I’m at Web Summit this week in Dublin, and I ran into some info about Aer Lingus that made me reconsider them as an alternative to British Airways and Lufthansa for flights from the East Coast to Europe. As an aside, Web Summit is about the craziest and most interesting conference I’ve attended, all at the same time.
First, Aer Lingus announced that they’ll be flying DUB-IAD starting next year.
They’ll be flying the DUB-IAD route with either an A330-200 or A330-300, depending on demand. But, according to the folks at Aer Lingus, it won’t be flown on a 757, which means you’re almost certain to get the new business class seat if you fly the route next year. These flights will compete directly with United’s nonstop service between the two cities which I believe is relatively new. Aer Lingus plans to operate flights on this route four times per week.
They’re also adding a frequency to their New York routes along with a very early departure from Ireland that gets you to New York around 10 am. Since you can pre-clear US customs in Dublin, it’s an interesting option for business travelers who want to try and pack in a full day in NYC.
Aer Lingus also had a prototype of the new seat to test drive at Summit. It’s very similar to the seat JetBlue is using on their Mint a service and VERY comfortable, outfitted with cloth instead of the leather JetBlue uses so the seats are more comfortable for sleeping.
There’s a lot of smart design, including a pocket for your shoes, a pouch built specifically to hold a tablet at your seat safely as well as a couple of larger bins. While you can’t store a bag in the foot well, they provide an incredible amount of space to unpack everything you need and keep it close.
The seats also feature a massage component, which I’m sure my wife would love.
Unlike some other business class seats I’ve flown, the storage is much more accessible, with bins at elbow and shoulder height instead of having to reach down underneath your seat to retrieve something.
The A330-200 will see a total of 23 seats in the new configuration. The A330-300 will see a total of 30 seats in the new configuration.
Aer Lingus expects the new seats to start rolling out on routes to the US in January.
I’ll admit that I haven’t spent a lot of time focusing on Aer Lingus in the past. But, I really dislike transfers at Heathrow. With United killing the value of partner flights, Lufthansa to Frankfurt is a much more costly option.
Aer Lingus also shared with me that they anticipate an upgraded lounge presence at Dublin, which makes me think I need to do some research on their program when I get home.
I always enjoy seeing innovation when it comes to passenger comfort, especially since we’re losing the battle so badly in the coach cabin. Aer Lingus has me intrigued due to their thoughtful attention to detail and new service announcements.