Aer Lingus A330-200

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Ciprian Hirlea 24 Nov 2014
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  • Anonymous

    Ciprian Hirlea
    Keymaster

    MCO-DUB (Business )

    Booking and check in

    http://www.aerlingus.com is an easy site to navigate and selecting a flight for my preferred date and time was no trouble. Aer Lingus fly direct to Orlando from Dublin and back three days a week: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. On other days, the routing is via JFK with JetBlue, Aer Lingus’ codeshare partners. Through ticketing is available, but my wife and I prefer direct flights, so we chose this option.

    This was the homebound flight of a wonderful holiday in Orlando (marking our Wedding Anniversary, and my wife’s Birthday), and despite a little sadness at leaving, we looked forward to being pampered by Aer Lingus’ superb Business Class service.

    We arrived at Orlando International Airport at 4.00pm for our 8.15pm flight. This is earlier that we would normally arrive at an airport, but past experience of busy US security and dropping off a rental car, led us to allow plenty of time.

    Aer Lingus have a number of check-in desks with a dedicated Business Class/Gold Circle desk. Aer Lingus’ handling agent in MCO is Swissport, and check in opened @ 4.30pm, so we had only a short time to wait.

    Business Class passengers are allowed 3 checked in bags, which is very useful if one has taken advantage of Orlando’s excellent shopping. Leah checked us in, and was very pleasant. Our bags were quickly tagged with “business class” labels and boarding passes issued. Leah also took the time to explain the location of the Lounge, how to get there and wished us a pleasant flight.

    Orlando International airport has a very good range of shops (landside), including Disney and Universal Studio outlets for those last minute gifts. There are several restaurants, and a food court with a good choice if outlets.

    One benefit of Gold Circle membership is the use of the Fast track security lane in many airports. Sadly, this does not yet apply in MCO and we joined the main queue. TSA staff are very thorough, yet quite efficient. The process took 15 minutes, which was not bad at all.

    We took the opportunity to visit the duty free shop (beside gates 20 – 29). This is much smaller than those in other airports but has a good range of products on offer. We bought a few last minute gifts, with purchases placed in sealed bags, and collected at the boarding gate.

    Lounge (Orlando)

    Aer Lingus passengers use United Club Lounge. This is located adjacent to Gate 48 which is in a different part of the airport from the Aer Lingus gates. It’s best to allow a few minutes additional to get to and from this lounge.

    The lounge is situated on an upper level giving good views of the apron, comfortable seating. There is a business centre for those who need to work, and restrooms in the lounge. There are plenty of power points for charging mobile devices.

    The range of newspapers is small, the magazines are United In-flight and Skymall brochures, and little else.

    Food is limited to cookies, cheese, crackers, savoury nibbles and fresh fruit. Hot beverages are self service, but all others (even soft drinks) are behind an attended bar.

    A limited range of alcoholic beverages is complimentary, with premium drinks available for a charge. In keeping with the holiday spirit, I ordered two glasses of champagne, which costs $14 per glass.

    Whilst a pleasant area, the reading material, range of food and drinks are less than those available in most European lounges.

    Boarding

    Boarding began at 7.30pm, with Business class and Gold Circle passengers being invited to board first. The duty free purchases were available for collection immediately after boarding passes were checked.

    The Airbus 330 was immaculate and the cabin manager (Geraldine) warmly welcomed passengers.

    The Business Class cabin has 4 rows of seats, configured 2-2-2. Our allocation was 2A & 2C. The seats are lie flat, have a pitch of 58” and 21” wide. The pairs of seats beside windows are ideal for those travelling together, as when the aisle seat is fully reclined, the window seat passenger has to climb over the other’s legs. Not ideal for solo travelers who are better off in the middle row where both seats have unimpeded aisle access. There is a privacy screen between each pair of seats which is easily raised or lowered .There is storage space in the seats for books, magazines etc.

    Within minutes of boarding, jackets were hung in the wardrobe and pre-flight drinks offered : a choice of water, juice or champagne (Jean Pernet).

    Still in holiday mode, we opted for champagne. Refills were offered a couple of times before pushback, an

    At this point, amenity kits were given out, along with bottles of mineral water.

    Inflight

    The Captain gave a brief welcome and details of routing and were delighted to learn that the flight would be almost an our shorter than scheduled.

    This was followed by a safety announcement. We pushed back a few minutes early and were airborne quickly. The projected flight time was a little over hours, with an expected landing time of 08.30am (scheduled landing time was 09.25am).

    WI-Fi

    Aer Lingus offer complimentary wi-fi in business class, and shortly after take off, we were offered wi-fi passes. There are individual charging points for each seat, which is a very useful facility.

    Catering

    The Aer Lingus website promises

    • The finest choice of restaurant quality food and drink available in-flight.
    • Wines specially chosen and matched to each entrée to bring out the full flavour of the meal.
    • All Business Class gourmet meals are served on custom made Crystal and Wedgwood China.

    About an hour into the flight, hot and cold canapés were served with a bar service.
    Along with a full range of spirits, the following wines are available. The following descriptions are based on this provided on the wine list.

