First time…Back to Forum
Anonymous24 Sep 2012
Security at Gatwick was a breeze, staff were noticeably friendlier and dare I say, appeared happier than I have seen before, and also compared to other airports I have used. Although I dislike what I think is a new system of herding everyone through the middle of the duty free shop before you get anywhere.
After transferring from bmi’s Diamond Club I now had Gold Membership with Aer Lingus, providing Lounge Access at the No.1 Lounge Gatwick. It’s had a bit of makeover, and looks much brighter than before.
I helped myself to the self service breakfast:
Complimentary newspapers, Business Traveller magazine and alcoholic drinks were included – spirits, wine and beer. I declined. Yes. You read that correctly.
I had to nip out of the lounge momentarily, and when I got back a queue had formed outside.
They were policing the entrance and turning people away, one lady took an age to work out what card she had which would grant lounge access. It turned out she had none. She didn’t have her Amex Platinum with her; the time and effort she went to to get access to the lounge was bizarre. It’s just a lounge! She could have paid £20 to get access. She then joined Priority Pass on the spot and filled in forms etc. I did get an apology for the wait, and from there my lounge experience went downhill.
I am not sure if it was a typical Saturday or because a charter had been delayed, but service was interminably slow, guests were becoming irritated and I had to wait 15 minutes for my bacon roll! This is what I witnessed:
1. Bloke orders two bottles of beer.
2. Staff writes order on piece of paper
3. Adds piece of paper to a pile
4. Starts processing orders from bottom of pile (oldest order)
5. Blokes comes back after five minutes, asking for his beer.
6. Staff explains there’s a delay due to number of orders
7. Blokes goes back to table
8. Bloke comes back five minutes later, irritated now.
9. Four other staff wander about.
10. Staff pours beers from bottle into glasses and places glasses on tray.
11. Bloke comes back and asks if they are his beers.
12. She says yes but someone will take them over
13. He says I’ll just take them now. And comments “You could have just given me the bottles”.
And this happened quite a bit. I felt sorry for the barstaff who was trying to sort our all the drinks orders, and I never did find out what the other staff were doing!
It did have great views however!
Interesting to see Norwegian here in force – I read that they are the biggest threat to Ryanair’s dominance in Europe.
The lounge was too busy to be truly comfortable, as I headed to the gate I noticed a sign for a Servisair Aspire lounge… maybe next time.
So, on to Aer Lingus.
Boarding was orderly, from the rear rows to the front, and the Airbus was spotless. The seats were comfortable with built in neck rests. The announcements were made in a monotone however, in about one breath! But apart from that, I felt Aer Lingus were far more civilised than their increasingly petulant shareholder Ryanair!
We landed at Knock on time, an airport that feels like it’s on the edge of the world – the rain and mist that Saturday afternoon added to that!
So I wandered about the little airport, which had a wallchart explaining the history of the airport. I also noted that they charge €10 for all passengers departing the airport!
And then waited for the coach, and as is typical in Ireland, started a conversation with a fellow traveller.
(Thankfully I also had 3Mobile’s €5 Daily Unlimited Internet to pass the time!)
The coach passes through some amazing scenery, including Benbulben Mountain.24 Sep 2012
Another great report NIRscot
Aer Lingus is light years ahead of Ryanair.
I remember Benbulben well on the drive from Belfast to Galway.
First time…? At saying no to a drink?
All the best.24 Sep 2012