled aircraft was an A319. Even though EI's long-haul baggage limit is 36kg, we kept our outbound bags below 19kg so as not to have to pay the upper $50 fee with US . We then booked accommodation; the Capital Hilton in Washington and the Grand Hyatt in New York. I tried my best to wait patiently for the next six weeks to pass, during which time I found out that EI-EWR was scheduled to operate our outbound flight and, to my delight, EI-DUZ was to operate the inbound. EI-EWR is EI's second oldest A332 (delivered 2000) and is not equipped with PTVs. She is due to leave the fleet this year but some rumours suggest that she may remain on a power by the hour basis. EI-DUZ is the second newest of EI's 5 A333s (delivered 2007) and has AVOD .
So if you're ready, lets go!
29th March 2009
The scheduled departure time for our outbound flight was 12:30. EI recommends allowing 3 hours for transatlantic check-in (primarily to allow time for US immigration clearance) so we took a taxi from the house in Dublin at 09:00 which brought us to the airport at 09:30. I was happy to get a good look at the progress of Terminal 2 which is quite visible from the motorway and surrounding areas and although its taking great shape, its nowhere near finished yet. Into the departure hall we went. Being a Sunday morning, the airport wasn't terribly busy but there was still a sizeable crowd. I looked up at the huge information board in the departures area which informed me that we should go to check-in Area 4.
I used the self check-in machines (of which there are were plenty to choose from) to print our 3 boarding passes and we brought our bags to the "Bag Tag and Drop" desks where the agent tagged our bags and informed us that there was no US immigration pre-clearance at DUB for the Washington flight and that the aircraft would be boarding at the D gates. These gates are located in Pier D of Dublin's Terminal (soon to be called Terminal 1 when Terminal 2 opens) which is primarily used by Ryanair and short-haul EI flights. I was surprised to hear that an EI long-haul would be boarding from there, because the last two times I flew transatlantic with EI, we boarded at the B gates which have immigration pre-clearance and of course the all-important airbridges. Thankfully it was a beautiful day so I knew we wouldn't get too wet! Boarding time was 11:40 at gate D69 and after waiting in quite a decent queue for security, we had coffee and a snack airside and I took out my camera and began to snap some shots.
Progress of Terminal 2 with EI-DEJ "St. Killian" pulling up to the gate
Progress of Pier E of Terminal 2
Pier B with a Continental B757-224 (N26123) bound for EWR and a Delta B767-332ER (N1604R)
A US Airways B757-200 bound for PHL. Note two EI A332s parked in the backgound
3 in 1! The same Delta and Continental aircraft as above, with an SAS B737 landing on runway 28
And with that done, we proceeded to make the long journey down to the D gates. It takes about 10 minutes walk from "The Street" (Dublin's duty-free shopping area) to get to Pier D. Its a fresh and spacious addition to the airport which only opened a couple of years ago. It was busy but not crowded. Almost all of the flights leaving from here were short-haul. No delays to my flight were indicated on the information screens. Approaching gate D69 I could see the large green bird through the windows but couldn't catch her reg until we were actually at the gate. And sure enough, EI-EWR sat there as scheduled waiting to be readied for boarding. I had hoped that a rota change would occur leaving us with EI-DUO (EI's newest A332 with AVOD) or EI-DAA (an older A332 which had PTVs and has already undergone cabin upgrade to AVOD). Either of these aircraft almost always serves the lengthy 10h plus flight to SFO (I myself having been on EI-DAA to SFO and back again from LAX last summer). We sat and waited to be called for boarding.
Flight: EI 119
Route: DUB - IAD
Scheduled Departure: 12:30 Actual: 12:36
Scheduled Arrival: 15:10 Actual: 15:48
Duration: 8h 12mins
Aircraft: Airbus A330-202
Registration: EI-EWR St. Laurence O'Toole
Aircraft Delivery Date: 09/05/2000
Photo © Michael Carter
Photo © Ralph Duenas - Jetwash Images
While waiting to board, I noticed that there didn't seem to be very many people waiting at the gate so I suspected that the load may be light.
St. Laurence O'Toole at gate D69 almost ready for boarding
Boarding commenced on time at 11:40 starting with those with small children, those needing assistance, Premier Class passengers and finally Ecomony Class passengers. There was no boarding sequence or orderly queue for the Y passengers so people came at the gate from all angles which was a bit disorganised and too Ryanair-like for my taste! However, since the load was reasonably light, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Down the stairs and out onto the tarmac we went.
