DUB-MAN January 2018

Old Jan 21, 18, 4:50 am
  #1  
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DUB-MAN January 2018

DUB -MAN-DUB (Economy)

Booking and check in

The Aer Lingus website is easy to navigate and selecting a flight for my 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 fare cost an additional 35euro over the Lowest fare: this was the option I chose.

As my flight was within 30 days of booking, I took advantage of the advance check in option and printed my boarding passes (for outbound and return flights) within minutes of booking: a very useful facility. Being somewhat old fashioned, I prefer the printed paper to the electronic version.

I arrived at Dublin Airport Terminal 2 @ 10.30am for my 12.20pm flight, and proceeded to security, where my Aer Club membership granted 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. My flight was due to depart from gate 335 which is midway between terminals 1 & 2 and a short walk from the lounge.

I spent a pleasant hour in the lounge with a glass of merlot and a good book. On a cold winter morning, I was delighted to see a tureen of soup on offer, and duly indulged in a bowl of thick and creamy mushroom soup.



BOARDING:

On arriving at Gate 335, my documents were briefly checked, and I was guided to a bus, which I presumed would take me to a remote aircraft stand. Instead, it took passengers to a new building named “South Gates”. This is a small remote boarding area and the A320 was parked alongside, and boarded via front & back stairs. This was a very lightly loaded flight so boarding was very quickly completed.

We were warmly welcomed by the cabin crew, and the Airbus A320 was very well presented as always.

The Captain introduced himself, gave details of flight times (a mere 35 minutes), routing and wished us a pleasant flight. Cabin crew then gave a safety demonstration, followed by an announcement of a “short taxi”. And short it was: we were airborne within a couple of minutes!



Once cruising altitude was reached, cabin crew then began inflight service. Feeling indulgent, I opted for a sausage & bacon baguette and small bottle of cava. Very tasty as always, but our descent began when I was in the middle of eating (I managed to finish my food before it was time to stow the table!). However as we reached our destination so quickly, I was not in the least put out.



We landed in Manchester on schedule and were on stand shortly after. Passengers are bussed to the UK & Ireland arrivals hall. Having no luggage, I was airside within a few minutes.

DEPARTURE MANCHESTER

I arrived at Manchester T1 at 3.30pm for 5.20pm flight. My boarding card granted me access to fast track security, and I was pleased to find no queue whatever. I was airside within a couple of minutes.

Lounge (Manchester)

Aer Lingus use the Aspire Lounge (formerly known as “the Wilmslow”),whhich 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.

There was a good range of food available, and this was regularly replenished, even though the lounge was quite busy.

Boarding

The information screens in the lounge indicated that passengers should go to gate 8 for the Aer Lingus flight, and I duly made my way towards the departure gates. As I approached the gate, there was a “final call” for boarding, but boarding had not yet commenced. After a few minutes, Priority Boarding began, and very quickly passengers were standing on the steps waiting for the doors to the apron to open so as to allow the actual boarding to begin. During this time, a queue had formed behind me also, thus adding to the congestion. Once the doors were opened, the actual boarding (front and rear aircraft doors were open) was completed swiftly.

My experience of boarding Aer Lingus flights at Manchester Terminal 1 is that such a haphazard approach is the norm, and reflects poorly on the (otherwise efficient) ground handling agents.

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 very close passport control. The newly installed automated passport readers are very efficient and at this time there was no waiting whatever. A very welcome initiative.

Conclusion

A very impressive in-flight experience. Very good punctuality, welcoming, professional crew members. The boarding at Manchester Terminal 1 needs serious attention as the practice of holding groups of passengers on a stairway is unpleasant.
pat jordan is offline  
Old Jan 21, 18, 6:49 am
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Join Date: May 2007
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Originally Posted by pat jordan View Post
DUB -MAN-DUB (Economy)
A very impressive in-flight experience. Very good punctuality, welcoming, professional crew members. The boarding at Manchester Terminal 1 needs serious attention as the practice of holding groups of passengers on a stairway is unpleasant.
Ever has it been thus, Im afraid! The gates easyJet tend to use (I think 1-5, some are upstairs, some down) have a better layout for A320 size aircraft boarding by steps from the from and rear. In those gates they can separate into Priority, Front and Rear doors. Hopefully that particular are will be demolished as part of MAN's redevelopment - but its a later phase, I think. Gates which avoid the interminable bus journey from the aircraft to would be ideal. T5 @ LHR would be a good inspiration for them.
BrianDromey is offline  

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