    White:

    Domaine Alain Cailbourdin, Pouilly Fume Les Cornets 2013: said to be a very versatile wine which works well with goats cheese, fish and seafood dishes as well as light salads.

    Barberani Vermentino Secco IGT, 2013: said to have lovely floral notes on the nose with lemons and almonds coming through on the palate. It is crisp and has good acidity and works particularly well with fish dishes.

    Champagne:

    Jean Pernet Tradition Brut NV. Said to have a really fine mousse leading to a lightly toasty nose with great freshness and floral notes. On the palate it is pleasingly crunchy with an elegant and long-lasting flavour.

    Red Wines:

    Domaine de Courteillac, Bordeaux Superieur 2007: said to have a dark deep colour with well developed aromas of raspberries and red currants. It is a great food wine and matches well to meat dishes such as steak, roast lamb and hard cheeses.

    Vina Pedrosa Crianza 2010: said to be complex with aromas of ripe blackberries with notes of tobacco, spices and truffle. In the mouth it is full bodied with black fruits, spices and dark chocolate. It is a smooth wine with a long finish.

    I chose a glass of Vina Pedrosa and found it most enjoyable. Commendably glasses were refilled regularly without having to ask.

    The dinner menu includes an express tray service option to maximise sleeping or work time. It consists of side salad, Pan Seared Corn Fed Chicken and a dessert plate. Essentially it is a telescoping of the main menu into a single tray service. My daughter took this option recently and was very impressed.

    STARTERS:

    BLT Salad bed of romaine and Boston Bibb lettuce, topped with hardboiled egg wedges, diced roma tomatoes, crumbed bacon, and shaved Monchego cheese.

    A selection of warm breads was also offered:

    Pretzel Pistolet
    French Split
    Diamant Seeded White

    ENTREES:

    “96 Hour” Braised Beef:
    slowly braised short rib, accompanied by a cauliflower and potato gratin, seared endive, haricot verte and baby carrot. Served with Armagnac Doux Sauce

    Corn Fed Chicken Breast:
    A roasted apple cider marinated corn fed chicken breast accompanied by sautéed curly kale and mustard, creamy Yukon gold mash potatoes and roasted peppers. Served with a spiced demi sauce.

    Pacific Cod:
    Pacific Cod that has been pan seared, accompanied by ratatouille, potato gnocchi, and served with an olive cream sauce.

    DESSERTS:

    Chocolate Whiskey Lava Cake:
    Moist Chocolate cake, with a Whiskey and Chocolate ganache, served with vanilla cream.

    Fruit and Cheese Plate
    Fresh fruit and a duo of cheeses, served with crackers.

    TEA or COFFEE

    The food is served on a tray with crisp white linen, Wedgewood china and is superbly presented.

    My wife and I both chose the beef, and it was superb: tender and full of flavour.

    Up to recently, main courses were served in pre-prepared casserole type dishes. Current practice is that each main course is assembled separately on individual plates. This gives a lovely dining experience, however it impacts negatively on the speed of service. One cabin crew member plates the food, the other serves it. Despite the best efforts of the two staff, both of whom were clearly working as fast as possible, the result was that rows 1 & 2 were finished eating while row 4 was being served.

    The dining experience is absolutely perfect, and in keeping with a premium business class product.

    Entertainment

    There is a good range of films, TV, Radio programmes on demand, but I didn’t take full advantage of this, opting instead to read after dinner. My wife enjoyed a couple of films and was very pleased with the choices available.

    The seat reclines fully, and along with a duvet, my wife had a good sleep for about 3 hours

    About an hour before landing, a Continental Breakfast is served, orange juice, a selection of warmed breads & pastries with butter and jam, yogurt and sliced fruit, along with hot beverage. A particularly nice touch is that the hot drinks were served in warmed mugs.

    We landed in Dublin ahead of schedule (at 8.33am), and after a short taxi were on stand.

    Baggage Collection

    As we were amongst the first off the aircraft, and as there was no delay whatever in going through passport control and then onto to the baggage collection area. Business Class bags were the first to arrive on the carousel, and we had only a few minutes to wait before ours were on the trolley, and we were leaving the baggage hall. From leaving the aircraft to leaving the terminal building took only 20 minutes: this is very good indeed.

    I had parked in the Dublin Airport Authority’s new surface car park. This is a short walk from T2, and while out in the open, it avoids boarding (with luggage) a shuttle to the satellite car parks and subsequent disembarking from the shuttle and trekking to one’s car. It is even more convenient than the covered car park beside T2, and well worth the fee paid (140 Euro for two weeks).

    CONCLUSION

    This was a most enjoyable flight. Aer Lingus Business Class is a high quality product, and our experience was enhanced by a very professional, efficient and pleasant crew. The food is well presented, of top quality and the seat very comfortable. The business cabin was almost full, which is a testament to the quality of the product. I look forward to experiencing the new Business Class, due to commence early in 2015.

    Review courtesy of Seatplans.com. Original review by user 1258 can be found here

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