As the photo shows, boarding was through Door 2L. At the top of the stairs, I recognised one of the male attendants. I won't give his name but if any of you watched the Irish Popstars or You're a Star, you might remember him from those shows. He obviously didn't pursue a showbiz career afterall. We were greeted warmly and instructed to pass through the galley and down to the back of the aircraft. On reaching seat 37K I could see an FR B737 alongside us. In my seat was a small foam pillow and in the pocket in front of me was the safety card, headphones, the "Cara" in-flight magazine and the in-flight shopping magazine. The seats on EI's older A330s are reasonably comfortable although after a while your derrière does get sore on a long flight! Seat pitch in Economy is 31" and 17" wide. In Premier, pitch is 52" and the seats are 20" wide.
Cabin view from seat 37K
I would have estimated the load at about 65-70%. The aircraft pushed back on time, the engines sprang into life and the safety video was played on the overhead CRT monitors. The cabin crew stood in the aisles at the doors facing forward as the video played. We taxied out to runway 28 where there was a short wait to takeoff. Takeoff was smooth, effortless and on time. I recorded the takeoff on video which turned out really well but to my horror, it was destroyed by one of the computers in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York when I tried to copy it onto my USB stick to make room for more photos and video . I did however manage to salvage the first 8 seconds from which I took this grab:
Lining up for takeoff on runway 28
Soon after takeoff the flight deck updated us on our flight path and time. The overhead monitors came down and the in-flight entertainment began. It consisted of television programmes such as Fawlty Towers, Ugly Betty, music videos and promotional videos for various causes. The bar service began approximately 30mins after takeoff. Soft drinks are complimentary but there is a charge for alcoholic beverages e.g. spirits cost %u20AC5 each up to champagne which costs %u20AC15. I ordered a Jameson with coke which always hits the spot for me on a long flight!
Served with drinks was a small packet of savoury pretzels which only really serve to make you hungrier for the meal later on! Enjoyable though nonetheless. Not long after the bar service ended, the first of two movies began to play. The first movie was Quantum of Solace (James Bond always goes down well), the second was Four Holidays (not so much). Cruising altitude was 39,000ft.
Cruising over the North Atlantic
Before lunch was served, the cabin crew announced tha dinner choices and apologised "in advance if your choice is not available due to previous passenger demand". The choices today were chicken casserole with vegetables and beef bolognese with pasta. Lunch was then served approminately 1h 30mins after takeoff. I chose the beef bolognese which was tasty and did what it said on the tin. Hardly fancy gourmet, but as they say, you get what you pay for. Lunch was served with honey mustard pasta salad, a white bread roll with butter, a tub of water and two chocolate chip cookies. Also on the tray was a packet containing a knife, fork, spoon, salt, pepper, sugar and freshner. Tea and coffee were then served.
Being honest, I thought the lunch satisfactory but not fantastic. The salad and main meal were nice but the 'dessert' was a bit lazy and there was no cheese and crackers as is usual on EI long-haul.
The in-flight shopping service began almost immediately after the lunch service ended. There were various offers on fragrances, cigarettes, alcohol etc. but I didn't but anything. As usual on EI long-haul, the cabin crew then disappeared and it was annnounced that the galley at the rear of the aircraft "is now a crew work area" and that if passengers wanted to cross the aircraft, they should use the area at Doors 3. Non-alcoholic beverages however were available for self-service in the forward galley.
I entertained myself for the rest of the flight with my iPod, a book and I dozed for a while. The IFE is not great on EI's older A330s so I didn't bother with it after the James Bond film ended. Approximately 2 hours prior to landing, the crew served water to those who wanted it. I used the lavatory opposite Door 3R only once. It was small but clean and pleasant. There were some great views of the icy North Atlantic coast of Canada below:
The view over north-eastern Canada
About 1 hour before landing, the flight deck updated us again. They warned of some turbulence that would last approximately 20 mins. And sure enough, very soon after that we ran into what I felt was light bordering on moderate turbulence which lasted about 20-30mins. Some passengers did not find it amusing at all! About 45 mins before landing, the cabin crew reappeared and served afternoon tea. It consisted of a scone, butter, jam and tea or coffee. It really is a nice touch and goes down very well. My favourite thing about EI long-haul! Unfortunately I was so excited that I forgot to take a photo of it. You'll have to imagine! Descent commenced approximately 30 mins before scheduled landing time. Some time later, I noticed that we were circling in the clouds and were obviously no longer on our normal flight path. By the time we had reached scheduled landing time (15:10) and 90 miles NW of IAD, the first officer informed us that we would have to hold in pattern for approximately 30 mins due to congestion at the airport. I did not particularly mind because I got some great views of some amazing cloud formations.
