Flying Aer Lingus
Flying Aer Lingus. Great people, spectacular service, but………………….
A few weeks ago I flew Aer Lingus from Boston to Rome and back again with a layover in Dublin. I fly a lot, and like anybody who does, I have opinions about air lines. What I like, what I think works, and what I absolutely hate.
Flying these days demands self control and patience. I know I am going to be waiting in lines, strangers will jostle me for position. I will be searched, sprint to make connecting flights. I will pay too much for bad food. If I make the flight, I will then be crammed into a small tubular flying petri dish for many hours, hoping not to fall out of the sky. All I expect an airline to do is to try their best to make it as easy as possible.
Aer Lingus has some of the best staff I have ever encountered. They were personable, efficient and well, really funny. As a photographer I love observing people who were good at their jobs. As a passenger, I was grateful. They helped me snag the last Aisle seat. They dealt with a sick passenger with kindness and seemed to enjoy the abundant personal requests made of them.
Dinner and beverages were served with a smile, The seats were pretty comfortable, plenty of box office movies, and I have to say that the food was damn good for economy class.
In Dublin, thanks to Aer Lingus I had pre arranged access to use the business class lounge.
What a fantastic thing to have a comfortable lounge seat, free wifi, a fine selection of beverages, and a buffet style breakfast bar. There are two floors with a quiet section in the rear of the 2nd floor. A nice oasis to escape to.
Now for the but……………..
With all the good things I had been feeling about Aer Lingus, I was not expecting the comedy of errors clown show that was my return home flight from Rome to Dublin.
- Arriving at the check in desk, it was closed. I had to ask information to find out it had been moved to another terminal. No small thing and a long walk.
- Finally ticketed, I was told the wrong gate for the transfer bus.
- The transfer bus deposits you in a small terminal with too few chairs and just a small coffee shop. Eat before you get there, you are trapped.
- 40 minute wait in line after the flight had been called.
- Plane boards from both the front and the rear. Mayhem and gridlock in the isle as folks squeeze past each other. This was actually the most comedic moment of my whole trip.
- US bound passengers must clear US customs in Dublin. No customs forms given out on the plane before landing.,
- Rush to customs, Crowd gathers to fill out forms, get in line. We are individually told that we cannot be seen and must wait until our luggage arrives. We wait…. and wait. Get back in line.
After clearing customs we all sprint to make the flight to Boston. A kind of solidarity of shared struggle had enveloped the group. One man said,” I hate this” A lady said, ‘ I fly them because they have the best price, it’s worth it” Another woman looked up and said “ and the people are great”
That’s exactly how I felt. Aer Lingus has a reputation for good service, good people for good reason. I would fly with them again with delight, but watch out for the Rome connections.