Well, as ever, Ryanair had one of their £5 seat sales last month and as I had a small amount of money left I booked, without hesitation, a day return from Birmingham to Dublin on 7th September for £10. This report, however, is from 14th September, as my parents decided they wanted to cash in on this seat sale so booked a day trip the week after mine. I went along with them purely for another 2 flights! Haha.
Flight Number: FR663
From:Birmingham International (T2, Gate 1)
To: Dublin Airport (T1)
(Actual): Off Stand – 08:05, Airborne – 08:10
(Actual): Touchdown – 08:55, On Stand – 09:05
Aircraft: Boeing 737-8AS
Class of Travel: Economy
Seat: Free Seating (24F - Window)
Photo © Peter Pabel - Aviation Arts
We got up at around 5am to get everything ready and by 6 we were ready to leave. As I'm insured on my parents car, I was the one driving us to Birmingham Airport that morning. It didn't take long, thanks to living next to the M6 Toll road, so we were there just after 06:35. We drove straight to Long Stay 1 to park up, however it seems like the whole world and his uncle had gone on holiday as the car park was rammed - however, 5 minutes later we managed to find a spot in the furthest possible place from the terminal! Once we'd parked up we walked directly to Terminal 2 and straight up the escalator to the security check area, since we'd checked in online and only had hand baggage for the short day in Dublin.
Security was quicker than usual, although it's never very long with T2 being small, so we were through without any hassle into the departure lounge. The delay in finding a parking spot had made us a little late and it was 15 mins until the gate was due to open, so we grabbed a quick coffee from Costa, and queued up when everyone else did at Gate 1, despite nothing having been announced anywhere yet. Unlike my trip on the 7th, we didn't have priority boarding so we joined the main scrum and got relatively close to the front. 5 mins after we started queuing they commenced boarding and we were let into the holding area, the priority and other queues separated down 2 aisles. Once this happened I began to relax, knowing we'd all be able to sit together and I'd get a window for the flight.
10 minutes later, our aircraft arrived and everyone deplaned. Literally as soon as the last person had gone to arrivals, we were allowed to board. Since most people were heading to the front stairs, we went around to the back and got on there. There was hardly anyone on board at the back so had free choice really, ending up in row 24 DEF as I wanted a decent wing view.
On stand 1, while boarding continues.
Still boarding the flight.
Boarding took a while, and whilst it continued the Captain welcomed us onboard told us flight time would be a little over 45 minutes, we'd be cruising at 26,000ft and that the weather in Dublin was the same as in Birmingham, maybe a little warmer. After the last pax boarded, the door was closed and we pushed, some 10 minutes behind schedule.
Pushed back, starting engines with T2 visible.
However, runway 33 was in use we had a fairly short taxi, waiting for the Aer Lingus flight to Dublin to depart ahead of us and a BD regional ERJ to land.
EI263 to DUB departing ahead of us, despite it being scheduled 10 mins after!
We entered runway 33 and didn't bother stopping before takeoff power was applied, and we were soon airborne, getting up just after the old runway intersection.
Passing the new International Pier, CO 757, Helvetic Fokker, TCX 757 and BE E95 visible.
Airborne runway 33.
We flew relatively straight out with a few turns en route to Dublin.
Overflying the suburbs of Birmingham.
Broken through the clouds, climbing to 26,000ft.
The crew, all Eastern European this morning, commenced the buy-on-board service offering various hot and cold drinks, food, scratchcards, bus tickets, you know the deal with Ryanair. I just ignored the selling, although the constant announcements by crew annoyed my Mum! Haha. The flight was very uneventful, with climb and cruise both being very smooth. The cloud was covering everything, so views were limited really, so I just sat there looking out of the window while the time passed.
The Captain came on again just over half way through the flight informing us that we would be landing in about 20 minutes time, approaching Dublin from the North and landing on runway 10, whilst the weather was much the same as before with a light breeze from the Northeast. With that we started our descent toward Dublin and the speed brakes were put up for the majority of the descent, finally turned off before we entered the cloud whilst approaching Dublin.
Speed brakes in action.
Still descending, nothing of Ireland to see beneath the cloud!
Caught our shadow inside the rainbow effect!
We entered the cloud for a short period of time, but there were not that many jolts. We continued to slow and descend, turning to line up with runway 10.
Flying through the cloud.
On finals now.
Dublin City in the distance.
We flared over runway 10 and slammed down onto the tarmac, before very heavy braking and reverse thrust slowed us to taxi speed where we exited left off the runway. I must say, these Ryanair landings are always a thrill - never had a gentle one yet!
Over runway 10.
Another EI A330!
Parked up on stand.
Deplaning via the rear stairs.
After the not-so-short taxi to the other side of the D Pier, we arrived on stand and were promptly let off. We disembarked via the rear stairs, with a thank you and goodbye from the pleasant crew, and headed into the pier for the lengthy walk to border control, where it wasn't massively full, and we were through and sorted in about 5 minutes. Quick and efficient, the way I like it! Once through to arrivals we bought our day rambler bus tickets for €6 each and headed into the city on the 747 Airlink bus.