Holding in pattern in the clouds before landing
During approach the IFE system shut down and the montiors retracted. The crew collected all headphones and peformed final checks. While on final approach to runway 19L, I noticed that we were landing alongside what I think was an ERJ; of what exact type or airline I am not sure. Again I had a great (and my first parallel) landing video, but it too was butchered by the Grand Hyatt computers. Luckily I did salvage 27 seconds of it - enough to get this grab:
Parallel landing at IAD - us on approach to 19L and the other aircraft to 19R
Final approach and landing were very rough. There were lots of storm clouds in the area which I'm sure didn't help. The engines were throttling up an down quite a lot and very audibly too. It was perhaps one of the roughest landings I have ever experienced. Fun though! Landing was at approximately 15:48. On our way to gate B40, I snapped the following aircraft also at IAD:
South African Airways A340-642
Austrian Airlines B767-3Z9ER (OE-LAZ)
Virgin Atlantic A340-313X (G-VAIR)
We disembarked at gate B40 which is in one of the satellite terminals of IAD. We were ushered onto a strange vehicle which was vertically telescopic to reach the 'docking' doors which were higher off the ground than the vehicle was when not extended. It was the weirdest vehicle I have ever seen! After a short ride over to the main arrivals terminal, we passed though immigration uneventfully and collected our bags from the carousel. We went to Door 4 of the arrivals hall to purchase tickets for the Washington Flyer bus to West Falls Metro Station where we got the orange line metro into the centre of Washington DC.
We spent 3 days in the centre of Washington DC and I must say it really is a beautiful city - certainly the nicest of all the US cities I've been to. It is extremely clean, the people are very friendly and helpful and there is so much to see. Must sees include The White House, Capitol Hill, The National Air and Space Museum , The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery etc. The cherry blossom trees were in full bloom while we were there - it is said to be the most beautiful time of year to see Washington and I must agree! Here's a few photos just to put you in the picture.
The Capitol Building surrounded by cherry blossom trees
The National Mall (taken from the steps of The Lincoln Memorial)
The Obama Residence
The Pentagon - you can clearly see the part that has been rebuilt after 9/11. In front of this area lies the memorial to those who perished in the attack
The Spirit of St. Louis at The National Air and Space Museum
Various other aircraft
And my favourite part - the A320 simulator which cycles through takeoffs and landings at DCA
1st April 2009
I estimated we would need about 2 hours check-in time for our domestic flight to New York. I have flown domestic in the United States once before from SFO to LAS with VX and that was a very pleasant experience. In order to reach Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport at about 14:00, we took the blue line metro and actually ended up arriving at about 13:30.
US Airways' check-in desks are located on the upper floor of the deaprtures area. Check-in was a bit confusing. I used one of the the self-check-in kiosks (where we also paid our $15 baggage fee). At this point I chose our seats. Seats 4 A, B and C were free so I took them and then proceeded to join the queue to tag and drop the bags. When we reached the top of the queue, the agent told us to go back to the kiosk where an agent was supposed to hand us the tags. So we did that but there was no agent manning the area behind the kiosk. So we had to go back and join the queue again and specifically ask to speak to an agent who eventually handed us our tags. Phew. Ironically it would have been far quicker not to have bothered with the self-check-in. I understand that these flights are used mostly by commuters, who know how to work the system well, and not really used by tourists but a little more signage and information would have helped for those tourists who DO occasionally take these flights. Boarding was at 15:30 from Gate 41. We had lunch in one of the cafés in the main concourse.
The long departure hall
Some US aircraft
As I approached Gate 41, I noticed that the aircraft parked there was not sporting the standard US livery - instead it was white with a red and orange stripe! I snapped some shots and waited to be called for boarding.
