I was curious if it was going to be this a/c:
Photo © Trevor Mulkerrins
As I had never flown on an ATR before, I wasn´t sure about the bag sizes, so searched it on the website & whipped out the measuring tape (well, me Mam did, she´s better at that stuff than me). Damn! Me usual carry on case was too big, so I tried me crew bag…which did fit, but unfortunately is too small to accommodate anything more than a pair of knickers! So a few hours before the flight, I checked in me case, & like an idiot, on BOTH sectors. I could hear the A320 for the return flight laughing at me. I actually only realised it when I was waiting for the case to come out in BOH, & let out a slightly audible “FUUUUUU#*”. €15 that I didn´t have, down the crapper.Oh well, onwards & upwards so they say…me Mam then dropped me off at departures in T1 at DUB. I had checked in on me mobile but now I had to drop off the bloody bag.
There was only one lady at the desk, checking in people for two different EI Regional flights. After about 10 mins my case disappeared & I was on me way through security, which was very quick. I then sat in the Wifi Zone for a few minutes until me gate came up. Our flight was assigned 219, in the very bowels of T1….
Photo © Wim Callaert
ATR 72-212 EI-SLL (19.2 years old! Must be the oldest EI a/c I´ve been on!)
And in a few more guises:
Photo © A M Spalding
Photo © Gregg Stansbery
& DL Connection!
Photo © Bruce Leibowitz
I grabbed an overpriced breakfast sandwich & juice (€10!) off the world´s slowest man upstairs in Café Ritazza & then legged it back down. I noticed that boarding had begun but there had been no announcement….it was families with small children first…but how was this communicated?! A lot of people were confused. The gate looked pretty full for an ATR, & pretty heavenly for a 738…I scanned me mobile boarding pass (wrong way up) & hopped on the bus. There was a little girl with the same name as me, & her parents kept telling her to stop crying, kinda confusing ha. We whizzed around T1, passing FR de-icers on the way (didn´t know they had their own-how snazzy) & then stopped by our little green plane. Well holy crap, if it didn´t look a bit dirty & battered on the outside…didn´t dampen me excitement though going up the steps on the door!
The Irish FA at the back was friendly & chatty with everyone. I had prebooked 5A, wanting to get the full prop experience. I was amazed at how narrow the entrance was, how low the ceiling was & how teeny the hatbins were! That´s all ye could fit in, a baseball cap maybe! Me big bag definitely would not have fit. They filled up very quickly. I put me (huge) coat in & just popped me little bag under the seat in front. I could hear the Polish FA trying to tell people to put their stuff under the seats, to make more room.
Me noisy seatmate
I thankfully had the seat next to me free. I was surprised to see that the seats could recline, & also that the safety card ws the same for the 42 & 72! As people were still getting settled, I looked around the cabin & it was in bits. The seat pocket in front of me was hanging off, & the hatbins had little lights in them but they appeared to be mostly broken. Oh well, as you can see, Cronan´s been around! I had the silly idea that all the 72s were new & that it was just the 42s that were the shitboxes. I was still happy to be there though, & took in the engine start up with glee. The cabin was around 80-90% full.After a longer roll than I expected, we were up & battling through the clouds. You can definitely feel the difference in speed!! I enjoyed listening to the engine, & noticed it had a rhythm. Wam….wam. When the seatbelt sign went off I lowered me table & tucked into me sambo. The PA for the Sky Deli service was barely discernible between the two rumbling props…”tea and WAM WAM available for WAM WAM enjoy.” Probably would’ve been cheaper buying from the Sky Deli but I forgot to take cash out. D´oh. We cruised at 17,000ft, according to our lady captain Caitriona. When I saw the FA go into the cockpit with the hot drinks I looked up, like any good nerd, trying to see the cockpit, but all I saw was brown! Cargo compartment? What a funny plane. We were sandwiched by clouds. Having seen enough windy ATR landings at DUB, I had mentally braced meself for the approach & landing. WELL. With every change in the engine you can feel it. Sometimes it felt like we were hovering! The wind was very bad coming into BOH & there was a few screams from down the back. As Dave from Ice Road Truckers would say “My ass bit the seat on that one”. We passed over lots of flooding, & landed surprisingly smooth! Pax seated in rows 1-10 on the ATR must remain seated & wait for all the others to disembark first, for balancing reasons. I´d like to see how that works out on certain flights…we landed around 30 minutes ahead of schedule but then had to wait around 20 minutes for the bags! My only previous acquaintance with BOH was during the summer when my a/c had a hard landing & had to be inspected! My passport was checked which I thought was strange as I thought Ireland/UK flights were domestic.
