EI132: Shannon Airport (SNN) – Dublin Airport (DUB)
EI107: Dublin Airport (DUB) – Shannon Airport (SNN)
Truth be told, I got the inspiration for doing this “daytrip” to Dublin from fellow member EI320 who posted a Trip Report on the SNN
rotation a few months ago. Aer Lingus are reducing frequency on the Dublin-Shannon sector in March (whereby it wouldn’t be possible to do daytrip flights anymore) so I acted fast. I booked the flights about a week beforehand; EI
have a flat fare of €135.22 return for SNN
(quite expensive but definitely worth it). I attend college in Limerick and I had no lectures on that Thursday morning and would get 2 extra hours in Dublin than if I had gone on Wednesday. I couldn’t find anyone else to accompany me who would pay that money and just go to Dublin Airport and back, but how bad!
I awoke Thursday morning (the 4th) at 04:30 and got ready. I had a taxi booked for 05:00 to take me to the bus station as a taxi straight to the airport would have been too expensive. Anyway the taxi arrived 10 minutes late and I left my accommodation on Courtbrack Avenue at 05:10, to arrive at Limerick Bus Station at 05:15 at a cost of €6.70. The station was deserted so I was on bus #343 to Shannon Airport via Shannon Town (Oakwood Arms) in seconds. Apologies in advance for the poor quality pics.
The bus departed a minute early at 05:19. There were 5 passengers in all on board. We arrived at SNN
at 05:47, 8 minutes early. I proceeded to check-in for both my flights at one of the EI Fastpass
machines. There were about 10 people in line for check-in, presumably last-minute passengers that were taking the EI380 to LHR
had 2 of their 10 desks open.
I went upstairs and had breakfast, there were a few around, it wasn’t just me, before joining the non-existent queue for security at 06:20. I was using my student card as my form of photo ID
and the very friendly airport police officer at the entrance to security asked me if it was the only ID
I had, I said it was and she said “ok that’s no bother Kevin, enjoy your flight”. I walked through security without difficulty and went straight into the departure lounge. The first thing I noticed were the huge changes going on airside at SNN
following the opening of full US Customs and Border Protection preclearance last July. I hadn’t been in this section since then and things were changing drastically for the better. Now renovations are ongoing so it will be some time before it is complete. But fair play to the Shannon Airport Authority, there were signs up apologising for the temporary lapse in appearance.
Gate 6/106 undergoing renovation
The layout of the airside section has undergone a major change since last summer. A few points of interest:
→ Departure gates 6-14 are re-named to 106-114 for flights departing them that use the US CBP
preclearance. Flights using these gates that don’t utilise the preclearance use the traditional gate numbers (6-14).
→ The two-way system that was in place on the pier (departing passengers facing the apron, arriving passengers facing the car park) has changed. There are now two levels, the top level serves departures and the bottom level serves arrivals (passengers now go downstairs to passport control immediately after coming in off the airbridge, similar to US airports i.e. ORD
→ The part of the pier that formerly facilitated arriving passengers is now used solely for departing passengers that are NOT using US CBP
The new preclearance facility is located just above where the old US Immigration preclearance used to be.
There is a corridor leading around the preclearance hall for passengers that don’t use it (similar to the former layout):
Wonder what these are doing here? This is at the entrance to the extension (Gates 12/112-14/114)
My aircraft for EI132; EI-DUO/St Columba
I would board this morning through Gate 11.
There were 17 other people waiting to board EI132. This flight had just come in from Boston and was continuing to Dublin on the same flight number. The BOS
passengers had already disembarked and the aircraft was being de-iced before and while we boarded.
Boarding commenced at 06:36 and I was the third passenger to board. There were about 60 people that had arrived from BOS
that were travelling onwards to DUB
and were already on board, many of them asleep. I deliberately chose 42K as my seat – at the very last row for reasons I’ll explain later.
As I was seated near the aft galley I overheard one of the crew saying she was called in at short notice (6am) and she was told that “they’d hold the aircraft for her”, she must have been crewing the EI107 (DUB
) that afternoon. At 06:53 the doors were closed and we were welcomed by the cabin crew, who thanked the BOS
passengers for their patience. We pushed back from Gate 11 at 07:00 on the dot, 5 minutes early.
We started taxiing at 07:05 via taxiway A to Runway 6. We did not backtrack despite the restricted length due to the re-surfacing at the 24 side. I must admit that the runway looked awful short from the A entrance judging by the lights, but the takeoff roll was very short and we were airborne within seconds. 5 minutes after takeoff we experienced some mild turbulence. We reached a cruising altitude of 14,500 feet (FL145) at 07:15 followed a minute
later by the beginning of the descent. The first brightness of the day was seen in-flight:
We then made a sharp turn north for a Runway 10 approach at DUB
Visibility was very poor so I couldn’t get any pictures of the landing. We had a bumpy landing on RWY10 at 07:38 and we were on-stand at Gate 302 (formerly B32) at 07:42. The Shannon-based crew thanked everyone on behalf of Captain Newport and that hoped to see us again soon.
