DUB-MAN-DUB

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This topic contains 0 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  PatJordan 27 Jun 2017
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  • PatJordan
    Participant

    DUB -MAN-DUB (Economy)
    Booking and check in
    http://www.aerlingus.com is an easy site to navigate and selecting a flight for our trip to Manchester was no trouble. Three fare types are available: Fully flexible, Lowest and Plus. The Plus fare includes one free checked bag, seat selection (including premium seats) and earns Aer Club points. Plus fares (on UK routes) cost an additional 35euro over the Lowest fare: this was the option we chose.
    This route is operated jointly by Aer Lingus Regional and Aer Lingus. Their flights can be distinguished by flight numbers: Aer Lingus Regional use four digits, whereas all Aer Lingus flights have three digits.
    As our flight was within 30 days of booking, I took advantage of the advance check in option and printed our boarding passes (for outbound and return flights) within minutes of booking: a very useful facility.
    We arrived at Dublin Airport Terminal 2 @ 5.00am for our 06.30am flight. We had one bag to drop off, and I used the self service bag drop machines to do this. Even for a technophobe (such as I), this was trouble free, and took only a couple of minutes, and we then proceeded to security.
    My Aer Club membership granted us access to the Fast track security lane. Security staff are very pleasant, and at the same time very thorough. I was airside within a few minutes, and had a browse around a couple of shops before going to the lounge.
    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 this warm attitude extends to the ladies who restock supplies and clear tables.
    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. Our flight was due to depart from gate 301 which is essentially the old “B” pier, and not too long a walk from the lounge.
    Despite the early hour, the lounge was quite busy, with business flyers being in the majority, and very few leisure travellers like us!

    A very acceptable continental breakfast is on offer:
    Fresh fruit
    • Cereals
    • Breads, scones, pastries
    • Yogurts
    • Cheese, crackers
    • Biscuits,

    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:
    When we arrived at the gate boarding had already commenced. As this area is not normally used by Aer Lingus, the Priority Boarding lane is not as visible (as in the main T2 departures area).
    We were warmly welcomed by the cabin crew, and the Airbus A320 was very well presented as always. The seats were covered in navy leather but were of a type I hadn’t seen before. The seat back was moulded plastic with a small cut out for enhanced knee room. This extra inch or two would make all the difference for taller passengers. The trade off is a smaller pocket which reduces storage space. I found the seat quite comfortable for the very short flight.

    The Captain introduced himself, gave details of flight times, routing and wished us a pleasant flight. Cabin crew then gave a safety demonstration. We pushed back a few minutes early, and were airborne after a short taxi. Cruising altitude (20,000) feet was soon reached, and cabin crew then began inflight service.
    Aer Lingus recently introduced an improved range of food and drink, developed in conjunction with Irish celebrity chef Clodagh McKenna. On this particular flight, we didn’t avail of the service, but on previous occasions it has been very enjoyable and good value.

    We landed in Manchester on schedule and were on stand shortly after. Passengers are bussed to the UK & Ireland arrivals hall.
    Surprisingly, given the time taken to transport passengers from the aircraft to the terminal building, we had to wait about 10 minutes for our bag to arrive..
    DEPARTURE MANCHESTER
    We arrived at Manchester T1 just before 6.00pm for our 8.55pm flight. There was a large queue outside the building; we found later that this was the queue for security. With difficulty, we made our way to the Aer Lingus bag drop desk, where were offered the facility to check in one of our hand held bags free of charge, an offer we gratefully availed of.
    We then proceeded to security, thanking the stars for having Fast Track access………and spent 90 minutes waiting.
    Lounge (Manchester)
    Formally,Aer Lingus used the Escape lounge. They have now relocated to the Aspire Lounge (formerly known as “the Wilmslow”), directly across the hall. This was formerly used by Aer Lingus for many years, and has always been a pleasant area to relax while awaiting one’s flight.
    I was greeted by a very friendly receptionist, and alongside her desk was a poor selection of magazines, with barely a handful of newspapers.
    The lounge has large windows which combined with skylights, make the area very bright and provide great views of the apron.
    A full range of soft drinks is available along with decent coffee. Sadly all the soft drinks and mixers are now served from large plastic bottles. Whilst I understand the need to reduce their cost base, sparkling water soon loses its “fizz” once a bottle is opened. This leads to multiple bottles being opened to meet the need of discerning passengers. KLM have a good compromise in their Crown Room in Schipol: a soda fountain. As well as being an eye catching feature, it guarantees drinks with a real sparkle every time, and is both cost effective and kinder to the environment than disposing of several large plastic bottles.
    Aspire is a very attractive lounge, however, on this occasion on foot of a very busy day, there was hardly any food left in the lounge when we arrived. I submitted an email to Swissport to raise my concerns in this regard….and heard nothing. I then sent a follow up email to the CEO, having located his contact details from their website. I was pleasantly surprised to receive a very detailed response from Swissport’s Director of Marketing (Nick Ames) late the following evening offering fulsome apologies. This is an excellent example of service recovery, and something other service providers could do well to emulate.
    Boarding
    As we approached the gate, boarding had commenced. I joined the queue, and was on board within a few minutes. Boarding was by steps at both front and back, and was completed swiftly.
    The Airbus 320 was immaculate as always, and cabin crew were very welcoming.
    All Aer Lingus short haul aircraft are economy class and seats are configured 3-3. The seats are dark blue leather with adjustable headrests.
    Inflight
    The Captain gave a brief welcome and details of flight times, followed by a safety announcement from the cabin crew. We pushed back a few minutes early and were airborne quickly.
    We landed on time and had a short taxi to the stand, which was the furthest away from passport control.
    Conclusion
    A very impressive in-flight experience. Very good punctuality, welcoming, professional crew members. Manchester Airport was hellish on departure. Whether or not this is the norm, I cannot say. However it beggars belief that a modern airport can be caught unprepared for large number of departing passengers in this day and age.
    Aer Lingus have struck a good match between a low cost carrier model and offering a consistently good level of service in my experience. Given the high numbers on board, it seems that the travelling public agree.

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