13th February 2016 at 06:00 #545467
Anonymous13th February 2016 at 06:00 #545468
DUB –BRU – DUB (Economy )
Booking and check in
Aer Lingus’ new website is very user friendly and easy to navigate, even for a technophobe like me!
Selecting my flight to Brussels was no trouble.
There are three fare types available: Fully flexible, Plus and Low. For this particular trip, I chose the Plus fare option, which includes Gold Circle Points, one checked bag and complimentary seat selection (with the exception of rows 1-5). As I like sitting in row 1, I was happy to pay the extra fee: 5 euro per seat per sector.
I arrived at Dublin Airport Terminal 2 @ 12.00pm for my 13.50pm flight. Most of my flights are HBO, however, on this occasion I had a bag to check in, and I proceeded to the new Gold Circle check in desk at Dublin Airport. Formerly at the extreme right of the Aer Lingus check in area, it is now at the left hand side, and is clearly signed. A clever feature is a frosted glass screen surrounding the area. This creates a sense of privacy, something which VIPs would no doubt value, and a sense of occasion to us “ordinary” travelers!
One of my favourite benefits of Gold Circle membership is the use of the Fast track security lane. Security staff in Dublin Airport are very pleasant, and at the same time very thorough. There was only one other passenger in front of me, and I was airside within a couple of minutes.
The Gold Circle Lounge in Dublin T2 is a large two storey area with large windows giving good views of the apron
Lounge staff are very welcoming and friendly.
There is a water feature which extends over two floors, and is impressive. Upstairs is a quiet area, where shower suites are located.
There are a number of work stations with PC s which are connected to a high quality printer. I used this facility during an earlier visit to check in and print boarding passes for this flight. Throughout the lounge there is an abundance of power points: very useful for charging mobile devices.
Short Haul flights are not called from the lounge, but there are several flight information screens. My flight was due to depart from gate 412 which is a short walk from the lounge.
The food & beverage on offer consisted of:
• Fresh fruit
• Breads, scones, pastries
• Cheese, crackers
• Savoury nibbles
• Soup (Goulash on this occasion)
A full range of soft & alcoholic drinks is available along with fruit juices, tea and coffee.
I was delighted to see the return of small bottles of sparkling water to the lounge. I dislike large bottles, and always find that once the bottle is opened, the sparkle quickly disappears.
Aer Lingus now display allergen information beside all food products.
Full marks to Aer Lingus for providing high quality china, glassware and cutlery in the lounge.
Boarding & In Flight
All Aer Lingus gates at Terminal 2 now have separate lanes for general and priority boarding. These are clearly marked by large signs, and work very well.
The Airbus A320 was in pristine condition. Seats were upholstered in navy leather, and have adjustable headrests: very handy when having a snooze!
Cabin crew warmly welcomed passengers on board and directed us to our allocated seats. Connor, the senior cabin crew member asked me whether I had travelled in row 1 before. I assured him that I had. This was an effective way to ensure that Row 1 passengers understood the need to stow all belongings in the overhead bins. As with all Aer Lingus aircraft, the bins were clearly marked “row 1 only) and this seems to be enforced by staff.
Connor greeted all boarding passengers, and was particularly helpful and friendly.
The Captain introduced himself, welcomed passengers on board, and outlined our and expected flight time. This was followed by a safety briefing.
Once we had reached cruising altitude the inflight service began. As well as pre-order meals, there is a menu of drinks, food and snacks available to purchase. I had a scone and tea, which was very pleasant indeed.
Arrivals & Baggage collection
We landed on time at Brussels, and were on stand quickly. We deplaned via an airbridge, and it was a short walk to the arrivals hall.
Brussels airport is a very large, bright and spacious building. Passport control was quick, and leads to a shopping area. This is turn leads to security, which was relatively quiet. My Gold Circle status does not include access to fast track, but with only a small number of passengers in front of me, I was airside in less than 10 minutes.
Aer Lingus use British Airways lounge in Brussels. This a large area with good views of the apron. A good range of newspapers and magazines in available, including several English issue. There is a business centre with a printer. I found the (complimentary) internet access quite slow, but I was in a relaxed mode, this wasn’t an issue.
Unusually for a BA lounge, there was no champagne. However, there was a very good range of wines, spirits and beer available, as well as soft drinks and tea/coffee.
Food was very limited:
• Cold cuts (continental style)
• Sliced cheese
• Bread rolls
While I could not fault the quality of the food, the range was very limited, and well below what is on offer in BA’s UK lounges.
I made myself comfortable, indulged in a Stella Artois and read while awaiting my flight. The flight information screens include the time it takes to walk to the boarding gate: in this case a mere 2 minutes. This is a small but useful touch.
As with Dublin, there were separate lanes for general and priority boarding. Swissport are Aer Lingus’ handling agents in Brussels and I found the staff very friendly and efficient. However, the value of priority boarding is diluted when passengers are held on the walkway to the aircraft for approximately 10 minutes before actually boarding the aircraft.
As usual, Aer Lingus crew have a warm welcome for passengers, and this A320 was immaculate.
We landed in Dublin, and were on stand after a short taxi were on stand. It was a short walk to passport control, and in no time at all I was once again landside.
