Review of Aer Lingus flight Dublin New York in Economy

Airline Aer Lingus
Flight EI105
Class Economy
Seat 42K
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 06:50
Take-off 19 Feb 19, 11:15
Arrival at 19 Feb 19, 13:05
EI   #128 out of 131 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 71 reviews
TheWindowSeat
Published on 15th March 2019
So after flying from Manchester into Dublin clearing the US Immigration, I was in the USA !


Well, as I mentioned in my previous post, once you clear US Immigration in Dublin, you are classed as having entered the United States !


US Preclearance information from a magazine article about why Airport's don't have US Preclearance ( bar Dublin,Shannon and Abu Dhabi).


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As it happened, as soon as I entered the gates area, my gate was 401 which is right after the Immigration desks - talk about convenience !

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The Gate staff were busy prepping the boarding area, they were lovely especially the excellently mannered Dean. I started to forget all the problems I have had with Aer Lingus as all Aer Lingus staff I had met this morning were nothing short of amazing.

Dean advised boarding would begin at 1005am - The Boarding Pass was not at all clear which gate I was leaving from and seemed to suggest that checkin had closed at 0915am - 95 minutes before departure ?


I made a very quick dash to the nearby washroom to freshen up.


Just moments after I arrived back at the gate, boarding commenced. Through prior agreement I was able to board with the first group of passengers !

There was only a trickle of passengers with the first boarding group.

We had to get an escalator up to walk a short distance,where I saw I would be on the newly painted A330 ! I couldn't wait to see a colourful newly branded cabin.
The A330 I would fly to New York is a 10 year old model and registered EI-EDY "St Munchin ".

This photo is from my stored photos as for some reason it has vanished !


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The Cabin Services Manager Michael was stood by the left of the door and an Airhostess was on the right.


As there was a gap between passengers, I quickly introduced myself to Michael and told him told him this is my first longhaul Aer Lingus flight today and confidently asked for any memorabilia as it would be appreciated !


Bear in mind, this aircraft was used to launch the new livery and brand just over a month ago so I couldn't wait to see the colourful new headrest covers as shown in the media - this is probably the quickest and easiest element to apply after a rebrand.

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As I entered I was firstly very very underwhelmed to see old headrest covers with the old branding.
It was immediately obvious that certain seats had IFE Control Units whilst the majority of seats didn't as the seatback video screens were touch screen. I have never flown an airline which has mixed IFE styles in the same cabin (touchscreen and remote controlled ).


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Upon walking to my seat Airhostess Shannon asked "how are you ?" - please note this is an Irish icebreaker phrase and doesn't usually warrant an " I am fine" but I said it anyway !


I stowed my hand luggage and said Good Morning to two Airhostesses at the back (supervisor Mary and Sinead ) who were very smiley and friendly. I asked if they had an onboard wardrobe for my suit jacket in it's suit cover. They suggested to fold and place over my hand luggage. This would prove extra useful as only me and my neighbour occupied the locker.


I then sat down at my seat and thought I had boarded the wrong airline.


Welcome Aboard Aer Lingus - or is that Hair Lingus ?


I am an Asian male with short black hair - this long off blond/brown hair was tangled in the tray latch - the aircraft had been on the ground for several hours. To clean the tray table from the last flight, the cleaner would have needed to open the tray table. Meaning the traytable was either not cleaned or a very ignorant cleaner thought it ok to leave a massive hair.

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I then saw that the velcro of the seat fabric on the seat in front of me ( 41 K) was ripped apart.
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So much for a rebrand - 2 faults already. To think that this aircraft is used on 10.30 hour flights to Los Angeles is shocking.


I then realised none of the seats had blankets despite the Smart fare clearly stating you get a blanket ; I thought perhaps these would be given during the flight but they never were. Yet crew were seen with blankets during their rest break at the back. The temperature of the cabin was borderline cold but bearable.


For a moment I thought there would be no USB port to keep my Smartphone charged.
The panic stopped when I felt it in the armrest.

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WiFi sign - the free WiFi in Economy had not been activated at the time of travel despite big promises since last year
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Boarding got into full swing and there was a true Irish humour moment from Inflight Manager Michael !


He announced that a passenger around row 29 had a nut allergy and if passengers seated there could refrain from eating any nuts brought onboard. He then said and I quote- "hold onto your nuts" - the entire rear cabin erupted with laughter !


