Review of Aer Lingus flight Exeter Dublin in Economy

Airline Aer Lingus
Flight EI3331
Class Economy
Seat 2A
Aircraft ATR 72-600
Flight time 01:20
Take-off 18 Apr 24, 11:15
Arrival at 18 Apr 24, 12:35
EI   #73 out of 95 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 102 reviews
Jett Tyler
By GOLD 506
Published on 4th June 2024

Aer Lingus Regional by Aer Arann, Stobart Air & Emerald Airlines! (2010-2024)


Aer Lingus Regional is a subsidiary of Aer Lingus set up to operate regional flights from Ireland to the United Kingdom and islands in the UK-Ireland Common Travel Area (CTA), the airline also operates the only Irish Domestic flight in the Aer Lingus network, Dublin-Donegal. Since 2022 Aer Lingus Regional is also responsible for their Belfast City operations across the UK using British registered aircraft.


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Aer Arann, a regional airline in Ireland operating ATR 42 and ATR 72 were the initial partners on the operation alongside Aer Lingus. They operated for Aer Lingus Regional from the companies formation in early 2010 until 2014 when the Stobart Group bought the airline and rebranded the airline as Stobart Air, the new airline would operate franchise operations for Aer Lingus Regional and Flybe until the company ceased operations in June 2021 due the impact of the Pandemic.


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A new company was formed in 2021 and won the bid to take over from Stobart Air in 2023, but with the early demise of Stobart Air in 2021, Emerald Airlines took over in 2022 as the provider for Aer Lingus Regional which it continues to do as of June 2024.


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I was putting together a trip to cover some Regional UK Airport's in the South-West to tick them off my 2024 Travel Plans and this gave me a chance to finally try out Aer Lingus Regional/Emerald Airlines- and this is where we start off.


Experiencing Exeter Airport


Well here's a new airport for my travel list- Exeter Airport!


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If the branding looks familiar, its because Exeter Airport is owned by City and Regional Airport's which also own Bournemouth Hurn Airport- an airport you might be familiar with from me! I have visited EXT Airport once in the past, but this is my first time flying from here!


Oddly enough, in terms of distance by miles or kilometres, Exeter Airport is closer to Bournemouth Airport than London Heathrow Airport is, but it takes over 2 hours to drive to Exeter Airport from Bournemouth compare to 90 minutes to London Heathrow as getting into Devon or Cornwall counties is all back roads and A-Roads, whereas London Heathrow is accessed more easily via the Motorways M27, M3 and M25.


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I quickly passed through the empty arrivals area, I wouldn't be flying into Exeter on this trip, but I wanted to showcase it for this website and those viewing this report who have a curiosity to see what Exeter Airport is like for a passenger perspective!



The check in area has several desks which can be allocated to different airline through the day. A small desk is dedicated for the special operations of the Isle of Scilly Skybus- an airline offering an essential air service using Britten-Norman Islanders & DeHavilland Twin-Otters. A small café to the right of the entrance is available to the public, its a little bit pricey, but its ideal for anyone too early for a flight or someone awaiting a delayed flight.


The day I was flying out appeared to offer a nice diversity of short-haul carriers for the Airport as the departure board was showing flights from not only Aer Lingus Regional, but also the likes of Blue Island, Ryanair, Loganair, the Skybus and Aurigny Air Service. The original Flybe (1979-2020) was head quartered here in Exeter with their main office being located on the Airport Grounds.



I got through security in about 10 minutes and made my way to the departure area, which was quite dreary and dull, one side was occupied by a bar and a WH Smith outlet to the other, a large seating area in the middle for plenty of people as well. I would have hated being stuck in here for ages, but I noticed a sign and I enquire about it with a WH Smith staff member, and made my way to something really amazing!



Unlike most UK Airport's since the early 2000s, Exeter Airport has an Observation Terrace! Its a small space which is outside and offers brilliant Airport and apron views, I took a coffee from the bar with me and set up my camera's and opted to spent the next 90 minutes watching the incoming arrivals (including my own aircraft), making the most of such a luxury for an AvGeek in the UK!



The period I was waiting at EXT Airport for was a busy one, Blue Island ATR 72-600 (Jersey), Ryanair 737-800 (Alicante) and Skybus DeHavilland Twin-Otter (Isle of Scilly) all arrived before my Aer Lingus ATR flight turned up, so I wasn't let down, as well as a small number of private General Aviation planes flying around.



Once my plane arrived, I was off to the gate for boarding. There are six gates at Exeter Airport, and my flight was leaving at Gate 3. I got to Gate three to be buzzed into the waiting area. Seating was available whilst they waited for our flight to be cleared by the cabin crew for boarding across the remote stand.


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Aer Lingus Regional EI3331 (EXT-DUB)



My flight was to be operated by an Aer Lingus Regional/Emerald Airlines ATR 72-600 registered as EI-GPO, an ironically fitting registration if you know about Irish history. This aircraft was built in March 2016 and flown as G-FBXD by Flybe for SAS Scandinavian Airlines until Flybe's demise in March 2020, ironically this aircraft was delivered to Exeter Airport where I was to fly on it that morning, eventually the plane got its EI-GPO registration and ended up owned by Emerald Airlines who fly the plane on behalf of Aer Lingus Regional.


