BHX – DUBBack to Forum
BHX-DUB (Economy )
Booking and check in
This route is jointly operated by Aer Lingus and Stobart Air (on behalf of Aer Lingus Regional), who use a fleet of ATR aircraft sporting the Aer Lingus brand. When booking, flights using Aer Lingus aircraft carry a three digit number, whereas Aer Lingus Regional have a four digit number.
Flights are booked on http://www.aerlingus.com , and three fare types are available: Fully flexible, Lowest and Plus. On this occasion, I chose the low fare option. Aer Lingus offer an advance check-in facility up to 30 days before travel when seats are pre-booked. Otherwise on-line check in is available 30 hours pre-flight.
We arrived at BHX from Birmingham City centre by taxi. Due to current building at BHX, the drop off zone is closed, so taxis have to enter the car park area, and drop passengers a few yards from the terminal.
There is a fast track security lane, to which our Aer Club membership granted us access. We was warmly invited to proceed, and was airside after a few minutes. The security staff were both thorough and friendly, making the process painless.
On leaving security, the walkway goes through a large duty free shop, leads to the main shopping area. There is a good range of stores and restaurants.
Aer Lingus Aer Club members now have access to the No 1 Traveller lounge.
This is a large bright lounge with a mezzanine section. There is a dining area with upright seating, and a range of comfortable seats to relax, as well as a small business centre. At the entrance there is a small room for private meetings. Complimentary wi-fi is available. There are also designated quiet areas and family areas, which is a good idea.
The lounge was very busy indeed, and the couple who approached the lounge before us were denied access because of the high number of guests. I presume that they were hoping to pay for access at the door. Thankfully our Aer Club status allowed us in. However, it took some time to find seats such was the crowd in the lounge.
There is a good selection of quality magazines and newspapers. I found the staff very friendly and welcoming.
The food is complimentary and forms two distinct parts: what was formerly called the pantry table and a menu of pre-order dishes.
We both indulged in a fish finger sandwich: which when served was a small square of fish in a (barely) buttered roll with a very small ramekin of Tartare sauce. The sandwich was somewhat dry, and much less enjoyable that those which I have sampled in times past.
Self-service from the Pantry Table After 11am
Crudites with a selection of dips
Selection of nuts
Selection of savoury nibbles
Cakes & tray bakes
No more freshly prepared salads or soup. I felt that this was a serious dilution of the formerly high quality product offered by No1 Traveller Lounges.
Soft drinks, tea and coffee are self service, and there is a full bar where drinks are served by staff. All are complimentary with the exception of premium brands, and champagne.
Boarding was from Gate 1 which is a short walk from the Lounge. There is now a clearly marked Priority Boarding lane, and Aer Club members, and flex fare passengers were invited to board first, followed by general boarding.
Boarding was through front and rear doors by means of steps. As it was a wet and windy evening, cabin crew encouraged passengers to avoid blocking the aisle as those waiting on the steps were exposed to the elements.
The Airbus 320 was immaculate as usual with navy blue leather seats.
The cabin crew were very welcoming, and once boarding was complete the Captain gave details of out route, expected arrival time, etc. This was followed by a safety briefing from the Cabin crew, and we were in the air shortly afterwards.
There is a good range of food and drink on sale, from a menu designed by Irish Celebrity chef Clodagh McKenna. The menu is changed every few months, thus maintaining some variety.
Aer Lingus in-flight service is very good. The Airbus 320 fleet is in very good condition which speaks volumes for Aer Lingus’ maintenance standards. Since I last flew on Aer Lingus there have been several subtle improvements to the service delivery, all of which enhance the customer experience.
Flight time is now scheduled at barely one hour, and the actual flight time was 40 minutes, making this a very short trip indeed.
I was very disappointed with the No 1 Traveller lounge. The range of food on offer has been reduced in both range, and quality. Replenishment of the food was also very slow, as was the bar service. The staff on duty were very friendly indeed, and the service problems seemed to me to stem from not enough staff being on duty. Given that each guest in the lounge is paying for the privilege of being there (either directly or through an airline FFP) it is unacceptable that the lounge management have reduced the amount and range of food available and at the same time failed to allocate sufficient staff to meet the needs of the guests present.
This was a busy flight, indicating that the travelling public enjoy the Aer Lingus experience. We thoroughly enjoyed our short time on board, and particularly appreciated the short flight time.30 May 2017
Next time you fly from BHX, and originate in the City centre, try taking the train to Birmingham International (BHI), which serves the NEC and also the airport. There is a Maglev train from BHI to the airport, just before security.
BHX is a mess, has been for 15 years, and will continue as a mess while it keeps expanding piecemeal. Latest scheme is 2 more hotels, on airport, which will result in less parking and even less drop off facilities. They are also moving car rental as part of the “improvement”.
Try not to ever arrive around the time that any non-EU flights arrive as it always surprises immigration officials that people arrive and expect to clear immigration.31 May 2017