Baggage Compartment door with a hint of the new livery
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My neighbour for the next several hours ,smiled as he stowed his jacket and said hi whilst he took his seat. Normally I don't like a non companion next to me or someone who is chatty but he was really just a perfect seatmate. More later on this.


Boarding continued and it seemed most passengers were onboard. There was a very relaxed and calm atmosphere onboard.


An Airhostess, I believe of Eastern European origin,suddenly appeared at my seat and said " Mr WindowSeat, a drink for you " ! It was in a sealed beverage cup.

Just as I felt special, suddenly I also got given a Premier Amenity Kit !

The Airhostess smiled and told me the Manager would come by with more memorabilia later on…bring it on I say ! The drink sadly had to be given back as I believe it had some alcohol in it. But I appreciated the thoughtfulness !


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A look inside the amenity kit with Voya Skincare products
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A video was playing throughout the cabin with a preview of the Inflight Entertainment

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Boarding was complete for 1040am.


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There was then an announcement at 1047am that the flight time to New York JFK today would be 6hrs 50 mins.

The safety video played at 1050am with crew positioned in the cabin, reminds me of British Midland whose crew used to follow the same procedure.

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The aircraft pushed back at 1055am as Captain Tina made her welcome announcement in a very warm and sincere manner.

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2 shots of EI - ELA "St.Patrick" the A330 I will be flying back on from New York !

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After some more taxying, take off commenced at 1115am.

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Some shots of Airshow

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Just before 1145am the meal choices were announced as Beef stroganoff or Chicken Ravioli. I found this strange as online reviews show a menucard is given.

The announcement also said "apologies if your first choice is not available".

Passengers were then offered drinks and an ultra tiny packet of Sour Cream ad Chive Penn State Pretzels .

The crew were not touching the beverage cup rim so I applaud this.

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There was not much time to think of the tiny nibbles as there was suddenly an announcement there there will be no drinks during the meal service and to place orders now. The announcement is done after advising that alcoholic drinks are paid for and to place orders now, so therefore it sounds like when orders need to be placed, it is for alcoholic drinks.


I thought I must have surely misheard so asked a passing Airhostess if I had misheard and she politely confirmed I had heard correctly that there will be no drinks during meal service. The manners of Aer Lingus crew are impeccable and deeply charming.


Another Airhostess Shannon brought me a Coke during my meal on my request anyway. Which longhaul full service airline doesn't serve drinks with meals ? Aer Lingus. That is who.You are reading about it here.


2 crew members ( Sinead and Shannon ) who had been selling drinks were discussing change which had to be given and they said " We are sure that between the 2 of us we will remember to give change ! As I say the manners and charm of Aer Lingus crew is something I could write a book on. They really are lovely.

The washrooms were were worn out and I felt sick to even make a photo of these.


A look at the IFE - featuring 2 of America's finest and late artists - the daughter of New York Ms Whitney Houston and the King of Pop Mr Michael Jackson.


The earphones had to be put into the jack at a certain angle and were of the worst quality imaginable. The sound quality was poor and audio sounded as though I had blocked ears.
The pods which you put into your ears look mis shapen however are at an angle to fit comfortably into your ears.

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The Airhostess who had brought my pretake off drink and amenity kit, then brought my special meal tray.
The tray is very small despite how big it appears in photos. It is almost child sized.

The MUSLIM label looked very odd considering the MOML code is used and as approved by IATA.

At this point I felt the chicken tasted weird. But I thought it's just me.
Also of note and as per many online reviews, the tray liner was upside down.

Seeing as my first ever job was in Inflight Catering and we had to rigorously ensure trayliners were aligned/straight etc, it is amazing that no one is checking Aer Lingus trays for this detail.

I wish I had photographed the upside down liner in full as you only briefly see the multilingual "Enjoy Your Meal " messages in photo 1.

But I was so annoyed that I reconstructed the tray first to make a photo for your viewing pleasure. Hopefully you can see I reconstructed the tray to exacting standards. The butter portion was rock hard and I managed to scrape morsels of butter to spread onto the bread.


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The inflight service dragged on and on and on…..and on….and on….the Aer Lingus Cabin Services Department Managers sure do not want passengers to rest and have 5 minutes of peace.

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Wall fitted fastener buttons for when a curtain needs to be attached - there was a curtain rail holder on the overhead panel - I presume this seat gets curtained off if required for operational reasons.
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3 hours after take off ,trays were still on the tray tables.
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Finally when the trays were collected, teas and coffees were then served in trendy cups which had multilingual phrases for Tea and Coffee.

