#920578 by honey lamb
28 Apr 2016, 16:56
Another ex-DUB flight with a difference - taking the direct route. And, oh yes! This has to be up there with the best of them.

As with last year, Aer John's birthday/Christmas/Mother’s Day present was that of a flight and the big decision was where to go and when. The two of us had recently gone to New York and I still wanted to keep that memory fresh; I thought wistfully of San Francisco but the memory of leaving the rental car on the Golden Gate Bridge last year was still very real (but it was still tempting) but somehow Chicago crept on to my horizon as a possibility also. As to when - Aer John wanted me to go in January/February but I had a bathroom that needed seeing to and in any case I developed a bad chest infection immediately after Christmas which took ages to shift. Eventually it was agreed that I would travel the week after Easter week when the schools would have gone back and as to where, well that was decided by the loads. Dates and loads were dispatched to me and it was clear that the best option would be Chicago, helped by the fact that there are two flights on most days in the summer schedule. Aer John duly booked it and the upgrades but alas, on the earlier flights as he felt the loads were better and also I should have some fall-back if anything were to go wrong…...and we all know my reputation in that regard, don’t we!! ;-)

Because of the early flight - well 11.30am - I took the train up to Dublin the day before, followed by the aptly numbered 747 Dublin Bus out to the airport. The train journey had been pleasant but unfortunately the traffic in Dublin was slow and we got snarled up in the rush hour. This prompted a young woman to have a hissy fit on the phone as, according to her conversation which was heard by all, the gate was due to close for her flight in 25 minutes. She had got on the train at a town still in County Cork two stops after mine and as she was flying to MAN, I couldn’t help wondering a) why she hadn’t caught an earlier train considering that they run hourly to Dublin, and b) why she hadn’t used Cork Airport which is an hour’s run from the aforementioned town! I don’t know if she made the flight - it would have depended on security.

Aer John had waited around after work to pick me up and as there was no room at the inn in his gaff, I decamped at the Holiday Inn Express next door to where he lives. I normally stay at the Carlton but IHG had emailed to say my points would expire on May 1st if I didn’t have some activity on the account and this seemed as good a reason as any to stay there. It was fine for the night especially as the evening was spent with him and his delightful girlfriend. Early next morning Aer John picked me up on his way to work and deposited me at T2 while he went to park the car. Check-in was pleasant, although the first lady doing so had difficulty in processing my upgrade and handed me over to a more experienced person and within minutes, I was asked if I wanted a window or an aisle seat and seat 7A was mine. Security through Fast Track was swift and once through I was joined once more by Aer John who escorted me to the lounge which was quite busy. There is however a mezzanine level which was empty and we decamped there and enjoyed a cup of tea and biscuits! Yes, truly! I was saving myself for the delights to come on the flight! In any case, I would have had to have gone downstairs for something stronger and I was feeling too lazy to do that! Aer John left me shortly afterwards and about an hour or so later I headed for Pre-clearance before the flight was called in the lounge. It was a fortuitous decision as the area was extremely busy since the Chicago flight leaves near the end of a bank of US flights on a variety of airlines. My previous visits had been for afternoon flights and the area had been much quieter. I used one of the machines which swiftly spat out my docket, fortunately minus the large X and then headed towards the TSA agents. My heart sank and the place was heaving but I need not have worried. The line I was directed towards moved swiftly and soon as was through having been processed by as pleasant a TSA agent as you could wish to meet. The whole experience took less than fifteen minutes and soon I was at my gate where St. Munchin was waiting to bring me to Chicago.
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St. Munchin
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Boarding took place soon after and within minutes I was in 7A with a glass of champagne by my side.
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I must admit that I was a tad miffed because 7A, although a seat by itself, was not technically a window seat since there was a shelf between it and the window. Having said that, the Lingus Source seatmap shows the shelf to be on the aisle side of the seat and the check-in lady was obviously going by that one. “No matter,” thinks I to myself. “At least I’m on the flight and we’ll see what happens.” So what did happen? Well, Aer John had told me that the loads in J were light but at this stage I could only count 6 other heads as well as mine. The cabin crew came to top up my champagne and asked me if everything was OK and I asked if no-one else came could I please move into 6A. She said certainly as all were on board in J! Really? Only 7! Yep, the loads really were that light. OK, so I got ready to move into 6A when the flight manager came through and said she was going to move me to another seat. I told her that I was just about to move to 6A but she said they had two seats that were really special and much coveted by those in the know. “Do you mean the throne seats?” I asked. She was a tad surprised I knew about them asked me how I did. I explained that Aer John had told me about them but I would like to see one before I decided and I asked to view it - such a prima donna, aren’t I? As an aside, when Aer John had told me about the throne seats, I’m afraid a more basic use of the word “throne” came to mind. :blush: Anyway, I skipped through the galley separating the business class from economy for a quick peek, and while I wasn’t going to have a window seat there, I was going to be able to spread my goods and chattels over two shelves and, we all like a bit of space on a flight, don’t we, so I trotted back my thanks and agreement to the move. As a result the passengers in the front rows of the economy cabin were treated to the sight of a procession of a crew member carrying my glass of champagne, me carrying my coat and Ipad, a crew member carrying my handbag and a third crew member carrying my carry-on bag! All that I could think of was that it was like “The Ladies of the Court of King Caractacus were just passing by” and that the passengers were wondering who the h*ll I was to warrant such treatment. I revelled in it!!! :-D

