It was time to go home after a 12-day trip to the US. At the time I made my booking, I was not sure of where I would end my trip so I by default I chose New York as a departure point. In a lot of ways it makes sense as it is in the middle of the northeast corridor (Washington-Boston) that I usually travel to when I visit the country.
My only worry was that since the journey will pass through by the Republic of Ireland, there will be no passport control stations at my arrival and I am someone who is particular with stamps on my passport for safety. But I will tell you a bit more about that in the next section.
CONNECTION, PASSPORT CONTROL, BOARDING
Unlike the first time I used Dublin airport, the flight came in quite early. So there was plenty of time to spare and walk around.
As I disembarked off my first flight, I checked the CBP's website to check if my departure was recorded and it was.
I went through the same path as in the first time I transited and followed the signs. As I was queuing, a member of staff asked for passengers bound for the UK. After my boarding card was scanned, I was sent to an Irish passport control officer. He asked me what I was doing in the UK and I answered. He then stamped my passport with an Irish stamp and a notation that I was in transit to the UK. At least this way, I had a stamp proving my travel. Hopefully it could save me from future questions.
TIP: Passengers in transit to the UK via the Republic of Ireland will need to see an Irish passport control officer at the connection point.
Even if I knew which gate I would be using, I decided to follow different signs to see if I can access other facilities in the transit area. Rest assured there were arrows that would lead passengers back to their assigned gates. I first bumped into an Irish souvenir store and took as many photos as I could. At some point, I bought an Irish souvenir for my friend and some postcards to send (unfortunately stamps are not sold in Dublin airport). I explored other parts of the terminal to see what it would look like. I also expected to eat breakfast at a local cafe in Bristol but since I haven't eaten a full meal in more than six hours and the food on the next flight won't be free, I caved in and bought some bacon and eggs. Irish food from that eatery looked something similar in style to British food.
As I exited the main shopping and dining area, I thought I was in for a 10-minute walk to my gate, but by taking the lift, I was sent directly to the concourse that contained it and it was already boarding. Though the shuttle bus did not move for another five minutes.
The flight was quite short and uneventful. I sat in the same seating position I did when I took a similar shuttle flight 13 days earlier. There was nobody else sitting right next to me so I actually sat right beside the window. I admired the view despite the cloudy day.
There was no IFE so I kept my DVD drive and laptop in rich. After about two episodes of a box set I was watching, it was soon time to stow them for landing.
This time, I did not feel a need to purchase any bites but I was aware that food and drinks on this leg were for purchase only.
After we landed at Bristol airport, we docked near a walkway. A shuttle bus was not necessary and the signs were clearly marked. As I mentioned, passport control was not conducted but the door opened at the international baggage claim section where technically, there was a customs check. I used the green (rather than the blue EU) lane since I came in from the US.
I was easily able to find the airport express back to Bristol and I used a ticket I previously purchased (as part of a return ticket package) for the journey. Although the bus would take all passengers to Bristol Bus station, I decided to get off at Temple Meads where I would transfer to a local bus that would stop very close to my flat.
TIP: You can buy a return ticket for the Bristol Airport Flyer bus on board or using the First Bus app. It is cheaper to buy a return ticket than two singles. Also, you can alight from the Airport Express bus at Temple Meads railway station and transfer to an 8 or 9 bus for connections to other parts of Bristol using the same ticket that was used for your Airport Flyer bus journey.
These are rated from 1 to 10 with ten being the best score. This covers aspects of the flight experience that Aer Lingus and its ground agents are responsible for with a focus on Economy Class. [*]Boarding Process (10/10): It was more or less a seamless process. [*]Food (n/a): I didn't purchase any food this time. Although AerLingus could consider offering even simple bites at no extra cost. [*]Cabin Crew (9/10): There was nothing much to say about the flight attendants except that they did their job. [*]Punctuality (7/10): The flight was slightly late. But it wasn't a major issue for me at that point. [*]In-flight Entertainment and Connectivity (n/a): There was none but it wasn't exactly necessary. Though it would help to have a power outlet, even just a USB charging port.
Dublin - DUB
Bristol - BRS
There is nothing spectacular about Aer Lingus regional flights as they are meant to be shuttle flights between Dublin and smaller nearby airports. But if you're looking to avoid a long journey from London to where you actually live, this is not too bad a choice. Just be ready not to get any free food or IFE/WiFi.
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