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We then had to sit with the coffee cup on the tray table for ages.


The crew then began cleaning up trash - a small child and her Mum came into the aisle - An Airhostess joked with the child and said "I'm gonna put you in the bin !! So cute !


Aer Lingus had been promoting the new livery and the wingtip shamrock as being "Instagram Worthy".


One Airhostess saw me taking a photo of the wingtip as she helped clear rubbish and said that would make a nice photo !

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I was initially unable to have a photo with my lovely crew due to a social media policy which prohibits crew from doing this. You would think that after the Azealia Banks incident, the airline would have encouraged photos with crew,especially passengers of ethnic origin, to show how amazing the crew are !


It would soon transpire to be another thing which shows EI staff are not all on same page. I blame the management completely.


My neighbour was a Real Estate Manager from Ireland but based in New York - he had family in Manchester - of course he did as Manchester is a little Dublin !!!


I then went to the back galley to request water - an Airhostess gave me 2 bottles of Ballygowan Water which looked rather child friendly !

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A look at the seat pocket literature plus a brochure on the rebrand


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The new CEO clearly didn't get time to check when the last rebrand was done.
It is 2019 and the last rebrand was done in 1996. I wasn't good at Maths at school but even I can count that it is 23 years since the last rebrand.
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With 3 hours to landing there was a water service through the cabin. I bought a packet of Tayto crisps as a midflight snack and also got two free cokes with ice. Airhostess Sinead was so friendly and said if I wished to order anything else to simply press the callbell.

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Airhostess Sinead then walked by and gave me a little box for the Afternoon Tea 1 hour before landing - here is where my relationship would change dramatically and go into a very fast nosedive with Aer Lingus.


The back of the box has a label for the ingredients of the contents which are a Sweet Chilli Chicken Wrap and a Chocolate Brownie.
Apologies I have no photo of the box with the Chicken Wrap but how I wish I had taken the photo. Online reviews show that all passengers are given a Sweet Chilli Chicken Wrap.


I was looking to see where in the ingredients it states that the chicken is Halal. Having a yellow card with MOML ticked does not tell me the Chicken is Halal.

I had ordered my MOML ( Muslim Meal ) the day I booked my flights on 1st September 2018 . Aer Lingus has been flying for 8 decades so it shouldn't be a surprise that any meat in an MOML MUST be Halal. No if.sbuts,maybes or perhaps…MUST be Halal.

I was in a lot of doubt so Airhostess Sinead offered then brought me a vegetarian option although the vegetarian option was not proactively being offered.

Something inside me told me that perhaps the first meal was also not Halal. The coke doesn't come with the Afternoon tea, only tea or coffee.


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I tried my best to put it out of my mind but I couldn't so I composed a massive email inflight ( taking 45 minutes ) to send to the head of Social Media ( Rachel Curran ) upon arriving at my hotel in New York. The email described my experience with Aer Lingus so far and how upset I was becoming. I had confidence that Rachel would listen to and address all my concerns and I could enjoy my New York holiday - a dream holiday in my 40th birthday year.

To give you an idea of what t he Halal logo looks like on Halal food
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There was a Unicef announcement and crew passed through the cabin with an envelope to collect donations and said thank you to me for my donation.


The Captain then announced with around 35 mins to go before landing, the arrival time of 1305pm


She wished passengers an amazing time in New York - after a 1 second pause she then said - "Especially you —— ( and said my first name ! ) Inflight Manager Michael had let teh Captain know that a first time EI flyer is onboard !

Inflight manager brought me a Premier Menucard and a branded Aer Lingus pen !
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Airhostess Shannon then arrived with a lil goodybag for me ! It had the branded tea/coffee cups,cutlery packsplus she mentioned that this aircraft was the first to be repainted in the new livery and gave me a brochure about the rebrand.

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Descent began

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There were wonderful views of Manhattan and surroundings on this very nice sunny day.

My seat neighbour flies this route frequently and told me I'm very lucky to get these views as normally the aircraft comes in over Queens !

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The cabin secure took place from 30 minutes before landing

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Touchdown was at 1305pm New York time.

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Upon landing I saw an Alaska 737, Air India 777 ,Singapore A380, Asiana ( can't remember if it was a 747 or A380 ) although at the time of writing they use A350s and a Hawaiian A330.
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BOAC Retro 744 ( only painted days before for BA's 100th anniversary ( photo not available so sample shot ). The 744 I saw at JFK was the first flight in Retro colours - I may not have flown on her but I sure saw her up close !

