Valar Morghulis and welcome to my second part of my new series Atlantic Crossing Story!
This series will cover my trip to visit my little brother who studied in Belfast aka Old Town, Westeros. To make the series a bit mystery, the itinerary will be revealed as we go on and divided as follows (all in Y):
This chapter covers the flight from Newark Liberty to Dublin. This report also marks several of my first time -
1. flying on Aer Lingus
2. flying on A330 again after 13 years
3. riding on a TATL flight
4. travelling en Europe
5. travelling en Irlande
6. travelling au Royaume-Uni
7. and most importantly, travelling to Westeros!
There are several options going to Belfast. The most direct way is flying to Belfast City Airport (BHD) or Westeros Airport (BFS)^^ But the fare from Houston to Belfast is not cheap because there are no direct flights and most of them require a transfer at LHR with notorious high surcharges. I also thought about redeeming my Asia Miles for a round trip to Belfast but the options are not ideal and limited to AA/BA only:
1. For AA, CX and AA are false friends so mostly you cannot find an AA flight at Asia Miles.
2. For BA, in addition to the LHR surcharges, the flight distance is just over the 5,000 miles zone which means I had to burn more miles.
Later I looked for other alternatives. Searching on Google Flights, I found that Dublin is also a good option even though I have to take the coach to Westeros but it is convenient. One day I found a good fare to Dublin on United which the itinerary contains Aer Lingus flights. Although the EI legs cannot earn any UA RDMs and PQMs, the schedule fitted me well. Moreover I have not tried EI before so why not.
Fast forward to OLCI using the EI ref no. provided by United, I found that I cannot select the seat because of the fare class while I was assigned a windows seat 42A in the rear cabin
Previous on last report, I exited Terminal C airside and took the AirTrain to Terminal B where EI departs
In order to make myself clam due to the shorten connecting time, I went outdoors and recharged once arrived Terminal B. Il fait beau à New Jersey aujourd'hui.
The Marriott Newark Airport
The FIDS, it showed my flight would depart from Gate 55 at Satellite B2
Then I proceeded to the B2 TSA and there was a long line. Yet I discovered many of those passengers were also taking the same flight with me so I felt relieved then!
After the security I turned right to the Satellite B2 and headed to the toilet first. It was a bit old fashion but clean.
Next to the toilet there is an escalator to the Britain Lounges upstairs
Before entering the Satellite, you need to cross the duty-free maze where the salespersons kept approaching the passengers for shopping
The Satellite gate area is not big. My Gate on the left. My bird was already here but the boarding gate and jet bridge fully blocks the plane visually.
Long live WOW on the right
Still having little time to do some plane spotting. An UA B767
A Delta B767
It does have the charging stations to feed your devices…
and a snack store to feed yourself
Passengers already queued orderly across the Satellite
Nous sommes à Newark
Boarding was called shortly and it was in order. When I got in line and presented my boarding pass to the gate agent, she shouted at me and said they had been calling me for a while because of my late inbound UA flight! Maybe I was busy in plane spotting so I did not aware… at least I made the flight now^^
Embarking. The FAs welcomed me on board
The front Y cabin. Everything is green
My windows seat 42A. A blanket, a pillow and an UNIECF donation form were already placed on the seat. I finally had a proper armrest on the window side!
The seatback materials
Standard seat pitch
It is a 17-year-old A332 (EI-EWR, oh today I flew from EWR^^) which had been leased to Batavia Air, Saudia and AirAsia X previously and rejoined the EI family 2 years ago. It features a refurbished IFE along with an USB port and headphone jack, which is the same model used by CX 9-seat 77W
But this A332 does show its age, there is a gap between the fuselage and the overhead bins with some wear and tear
The overhead light and AC
View from the wing. Next to us is a BA B773 to LHR
Today our flight was just 60% full with many empty seats in the rear cabin. I kept an eye if there were empty middle rows but sadly at least 1 passenger occupied each row lol
The headphone was distributed (spotted with the donation form)
We should appreciate the inner beauty of a blanket before opening it
The blanket is thicker than UA and CX!
Life vest is placed under each seat.
Boarding was quick. The crews closed the door at 1705. Voilà I did not have a seatmate today!
We pushed back at 1710. A LH B748 at Satellite B1 to FRA
Safety video was played
Taxiing. Port Newark. An ex-NW Delta A320 just landed
An United B737 together with an UPS MD-11F landing
We soon took off from Runway 4L at 0525
Our bird flew towards the North
The FA announced we would arrive on schedule and updated us currently Dublin weather was around 10c
Beverage services started after level off
J’ai demandé encore du jus d'orange
A snack mix was later dispatched
I browsed the IFE. It is responsive and its content is adequate. Sadly the route map is out of order on this flight lol
As we were flying to the Westeros, there is Westeros News ^^
This A330 equips with Wi-Fi but I did not buy it
Around 30 minutes later dinner services started while we flew over Newfoundland
The FA verbally took our orders with 2 choices: chicken or beef rice. I am a no beef person thus I opted for chicken.
