Mr. P and I ended up in Dublin for a long weekend because we found a good deal on flights. I was really excited to try a new airline!
We flew Aer Lingus direct from SFO to DUB and back in economy. SFO/DUB is the airline’s longest route. A direct flight is always best in my book!
We got a good deal, but we assumed (wrongly), that we’d get the same level of service and amenities as we’re used to on other international long-haul flights (I’m thinking Delta, American, Air France, Virgin, etc. Not United, United is terrible on economy long-haul).
I’m not saying this is a bad thing — flying direct and getting a good price is great. We were just a bit preturbed at the little differences because we weren’t prepared for them. I feel like if we’d known this ahead of time, we would have prepared and it would have been fine.
Overall, I’d recommend this route as long as you know what you’re getting into! We’d definitely go again!
Outlets at the seats. I didn’t notice this until the way home, but there are power outlets between each seat. They’re tucked between the seats behind your legs, so you have to feel around a bit for them.
Wifi & mobile network. I didn’t use either of these but they were available. It’s sold in 1-hour and 24-hour increments. The price for 1-hour is so close to the 24-hour that you may as well buy the 24-hour.
Seatback entertainment. This is a must for me on a long flight. The selection wasn’t quite as big as other airlines, but I appreciated it.
Customs pre-clearance at Dublin. I’ll write more about this in a different post.
Selecting seats is free. Many airlines (ahem, British Airways) charge for selecting a seat on international long-haul flights. I think charging to pick a seat on an 8+ hour flight is completely ridiculous, so I was happy we could pick seats for free here.
Delays. We were delayed taking off from SFO because the inbound flight from DUB was delayed. We were delayed on the way back home as well. I looked up historical averages and they are rated as “average” and “poor,” respectively. The delays were about 30 minutes each. Not a huge deal, but it made us wait even longer to eat dinner (see below).
Seat pitch is just a tad slimmer. The seat configuration on the Airbus A330 felt just a tiny bit tight. Looking up how it compares to other flights we usually take, it was listed as having an inch less space.
No free alcohol. I’m used to free alcohol of some kind on international long-haul, even if it’s just wine. There is no free alcohol on Aer Lingus economy. Again, not a huge deal but it was just a surprise.
Drink service. This was a bit odd. The drink service after takeoff was the only drink service until breakfast (except for tea and coffee). Meaning, the drink you got had to last you through dinner. We didn’t realize that until dinner was served and we got a tiny water on the tray. On other airlines, there is usually a drink cart following the food cart. It was difficult to make that drink last because . . .
Lag time for food. Again, something we just found odd. It took them a while to get the food carts going. We took off (late) around 7pm so it was definitely dinner time. I found out later that economy passengers can pre-buy the business class meal. I don’t mind the regular meal. However, everyone who ordered the business class meal got served first (it was a while before they got served in the first place), then there was a lag before we were served.
No overnight snacks. Usually overnight, airlines will put peanuts, crackers, or some basic item in the galley (even ice cream). No overnight snacks on Aer Lingus — if you wanted something you had to buy it.
Breakfast a bit slim. Before landing in DUB, we got a cold sandwich. Before landing in SFO, we got a granola bar. Contrast that to my recent American Airlines flight to London, where we got a yogurt with granola to mix in, plus a bag of dried fruit.
Luggage issue. This is probably unique to our flight, but back in SFO, there was a bag jam (don’t ask me what that means, that’s what we were told). We had to wait over an hour to get our suitcases. I would have been okay with this, stuff happens. But the Aer Lingus agent in the baggage claim and the SFO rep were totally uninterested in figuring out what the problem was until we’d been standing there for 40 minutes with no information.
So again, none of these are deal breakers. They can seem a bit nit picky, but I think if we’d known the above before our trip, we still would have taken the flight but would have prepared differently.
Mr. P and I traveled to Dublin for a long weekend in March. Learn how to plan a trip to Europe for the weekend (even coming all the way from California) here.