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Upon disembarkation, Airhostess Shannon shook my hand and said it was nice to have met me. Likewise I was in awe of her superb service skills.

I then had a souvenier group photo with the lovely Captain Tina, the First Officer, the Inflight Manager and an Airhostess from Business Class.


It was weird walking through jetBlue's terminal as an arriving passenger as Departures and Arrivals are all one !

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I got my suitcase - which was on the same belt as a jetBlue flight from Los Angeles. Some dude was giving evil stares to anyone looking at his belongings which he had spread out. Some people. Seriously.

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I'm not happy that anyone can walk into the terminal and potentially make off with a case. I am not sure if there are staff watching but I hope so.

I then headed to the Transport desk to register for my SuperShuttle pickup.

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Opposite the jetBlue terminal, the last touches are being applied to the TWA hotel - a stylish accommodation which will relive the historic and glorious past of TWA - Trans World Airlines.

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I saw Hawaiian's A330 again on leaving the airport area.


The thing with SuperShuttle is that you can sometimes get some questionable drivers and as of today fellow passengers. As I boarded, the driver asked a woman sat next to me if she was a Professor problbly part of a previous conversation ( she said she was a Dr) - seems untrue as she did not have the appearance of an educated professional.


As I saw the New York Skyline for the first time, I looked out the window whilst sat in the middle. This weird woman kept looking at me and rolling her eyes then looking at the passenger behind me and rolling her eyes as if to say " what is he doing" ?


The passion of travel is dead in some people. She wouldn't ruin my much deserved holiday however.


Aer Lingus would take that crown with both hands. Upon arrival in New York, I immediately sent an email to Rachel Curran telling her about the meal incident and how I was so upset.

Due to the time difference it would be a whole day until I would hear from her again. I did not leave my hotel for 24 hours - the start of my dream holiday ruined believing I had eaten non Halal food in a supposedly Halal meal. This is not a small matter and is a huge deal not to mention a disrespect to me and my faith and all Muslims who would fly Aer Lingus longhaul.


Initially she sent me an email telling me that she needs time to look into "all" my concerns. She then emailed me at midday New York time, the time she was finishing up in Dublin. I received a simple email which stated " I have checked with the relevant teams and the Chicken in the wrap is Halal ". None of the other topics were discussed and I felt very fobbed off as I had placed all my trsut in her that she will reassure me and therefore let me get on and enjoy my holiday. The ironic part of this is that she had a feature in the Cara inflight mnagazine ( Feb/Mar ) edition where she seemed to suggest she enjoys helping passengers. I don't know how she would feel if she received the utterly poor and disgraceful service which I received.

Now I highly doubt a European airline is serving Halal chicken to all passengers. And if it is,should it not label it's food accordingly ?

I immediately emailed Rachel back to establish why the wrap did not state Halal and as to who Aer Lingus' Halal meat supplier is. From that email to today, Rachel Curran has not had the decency to reply. Such was my distrust in Aer Lingus, that whilst in New York, I changed my MOML to a VGML. The first time in my adult travelling life I have done so.

At least I would know what I am eating is suitable for my consumption. Never in my life would I imagine changing my special meal but Aer Lingus did nothing to reassure me. I am waiting on Brunchbox to contact me.

I started thinking that if Azaelia Banks could hear my story, she would likely use the R word ( racism).

Does my story get any worse ? Please read my comments at the end of the review of EI 202 Dublin to Manchester.

I am seriously wondering what Aer Lingus paid to Skytrax to get this 4 star rating - did the auditors fly Business Class only ?

Quality and Excellence ? Where ? Please show me where Aer Lingus offers this standard.
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Verdict

Aer Lingus

3.8/10
Cabin5.0
Cabin crew5.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering5.0

Dublin - DUB

10.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

New York - JFK

10.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

A poor product and a service that drags on and on with little time to rest.
Below basic standard and certainly not an experience I wish to repeat after I have completed all flights.
Totally not competitive compared to BA,Virgin,Singapore Airlines,Air France,Lufthansa and even Norwegian who all offer non stop or transfer flights from the UK to/from the United States.

Information on the route Dublin (DUB) New York (JFK)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Dublin (DUB) → New York (JFK).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is American Airlines with 7.1/10.

The average flight time is 7 hours and 18 minutes.

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