Aer Lingus to Dublin (this post)
After our one night stay at the Sheraton Heathrow it was time to head to the airport for a short hop to Dublin. The real reason for this trip was to go to Ireland for the first time, so we were more than excited for this day! We took the Hotel Hoppa bus back to the airport using the round trip ticket we had purchased the day before. I would guess we waited about 10 minutes before it arrived, and there was plenty of space on the bus. The bus made one more stop at a different hotel before taking us to the terminal. I would estimate the ride to the terminal was about 10-15 minutes max from when we were picked up.
Security at Heathrow was a breeze and we got through with plenty of time to spare…though I do remember quite a bit of walking required to actually get to our gate. If our daughter had been with us the very large amount of walking may have gotten to her after a while. At the very least, we would need to not be in a rush or else be prepared to carry all 37 pounds of her for part of the way! We checked the roller bags that we typically carry on for US flights as Aer Lingus seemed to be pretty strict about carry-on size. The maximum size for carry-ons was stated to be 55cm x 40cm x 24cm. We didn’t see anyone try to carry on the size of bags that you often see brought on–board in the US.
We were just flying in economy on Aer Lingus and didn’t have any lounge access for this part of the journey. We could have purchased day passes to their lounge for around €20/person, but it wasn’t that important to us. Instead we just sat in the gate area and did some work while waiting for the flight. This particular gate area has no food or drinks other than a vending machine, so don’t expect lots of frills!
We had chosen to fly from London to Dublin on Aer Lingus partly because it was very affordable, and partly because it made sense thematically. Call me silly, but flying to Ireland the first time on an Irish airline was fun. Our tickets were about $100 USD per person one-way and we went for the slightly more expensive “Plus” option that allowed us to pre-select our seats and have a checked bag included.
I was also excited for the “full Irish breakfast” that I had pre-ordered online for our flight. You could order it in the airport or on the plane as well. We don’t get a lot of Irish food in East Texas, so even airline Irish food was something to be excited about. The breakfast included two pork sausages, grilled bacon, tomato, black & white pudding and a hash brown served with McCambridge’s Irish brown bread, fresh orange juice and a choice of tea or coffee. It was €7.50, and I found it to be a good enough deal. The brown bread, pork sausage, and white pudding were my favorites. In fact, I am now craving the bread just thinking about it. If I regularly had access to Irish food I would probably skip placing the order, but it was something cheap and fun to look forward to on this trip.
The flight was just a little over an hour and thankfully uneventful. We have gotten spoiled with United’s E+ seats, so I did feel a bit cramped with a middle seat and people reading papers on either side of me that leaked over into “my” space with no extra leg room, but it wasn’t a huge issue since the flight was so short.
When we arrived in Dublin we did go through customs and get another stamp on our passport. Again, a small thing, but kind of a neat way to mark that we were in Ireland. There was no line and the process took about two minutes total. Once we got our bags we headed first to an ATM in the terminal to pull out some Euros (thanks, Bluebird, since our own ATM card was giving us issues), and then we bought tickets for the Aircoach bus.
The Aircoach bus is located just outside the Arrivals Halls at both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 and required cash and was €7 for a one-way and €12 for a round trip from the airport to the City Centre (which is walking distance to many of the popular hotels near tourist attractions). Children under 5 are free and children 5-12 can ride at a reduced fare. We waited about 10-15 minutes for the bus outdoors. It was pretty chilly, and I would not have been thrilled waiting if my daughter had been with us. I’m glad that we tried the bus and it was easy to use, but with two people we weren’t saving more than a couple Euros over a cab, so I would probably not use the bus again. On our return trip to the airport we did take a cab from the Westin (near where the bus dropped us off) and I think it came to about €20 with tip.
Once we got off the bus we had about a 5-10 minute walk to the hotel we were staying at for the first two nights – Radisson Blu Dublin. More on that hotel and all the awesome things we did in Dublin and Ireland in upcoming posts.