Now was the part I most anticipated. I sat at the very back of the aircraft so everyone else got off before me. As I was making my way towards the front I bumped into one of the cabin crew and asked if it would be possible to meet the pilots in the flight deck. He said that they were probably gone because they had a long night and are usually the first off the aircraft, but that he’d check for me anyway. They were still there sure enough and welcomed me to the flight deck of EI
It had been years since I last visited a flight deck so it was exciting. The captain was Paul Newport and the first officer was Steve Glasspool, who was Canadian. They were both very nice and answered all my questions about how they became pilots and the cost of doing so. I chatted to them for about 5 minutes and they showed me the “Christmas tree”, a lit-up display of the overhead panel. They told me that it’s a long day when all those lights are illuminated!
Anyway most of the cabin crew had disembarked by the time I was finished there was just 2 or 3 left who escorted me to the door. I thanked them and said goodbye. Little did I know I’d be seeing them later on my return flight back to SNN
Cool O2 advert on the way to the baggage hall
I went through Customs and was landside for my 4 hours of venturing around Dublin Airport. This was my first time outside of Pier B at DUB
so it was a welcome change. I was very impressed by DUB
, it’s a lot bigger and more modern-looking than I made it out to be. It is also very easy to navigate. Here are the pics:
I spent about 2 hours landside and then I decided to go through security and explore the gate area. There was no queue for the Domestic/Business Security Fast-track so I was through in seconds. I looked for my return flight to SNN
on the screen and it showed an on-time departure of 12:10 from Gate 110 (in Pier D). I went to the B pier first where there was an EI
320, 2 EI
330s, a departing CO
752 for EWR
, a US 752 and 2 DL
763s, one of which was just departing to JFK
US723 going to PHL and onwards to MCO
Then I went to the C Pier which only led so far before it was closed off. This concourse is temporarily closed to allow for the construction of Terminal 2. There was still British Airways and Aer Rianta signage here.
Then it was off to Pier A.
WX5004 just arriving from Paris-CDG
EI494 going to FAO
Apparently once you go into the A Pier you can’t come back out again so when I tried to do so the agent said “are you alright love?” I played dumb and asked where Gate 110 was, to which she sighed and said “up there to the left” and let me out! On the way to Pier D you pass the original airport terminal which was looking well:
EI-ORD “St Maeve”, an Airbus A330-301 which would operate EI107 (DUB-SNN-JFK)
SK537 from CPH, an MD82 which arrived late and only stayed on the ground 30 minutes before departing as SK538 shortly after 11:00
TK1975, a Boeing 737-800, arriving late from IST
Well the 4 hours in DUB
flew (excuse the pun) and before I knew it the boarding call was made for EI107 (codeshared with United Airlines-UA4907) at 11:35 for all Business Class passengers. Because Pier D is not equipped with airbridges we had to walk out onto the apron and board via steps at door 2L. 8 Business Class passengers boarded in DUB
and boarding for all remaining passengers was announced at 11:40.
This would be my 57th ever flight and my 38th on the A330 (26th on the -300 series). It would also be my 47th time flying Aer Lingus.
By the time everyone was on board I’d estimate the aircraft at over ¼ full. At 11:53 the cabin crew introduced themselves and informed us that everyone was onboard but that a headcount was required so asked everyone to return to their seats. This was completed within a minute and at 11:59 the door was closed and Captain Brian Rush welcomed us onboard. He anticipated a flight time to SNN
of 30 minutes with an onward time to New York of 6 hours, 30 minutes.
At 12:05 the safety information video was played.
Pushback was at 12:08 followed by engine-startup. We began taxiing at 12:13. Taxiing behind us was a fellow EI
A333 which was operating EI121 to Orlando.
We were cleared for immediate takeoff from Runway 10 and began rolling at 12:18.
After takeoff we turned right over Howth Head, making a south-westerly route to Shannon.
We reached our cruise of 13,500 feet at 12:29. The flight in general was turbulent enough.
Descent was initiated at 12:44 and at 12:47 the cabin crew announced that we would be arriving at SNN
in 10 minutes and to prepare for arrival. The passengers that were continuing to New York were asked to remain onboard after landing and await further instruction. We flew south of Shannon Airport and flew over my home place of West Limerick before turning for a Runway 06 approach at SNN
At 12:54 the landing gear was extended and the final approach announcement was made.
We landed at 12:58, 3 minutes late and taxied via C and D1 to Gate 9. I’ve noticed aircraft are increasingly using the C taxiway now at SNN
instead of D2, even when they don’t have to. We arrived on-stand at 13:05. Also at SNN
was an Evergreen Airways 747 at Gate 14, a Ryanair 737-800 and a CityJet Avro RJ85.
Passengers terminating in SNN
were asked to disembark first and I was one of the last to get off. Disembarking before me were the cabin crew I had for the morning flight to DUB
, which were Shannon-based. They left behind a Dublin-based crew that would continue to JFK
I imagine. About 20 people got off at SNN
After coming off the bridge we were directed immediately downstairs and along a corridor to passport control.
I told the immigration officer that I had come from Dublin and handed him my boarding pass. He asked if I was in possession of a passport and I said that all I had was a student ID
card. He asked where I was from and I said “Limerick”. Then he said “ok” and let me go.
Taken from the Customs Hall
I was outside the terminal at 13:15 and got the 13:20 bus back to the city centre, where I walked back to college in time for my 15:00 lecture. EI107 would depart to JFK
So that’s my trip report, thanks for reading. Look out for my next one which will feature my first ever FR
) in a few weeks.