Flight: US 2178
Route: DCA - LGA
Scheduled Departure: 16:00 Actual: 16:20
Scheduled Arrival: 17:13 Actual: 17:10
Aircraft: Airbus A319-112
Aircraft Delivery Date: 31/07/2000
Photo © John Padgett
Photo © Phil Derner Jr. - NYCAviation
There were not a lot of people waiting around the gate and of those who were, most looked like professionals and business people. Nobody with shades and sombreros! The gate was manned by an efficient male agent.
N742PS at Gate 41 with The Washington Monument clearly visible in the distance
As you can see, this is a special livery with the old Pacific Southwest Airlines colours. Purchased in 1987, PSA was one of the four heritage airlines that make up the now US Airways. Boarding commenced on time at 15:30 in a very orderly fashion. First class and back rows initially, then working forward. The whole sequence was seamless and effortless. Granted though it is a small aircraft and it was not full. Being in row 4, we were amongst the last to be called.
Our aircraft from the airbridge
Being in row 4 meant we were at the very front of the economy cabin so there was plenty of legroom between the seat and the bulkhead. Load was about 60% I'd say. The cabin was very comfortable, it had lovely leather seats and was clean. First class also seemed nice with 12 seats. Seat pitch in First Class is 37" and 21" wide. In the main cabin, seats are 18" wide with 31" pitch. Although obviously we had more pitch in our seats.
Ample legroom in row 4, tray table stowed in right armrest and seat pocket mounted on bulkhead in front
The outside view from seat 4A, with a Delta Connection Embraer taxiing behind us
The Captain then came on the PA to advise us that there would be some rain clouds en route which may make the journey a bit bumpy. Much to the cabin's disappointment, he also advised us that due to congestion, we had been allocated a later takeoff time of 16:29 but he said he would try to gat airborne earlier! Boarding was complete by 15:54. The aircraft is equipped with drop-down LCDs but they were not used at all during this short flight. The safety demonstration was carried out manually by the cabin crew. We pushed back and engines started. We taxied to the threshold of runway 19 where we waited for the aircraft in front of us to depart. We were waiting a total of about 20 minutes. Ahead of us was another US A319-112 in the old livery.
N740UW ahead of us waiting for takeoff
Where we were waiting was a great spot to observe the inbound aircraft. The largest aircraft I saw at DCA that day was a B757. An AA MD-80 landed alongside us on runway 19 just before we took off at 16:20.
AA MD-80 landing just before we took off. Washington landmarks visible in the background
Once the MD-80 was out of the way, engine number 1 started up, we movied into position, the throttles opened and we hurtled down the runway. I had never heard a second engine starting up literally just before takeoff. Takeoff was smooth and completely effortless.
Climbing out of DCA
Soon after takeoff, the bar service began which is complimentary for non-alcoholic beverages. I ordered a coke which came as follows:
I was pleased to get a full size can of coke, unlike EI who give out the mini-cans. But in fairness to them they will give you two if you ask nicely! First Class passengers, from what I saw, were offered a choice of snacks from a basket e.g. crisps etc. and complimantary beverages of any type. There were 4 attentants to my knowledge, 3 male and 1 female. Cruising altitude was not announced by the flight deck, but I would imagine it was in or around 22,000ft. If anybody is able to correct me on that please do so.
At cruising altitude
The cabin crew collected the trash a short time later. I did not find the flight bumpy at all despite the warnings from the Captain. Descent commenced at approximately 16:45 and we spent most of it in the clouds where it was a little bumpy but nothing to write home about. When we came out of the clouds in New York, we were quite close to the ground and near LGA. The weather left much to be desired unfortunately.
Final approach was quick and smooth, with a great landing on runway 22.
We taxied all the way to Gate 18 of the US Airways Shuttle Terminal where we were amongst the first to disembark and make our way to baggage carousel 4:
Inside the arrivals area of the US Airways Shuttle Terminal at Laguardia Airport
One of our 3 checked bags came on the carousel with the other passengers' baggage (of which there was very little - I'd say only 10 checked bags in all) but the other 2 made no appearance. It was not until after a 10 minute wait, after everyone else had left, that our names were called over the intercom and we were instructed to go to the baggage office at the end of the building. Inside sat the rest of our luggage, and we had to show tha luggage ID stickers to take it. Strange!! We proceeded to get the New York Airport Service bus to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, where our hotel was just next door. Handy!
