Having used 25,000 British Airways Avios (prior to their devaluation, no longer available) each-way for Aer Lingus Business Class between Boston and Dublin, I was really looking forward to trying them out – not only was this a new airline for me, but Aer Lingus recently came out with a re-designed Business Class, featuring flat-bed seats, so this was definitely on the must-try list.
Checking-in at Boston was a breeze, and there was only a few folks ahead of me in line at the Business Class desk. Aer Lingus serves three flights a day from Boston – two to Dublin and one to Shannon, so depending on when you arrive, you may encounter busy staff.
After checking in and proceeding through security, I made an immediate left to the far end of the terminal to their lounge, which I’ve reviewed here.
I arrived down at the gate about 15 minutes prior to the scheduled boarding time of 8:15p for a 9:00p flight. When I arrived, there was utter chaos – not really because of Aer Lingus, but because the two surrounding gates were in the boarding process for flights to Iceland and Germany, which really created a noisy environment with mix-matched passengers. As those flights began to clear up, my Aer Lingus flight began to board, with priority entry for Business Class passengers.
Entering the A330 plane, I turned right after the galley to head to my seat 5K. As a note, if you’re a single traveler looking for a private environment, 5K is the way to go. There’s a console between you and the aisle, and it’s also a single, window seat with all aisle-access. I stowed my bags in the overhead bins and had a chance to take a look at my seat. It’s similar to Delta’s DeltaOne product, but with a few more features.
- You’ll find headphone storage under the large television in screen in front of you. I really appreciated this screen.
- There’s magazine and other article storage to your right under the fixed console table.
- There’s a small cabinet to your left containing a blanket and amenity kit for the flight. A pillow was already at my seat.
- Inside the left armrest was a television control, as well as seat controls which were activated by a simple touch of the finger.
No pre-departure beverages were offered, which was a bit frustrating. While flight attendants were circulating around, there was really no proactive effort to hang jackets, or welcome folks aboard, to the extend I’ve seen on other airlines, even in domestic first class.
The cabin is laid out in a three column layout, with staggered single and double seats. About 80% of the cabin is all aisle access, though if you book your ticket at the last minute, you may end up in a window, non aisle seat, which could be frustrating. I wish Aer Lingus had gone with a 1x2x1 layout, providing aisle access for everyone.
After economy class boarded, the doors were secured and we made our way to the runway for what was a very quick departure. Once in the air, both a menu and wifi code were distributed. A unique feature that sets Aer Lingus apart is the fact that they offer complimentary wifi for Business Class passengers. If you’re in economy, you’ll pay for this service if you’d like. The menu for this flight featured a choice of three entrees, as well as an open bar.
It’s worth noting that beverage service did not begin until at least a half hour in, which was a bit annoying since things definitely could have been faster. Beverages were served from the cart, and I chose the champagne as well as a Diet Coke. In addition to the drinks, a pre-plated appetizer was offered, consisting of tuna, mozzarella and olives.
At this point, seeing the slow service was not going to speed up, I turned on a movie on the inflight entertainment system. The system is lacking in variety – under each genre there’s just a few films to choose from, so if you’re picky on what to watch, you may want to bring something else onboard, since their inflight entertainment could certainly use additional selections.
While waiting for dinner, I decided to play around with the seat a bit. One major annoyance I had was that my left arm constantly kept accidentally hitting the seat controls, and because they were touch activated, the seat would all of a sudden jolt forward when I wasn’t expecting it. I’d prefer if these were true buttons, or placed in a less obtrusive area. The seat has a relax pitch it extends to, however there’s no way to individually lower the back, etc., which I found annoying since this is a feature on many other seats. In many cases, I’m comfortable where I am but just want to lower the back. On this seat, that’s not possible and you must lower the entire chair in one operation.
Dinner was served on a single tray, consisting of a salad, the entrée and a bread plate. While the salad was delicious, I did find my lamb to be a bit dry and unappealing. It was an average meal, to be honest. Following dinner, I chose the chocolate fondant for dessert, which was purely delicious. It was one of the best desserts I’ve had on a plane, and was sinfully good.
Following dinner service, I decided I’d make use of the remainder of the flight for sleep. I extended the seat into the fully flat mode and used the comforter and pillow provided. That said, the cabin crew did not shut the interior lights until probably about an hour later, which wasn’t too “sleeper friendly” considering this was a redeye flight. The bed itself is indeed flat, however lacks the “give” of the seats I’ve seen on both American and Delta. The one major issue I saw was with the foot area, which was extremely small. It’s so small, that in order to turn over in bed, you need to actually remove your feet from this area, move and then place them back in. If you’re a larger person or very tall, you’ll certainly have an issue with the amount of space for your feet, so keep this in mind when booking.
An hour and a half prior to landing, breakfast was served, which I availed myself of only to review for this post. 🙂 Like many other airlines, it was not a full breakfast, but consisted of fruits, selected pastries, and, if you wanted, a bacon roll. Nothing fancy.
Shortly after, we began our initial decent into Dublin and landed on-time. At the gate, the boarding door was placed to the rear of Business Class and there was no effort to enforce the de-boarding of Business Class first, though because I was toward the back, I ended up getting of reasonably fast anyways.
I’d certainly fly Aer Lingus again, however would look at other options as well, and not use them as a first and only option.
Have you ever flown Aer Lingus’ transatlantic business class?
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Elite Status Recognition and Benefits
I don't have elite status on Aer Lingus, so cannot speak to this benefit.
Airport Benefits Including Check-In and Security
Aer Lingus did a good job of check-in and providing fast-track security, though perhaps maybe could have staffed an extra agent at their ticketing counter to account for the mass of passengers departing on their three flights.
It's an average lounge at best, with lacking wifi speeds, limited food selection, and limited drink selection.
Seat Comfort and Leg Room
The seat was modern, and there was plenty of storage provided. I appreciated the large television screen. The major downfall was the lack of room for legs and feet when in the sleep, fully-reclined position.
Aer Lingus is lacking in their inflight entertainment since they do not have a large variety of programs. As long as they add additional options and selections to match what other carriers have, they'd most certainly have a winner of a product due to their large, high definition television screen. The reason I'd give this rating a 4 is due to the complimentary inflight wifi which was extraordinarily fast. With the wifi, I could get work done, and also surf the internet.
Food and Beverage Service
The food was average and unmemorable, aside from the dessert I had. I would have appreciated the choice of an appetizer, vs. being handed one.
Staff and Service
The flight attendants were very friendly, though could have been a bit more attentive and provided service in a more reasonable amount of time for a short night-flight. On several occasions, I had an empty tray that was not collected, even with multiple flight attendants walking by noticing it.
Aer Lingus has a very clean onboard product. VERY clean.