Get out of the bloody way, Servisair!
MIAspotter & his cousin whisked me off to Bournemouth & showed me around. For dinner we had hallacas & even some Libyan food! I was definitely well fed that weekend! Below is arepa, black bean, cheddar, halloumi & fried egg. Yum!
On NYE we drove to London, staying in South Ealing. This was me first time ever in London! I saw Chinatown (mmm chicken buns), Piccadilly, Westminster, & Camden Town. We even squeezed in the new & old Routemaster bus!
For NYE we had booked a package with dinner in Strada on St.Katharine´s Docks (absolutely beautiful food) & then Thames cruise! FREE CHAMPAGNE! And all the people on the bridges waving & cheering at us as we passed under The atmosphere was just incredible. No words to describe passing under London Bridge all lit up at night.
The London Underground home was free that night, & we hopped back on at Tower Hill, a chicken samosa somehow appearing in me hand.
The next day, hungover, we were kindly driven to LGW. MIAspotter was heading home to BCN on U2 & me to DUB on EI. I had a bad feeling when we were told it was not possible to go airside & have access between the North & South Terminals. I checked in, & then we hung around in the North Terminal for a while, eating M&S food in Costa Coffee. REBELS!! Then a sniffer dog came & I really thought that was it for us. I couldn´t believe the guns the police were toting though. There was a weird atmosphere in the airport, or lack thereof. Then again, it was a funny day, New Years Day; so that´s probably everyone hungover. MIA dropped me off at the funny little monorail & we went our separate ways. The bad feeling I had at the beginning completely enveloped me as I wandered upstairs & downstairs, looking for a window to see all the interesting traffic….nope the only one was in a restaurant & I had only €1. One bloody Euro. In England. I then trudged about, trying to find somewhere to charge me phone. Nope. Not that there seemed to be any free wifi airside. Landside there is, but you have to give your credit card details & I didn´t feel like that. I eventually gave up & passed out in a big sofa thing. Pretty sure I was snoring. I woke up with still 40 minutes til the gate showed!! I weakly looked at the signs for the airline lounges….it was MXP 2011 all over again. So I did something I haven´t done in a long while, just sat & was. No phone, no tech to distract me, too tired to read me book (How to Land an Airbus A330 by James May – cheers Christian) so I just did some good old fashioned sitting. F I N A L L Y the gate showed at 18.09 (was supposed to be 18.00) & I fled to gate 17. I showed me bp, thought that was it, but no there´s like another thing that gets checked…UK is weird…taking me photo & all! I was the 42nd person to have checked in & the number at the gate wasn´t really much higher than that. I had been assigned 22C. These seat numbers are handy on EI as it means you get to board first.
I was warmly welcomed on by a young cabin crew member,who checked me boarding pass. There wasn´t much more people in the back rows. When I heard the doors were closing I slid over to 22A. Yayy. Whole row to meself again, WIN! This EI boarding was a bit strange as the traditional Irish greeting wasn´t used as the cabin crew was Eastern European. There was two seniors & two juniors yet the juniors seemed to be doing all the senior-y work! Maybe a line check or training? We taxied out past an EI A319 (doing the next departure to DUB-feck), waited for a BA 734 to skim over us & then we were on our way.
A320-200 EI-DEJ Macarthain/St Macarthain (3 years)
Photo © Ruud Brinks - Aerospray
The flight back was uneventful, apart from a bit of turbulence that shook Macarthain from side to side just after take off. The view was clear the whole way, amber lights shining up. I started coughing just as the cabin crew were passing with the Sky Deli service & they must have thought I was really obviously trying to get their attention because they asked me did I want to purchase anything! No, I´ve only a Euro & I need it for the phone…The plane seemed new but had that coffee splash on the wall that I seem to find on every EI a/c. We soon were descending, flying over Howth & settling onto rwy 28 at DUB (me fave for landing). I thanked the crew & wished them a Happy New Year, passed Immigration with a confused looking Garda & collected me case quickly. And me family had actually collected me from the right terminal! Then it was home for a hungover Chinese.
BOH: 8/10 They took ages with the baggage, & it came out on the wrong belt. Admittedly we were early but it´s not the busiest of airports….maybe they don´t have the staff this time of year.
LGW: 6/10 Just shite. Exacerbated by me poverty! I see now why they call it Crapwick…
EI Regional: 9/10 Poor ould Cronan needs a makeover.
EI: 9.5/10 really only for the coffee stain.
Thanks/go raibh mile math agat
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[Edited 2013-01-04 14:36:58]