Travel tips for North Americans
Creating connections using Europe's
Special www offers currently available at
www.aerlingus.com for air travel to
Fly to Cork or Dublin on Ryanair for €15 each way!
Travel Planning tip
Make your airline reservation for travel to Cork as early in advance
as possible as there is currently a shortage of seats from many
destinations, particularly for travel to/from the city around the
weekend period - i.e.
Thursday thru Monday inclusive.
Instant airline seat availability check
and online reservation links
Low fare airlines
Making a budget fare connection to Ireland
New French low fares airline
Air Lib Express will provide low cost air travel between Nice, Toulouse (and other provincial cities) and Paris Orly from March 31, 2002. Fares start at €29 each way. Check their website for further details. While no carrier currently serves the Paris Orly > Ireland route directly, there are connecting ground services with the other Paris area airports. Aer Lingus is also commencing a direct service between Nice and Dublin on March 31.
Easyjet + Go + Ryanair connecting points
Easyjet provides inexpensive air connections between several continental
cities (including Nice, Barcelona, Geneva, Amsterdam, Palma de Majorca,
Zurich, Malaga, and Athens) and Liverpool and Luton airports in England. The
combined fare on EasyJet + a connection on Ryanair to Dublin often** work
out cheaper than a direct flight on a regular carrier (particularly when
your trip does not include a Saturday night stay). Be sure to check
availability on all flight segments at the same time, before making a
"ticketed" (i.e. paid) reservation. Online reservation and ticket purchase
is available at EasyJet and
Ryanair. Both airlines are
ticketless - show a credit card or ID to receive a boarding pass at
check-in. Ryanair is the most bureaucratic of the two. While virtually any
ticketless airline on the planet will accept sight of your credit card or
other ID for boarding pass issue, Ryanair often demand presentation of a
photo-ID combined with sight of the computer printout of your reservation
confirmation. Which can be particularly difficult if you have made the
reservation via your laptop or other mobile device on a cellular connection,
unless you also carry around a printer!
Check the Go! airline website for connection possibilities to Ireland by combining Go! and Ryanair services at Stansted Airport.
(**If your trip to Ireland involves a Saturday night stay, it may be just
as cheap on a full fare airline such as Aer Lingus, Air France, Lufthansa,
Iberia, etc. Be sure to comparison shop.)
Ryanair > Ryanair connections via Stansted airport to/from Cork, Derry (NI),
Dublin, Kerry, Knock, Shannon from DK-Aarhus, I-Alghero,I- Ancona,
F-Biarritz, I-Brescia, F-Carcassone, F-Dinard, D-Frankfurt, D-Hamburg,
I-Genoa, GB-Glasgow, S-Kristianstad, S-Malmo, F-Nîmes, N-Oslo, F-Perpignan,
I-Pisa, F-St Etienne, S-Stockholm, I-Turin, I-Venice. Check availability
on the Ryanair webiste.
Always allow at least 2 hours time for connections with point to point
carriers such as Ryanair as they will be at your risk if there is any delay
on your first flight. While it is improving on many routes, Easyjet have a
poor punctuality history, particularly at Luton Airport, and baggage
handling can be extremely slow, even outside the peak vacation season. The
baggage hall at Luton is like a crowded street market in some third world
country at peak times. Allow lots of time to fight your way through the
Liverpool Airport has become increasingly overcrowded and uncomfortable
because terminal capacity has not been upgraded to meet PAX growth. The
Ryanair check-in is sometimes slow with one or at most two check-in desks
provided by the handling agent (compared with six for EasyJet, who perform
their own check-in). On the plus side, the airport has an internet access
"shop" on level 1, which is convenient particularly for transit passengers
who have some time to spare between flights. (Both airlines seem to have
interline connectivity down to a fine art - e.g. the Easyjet flight from
Nice, Barcelona, Geneva etc. typically arrives minutes after a Ryanair
connection to Dublin has taken off, forcing one to wait several hours, half
a day or stay overnight [in which case one might as well fly Air France,
Iberia or Swissair business class direct and save the hotel costs]).