We spent 5 days in Manhattan. I had seen it all before, my only purpose was to show it to my parents all over again! NYC is hectic at the best of times and is certainly a big shock compared to the seemingly sleepy city of Washington DC. I won't bore you with the details, but here's a couple of shots for completeness sake.
The Grand Hyatt Hotel with The Chrysler Builging just next door
The Times Square area of Manhattan from The Epire State Building
Ground Zero as it looks today
6th April 2009
And so for the final leg of our trip, and the part I was most looking foward to because I had never flown in one of EI's new A330 cabins. It was a terribly rainy day in NY that day so we spent most of it indoors. Our flight was not until late that evening (my rationale for choosing the latest flight was that we would still have almost a full day in NY for shopping etc.) so we had to hang around indoors a lot. Eventually 17:20 came and we got the New York Airport Service bus to JFK from just outside Grand Central Terminal on Park Avenue. The ride took over an hour, but at 18:40 we reached JFK. Our flight time was 21:40 so we were in plenty of time. The bus went to Teminals 3, 5, 7, 8 as passenger demand required and I got some great views of some nice A/C including one of the 4 EK A380s and EI-JFK which was operating EI 110 to SHN and then DUB. Finally we stopped at Terminal 4 - the international terminal from which EI operates. We headed straight to the EI desks, used the self-service check-in kiosk, tagged out bags, dropped them at the secutiry screening machine and we went down to the main departures concourse for a bite to eat and to have a look at the duty-free. Departure gate was A2 and boarding time 20:55. I could't resist going to McDonald's but there are loads of places to eat in Terminal 4. Its bright, clean, relatively spacious and very easy to navigate.
The departures concourse of Terminal 4 at JFK
EI-JFK operating EI 110 queues in the distance for takeoff
It was dark now at this stage but I had a look around the Terminal but unfortunately the best viewing spots are enclosed behind the walls of the lounges so its very difficult to see whats happening airside before you go through security. EI Premier Class passengers use The Oasis Lounge on the upper floor along with DL, CO, KL, TG, QR and RJ to name a few. We went through security at the A gates (which was tight but not long) at 20:10. I immediately went to each of the windows to snap some shots before I returned to Gate A2 where EI-DUZ sat waiting as scheduled.
Swiss International Airlines A330-223 (HB-IQC)
Etihad Airways A340-541 and Qatar Airways B773
Air India B772
Emirates A380-861 - an awesome sight, unfortunately I didn't catch her reg
Flight: EI 108
Route: JFK - DUB
Scheduled Departure: 21:40 Actual: 21:50
Scheduled Arrival: 09:15 Actual: 08:45
Duration: 6h 05mins
Aircraft: Airbus A330-302
Registration: EI-DUZ St. Aoife
Aircraft Delivery Date: 26/06/2007
Photo © OlivierG
Photo © Ivan Voukadinov - BGspotters
While waiting for boarding to commence, I took a photo of Aoife.
Pre-boarding began at 20:55 with those with small children, those needing assistance, Premier passangers and finally Economy passengers. Duty free was collected half-way down the ramp to the airbridge. There was only one person handing out the purchases so it took quite a while. There was a large queue - I'd say half of all passengers had bought something. A bit inefficient I thought and I was sorry we had bought anything by the time we had waited so long for it!
Queuing to board inside the airbidge
We were greeted warmly once again and made our way to row 39 where I of course took seat A even though technically it was not the seat marked on my pass. On my seat was another foam pillow and a navy blanket in a plastic package. The seat pocket contents were identical to those on the outbound flight. In the left armrest was the removable handset with volume, channel, overhead light and crew call buttons on one side and a keypad with gaming buttons on the other. The new cabin was lovely. Bright, spacious and clean. It seemed much more roomy than EI's older A330 cabins and of course each seat had a PTV with AVOD. I also thought the cabin was much quieter before engine start than the older A330s.
The seat itself looks less comfortable that the older ones but is actually just as comfortable. The AVOD boxes were under the seats. They're much smaller than the ones that used to be on EI-DAA which took up a LOT of room.
AVOD box under the seat in front
A headcount was conducted at 21:25 and I heard one of the air stewards saying 136 - very light for an A333 I thought! Outside it was teaming rain. The flight deck welcomed and briefed us over the PA, saying that expected flight time was 5h 50mins. The safety video was then shown and I recorded it. Thankfully the Grand Hyatt computers got nowhere near this video so it is intact!
