Aer Lingus Dublin-LHR T2

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  canucklad 30 Aug 2018
at 10:19
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  • PatJordan
    Participant

    Aer Lingus Economy (short haul)
    Dublin to London

    DUB-LHR -DUB

    I was planning a day trip/mileage run, and not having been in London Heathrow T2 for some time, I was somewhat curious to see if the previous high standards were still in place.

    When Aer Lingus moved their operation to the newly opened Terminal 2 (in July 2014, four main benefits arising from moving toT2 were heavily publicised:

    • Public transport within 15 minutes of landing
    • Luxurious Gold Circle Lounge within minutes of check in
    • State of the art facilities
    • A seamless faster security and check in process

    I used the Aer Lingus app on my smartphone to make the booking, and found it a simpler process that using my trusty laptop. I was very pleased at the ease of using the boarding passes generated by the app.

    There are three fare types are now named Saver, Plus & Advantage with each earning a different amount of tier credits. When selecting the Plus fare, all seats are now included as complimentary: heretofore the front rows had to be paid for. As I was travelling within the 30 day window, I was able to check in immediately and print my boarding passes (as a back up to those generated on my smartphone).

    I arrived at Dublin Airport at 06.45am for my 9.20am flight.

    My current Aer Club tier is Silver which includes fast track security. The main security waiting time was displayed as being 15 minutes. There was nobody in front of me in Fast Track and I was airside within a couple of minutes. I have always found the security staff in Dublin Airport to be thorough and friendly, as they were on this occasion.

    Lounge (Dublin)

    On entering the Aer Club Lounge I was warmly greeted by Linsey, whom I have met a great many times. Always friendly, Linsey is a great ambassador for the Aer Lingus brand.
    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 numerous power points for charging mobile devices, and a couple of computers with printing facilities for those wishing to work.

    Short Haul flights are not called from the lounge, but there are several flight information screens.

    There is a reasonably good range of food on offer to make a decent continental breakfast.
    The coffee machine makes a particularly good espresso: just the ticket for an early morning flight.

    I read for a while before making the very short walk to gate 409 where boarding was underway. There are two separate boarding lines: General and Priority (for Aer Club members, flexible ticket holders) and it works very well.

    The Airbus 320 was very clean as usual, and cabin crew warmly welcomed passengers. After a safety briefing and flight information from the Captain, we were underway quickly.

    During the flight, I indulged in the Irish Breakfast:

    • Sausage
    • Bacon
    • Black & White pudding
    • Tomato
    • Hash browns
    • Tea/Coffee
    • Orange Juice
    • Brown Bread

    Very tasty, and not bad value at 10euro.

    Arrival London Heathrow

    We landed on time in Heathrow, and after a short taxi were on stand. We deplaned quickly, and I made my way to the Underground station to top up my Oyster Card for future use. I didn’t actually time my walk, but from previous experience it is well within the promised 15 minute window. Interestingly the (more expensive) Heathrow Express is quite a bit further away, thus diminishing the benefits of the shorter journey time.

    Return Heathrow- Dublin
    .
    Aer Lingus share check-in desks and self service machines with other airlines in Area C, with security directly behind this area. Having already checked in on-line I didn’t need to use this facility.

    Fast Track security is clearly signposted. I wasn’t sure if my Aer Club Silver card would be accepted, but a very friendly official accepted it without question. At this point, my photograph which was taken, and would be re-confirmed at the boarding gate.
    The security screening staff were very thorough but also efficient and pleasant to deal with. I was airside in less than 5 minutes. When T2 opened, there was a determined effort to have a friendlier face on the security staff: to everyone’s credit, this has remained in place.

    The security screening area leads to a mezzanine overlooking the departure lounge where there is a very good range of shops and plenty of restaurants to choose from. A glass wall gives good views of the apron, and there are plenty of seats.

    Lounge London Heathrow

    Literally a few steps from the security area is the Aer Club lounge….oh so much closer than the one at the end of the green mile!

    I was warmly welcomed us to the lounge which is very spacious and decorated in a similar fashion to it’s sister in Dublin. There are many types of seats, and an abundance of power points. This is a thoughtful point given that many passengers routinely use several devices.

    There is a small business area for those needing to work, and two cubicles complete with tables & chairs for holding meetings.

    The lounge has its own restrooms (using Voya Toiletries) and showers. I didn’t use the showers, but the restrooms are excellent.

    There is a full bar with a good range of soft and alcoholic drinks.

    Food consisted of:

    • Soup (cream of tomato)
    • Bread rolls
    • Cheese
    • Crackers
    • Walkers biscuits
    • Walkers cake slices
    • Peanuts (in packets)
    • Salted pretzels (in packets)

    A nice touch is that cheeses, butter & spreads were stored on a refrigerated stand.

    There is a good range of newspapers and magazines.

    While in the lounge, I noticed the lady stocking the food and drink was a familiar face who has been with Aer Lingus for many years. Despite my last visit to Heathrow being some time ago, she recognised me and we had a pleasant chat.

    I was sitting in a comfortable armchair (with ottoman) at the window, enjoying a glass of Merlot while munching on the nibbles. The sheer number of aircraft coming and going (with their vast array of liveries is always pleasant to watch). Between this and reading, I enjoyed my time in the lounge.

