Mmmmm! BAcon! – Off to Denver and Beyond with Aer Lingus and British Airways
An Early Start, Birmingham New Street, and EI263
- A Conference… why not?
- Early morning New New Street, Aer Lingus EI263 London to Dublin – THIS SECTION
- A Dublin transit, DAA Lounge
- BA827 Dublin to London Heathrow
- The Hell of A Heathrow Transit, BA F Lounge
- BA219 – London Heathrow to Denver
- Staybridge Suites, Denver Tech Center and a road trip
- The Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Colorado Springs
- A road trip back to Denver, Crowne Plaza Downtown Denver
- Photographic Interlude: Downtown Denver
- Denver Airport, American Airlines AAdmirals Club
- BA218 Denver to Heathrow
- Heading Homeward
- Interesting times
Early mornings, travel and me seem to combine into a wondrous pain as usual as my phone makes lots of beeping noises, indicating it is time to motivate ones backside into the moving position. As I was working the day before (and some of the night), rest was low on the priority list sadly (combing the jobs of “Product Support Assistant” and “Jobbing Photographer” sometimes don’t go together sadly when you’re finishing at midnight from an event).
Thankfully, 90% of the packing had been already done by Tuesday night (Lets face it – 6 day trip is a simple packing job – throw clothes in for enough changes, ensure the technology is packed and bam… job done maybe)
5:30 the alarm went off. In the end, and knowing the possibilities if I was late, I shifted my backside into first gear with the roller bag and Pan Am bag, and called a cab to New Street.
Those of you who know me know I hate wheelie cases. I had to look semi-professional this time sadly.
Thankfully the taxi driver was in no mood to hang around, and drove me to the new entrance of New Street Station.
For those of you who don’t read my blog – and for those who know of Birmingham New Street as Mordor Haptbahnhof, things are slowly changing at the station (for a deeper view, have a look at my write up of the new New Street concourses). The old concourse has been shut, and a new one of bright lights and shiny concrete has appeared – and its a world of difference at the top of the station.
After buying tickets and heading down to the platform – of course, it’s an improving station underneath. Whilst the project won’t add capacity, Network Rail is trying to brighten up the place a bit – and that’s no bad thing.
Soon enough – the 6:30 to London pulled into the station, and filled up with the usual mix of commuters and those heading for early morning flights from the airport. Thankfully – Virgin Trains offers a nice £2.40 single ticket (any time) from Birmingham New Street to Birmingham International – one of the cheaper airport connections out there.
The train was clean, and made good time to the airport where upon the next challenge was upon me – to get from the train station, to the airport and check in. Alas, the air-rail link was running a little slow with a 3 minute headway between services – but no great shakes.
After arriving at the terminal, it was a case of heading downstairs – and to Aer Lingus’s new digs at BHX – down the bottom of the right hand escalators. I was seen to in minutes, and after all the security questions had been answered, I was issued a thermal paper boarding pass (sigh… cost cutting. I miss proper boarding cards) – but more importantly… a ticket for the fast track.
Aer Lingus’s Check in – no longer tucked around the corner.
Ah. I might be a Gold Circle something still then.
With the boarding pass issued (and no choice of seat), I headed for security. Of course, as I was doing fast track, it was a manual validation, with only one person in front at the security lane.
Security was as you imagined quick, with no ripping apart of luggage needed (which makes a change).
With the minimal time I had, I skipped the lounge and headed straight past duty free – and into the public area of the terminal.
One good thing about Birmingham Airport (which is making efforts to tidy itself up, and look like a shopping mall with air bridges which is it has (working) free WiFi.
Which is great – alas, my Vodafone connection was playing up.
I swear it’s one thing or another with me with technology sometimes.
Still, it gave me time to get some admin done, ring the bank, write an entry or two. Soon enough a gate was posted, and it was time to head to the plane.
Upon arriving at the gate, Gold Circle members were called forward – I took my opportunity and boarded the service.
EI263 Birmingham Airport to Dublin Airport, 9th May 2013
Aer Lingus, Economy Class, Airbus A320
200 miles flown, 0 Earned
The pictures – http://www.photoblog.com/kevincm/2013/05/01/
After given clearance to board by the ground staff, we crossed the open tarmac over to the waiting Airbus A320.
I was welcomed aboard, and directed to my seat on the right.
Crew waiting for more customers to arrive
Boarding continued at a reasonably high rate, with a mix of business people, families and those out for a weekend filling the plane up.
The crew were all smiles, interacting with everyone who boarded – even taking the time to say hello to the littles that were boarding. Meanwhile, no-one was sitting next to me.
Soon enough, ground staff came up and informed the captain and crew of load number (102)… and the door closed behind the loaded for an early pushback and departure, leaving me with row 3DEF for myself. Tidy.
The crew conducted their welcome briefing with a flight time of 45 minutes posted. It was a manual safety briefing, with the crew ensuring everything was butttoned up for the flight
After a short taxi to the back end of Birmingham airport (or Runway 33), the A320 engines roared into life, and took up into the blue sky.
The climb out was reasonably quick, taking a path up towards Manchester, Liverpool and over this Irish seato Dublin.
As the climb continued, the inflight service begun. I didn’t partake, but the crew seemed to doing a good sales in tea and coffee – and seemly a darn good sale in Duty Free and gifts
I on the other hand just sat back and watched the views… glued to the window it seems. Nothing new there if we’re honest.
The crew were still chatty, making sure customers were fine – and that’s what I like about Aer Lingus if I’m completely honest – the fact that every crew I’ve ran into on the BHX-DUB run treats every passenger like a human being -something some airlines and carriers seem to find a near impossibility
Cabin during cruise
The plane itself was in better condition than I’ve seen an Aer Lingus bird for some time. The plane was clean and everything looked in good order
Leg room wasn’t exactly good, but it wasn’t exactly bad – well if you can’t suffer tightish legroom for 45 minutes to an hour… you shouldn’t be on a plane really.
Recline wasn’t that bad too.
Recline from the seats in front
And branding on the seats too.
As the plane continued its journey, the captain came on the speaker telling us that there was a hold pattern at Dublin due to high winds, and that we could be landing on the South Eastern runway.
Decent begun as the crewed cleared down the plane, doing a few laps around the irish sea, before crossing over the Irish coast, and then finally descending.
As the plane descended through the cloud layers the ride got bumpy – very bumpy. Eventually we dropped through the cloud cleared into a wet Irish morning and finally onto the tarmac at Dublin Airport.
The plane made a quick taxi off the runway, and straight to the 400 gates (The Dublin Airport T2 gates), where the plane docked ending the short hop across the Irish sea.
Being near the front of the plane, I retrieved my stuff, thanked the crew and exited into a jet bridged Dublin morning.
Overall: Over a short leg, there isn’t much to prove, but Aer Lingus seemly wants to prove itself with good customer service and interaction – which seems to pay for itself in sales, and the willingness to fly them again. All good things in my book.
Next: Transfer at Dublin, DAA Lounge