I thoroughly enjoyed both my visits to Dublin, there's so much to see and do, and the people are really friendly. On my own visit, I walked absolutely everywhere, just to get my bearings of the place, however this time we spent several hours in the Guinness Storehouse first, enjoying our complimentary pint of Guinness before heading back to the city to look around. 2 very enjoyable days, either way. Here are a few pics from both days!
Inside Trinity College.
9,000 year lease on the Guinness Factory.
Inside the Storehouse.
Again inside the Storehouse.
Guinness Factory view from the Gravity Bar.
Flight Number: FR672
From: Dublin Airport (T1, D67)
To: Birmingham International (T2, Gate 1)
(Actual): Off Stand – 18:20, Airborne – 18:30
(Actual): Touchdown – 19:10, On Stand – 19:20
Aircraft: Boeing 737-8AS
Class of Travel: Economy
Seat: Free Seating (24A - Window)
Photo © Kamil Kasznicki
We headed back to Dublin Airport on the 747 Airlink bus, and arrived at around 5pm. We immediately headed for security, which had an average sized queue which took 10 minutes to get through. We were through the other side within another 5 minutes, with no hassle here either, and had around half an hour to wait before our flight was due to board. Again, we sat down with a coffee to pass the time. As the coffee shop was opposite our boarding gate, D67, I noticed everyone had stood up at the gate - the typical kneejerk reaction all FR pax seem to have when all the gate agent does is turn up... not even do anything. Anyway, as I was worried about sitting together, we headed over to the gate and lined up, eventually ending up about half way down the normal queue.
10 minutes later, at around 17:50, our aircraft arrived and begun deplaning the pax. Soon after this, we began boarding and went through straight down to the aircraft. Again, we opted to take the rear stairs and I really didn't have to worry much since most people had got on at the front, so the rear cabin was mostly empty when we boarded. The FA checked our boarding pass and invited us to take a free seat, so we headed down to row 24 again and sat on the left this time, in ABC. Boarding didn't take all that long, and soon afterwards everything was shut up and we were ready for the off once more.
Parked up on stand 109R, alongside a much much newer FR 738.
The Captain came on to inform us the flight would be 40 minutes, roughly, and would be relatively smooth, whilst the weather in Birmingham was scattered clouds and 12c. We pushed back bang on 18:20, started the engines, and started a rather fast taxi to runway 10.
Taxiing out past the D Pier.
Nearly entering runway 10.
We entered runway 10 via one of the high speed exits off runway 28, so we entered particularly fast and performed a rolling takeoff - it's been a long time since I had one of these types of departures, so it was quite fun! We rotated off the runway and climbed into the skies of Dublin and out over the Irish Sea, engulfed in cloud.
Terminal 2, looks great!
Leaving Dublin behind.
Now above the cloud over the Irish Sea, climbing to cruise.
We climbed to our cruise altitude, which I've forgotten, with a few tiny jolts of turbulence along the way, and again the flight was non-eventful really. The crew (1 Irish, 3 Eastern European this evening) again started their selling of overpriced food, drink, etc etc. so I paid no attention and just admired the view outside as we flew across the Irish Sea toward England.
Finally, the Irish Sea is visible beneath us!
The Captain again came on to give us an update, telling us we were over Liverpool and would be descending into Birmingham, flying past the airport, then returning back to land on runway 33, approximately 10 minutes ahead of schedule. We flew over the countryside as we continued to descend toward Birmingham.
Descending over somewhere.
My house is down there somewhere!
Slowing down over Staffordshire.
As promised, we flew a downwind leg for runway 33, overflying the city of Birmingham, and thus giving me a wonderful view over BHX as we flew past it to the left.
Downwind 33, overview of BHX.
Executing a 180 degree turn to line up with runway 33.
A beautiful sunset whilst on finals.
The approach was rather bumpy, especially the last few miles, which was rather fun as today had been lacking any real motion! We flew over the A45, over the 33 threshold, and again slammed down on runway 33, before the, now expected, heavy braking action, especially so when we neared the Bravo taxiway turnoff, which we indeed did make!
Turning off onto Bravo taxiway.
We taxied back past the new International Pier, toward Terminal 2, and parked up on the same gate that we'd left from earlier - bang on schedule at 19:20.
The new International Pier again.
Back, on stand 1, after an exhausting day!
We deboarded shortly afterwards, exiting via the rear airstairs with another thankyou and goodbye from the female FAs, and headed into the terminal via the jetbridge.
City of Nyköping decals.
Under the wing of EI-DCP on the way to the jetbridge and terminal.
We were off the plane and out into arrivals, thanks to no border control, in 5 minutes which was very pleasing indeed. We headed back to the car park, paid up, and then headed back home.
Both Ryanair flights were on-time, or early, so there's no complaints from me there. The cabins were clean enough, and comfortable, although leg room is a tad tight for me at 6ft4in - this is easily lived with, since the flight is under 1 hour anyway. I've been trying to get one of Ryanairs newer 738s, not that it really matters once you're inside the thing... but they evaded me on these flights, with both aircraft from 2004. The crew, whilst not great, were pleasant enough and did their job, so again there are no complaints there. Dublin itself is a great city, and I'll definitely take advantage of any future Ryanair sales between the UK and Ireland. Overall, then, I have no complaints with Ryanair and would use them again on domestic or Irish sectors.
Thanks for reading, and I do apologise for the marks on the windows in the photos!