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    Anonymous
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    PatJordan
    Participant

    DUB – London Gatwick (Economy )

    Booking and check in

    http://www.aerlingus.com is a very user friendly website, and selecting a flight for my preferred date and time for my trip to LGW was no trouble. Three fare types are currently available: Fully flexible, Plus and Low. For this particular trip, I chose the Low fare option, and paid an additional fee to select a seat in Row 1.

    As my flight was within 30 days of booking, I took advantage of the advance check in option and printed my boarding passe within minutes of booking: a very useful facility, and one which many Aer Lingus’ competitors fail to offer. I noticed that the boarding card was marked “Priority Boarding”, something which I had not seen before.

    I decided to treat myself to breakfast on board, and used the pre-order facility to guarantee my meal. A voucher is emailed within a few minutes, and this is printed for redemption on board.

    I arrived at Dublin Airport Terminal 2 @ 0730am for my 0840am flight. Having hand baggage only, I went directly to security. One of my favourite benefits of Gold Circle membership is the use of the Fast track security lane. Security staff are very pleasant, and at the same time very thorough. I was airside within a couple of minutes.

    Lounge (Dublin)

    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 on this occasion, Linsey made a point of welcoming me back, not having seen me for a couple of months. This is a particularly nice touch, given the number of passengers who visit the lounge. It typifies Aer Lingus’ commitment to customer service.

    There is a water feature which extends over two floors, and is impressive. Upstairs is a quiet area, where shower suites are located.

    Newspapers and magazines are available as well as internet access for those wishing to work. There are numerous power points 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 407 which is a short walk from the lounge.

    The food on offer consisted of:

    • Fresh fruit
    • Cereals
    • Breads, scones, pastries
    • Yogurts
    • Cheese, crackers
    • Biscuits,
    • Savoury nibbles

    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.

    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 always find that once

    The flight information screens advised “go to gate”shortly after 8.10am. Fortified by an excellent espresso, a pastry (or even two!) I made my way to the gate 407, which is adjacent to the lounge.

    Boarding & In Flight

    Boarding had not yet begun, but did so within a few minutes. Gold Circle members, flexible fare passengers were invited to board first, and did so through a clearly marked “priority” lane.

    Cabin crew warmly welcomed passengers on board

    All Aer Lingus short haul aircraft are economy class and seats are configured 3-3. The Airbus was immaculate, with seats upholstered dark blue leather with adjustable headrests.

    I had selected 1A, and was pleased to note that the overhead bins were clearly marked for Row 1 only, and there was space for my jacket & small bag. Because Row 1 is treated as exit rows in that no items can be on the floor during landing and take off.

    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. My breakfast was served in a cardboard box with individual compartments for the hot food, bread, juice. This box replaces the small tray previously used, and reduces the chances of spillages and items falling off the tray. The coffee is now sourced from a new supplier: Java Republic. This is a full bodied coffee, strong and very good. The breakfast itself is very nice, and comes with a newspaper. It is a veritable bargain at 7.50euro.

    Arrivals

    We landed on time at Gatwick, and were on stand quickly. We deplaned via an airbridge, descended a few flights of stairs, and were guided outside to two buses. Surely it would have been simpler (and quicker) to wheel stairs to the front and rear doors to transfer passengers to the waiting buses?

    The arrivals area is less than welcoming, and nowhere near as pleasant as Gatwick’s competitor, London Heathrow. Perhaps LGW Management might consider improving the arrival experience for Dublin passengers.

    It was a short walk to Gatwick’s railway station where I took a Gatwick Express train to London Victoria. The route is also served by Southern Railways, whose fleet of commuter trains are very clean, and when booked in advance, much cheaper that the Gatwick Express, and only a few minutes slower. A journey time to central London of just over half an hour gives LGW an advantage over LHR, however.

    Conclusion

    This was a very pleasant flight, and in the short time since I last flew on Aer Lingus there have been several subtle improvements to the service delivery, all of which enhance the customer experience. This constant improvement is akin to Kaizen, a principle of “the Toyota Way”.

    I was particularly impressed at the manner in which I was welcomed back to the Gold Circle Lounge.

    Well done Aer Lingus.

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