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Boarding was done using the "open boarding" method as Exeter Airport lacks the jet-bridges, which isn't uncommon at small regional airports in the UK, however on a day like today- I'd be almost offended if they didn't give us an open board- just look at these amazing photos from the walk to the plane from the Terminal!!!



Boarding the ATR from the rear meant I had to go through to the front of the plane to claim my seat, I thought the little mood lights above each row was a cool feature… However I notice the ATR seats are adorned with blue leather, a similar design to their Airbus A320 fleet…


Come on Aer Lingus- you are missing a massive marketing opportunity by not having a dark/emerald green colour material on this seat!


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Boarding was finished promptly, despite it being an almost full flight, and having taken my place in Seat 2A, ideal for the propeller view! The pilots began to prepare for taxi and departure, as the plane was being powered up, I saw the Ryanair Boeing 737-800 departing down the runway for Alicante.


We taxied out for departure, passing the parked up West Atlantic Boeing 737-400F which had come in at 4am that morning on a cargo flight. We made our way to the threshold of Runway 08, departing towards the West of Exeter Airport.



It was soon our turn to depart and we zoomed down Runway 08 and took off into an amazing spring day over Devonshire, making a few left turns as we departed Exeter Airport, the clear day offered some amazing views of the rural Devon countryside as well as the little downs dotted around Exeter city itself as we climbed out for the Northerly route toward Dublin!



Our route took us North across Devonshire, we then passed over the Bristol Channel, we then crossed Western Wales before entering the Irish Sea where we'd begin our descent into Dublin Airport.


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As we settled in for the sub-1hr flight, the two cabin crew began the inflight service. The Aer Lingus BIA menu was on offer with a somewhat "stripped down" offering for the Aer Lingus Regional flights from Ireland to the UK. The flight was also compounded by the hot water system not being fully functional, so no teas or coffees today- however I was able to get a packet of Tayto Crisps and a can of Cola.



The ATR loo was as box standard and functional as they come, however anyone over 6ft tall might want to proceed with caution when visiting! The tap did work "slightly" despite the issues with the water system- I did however use the hand sanitizer as well for good measure. The toilet design did look quite dated for a plane built in 2016 though, as if ATR hasn't updated the toilet design since the 1990s!


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Our descent into Dublin began and despite the brilliant weather in Exeter, Dublin was the total opposite and covered by thick and dull clouds as we passed around Howth, a small Irish peninsular that sticks out of County Swords, the small island is known as Ireland's Eye.



We landed on the Southern Runway at Dublin Airport, Runway 28, after we landed we took a long detour to the rear of Terminal 2, where all Aer Lingus flights operate from. We parked on a remote bus stand and there was a bus ready to take us to the Terminal 2 Arrivals.



I stayed behind a little to be one of the last people off, and I stopped to take a final cabin shot with the plane empty as well as a photo out of a window aft of the wings to show a different perspective, it was then the crew told me and the remaining passengers (two requiring assistance and a family of three with a baby) that a second bus was on the way for us, a pretty cool Airport Transfer I must say!


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After exiting the ATR-72 and getting on the very empty Airport Transfer Bus, it was a pretty neat ride around Dublin Airport's Terminal 2 as we made our way to the Arrivals area. I got to see various aircraft including Aer Lingus A320/A330 aircraft, both a Delta Airlines Airbus A350-900 & Boeing 767-300ER and a Boeing 737-300 of Jet2 in the maintenance bay.



We arrived and followed the signs for Arrivals and the passport control check point, it didn't take long to get through passport control as British passport holders can still use the Biometric Gates in the Republic of Ireland, and I was through for the next stage of this trip!


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Verdict

Aer Lingus

6.3/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi3.0
Meal/catering6.0

Exeter - EXT

7.5/10
Efficiency8.0
Access5.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness9.0

Dublin - DUB

8.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

It was a nice experience on Aer Lingus Regional, despite their often pricey flights, I would happily fly them again in the near future.
Exeter Airport was a nice little regional airport to experience, much as I loved it- I can't see me flying from here regularly as its an effort to get there from Bournemouth where I live, but it made for a good one off if I never do get back to it.

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2 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 652896 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6858 Comments
    Always funny how foreign carriers serve regional UK airport much better than BA. Always pleasant to fly out of a smaller less busy airport.

    Come on Aer Lingus- you are missing a massive marketing opportunity by not having a dark/emerald green colour material on this seat!

    Yeah, though it may have something to do with EI having changed operating carriers after Stobart Air, who previously operated ATRs for them, ceased operations in 2021. Now that Emerald Airlines have operated for Aer Lingus Regional, it looks like their aircraft came from a few different sources and lessors and they probably want the flexibility to do ACMI work on behalf of other carriers so it makes sense not to have overly customised EI interiors like we'd see on mainline.

    Thanks for sharing!
    • Comment 653214 by
      Jett Tyler GOLD AUTHOR 377 Comments
      Glad you enjoyed the report and I'm happy to add the Exeter Airport passenger experience for the site, the A320's are the same with their seats- they're all blue in colour rather than green, which I think would be a brilliant idea myself.

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