Aer Lingus: LHR to ORK

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Flight review Aer Lingus London to Cork A320

Aer Lingus flies four times a day from Heathrow to Cork. It faces competition from London with RyanAir flying from Gatwick and Stansted to Ireland’s second largest city, while CityJet will soon open up the route to London City airport. Was Director impressed with the Aer Lingus service?

With Ireland’s economy very markedly on the up again (click here to read Director’s special report on doing business there), the short trip to Cork is once more in demand as businesses swoop in to explore new opportunities. Competition has also increased among the airlines, with CityJet announcing three daily flights to Cork from London City airport from October. But how does Ireland’s flag carrier Aer Lingus shape up on the route between the cities? We boarded its service from Heathrow Terminal 2…

Aer Lingus check-in

Flight-review-Aer-Lingus-LHR-to-ORK Terminal 2

At 8am on a Thursday morning at Heathrow’s spacious Terminal 2, only one passenger was ahead of Director in the queue at check-in zone C. Despite travelling economy, however, we were immediately beckoned up the green carpet to the queue-free Aer Lingus Gold Circle Club check-in desk. A swift journey through the security checks followed and a three-minute stroll brought us to the gate for this flight, A22. 10/10

Boarding

It took exactly 10mins from the moment we joined the boarding queue, to plonking down in our seat – and there were no baggage stowing issues, as our carry-on slotted neatly into the ample space overhead. Departure was, however, slightly delayed – explained by the captain with a cheery “we’re just finishing up our paperwork,” message over the intercom. The advertised departure time for this flight was 9.30am, but we finally set off at 10.05am. 6/10

The seat

Flight-review-Aer-Lingus-LHR-to-ORK A320 seating

Our spot was at 13b – a middle seat in the cabin’s 3-3 formation set-up. This is an exit-row seat, providing welcome extra leg-room for an additional fee of £11.99. The plastic-topped, solid-sided arms seem to sit a little higher than those on equivalent carriers, with no option to raise them, making this a slightly more enveloping sit down. On the plus side, our oversized bottle of airport-purchased Buxton water had no way to escape from by our side into a neighbour’s precious seat space. 8/10

Aer Lingus in-flight experience

Flight review Aer Lingus Tayto Crisp sandwich pack

Sadly, there are no complimentary drinks on this short hop – with teas and coffees priced at €2.50, a fresh Irish scone at €3 and a chicken caesar wrap at €5. Our Irish colleague was particularly delighted at the availability of the country’s famous Tayto crisps, served in a sandwich for €4 – a popular new addition to the menu this summer. The cabin crew, meanwhile, were impeccably mannered and efficient throughout (including the politest request to close laptop for landing we’ve ever heard) and the airline’s excellent Cara in-flight magazine is a cut above the reading material offered on most flights. 9/10

Arrival

Despite the 35min delay to departure, the flight landed only 10mins later than the advertised 10.50am. And with quick-sharp disembarking and security checks, we were in our cab downtown by 11.10am. As hassle-free as airport arrivals get. 10/10

Verdict

The slight delay to departure and lack of a free cuppa were easily forgotten thanks to the excellent cabin crew and efficiently managed arrival procedure 43/50

Aer Lingus operates daily flights from Heathrow to Dublin, Cork and Shannon and from Gatwick to Dublin and Knock. Lead-in fares start from £45.99 one-way including taxes (valid for travel to 31 October). To book, visit aerlingus.com

About author

Chris Maxwell

Chris Maxwell

Director’s editor spent nine years interviewing TV and film stars for Sky before joining the IoD in 2011 and turning the microphone on Britain’s business leaders. Since then he’s grilled everyone from Boris to Branson and, away from work, maintains an unhealthy obsession with lower league football.

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