SAFETY VIDEO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNTcWT5yE2E
Again the attendants stood in the aisles at the doors facing forward as the video played. We pushed back at 21:37 and the engines started at 21:39. Taxi took approximately 15mins. I filmed the takeoff, but it didn't turn out brilliantly because it was so dark but its better than nothing.
TAKEOFF VIDEO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ib-W080wSTA
We took off striaght out over the sea so there was nothing to be seen below us in the darkness. We climbed through the rain clouds and the AVOD system was turned on about 15mins after takeoff. Initial impressions were great. It can be controlled by touching the screen or using the handset. It is divided into 6 headings as you can see in the photo:
There were 18 movies in total available to watch including Marley & Me, Slumdog Millionaire, Frost/Nixon, Changeling, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Definace and The Spirit. There were 41 TV programmes including Ugly Betty, Fawlty Towers, Family Guy (I watched this episode and it was hilarious), Sex and The City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Desperate Housewives, Top Gear and RTÉ's shows No Frontiers and Showhouse. There were dozens of albums and music videos to watch too. There were 30 games and a kids zone also. The flight information is always interesting (for enthusiasts at least) and it looked like this:
The AVOD flight information screen
The bar service commenced about 25 minutes after takeoff. I ordered an orange juice which again came with a packet of savoury pretzels.
I entertained mysel for the next while with the AVOD and we encountered some light turbulence for about 20 minutes while leaving the Canadian coast. The flight deck had warned us of this beforehand. Dinner was served at approximately 23:15 (yikes that's late for dinner!). The choices were announced on the PA beforehand. They were beef ravioli or chicken with rice and vegetables. I had the beef bolognese coming out so I tried the chicken this time. It was quite tasty despite the perhaps lacklustre presentation. The tray was quite full this time - there was a tub of water, a white bread roll, salad and dressing, cheesecake for dessert and cheddar cheese with 2 small crackers. There was also an after dinner chocolate mint which I thought was a nice touch. The crew served tea and coffee. The meal was more substantial than that which was served on my outbound leg - probably because they do not serve food a second time on Ireland-bound flights, or maybe it just so happened that way.
Dinner - chicken with rice and vegetables
Once the crew had collected all trays they conducted the duty-free service. Once that was done, they disappeared from the cabin as is traditional on EI long-haul. I used the lavatory once. It was far nicer than I expected. Very roomy - I'd say as much as 50% bigger than those on the older A330s. The decor was swish and it was clean. Big thumbs up.
For the rest of th flight I watched half of The Day The Earth Stood Still then dozed and woke to find dawn approaching us:
The crew served the traditional tub of orange juice about 1 hour before landing. I didn't feel the 6 hours going at all and it is most certainly down to AVOD which really keeps you occupied for longer than you might expect!
The infamous EI breakfast on Ireland-bound flights!
By this time it was getting almost fully bright and before I knew it, we were over Irish soil. Descent commenced at about 08:15 local time.
The crew collected headphones and did some final checks. Not long after, the spoilers were deployed:
We flew up over Kildare and to the south of Dublin where I got some great aerial views oft the city:
Dublin city - if you look carefully, you can see DUB in the distance with Terminal 2 under construction
We flew out over the Irish sea and made a gentle 90° left turn and began out approach. I filmed the approach and landing which you can see here:
LANDING VIDEO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv6x-ZekIDk
Landing was textbook as you can see. I couldn't even hear the forward sets of wheels on the main gear touching the runway. The reverse thrusters were also very very quiet. We taxied to the B gates where we parked beside a Delta B752.
Disembarking and passport control were easy but there was a considerable wait for the baggage which is almost always the case in DUB. Our baggage came on Belt 2 while Premier passengers have their own Belt 1. We then took a taxi back to the city.
And so ends the third and last leg of my trip.
Overall impression of Aer Lingus' long-haul product
Good consistent service which doesn't offer that many perks like EK of SQ but you get what you pay for. This was my 6th individual Y class long-haul flight with Aer Lingus and they have been consistent every time. With the upgrading of their A330s soon to be complete, it should boost consistency even more.
Overall impression of US Airways' short-haul product
Good friendly service simliar to EI and pleasantly surprised with the complimantary beverages. Comfortable aircraft. Confusing check-in though!
If you have managed to make it this far, thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed my trip report and please feel free to leave feedback beacuse afterall its my first one!
[Edited 2009-04-10 19:26:47]