You know, there is quite a lot of padding in flight schedules. This is to accommodate the fact that airports and airspace are congested, and to give people accurate arrival times. Flying during the pandemic at Christmas 2020 really illustrates that.

After breezing through a virtually empty Dublin Airport, I sat waiting at the gate for boarding to be called. To help minimise potential exposure to COVID-19, boarding is by rows from back to front. First it was row 20-29, then 15-29, 10-29 and so on.

The gate agents were quite strict about this and were sending people away if their row had not been called. People seemed not to mind, which is good.

EI158 – Dublin to London Heathrow (DUB-LHR)
14 December 2020
Airbus A320 – EI-DVG – St. Flannan
Seat: Economy 6A
Departure: 09:50 (Actual: 09:43) Arrival: 11:20 (Actual: 10:53)

Once my group was called, I headed down the aerobridge, showed my boarding pass and arrived at my seat. After stowing my cabin bag, I sat and relaxed while boarding continued.

The Christmas 2020 Flight Experience

Happily, the crew announced “That’s boarding complete” and I had no-one sitting beside me. This was a pleasant surprise as otherwise the flight was fairly full.

Alas, before the safety demonstration, a man with a laptop decided to move to the aisle seat next to me. He then decided not to have his face mask on, probably as he had a cold. How did I know this? The loud honking as he blew his nose and the big wet sneeze he bestowed upon the cabin, that’s how.

More Flying Shenanigans

The safety demonstration was unremarkable apart from an extra line to remove your face mask before putting on your oxygen mask. This was also shown to us in case we didn’t get it.

Once in the air, a crew member was having a hell of a time getting hot water out of the tap. It made a constant loud sucking sound, which certainly grabbed ones attention. Therefore it was no surprise when it was announced there was no hot water and therefore no hot drinks available for purchase.

When the crew came by, I bought water and tapped my card to pay for it. Buy on board food only recently came back on European flights at Aer Lingus, so that was an early present for Christmas 2020 for me.

Pleasingly, we left early and arrived almost half an hour ahead of schedule. As I had to make a connection, the extra time was much appreciated.

Overall Thoughts

Flying Aer Lingus at Christmas 2020 is largely the same as before the pandemic, except there is no lounge access. The Dublin lounge is currently being completely renovated and won’t open until 2021.

Apart from the lack of hot food on board and the amended boarding process, it is all very familiar. I’m not one to worry about getting sick from flying, so for me it all feels like what I know. Now if only they could keep the early arrival times, I’d be very happy!

Are you flying over Christmas 2020 and is that a concern for you? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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