This was an excellent journey. Aer Lingus delivers a consistently high quality service, and with benefits such as priority security and boarding takes good care of it’s regular customers.
I was underwhelmed by the BA lounge in Brussels; I felt it was on a par with (but no better than) a Servisair offering.15th February 2016 at 12:39 #545469
Pat, thanks again for your (as usual) very comprehensive and very positive Aer Lingus review.
Is there not a slight irony here in your criticism of the BA Lounge offering in Brussels as it sounds very much on par with what Aer Lingus offer in Dublin, in other words, a range of food that I and others have commented on as being extremely limited in the past?15th February 2016 at 17:46 #545470
Tom, you raise a fair question.
I suppose that my (admittedly limited) experience of BA’s UK lounges has led me to expect more lavish catering, and champagne on request; leading to an expectation of a similar level of food and beverage being available in all their lounges.15th February 2016 at 18:20 #545471
Something I take from all your in depth reviews (all of high quality) is that Aer Lingus offers a consistent level of service delivery.
Even down to choosing a partner lounge in Brussels, that is on a par with Dublin 😉
BTW, I don’t see any irony on you commenting as you did on the lounge provision, since it was a BA lounge, not a Lingus one and you were comparing apples with apples. Just my opinion.
FYI, BA does not provide champagne for it’s passengers in all London lounges, even F class passengers have to pay £8 per glass at Gatwick.15th February 2016 at 18:24 #545472
FDOS, as you well know, the Gatwick arrangement is temporary and reasonable IMHO15th February 2016 at 18:40 #545473
Tom, anything BA does seems to be reasonable, in your opinion.
Until early 2017, it is however a fact, not my opinion.15th February 2016 at 19:34 #545474
Yes, temporary……15th February 2016 at 19:42 #545475
Life is temporary, it can extend to three score years and ten or more.
I prefer the definition of ‘short term’ and ‘long term’ relating to liabilities on a company balance sheet, which are less than12 months and more than 12 months.
It looks like this arrangment will fall into ‘long term’, rather than short term.
Of course, there is a silver (or even gold) lining to this cloud, if BA served (say) 10 bottles of champers per day (and assume they buy them for £15 per bottle), then 365x10x£15 = £54k (Edited to add) ‘saved’.16th February 2016 at 03:16 #545476
Interesting maths, FDOS. Problem is that BA do not buy or serve any champagne so the money will not follow. Even if sold on the basis you suggest, the money would go to No 1 Lounges.
£8 is the normal No 1 Lounge charge for champagne, payable by all pax eligible to use the facilities – in Edinburgh where I have also used No 1, it is very popular with hen weekend travellers, you know, the ladies in pink whom you see so often on your Ryanair and easyjet flights.
Talking to the lady in the No 1 Lounge at Gatwick, it seems that BA excluded champagne from their service contract, sensible given that the arrangement is a) ‘short-term’, b) is in a mixed lounge so identifying those eligible or otherwise would be difficult and c) there are so few genuine First passengers on BA at Gatwick that the main beneficiaries would be BAEC Gold card holders.16th February 2016 at 07:22 #545477
Interesting points Tom to which most I agree with, I cant remember Champagne ever being available as a standard offering in any European mainland BA lounge. Also apart from I think Air France, within Europe which other carriers provide Champagne from it’s main hub airport lounge for flights within Europe, or within their own country.
As for Gold Circle lounges (I believe there only 4) have been dumbed down over the years and as a main hub lounge in Dublin, probably the worst in Europe.
Saying that Gold Circle lounges are getting a re-boot (it’s been delayed over 18 months probably due to the sale off AI)…which will drop access to BOI Gold Visa card holders and Gold Circle – Gold members (bit of a misnomer as it’s their lowest tier – will be aligned to OW bronze) on the upside lounge offering will align with AIG offerings.16th February 2016 at 07:44 #545478
TominScotland – 16/02/2016 03:16 GMT
Where can you buy champagne in a bar environment, for £15 per bottle? I was thinking of cost saving, not revenue. On the sales side, at £8 per glass, that works out roughly at £48 per bottle to the customer.
BA excluding champagne from the service contract is not ‘sensible’, champagne has traditionally been part of the offer in London lounges – it is just degrading the product and increasing the differential between Gatwick and Heathrow.
Are you serious that it is difficult to identify passengers entitled to champagne in the #1? I really wonder, sometimes! #1 has an existing process in place to deal with this for a charter airline, who provides its premium pax with champagne as part of the package.
No, the lack of champagne at Gatwick is just Scrooge like behaviour IMHO.
BTW, how many BA F class pax benefit from champagne in the Galleries F and C lounges at LHR? Not many, I suggest.
Ekond222 – 16/02/2016 07:22 GMT
Remember that we are talking about a BA London hub, not an outstation.16th February 2016 at 08:07 #545479
FDos I appologise -Just for clarity I was using the term hub in the context of main hub, Dublin – Aer Lingus, Heathrow-BA in terms of European Traffic as per the op.16th February 2016 at 08:19 #545480
Ekond, then I need to apologise to you, for misunderstanding your comment, which is accurate and fair.
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