Trip Report: To Dublin! Delta from JFK to DUB

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This is the first post in a series of 4 trip reports about a quasi-mileage run I took over the long Thanksgiving weekend. The impetus was a sub-$400 fare to Dublin, and I had some fun and fortune playing around with the return trip, which I discussed here, leading to a 26-hour layover in Paris before heading back to New York on an Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft. 

Delta Flt. 92
Sched. Dep. JFK 9:30pm; Sched. Arr. DUB 9:10am
Actual Dep. JFK  9:20pm; Actual Arr. DUB 8:39am
Boeing 757-200

After a great Thanksgiving meal and day playing with my nephew, my father drove me to JFK, where I breezed through security at Terminal 2.  At my mother’s urging, I had left for the airport superearly, so headed to the T2 Skyclub, which was the emptiest I’d ever seen.  After a big meal, I wasn’t particularly hungry, but had a coffee, followed by my traditional pre-redeye whiskey on the rocks.

Lonely Skyclub

I checked some email and headed to the gate.  My research (aka Flyertalk) had suggested that Delta treats the JFK-DUB like a domestic flight in terms of upgrades, and indeed it sort of does.  When I had checked earlier in the day, only 2 seats out of 16 in  the business class cabin had been sold.  Sure enough, about 5 minutes before boarding, the gate agent called out about 7 names, all of whom got new boarding passes in Business Class.  Alas, my Gold Medallion name was not one of them.

Soon after, boarding began.  The flight was surprisingly crowded with only 4 or 5 seats open in Coach, and a large portion of the Irish youth racquetball team.  When Sky Priority boarded, I was one of three people, suggesting that everyone else with Gold or higher status had had their upgrade cleared.  The process was a little annoying, as non-medallions who had not had seat assignments at all then got placed in the upgradees’ Economy Comfort seats, whereas I had the less-desirable bulkhead aisle seat, as I didn’t want to pay for Economy Comfort (which isn’t free for Golds on transatlantic flights).  Even worse, three seats remained empty in Business Class,  and the gate agent just before doors closed moved a young woman with crutches from her coach seat to one of the empty ones.  I also later found out another Business Class seat was taken by a non-rev.

As I said, I had the bulkhead aisle seat, a seat I must’ve forgotten how much I hated when I booked this flight several months ago.  On Delta’s 757s, this is part of a small 2-seat aisle next to the door.  While there is no seat in front of you, there’s also no wall in front of the aisle seat, which juts out into the galley.  Add in the lack of underseat storage, its proximity to the restroom, and awkward armrests, and I probably should have just taken a regular window seat.

One perk of this seat, though, was its proximity next to the Flight Attendant jumpseat, so I got to chat with the Flight Attendant, who was very professional.  I noticed about half of the crew, including her, were Irish.  I didn’t think Delta had any Dublin-based crew, which she confirmed, and asked if she usually did the JFK-DUB route.  She said she did it a lot but didn’t like it so much since it’s so short and has a 24 hour layover in Dublin, meaning she only earns 12 hours in three days.

Meal service was prompt after takeoff, which I always appreciate on a short (under 6 hours) overnight flight.  No pictures of the food, but I had a salad with chicken, black beans, and cheddar which was quite good, and perfect light fare for a post-Thanksgiving meal light dinner, along with the standard fruit cup, Tillamook cheese and crackers, and brownie.   Boxed wine was dispensed complimentary, and I also used my “Have One on Us” coupon (printed on your print at home boarding pass when a Gold or higher is on a flight in Coach) for a Woodford Reserve bourbon.

Unfortunately, my in-flight entertainment audio was not functioning, so I had just a magazine while meal service was going.  Luckily, between tryptophan, a sleeping pill, my pre-flight whiskey, box red wine and Woodford Reserve, and ear plugs and eye mask, I was able to sleep most of the flight post-dinner service.

I awoke as the Flight Attendants were getting breakfast ready, about 3.5 hours later (and another downside of the seat’s proximity to the galley).   The breakfast was fine – a small muffin, orange juice and a banana, and coffee or tea.   We landed about 40 minutes early.  I was the third person off the plane, and was the first person through the non-EU passport lane, where I was quizzed a little more than expected, but still went through quickly.  I took a short walk to the bus stand, and waited less than five minutes for the Airlink bus, which took me to the City for 10 Euros roundtrip in about 30 minutes.   (There’s a more expensive AirCoach which has wifi, but the stop was also further from my hotel).

From there, it was about a 10 minute walk to my hotel, the Radisson Blu Royal.  Alas, no room was available, so I dropped my bag and headed for a walk around town.

Morning on St. Stephen’s Green

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