A couple of days ago, my friend Liam and I headed off from Heathrow T5 to the delights of Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. More on the lounge in another visit though, which all went well.
The gate was called relatively late and it wasn’t particularly well organised when we got there. A staff member apologised and said that she was the only one at the check-in desks and that she hadn’t had to do that before without assistance, with everything moving quite slowly as a result. The boarding by groups was also abandoned which caused a fair amount of confusion judging by other customers trying to cut the line without realising that there wasn’t another line to cut into. The situation wasn’t ideal, it all felt a bit more Ryanair than anything else.
And joy of joys, a bus gate…. The aircraft driver (excuse the Inbetweeners reference) later mentioned that this wasn’t ideal, but that it was quicker to use buses than to get the aircraft towed to a gate.
We were on the second of the three coaches which took us not very far away at all in order to board. The journey to the aircraft was short and the coaches weren’t crammed full.
Of little relevance to anything, but this is G-EUYR. the Airbus A320 which I flew on last year to get to Warsaw. There was a friendly welcome from the crew when boarding and every customer was handed a wipe so they could clean their seat area to their heart’s content. Masks were compulsory throughout the entire flight unless eating or drinking, which I didn’t see being enforced (I mean the masks situation, not enforcing the eating), but it was honoured in the main anyway.
I kindly let Liam have the window seat on what transpired to be a full flight. The boarding process was delayed for around fifteen minutes as the crew were struggling to get all of the bags to fit in the overhead lockers. The airline has made huge efforts to reduce the number of customers putting bags in the hold, meaning that the cabin bag capacity is effectively exceeded. We were seated in emergency exit row seats and so couldn’t put bags on the floor under the seats, but the crew were telling those with smaller bags they must move them onto the floor to make way for the bigger bags. This simply means that customers wanting to ensure they have floor space are advised to bring big bags, which isn’t ideal. There was the usual debacle of some customers not entirely understanding that if their bag is bigger than the hole they’re trying to put it in, then it won’t go in. Fortunately, the crew were being pro-active and resolving such little problems quite promptly.
Anyway, bags aside, the crew and pilot announcements were friendly and welcoming, although I understand from the news this week that BA are moving away from the welcome the pilot offered of “welcome ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls”. There’s now a free snack and water provided on the flight, which was perfectly satisfactory for a journey of less than an hour.
The disembarkation process was handled well, with customers asked to remain seated until their row was called by the crew members. That did make for a more peaceful and calm way of leaving the aircraft, although I suspect it’ll be abandoned once this health crisis is out of the way.
The aircraft after landing at Dublin and it’s rare for me to be able to get photos of British Airways aircraft like this as there are usually air bridges to walk across to the main terminal building. The pilot had made up some of the time lost at Heathrow which meant that we landed only around five minutes behind schedule.
Here we are safely in Dublin with no documentation checks for immunisation, although some of that process might have been automated. It took just a few minutes to get from the aircraft to the outside of the terminal building, all very efficient. After Avios adjustments and the like, this single flight cost me around £20, which I think is excellent value given that they also funded my lounge visit as well.