It was weird that both the appetizer and the entrée were served with rice, just one in cold and one in hot. Nevertheless this is Newark catering so I could not expect much and they indeed taste good. The bread is not a rubber. Generally the food is much better than UA!
The passport for size reference
I requested black tea after the dinner
After my table was cleared the lights were turned off and I turned my row into Economy Plus for resting
Mid-flight I was suddenly awakened as something hit my left arm. Oh geez my back seatmate tried to stretch her legs through the fuselage but my arm blocked her way. She instantly retracted but kept leaning on my arm rest lol
On the other hand I also accidentally discovered the air show worked! However once I became conscious it did not work again lol
The FAs walked through and gave waters. When the FA handed me a cup, history repeats itself: I spilled water on myself!!! lol The FAs witnessed the spilling and immediately apologized and gave me not only one piece but also a box of tissues for cleaning. It was so generous!
I was even escorted to the rear toilet for cleaning myself. The toilet was clean.
Rear cabin view after the toilet
Those middle passengers turned their rows into Economy First to enjoy a flatbed sleep
I fall asleep again after the toilet
Pre-arrival meal service started about an hour before arrival. The FAs turned on the wake-up lighting scene and passengers started waking up
No options for the pre-arrival meal and a snack box was distributed
It contains a muffin and a Minute Maid and no drinks services offered. The cold muffin is the one you can find at the supermarket. I understand it is a TATL flight but both the quality and quantity are pitiful
UNICEF ads were played during descending. The FAs walked through and handed over the donation bags
We had strong tail winds so we touched down on runway 4R at 04:09, 45 minutes ahead of schedule
We quickly pulled into Gate 426 which is at the end of Terminal 2
Last view of my seat…
and last view of my bird. Au revoir St. Thomas ^^
We followed the sign to the immigration
It was 4am then therefore the Terminal is pretty quiet
I went to the toilets. It was clean at 4am
The immigration is quick also and within seconds I was in the baggage claim
Although being the first flight arriving DUB, we still had to wait for our bags… wait…
Bad news: My luggage did not make to Dublin! All my belongings were inside!!!
It indicates the previous UA SMS is not fake and it does have consequences!!!
Not so bad news: I had purchased the travel insurance so I had allowance to buy the necessities
I am not alone: there were 20+ passengers whom their luggage also did not make to Dublin. Nothing we could do about it but headed to the EI CS counter for help. From the conversations I learned that all delayed bags are caused by United lol
My turn. The experienced friendly agent asked my baggage details and inputted my info in the WorldTracer system. He was 100% sure that United just didn’t load my bag on the plane and said it happens all the time when an UA flight connecting to an EI flight… at the end he guaranteed my bag would arrive next day.
I immediately received a SMS for my case reference no. but discovered the agent typed my name wrongly lol
I left the baggage claim. The arrival lobby.
I exited the Terminal and took the coach to Belfast.
Seat pitch is not bad and it took me about 2.5 hours to reach Old Town, Westeros
Thanks to Games of Thrones, Westeros aka North Ireland is super popular and there are many GOT tours. Comparing the prices and packages, my brother and I eventually chose the Paddywagon Tours. The tour actually departs from Dublin but you can join it at Belfast.
Seat pitch of the coach is OK
Despite the tour only includes 2 GOT shooting places, the other places are still worth to visit^^
Carrick-a-Rede, a National Trust property
Scenic coastal view
There is also an education center at the Causeway
When we were having lunch at the education center, I received a message from EI that my bag would be delivered today
Dunluce Castle, used for many exterior shots of the Pyke stronghold, seat of the House of Greyjoy (rulers of the Iron Islands)
Dark Hedges aka the King's Road
In fact there are more sheep in Ireland than humans
We returned to Belfast in the evening and once we arrived at our apartment my baggage showed up!
I’ll leave off the series here and here is the preview of the second part of the series: All bad things come to an end
Merci de m'avoir lu!
My first time on EI and generally it was a enjoyable flight experience but the catering could be better.
Cabin: Good. A 17-year-old A330 with the refurbished cabin. It equips with Wi-Fi. The seat is comfort with good seat pitch. Toilets are clean.
Cabin Crew: Good. The FAs are initiative and helpful. They have good attitudes towards passengers and react promptly for the incident.
Entertainment: Good. Standard seatback materials. The refurbished IFE is responsive and functional with decent programs selections. They do provide a full season of TV dramas. But the airshow does not work mostly during the flight.
Meal & catering: Average. The dinner quality is good and quantity is adequate. However the breakfast size is too small with no hot food and drinks services provided.
For EWR, the Satellite of Terminal B is small but clean with adequate facilities.
For DUB, the Terminal 2 is modern and spacious. The Wi-Fi is very fast and the transportation is convenient.