Movement between the check-in desk and departure gate at LPL now involves a
needless stair climbing exercise to the "security screening" area (and back
down again to the departure lounge)! While an elevator is available on
either side for those who might need it, it does involve a longer walk.
This security screening procedure between the landside and airside leaves
much to be desired in terms of efficiency with the result that you need to
allow 10 or 15 minutes to get from the landside to the airside at peak
for North Americans - Fly Direct to Ireland
Recent changes to the air traffic control system in Europe have lead to
increased air travel delays on many routes within Europe (exceptionally
there has been an improvement in France where just 36% of flights were
delayed by 15 minutes+ during the period Jan-Sep 2000, compared with 40%
during the same period in 1999. The completion of the fourth runway at
Paris CDG airport should help matters further during 2001).
Overall, some 85% of intra-European air traffic was late arriving in July
99. Irish airspace is relatively un-crowded, and you can avoid delays by
flying direct to Ireland. Transiting London or another large European
airport en route to Dublin can take one or two days off your vacation, and
you probably won't even have time to leave the transit airport to see the
There have been a series of air traffic control computer failures (NATS)
involving an ageing system which have led to long delays at Heathrow and
other airports in England - one of which on June 17, 2000 which
shut down the system on a busy Saturday morning for five hours. Many flights
were cancelled and others were delayed for 7 or more hours. Direct
Transatlantic flights into and out of Ireland were unaffected. The British "Guardian" newspaper
maintains a chronicle of the ongoing problems on their website.
Large airports like London Heathrow can be extremely busy, especially during
the vacation season. This invariably leads to long lines at passport control
particularly for people who don't have a European passport, who have to wait
in line with large numbers of other people coming from all parts of the
world (not all of whom have their documentation in order!) seeking to enter
the European Union. Time should also be allowed for baggage transfer at
large European hub airports. Based on experience, it is advisable, for
example, to allow 2 hours if travelling first or business class and up to 3
hours if travelling economy if your connection involves a change of terminal
at London Heathrow (which most intercontinental fights do). The published
MCT (minimum connecting times) are aspirational and without guarantee from
the airlines - rely on them only if you don't mind spending two or three
days of your vacation without your checked baggage when you get your
hotel! These hazards can usually be avoided by flying direct.
You can fly directly from New York JFK (Aer
Lingus, Delta), Newark (Aer Lingus, Continental), Boston (Aer
Lingus), Chicago ORD (Aer Lingus), Atlanta (Delta), Los
Angeles (LAX) (Aer Lingus) and Washington DC (Aer Lingus)
non-stop to Ireland. Passport and customs formalities are rapid and
minimalist in Ireland, and you can clear US Customs and passport control in
Ireland on your return journey before you board your return flight at Dublin
or Shannon Airport.
There are no customs formalities between Ireland and
other European Union countries, and travel between Irish and most other
European airports takes between 60 and 120 minutes flying time, making it a
convenient base for excursions or business trips to Paris, Rome, London,
Amsterdam, Barcelona, Zurich*, Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Milan, Vienna,
Dusseldorf, Brussels, Luxembourg, etc.
*While Zurich is not in the EU, passengers arriving from the EU are
generally free from customs formalities at Swiss airports
Boeing have proposals for a Trajectory-Based Separation Management,
Traffic Planning and Flow Planning system to replace the current global air
traffic control "system". Download details of their proposals
American Airlines Airmiles available on Aer Lingus
American Airlines AAdvantage points can now be claimed on all Aer Lingus
flights. Aer Lingus TAB points are available on all AA flights (somewhat
academic as American Airlines refuse to take Irish or any other European
(other than British) credit cards on their website).
With effect from March 30, 2001 Iberia will be upgrading
the equipment used on their Ireland > Spain routes to new Airbus A320
aircraft. The service is being increased to two daily non-stop flights -
from Madrid in the morning and from Barcelona in the afternoon.