Flew between London Gatwick and Washington Dulles with a layover in Dublin on Aer Lingus. Was rebooked on United Airlines for the outbound leg due to a delay on the LGW-DUB flight which would've stopped me from making the DUB-IAD flight. Staff at Gatwick seemed to not know how to deal with the situation. They have a very small check-in area with 2 staff, one of which said he couldn't serve me since I was connecting. I wasn't told there were issues until I was placed in a little pen with other IAD passengers. Was eventually served by a female member of staff who was very friendly and was able to book extra legroom seats at no extra charge on the United flight. I was originally a little bit annoyed that I was going to be on United, however on the return leg realized I shouldn't have been. Aer Lingus's mobile app tells you that the gate closes at the time the gate opens which was very confusing. The legroom was poor (and I'm not basing that off the extra legroom United seats), my seat recline didn't work, the IFE screens seemed very old and were extremely unresponsive, and overall the aircraft wasn't very comfortable, however was fine for a 5-hour flight. Takeoff was delayed due to 'several key pieces of equipment being missing', and we eventually left about an hour behind schedule. Pretzels and refreshments were soon served. Aer Lingus charges for alcohol (which I understand), however you could only purchase it during the snack service, so if you wanted alcohol with your main meal, you had to purchase it beforehand, which didn't seem to make much sense. I was then served a chicken curry; I know food on planes is never that great but this was one of the worst I'd had on an airline. The meal seemed to taste of plastic and wasn't properly cooked. Water and bread were also served (you can't really get that wrong!). Overall, the experience seemed to represent the average International Airlines Group long-haul flight, however a bit more extreme. It was obvious to me that IAG want Aer Lingus to be their version of Norwegian Air (according to their IFE, Aer Lingus is the self-proclaimed 'number one value carrier across the Atlantic'), however having flown on Norwegian, it's nowhere near as bad, and I would much prefer to fly on Norwegian than Aer Lingus.
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