Once I was settled the cabin was prepared for take-off and soon I was on the way for my Chicago adventure. When the cabin crew were released to their duties we were given hot towels, followed by amenity kits and finally, the drinks round. Tanqueray was on offer accompanied by canapés of a baby mozzarella, a salmon mousse tartlet and olives
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Left hand side of the throne seat
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Right hand side of the throne seat
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and shortly after that the meal service commenced.
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I started with the chicken liver paté which absolutely divine.
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For main course, I was surprised to see bacon and cabbage on the menu and was tempted to try it, but cabbage can have a very pervasive smell which seems to linger forever; I thought about the lamb stew but was unsure about the root vegetable element as swede and I do not get along together and so I chose the fish pie option.
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It was nice but a tad dry and I think I would have preferred a bit more potato on the top. This was all washed down by a rather nice Chablis. For dessert I was going to go for the cheeseboard, but when she came to remove the dishes from the main course, the cabin crew told me that the cheeseboard was gone before I even had a chance to request it. I decided against the orange chocolate torte, choosing to have another G&T to sip for the rest of the flight. I watched “Brooklyn” which I loved and found the controls on the IFE very responsive although the screen was smaller than the VS Upper Class ones. For the rest of the flight I was content to read and have the flight map on which is what I usually do on most flights.

At one stage in the afternoon the cabin crew came by to see if I needed anything and stopped to chat. She asked me where I was from and when I told her, she told me she had an aunt living there - or more correctly, her uncle’s widow. I knew the aunt very well, had worked with her sister and also knew one of her cousins and his family so we settled down for a nice chat (with she keeping a watchful eye over the rest of the cabin). About an hour before landing,
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afternoon tea was served which consisted of a warm scone with jam and cream and was absolutely delicious.

Shortly after that we landed in Chicago and because of Pre-clearance, it was straight down to the baggage hall where my case was the second or third one out of the chute. I had booked a Carmel limo after my positive experience of them in New York, but they were not as efficient. However I soon met up with my driver and was off on my Chicago adventure.

So there you have it - a pleasant “it does what it says on the tin” flight with a couple of pleasant interludes with the honey lamb disaster being only the loss of the cheeseboard.
#920580 by pjh
28 Apr 2016, 18:00
So you'll have to enlighten me- where are the Throne seats?

And do we need to talk about that "champagne glass" again :) ?
#920581 by buns
28 Apr 2016, 18:17
HL

Thanks for the TR

After all these years i was expecting a major calamity to jump out, but good to know you had a good (if what routine) flight

buns
#920586 by marshy11
28 Apr 2016, 18:48
I've never seen champagne in a glass that large.

Thankyou for a great TR and I did love the photos. Makes me feel like we all need an Aer John in our lives. :)
#920593 by honey lamb
28 Apr 2016, 21:04
pjh wrote:So you'll have to enlighten me- where are the Throne seats?

And do we need to talk about that "champagne glass" again :) ?


The throne seats are 3K, 5K and 7K in the A333 and 3K and 5K in the 332 which only has 6 rows in J
#920594 by honey lamb
28 Apr 2016, 21:05
buns wrote:HL

Thanks for the TR

After all these years i was expecting a major calamity to jump out, but good to know you had a good (if what routine) flight

buns

Don't worry, buns. I have one or two coming up which I think will not disappoint. ;-)
#920595 by Bretty
28 Apr 2016, 22:39
Thanks for a super TR Honey Lamb, and with great photos too. I'm a bit confused though, are the throne seats in the J or Y cabin?
#920599 by honey lamb
29 Apr 2016, 06:57
Bretty wrote:Thanks for a super TR Honey Lamb, and with great photos too. I'm a bit confused though, are the throne seats in the J or Y cabin?

J.
The configuration is unusual to accommodate the lie flat beds. It's

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