On the Ground: I flew Aer Lingus round trip between Boston and Dublin, and after swift check-ins in both airports, I headed for the Aer Lingus lounges. Both have a similar décor, with the highlight being an Irish wall of fame. Boston’s lounge is small, somewhat spartan, but adequate, with restrooms located outside and down the hall. Dublin’s lounge sprawls over two floors, with an open balcony, restrooms and shower rooms. Boston’s lounge has no windows; Dublin’s has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the gates and tarmac. Both feature a stone wall listing famous Irish events, but it’s far more dramatic in Dublin, where it soars two stories and doubles as a waterfall. Both have free WiFi, desk areas with outlets and lighting, and conversational seating arrangements; Dublin also has a quiet area, a TV area, and a second coffee bar upstairs. A small selection of self-serve, mostly packaged foods — including sandwiches, sweets and cheeses as well as coffee, tea, wines and alcohol — are available in each lounge. Dublin’s selection was more extensive and also included a hot soup. Reading material was limited to Cara, the Aer Lingus magazine, and Irish newspapers.
Pre-Flight: On both flights, attendants offered a choice of sparkling wine, orange juice or water, served in custom Waterford crystal glasses, upon boarding. Irish newspapers were available in a rack at the front of the cabin.
In-Flight: Aer Lingus flies Airbus A330s on its trans- Atlantic flights. From Boston to Dublin, dinner began with hot and cold canapés and progressed to a salad, a selection of warm breads and a choice of four entrées, all served on custom Wedgewood china. My pan-roasted Pacific cod was excellent; I wish more restaurant chefs would serve fish this moist and flavorful. Two red wines and three white wines were offered. For dessert, I opted for the fruit and cheese plate over the chocolate whiskey lava cake. After the meal was cleared, I activated the seat’s massage setting and then snuggled under a comforter and slept for a few hours on the angled-flat seat (58-inch pitch). I awoke in time for the continental breakfast.
On the return flight, lunch service began with canapés and again was followed by an appetizer, salad, choice of entrée and dessert. Although the selections on the cheese plate, served afterward, didn’t match those listed on the menu, I liked the choices. After lunch, attendants handed out comforters for those who desired to sleep. I debated watching a movie, but none appealed so I worked instead. My only disappointment was that the electric outlet at my seat didn’t work despite trying different adapters, including ones provided by the attendants. About an hour before landing, we were served an open-faced roast beef sandwich and a choice of warm scones, accompanied by jam and Devon cream, along with coffee or tea. It was a comforting last taste of Ireland.
The Experience: Business class on both flights was nowhere near full, and I easily could have changed seats if I’d desired. The seat next to me remained empty on both flights. Overall, a comfortable experience accented with better-than-expected food. Both flights departed on time and arrived early, always a plus.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Friendly and helpful agents
- Priority tagged bags
- Airport lounge
- Complimentary in-lounge food
- Priority boarding
- Helpful and courteous flight attendants
- Pre-flight beverage service
- Pre-flight newspapers and magazines
- Extensive on-demand menu
- Self-serve in-flight pantry
- Amenity kits
- Lie-flat seat/bed
- Mattress and comforter
- In-flight menu with three entrée choices
- Top-shelf wines and liquors
Brewing long and deep at its center before radiating out to the rest of Europe, Vienna boasts an illustrious history and lasting intellectual impact. The Austrian capital dates back to Celtic and Romen rule, the latter inhabitants using the center city as a military hub among many other employments.
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