#939253 by Fuzzy14
23 Oct 2017, 15:33
Family of 5 returning from the House of Mouse

If you’ve been following our outbound trip reports, it’s all a bit different this time. We flew into Tampa with BA but returning home from MCO with Aer Lingus. The good news was it was a late flight (2030) which means there’s a chance the kids will sleep all the way. The bad news, well managing an Aer Lingus booking via BA codeshare isn’t the easiest thing to do. For starters the BA website wouldn’t confirm that we had the same baggage allowance only that we’ve to check the Aer Lingus, which gave options depending on the fare code that we didn’t know. Aer Lingus wouldn’t let us change our seats online, nor when I phoned would they let us upgrade using Avios telling me to speak to BA. BA said they couldn’t do either and I should speak to Aer Lingus. Nor would it let me book children’s meals, Aer Lingus expect you to phone up. If BA are going to sell codeshare tickets for continuity, then the product sold should reflect the continuity and not ‘don’t ask us ask the airline that we sold you tickets on’. If I wanted that, I would have booked with them direct.

After an excellent stay, we checked out of Animal Kingdom Lodge. Our usual would be to use Downtown Disney Springs Check-In and then kick about there for a few hours, but as that wasn’t available (and Disney Quest is no longer) instead we left the candy laden cases with the bellhop at AKL and went for one last blast around the Magic Kingdom.

Left there at 5pm and headed for AKL, bell hop delivered the cases to the car, loaded it with slight difficulty, filled up the car with fuel just before joining the 419 and it always reaches the airport showing still full. Dropped the car off 6.30pm. Slightly late and as we didn’t know Terminal A particularly well we used the services of the man with the trolley to take our 3 cases, holdall, stroller, car seat, Pandora Banshees (Google it) and 5 items of hand luggage to check-in. Check in staff were lovely, two of our cases were 25kg but the other 3 items were 16kg so they didn’t insist on repacking. The BA website didn’t allow us to do online check-in, directing us to Aer Lingus who would recognise the booking but also didn’t allow us to check-in, so the staff issued us with boarding passes for the two flights.

Different terminal at Orlando this time, had a quick spin about the shops before heading through a quiet security and off to a different pier (Aer Lingus docks at a domestic pier due to the TSA at Dublin Airport.) I laughed at the Frontier Airways announcer, couldn’t have sounded more Texan if he tried. Was surprised he wasn’t wearing a 10-gallon hat.

Got loaded up and pushed back on time at 2030 and were soon off up the coast. We had been pre-allocated a middle row of 4 towards the back of the plane (2-4-2 arrangement on the A330 same as Virgin) with one of us across the aisle. The plane was modern, much better than the tatty BA777 on the way out. The IFE is a newer version of Virgin’s Panasonic system so it had all the same games, touchscreen very responsive, USB charging. IFE content was well stocked too, and yet I watched Shawshank Redemption.

Standard meal was served two hours after take-off which annoyed me as I wanted to try and get the kids to sleep as early as possible. We hadn’t managed to book kids meals so it was a choice between chicken curry and beef stroganoff. The kids enjoyed the curry, I wasn’t bothered what I ate so asked the crew for whatever they had more off to give somebody at the back more choice, ended up with the beef which was good. Alcoholic drinks were a cash bar (Dollars and Euros) but they also took credit card.

The seat belt lights were also on for two hours after take-off despite very little turbulence, thankfully I had most of the things I needed for the kids to hand. The pilot was also rather happy to switch them back on with only the slightest bump. I realise it’s for safety but it does lend itself to the legend that they often do it on the way back to give the crew a rest. The kids only fell asleep around midnight so had 3-4 hours sleep so I tried to get a couple of hours too. Breakfast was a warm scrambled egg panini, more acceptable than the Virgin cold breakfast.

This was also the coldest flight I’d ever been on. Planes come in two temperatures – too hot and too cold. Thankfully I’d changed before boarding, I had a golf top and jeans and still needed a blanket, other passengers were commenting too. When requested, cabin crew did turn up the heat and it was pleasant for 20 minutes before it went back to cold. I’ve since heard there was an ill child somewhere else on the plane and policy is to turn down the temperature, not sure why or the reasoning behind this.

Beforehand I was a bit uneasy flying Aer Lingus, I haven’t flown them before, I know they’re stuck between trying to be a full fares and low cost airline so I didn’t really know what to expect buy my experience was overwhelmingly positive.

Landed Dublin Airport slightly ahead of time at 1015, we took our time getting off the plane as the next flight wasn’t until 1220. Dublin Airport was a breeze! Followed the flight connections sign, empty passport control, luggage was already forwarded just walked to the next flight and killed time having some breakfast with the free wifi and charging points before it was time to board again.

Overall, very good service and tempting to fly via Dublin again using the TSA clearance outbound. But I’ll book direct with Aer Lingus next time not BA codeshare.

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