[B]Aer Lingus DUB-JFK-DUB 9-13 Feb 2005[/B]

Profile picture for user Dee747

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This was a short family break for myself, my wife and daughter to visit New York for the first time. We booked everything over the internet, and had no problems at all. Flights were booked in November using the Aer Lingus website, and worked out at €350 or just over £248 per person including taxes. A few days before the flight I called the Aer Lingus customer service line to reserve seating on both legs of the trip, and was told that no window seats were available. We were allocated 29G, H and J (the A330 is 2-4-2 seating in punter class), giving us two aisle seats. We travelled down to the Travelodge near the airport the night before the flight to save on a real red-eye journey the next morning from just outside Belfast. Checkin at the airport was painless and easy using Aer Lingus' self service machine which reads the details on your passport to identify each member of the travelling party. This allowed us to request a change of seat, and hey presto, we had moved to row 30 H, J and K (K being the window). It was simply a case of taking our checked baggage to the "Bag tag and drop" desk before heading to the food court for a hearty fried breakfast. Departure was scheduled for 10.30, so we quickly passed through the airside shopping arcade and on to the departure gates. Dublin, like Shannon, is fortunate in having a US Immigration Service operation at the airport, meaning that all the immigration paperwork, fingerprinting and digital image taking is done before you board the flight, and not at NY or any other US destination served from Ireland. This can be a real time saver, and is often overlooked by pax when making travel plans. As I need to use a walking stick following an accident a few years ago, I always ask at the departure gate for a pre boarding call, simply to give me time to reach the aircraft before the masses behind me. This was courteously dealt with by the Aer Lingus staff, and we were called to board at 09.45 from Gate 30. Our aircraft for the trip was to be EI-CRK (St Brigid) which was one of the two A330s involved in the "strong gust of wind" incident on New Year's Day at Dublin. Needless to say it was none the worse for its experience. Our seats were ideal, being the last row of the middle cabin, just aft of the wing, allowing us to relax without annoying any pax behind. The A330 is a spacious and comfortable aircraft, and when crewed sufficiently is a real boon for any airline. Seat pitch was fine, the seat itself was comfortable without being plush, and audio controls, lighting and headphone socket were all in the armrest. Some last minute standby passengers delayed departure for about 15 minutes, though since the rest of the aircraft preparations had been completed already, it wasn't too long before we closed doors and pushed back. Departure was from Runway 28, and those first time A330 pax would have been mightily impressed by the take off power and rate of climb. With it being a slightly cloudy day it wasn't long before the 40 shades of green disappeared below us and we settled back into a steady climb to cruising altitude. On board service was very good, with drinks being served quickly before lunch. The choices were either chicken or beef lasagne, and all in all it was hot, tasty and quite acceptable, bearing in mind it was economy class airline food. The usual duty free trolley appeared soon afterwards, by which time I was well into a welcoming doze for an hour or so. Because the seating and general atmosphere on the aircraft was pleasant, the journey passed quite quickly, and on looking out it was clear that we had made it across the Atlantic and were over land once again. This turned out to be over St. Mary's Bay in Nova Scotia, where the snow was clearly still very much in evidence (see below for photos). After encountering more thick cloud visibility was lost once again, the next land we could see being Long Island on approach into JFK. As we descended it was clear just how much snow was still around, and the sight of sea ice flows and frozen lakes just reinforced the chilly feeling. Landing on 22L we were soon taxiing across 22R to Gate A4 at the International Terminal (Terminal 4). A Lufthansa A330 landing just after us, other aircraft seen parked included B747-400s from El Al, South African, Virgin and Singapore, and B757s from North American and Loftleider Icelandic. Having already been through Immigration, we were able to progess via baggage reclaim quickly. The Terminal is clean, efficient and as we saw on the return leg, very reminiscent of Stansted in many ways in its construction and design. Again via the internet we had prebooked a car to collect us from the airport and transfer us to the Hilton Hotel in Manhattan. A toll free call once we got landside enabled the car and driver to be waiting for us by the time we had exited the terminal. In fact we were on the road and clear of the airport complex 45 minutes after touching down - not bad for an airport the size of New York. What we weren't ready for was the Cook's Tour of Queens and Brooklyn - I hadn't reckoned on seeing La Guardia Airport on this trip, but we drove right past the front of it. Thank heavens it was a set price for the journey!! :) Return journey We once again prebooked a car and driver to get us back out to JFK for the return journey. As the flight was due to depart JFK at 21.20 and the journey to JFK would take about an hour, we asked for the car to pick us up at 17.30, which he did right on time. The route from Manhattan is far from direct, though the driver was excellent and got us to the Terminal in just 55 minutes. As I said earlier the checkin and departures level is very reminiscent of Stansted - tall, bright, white columns stressing a high roof. Again, we had our seats already assigned, but a quick word with the checkin agent and we had them reassigned to give us a window seat - this time row 33 in the aft cabin, and again seats H, J and K. Shopping and eating in the Terminal is good (if somewhat predictable) but there are no views airside. We allowed plenty of time to go through security, which was very tight. One long snaking queue was manged efficiently by the security personnel, who advised everyone well in advance that they would be required to remove all metals, including belts and watches, as well as all footwear. These were scanned in the usual way using the customary machines, while everyone went through the usual door-type detectors. Once through security access to the individual gates was clear and simple. Looking through the large windows it was clear that this was indeed a very mixed terminal - beside our A330 (again EI-CRK St Brigid) was a Singapore 747-400, while on the other side was an Emirates A340-500. Across the other side of the pier was a Kuwait A340. Boarding was once again efficient and completed very early. We were actually pushed back from the gate a full 30 minutes early - well done to everyone including all the pax who made it possible, and the crew who were ready to go. We pushed back to the far side of the massive Terminal 4 apron, right beside a Northwest 747-400, and began our taxy out via Kilo and Juliet to the holding point for 31L, the longest of the runways at JFK at over 14,500 feet. Once a beautiful looking B777 of Pakistan had departed we lined up and began our roll immediately. Once again the climb was impressive, and the view from the right side of the aircraft of the whole of New York city and towards New Jersey was one that will linger long. Once more the cabin crew went through their well practiced routine, and in no time had drinks served and food issued out. Clearing the cabin quickly afterwards allowed the passengers to get some sleep, and I must say once again that the comfort of the seating made this somewhat easier than on some other aircraft I've been on. By the time daylight appeared we were close to Donegal in Ireland, and routed down over Sligo and across the country to land once again on 28 at Dublin. Only fresh (actually frozen) orange juice was served at breakfast time which was a little surprising, but with a relatively short flight time (in the end 5 hours 50 minutes), perhaps experience has shown that nothing more is needed. As we taxyed in to the terminal the first of that morning's US-bound A330 flights took off. All in all a very enjoyable trip for the three of us, and one we hope to repeat in the not too distant future. Perhaps on that occasion it might be easier to include some more aviation related events, but with this being our first visit to NY it wouldn't have earned many Brownie points if I'd headed off to photograph aircraft instead of Central Park. :eek: The attached photos were snatched as we travelled, so please excuse the quality of some of them. http://jimkilpatrick.fotopic.net/c437445.html
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Profile picture for user Ren Frew