    Boarding

    Our scheduled departure was 4.50pm, and boarding requested on the information screen at 4.15pm.

    Boarding was from Gate 21, which is down an escalator (directly outside the lounge) and a few steps away on the lower level. Boarding had commenced, and as with Dublin, there were separate lines for Priority & General boarding. It is here also that the photographic checks are carried out.

    Boarding was completed quickly, however the captain informed us that the Air Traffic Control tower had to be evacuated for a short time due to an emergency. Despite being reopened it would take some time to clear the backlog, and it was almost a further half hour before we finally pushed back.

    Cabin crew gave a safety demonstration, followed by flight information from the Captain. The flight was very pleasant, as is the norm in my experience with Aer Lingus.

    On this flight, I decided to indulge in a bacon and sausage baguette which was quite nice, if not quite so good for my waistline!

    We landed in Dublin a little behind schedule, and were on stand shortly afterwards. I was pleased to find that we had parked at the gate nearest the terminal building, and it was a short distance to passport control.

    There was quite a crowd at passport control, which is now a mixture of staffed booths, and self service machines. Dublin airport staff were very adept at guiding passengers to the nearest machine/booth and the entire process took only a few minutes.

    Conclusions

    The question is whether the four main benefits of LHR T2 remain in place?

    • Public transport within 15 minutes of landing:
    15 minutes from aircraft seat to London Underground Station: exactly as promised.
    • Luxurious Gold Circle Lounge within minutes of check in

    The lounge is almost beside the security area, and is very pleasant indeed.

    • State of the art facilities

    The baggage hall and check-in area are bright and spacious, public transport connections are excellent

    • A seamless faster security and check in process.

    The security staff in T2 continue to be friendly, efficient and make process far more pleasant that in other UK airports. I had checked in on-line so have no experience of check-in in Heathrow, however the area was bright and spacious and looked very pleasant.

    So four out of four were a definite yes, and have stood the test of time.

    My experiences at Dublin Airport both departing and arriving were very good indeed, particularly the passport control which in the past was a cause for concern.

    Aer Lingus offer an excellent service on the Dublin London route, and are constantly refining and improving their service delivery, thus making the flight experience very enjoyable indeed. Judging by the high loads on both flights, the travelling public think so too.
    Boarding


    PhilipHart
    Participant

    More evidence that – in spite of all the bleating about a post-Brexit “hard border” – the Irish Government does not even uphold the Common Travel Area arrangements at the present time!

    Arrival into LHR: Flight treated as domestic, straight out into UK unhindered.

    Arrival into DUB: No differentiation between UK and non-UK flights, thus need to show passport.


    SwissExPat
    Participant

    @ PatJ

    You were lucky on your return to Dublin that the plane did not dock at the old terminal 1 (as happened the last 2 times I flew EI into DUB). You would have been faced with a 1km airside walk with a few steps/stairs to negotiate !!

    I guess this is the price (the EI PAX have) to pay for assommodating the Emirates and Etihad planes at the “Aer Lingus” termina 2 gates !!


    PatJordan
    Participant

    SwissExPat,

    I have made that long trek many times: usually when l am tired, and my feet are aching!


    capetonianm
    Participant

    Fantastic review of a fantastic airline. I use EI a lot for the short hops to and from the Emerald Isle, never had the opportunity to use them longhaul as I haven’t been to North America for years but if I ever do, it will be EI.


    SwissExPat
    Participant

    @ Capetonian,

    [IMHO] EI are reasonably ok, one step above Easy Jet perhaps.

    I have the choice when Travelling regularly from ZRH to DUB and SWISS are the default choice and deliver vastly superior product to EI. [Fares being comparable, business class available, free hot food / Drink in all cabins, better arrival experience in DUB [see comments on long walks between T1 and T2 with EI, not having to weigh baggage to assess baggage price etc]

    I believe the J long haul product with EI is good. I too will look to give it a try, (not having done it in over 9 years)


    PatJordan
    Participant

    Not forgetting the US Customs Pre-Clearance at Dublin, arriving in USA as a domestic passenger saves a lot of time.

    EI offer a good long haul service in Business too, with an arrivals lounge in Dublin.


    canucklad
    Participant

    Great and extensive review as ever Pat

    A few thoughts on some other points made ……..

    Between EDI & DUB I tend to choose …………..wait for it……..Ryanair !!
    Usually cheaper, more flights and quicker, and importantly EI like its UK cousin opted not to set clear blue water between the LCC’s (in this case FR) and themselves, rather get closer to the model, making those clear crystal blue waters very murky indeed. …So, price on a 45 minute flight wins almost every time.

    As for T1 , it very much depends where the aircraft ends up. I’m assuming, through experience that EI generally park up at the satellite bit, as opposed to FR’s trek. Although if you’re a aviation nostalgic buff , you get the opportunity to reminisce as you pass the original terminal. As an added bonus flying with FR !!

    As far as the Common Travel Area, I always carry my passport so not an issue. I do know that my colleagues have travelled with their work ID pass ad also get through no problem at all.
    Back in EDI it seems to be total random when arriving from DUB, sometimes its straight into domestic, other times it’s through the international arrivals ….Bizarre !!

    Finally, EI is a great airline, and my only beef with them….
    Toronto and Montreal are fine cities, but to leave one of the world’s greatest cities of their route map…….Poor Show !!

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