I recently had the privilege of flying to Dublin on board one of Aer Lingus’ Airbus A321. Traveling as a guest of the airline, I was heading to Ireland’s capital for the reveal of the airline’s new uniform. Here’s what I made of the flight.
The check-in process was surprisingly simple with Aer Lingus. I initially completed the process on my phone. This allowed me firstly to pick my seat. I then had the option to add frequent flyer information and confirm what luggage I was traveling with. Despite having a hand luggage sized bag, I opted to check it in the hold to avoid the hassle of dragging it through the airport.
Upon arrival at Frankfurt Airport, I grabbed a coffee in Terminal 1 before transferring across to Terminal 2. This is the terminal used by Aer Lingus at the capital of German aviation. I headed down to the check-in area and was initially worried when I spotted a lengthy queue. Thankfully, the Aer Lingus check-in area was just to the right of this long queue. As nobody was waiting to check on for my flight, I was able to drop my bag straight away.
The problem with living in Frankfurt is the choice of airports available. Given the airlines and destinations that I typically fly to, I almost always use Terminal 2. Now, I have nothing good to say about Terminal 2 given that all bar one time I have flown to or from the terminal, a bus has been involved.
I was feeling rather optimistic when the gate was declared as D8. I was sure that this would be a jet bridge gate given its location. However, having cleared the security check I was thoroughly disappointed. This was not the case.
I didn’t have to wait long to board the aircraft as the boarding queue was nice and short. I then headed down two flights of escalators where I found the bus that would take us to the aircraft. It seemed as though we were waiting for an age for the bus to leave, and I soon found out why!
I was initially allocated seat 20F, a window seat on the right of the aircraft. To my dismay when I sat down I was right above the wing! Five or so minutes after I boarded the aircraft, the crew announced that boarding was complete.
There must’ve been maybe 30-40 people on the Airbus A321, meaning almost everybody could have their own row should they want. I took advantage of this, moving back to a row with a better view having asked permission from the purser.
The legroom available at each seat looked shockingly limited to the eye. I felt I had to shuffle into my seat sideways. The legroom felt like less than you get when traveling with Ryanair. However, despite my tall stature, this didn’t prove too much of a problem. Things may have been different had my bag been under the seat in front.
The Airbus A321 that I was flying on was 21 years old. This was reflected in the interior of the aircraft which did feel slightly tired. Aer Lingus is currently in the midst of a brand refresh, so this could be changed. Despite the tired feel of the cabin, I cannot fault the seat’s comfort. The seat was nice enough to sit in for the two-hour flight to Dublin.
The flight seemed to drag on for an age. I do wonder if this could be because nothing was happening. Complimentary food, snacks, and drinks are not offered on Aer Lingus’ shorter routes. It seemed as though the buy on board offering had no takers, and the service was over quicker than you can say Antonov. While I usually make an effort to buy food and drink for the sake of a review, I really didn’t feel like it in this case.
The seatbelt seemed to remain on for 90% of the flight, turning off briefly over the east coast of the United Kingdom. While not severe, the turbulence felt on approach to Dublin Airport was the worst I’ve felt as a passenger.
The crew were pleasant to deal with, although my interactions with them were fairly limited. The only thing I would say was that I thought certain aspects of the uniform could do with a refresh. However, this was the whole reason for flying to Dublin.
Upon arrival at Dublin, I was pleased to see that we were disembarking via a jet bridge. Given the inclement weather on the ground in Ireland, I didn’t fancy disembarking otherwise.
Once in the terminal, there was a short walk to passport control. I used the e-gates with no queue, then continued on to baggage reclaim. Surprisingly, my bag was the first to appear, certainly a first for me. There was then a need for a short walk through the EU arrivals channel at customs. This was unhelpfully labeled as the “blue channel” forcing me to double-check if I could use it.
Overall I would say that I was very impressed with the experience onboard Aer Lingus’ Airbus A321. The quiet cabin, while maybe not the best environmentally speaking, led to a very enjoyable experience. If I was flying to Dublin again, however, I don’t know that I would automatically choose Aer Lingus. Instead, I would likely opt to shop around for the cheapest flight.
Have you flown on Aer Lingus’ Airbus A321? What did you think of the aircraft? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!