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19 years 9 months

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Excellent read Jim, I too found my Aer Lingus long haul experience to be pleasant, although I was too busy enjoying the view out the window to catch any Z's (lol). More than made up for that as soon as I hit my room in LA mind ya !!
Profile picture for user LBARULES

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Great report and shots Jim :)
Profile picture for user SHAMROCK321

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15 years 8 months

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Great report and I am delighted to hear a good repoer about a long haul Aer Lingus flight once again. Where abouts is gate 30? All transatlntic flights depart from Pier B. Is 30 a gate below for US immigration.
Profile picture for user Mark L

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16 years 6 months

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Great report indeed and some nice pics too. Sadly any plans for an NYC trip for me look set to be put on hold for a good few years now.

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14 years 11 months

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Very detailed report
Profile picture for user Dee747

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15 years 7 months

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Where abouts is gate 30? All transatlntic flights depart from Pier B. Is 30 a gate below for US immigration. Gate 30 is indeed in B, down the stairs for US Immigration about half way round the concourse. We nearly missed it as we followed the gate numbers round clockwise, and only after passing it, realised it and a couple of others are downstairs after the US Immigration desks. In the end, you actually come back upstairs again to use the airbridge. The only reason for going downstairs is to do Immigration.

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15 years 8 months

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Great report there.
Profile picture for user paul the wall

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Well done Dee, its always a pleasure to read a shamrock's report.
Profile picture for user Dee747

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15 years 7 months

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Thanks guys - nice to know the time spent preparing the report was appreciated.