Flight-Report

Review of Aer Lingus flight Washington Dublin in Business

Airline Aer Lingus
Flight EI118
Class Business
Seat 1F
Flight time 07:05
Take-off 21 Sep 17, 17:15
Arrival at 22 Sep 17, 05:20
EI   #123 out of 126 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 68 reviews
KévinDC
By GOLD 2546
Published on 30th November 2017
Welcome to the first Flight-Report (on the English site) on Aer Lingus' refreshed long-haul Business class product!

From my home airport of Washington-Dulles, there are two nonstop options to Dublin: United and Aer Lingus. Though neither airline would yield me any AA miles (redeemable, status, or otherwise), my choice was clear. Aer Lingus fly the Boeing 757-200 from IAD, which has a unique configuration in Business class for a narrowbody.

EI use Thompson Vantage seats in Business class–the staggered layout alternates 1-1 and 2-2 over four rows. This means there are 4 single seats that are both window are aisle seats. These single seats are the prized "throne" seats! The only other carrier I know of with this type of configuration on a narrowbody in Business class is JetBlue on their special Mint A321 fleet. I believe MH is considering installing a version that even gives aisle-access to all passengers, but for now, this is a good as it gets for narrowbody Business class.

photo ei 757 seatmap

I was able to score a throne seat both ways! Woo hoo!
#AvGeekHeaven ^^

photo ei was-dub boarding pass 2

With a name like that you'd think I was Irish and not French LOL


Check-in & Lounge



It was a beautiful day for flying! I arrived at the airport about 2 hours before departure.

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I had already checked in online, but needed to drop off one checked bag. There were only a few people ahead of me in the Business class queue, so it went quickly. Service was friendly and efficient.

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From there I headed through the Premium fast track security lanes and on to the lounge. Aer Lingus are not participants in the Known Traveler Program, so I did not have TSA Pre-check access for this flight.

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Arriving in Concourse B

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Aer Lingus, as a member of IAG (but sadly not oneworld), use the British Airways lounge at Washington-Dulles.

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I've covered this lounge in several other reports so I won't go into much detail. It was busy in the lounge as a BA 744 to LHR would be leaving shortly after our flight, but I found a nice quiet corner.

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I went to the bar to get some champagne and spotted our plane arriving from Dublin.

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Aer Lingus Business class passengers do not have access to the dining room area, which I'll cover in an upcoming report, but there are snacks available in the bar area.

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The view from the bar area

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As it was early, I wasn't hungry yet and just had a glass (or 3) of champagne with water.

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I had just enough time for a shower before boarding. It was nice to freshen up as I'd gone straight to the airport from the office.

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Boarding



I left the lounge about 5 minutes prior to the scheduled boarding time and was pleasantly surprised not to find a mob of people blocking the gate area, as is usually the case in the U.S.

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Our bird was on a corner gate so there weren't any unobstructed views, unfortunately.

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Boarding began just a few minutes late with Business class and Aer Club members. We boarded through door 1L; somewhat unusual for a 757, which more commonly board through 2L.

Very nice first impression of the Business class cabin. The cabin looks modern and spacious.

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I wasn't a fan of the green seat colour in the older cabins, but the updated fresher green of the new cabins actually looks quite good.

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As I mentioned earlier, there are four rows of business class with alternating rows of 1-1 and 2-2 seating.

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The bulkhead row is 1-1, and here is my throne seat in 1F.

Pillow, blanket, amenity kit, noise cancelling headphones, and menu are provided

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The noise cancelling headphones are found in the pocket under the IFE. Four languages are available on the IFE: English, German, French, and Spanish.

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Great amount of legroom.

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Seat controls, universal outlet, and USB port

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The throne seats are very spacious with wide tables on both sides and lots of storage.

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The amenity kit

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Menu and invitation to the Aer Lingus arrivals lounge.

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The Flight



Boarding was quick for a full flight and we pushed back from the gate early.

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We taxied by some international heavies on the way to the runway.

Lufthansa 747-8i

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Brussels A330-300

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South African A330-300

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More diverse tails at Concourses A and B, Including Air France A380 and Etihad 787-9

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United 787-9. Normally, I'm not a fan of the dated Unitental livery, but the swooshy version on the Dreamliners looks decent.

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United 777-200 in the boring normal livery

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Taxi was quick and we took off towards the north

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Crossing the Potomac River

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I turned on the IFE to put on the air show

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The flight time is really short at only 6h20m

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We flew just north of downtown Washington, DC

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This is always a nice view of the whole city, the MD suburbs, and NoVA suburbs, including Reagan National airport, my other home airport.

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Annapolis, MD and the Naval Academy

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The Chesapeake Bay Bridge, 4.3 miles (6.9 km) in length, spanning the Chesapeake Bay.

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Shortly after takeoff, the very friendly lead flight attendant came through the Business class cabin to take dinner orders and offer an apéritif.

Aer Lingus serve canapés prior to the meal, which I find to be a nice touch–certainly classier than the bag of nuts one gets in Club World on sister airline British Airways.

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Cheers! The EI shamrock is everywhere :-)

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It seems I forgot to take photos of the menu (Gasp! I know), so I'm not sure what else what on offer for the main, but I chose Irish beef with a baked potato. It was decent, if a little overcooked, which is always to be expected on an plane.

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Cheese course

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And a Cognac digestif to end the meal

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The dinner service was pretty efficient, so there was still about 5 hours left before arrival. I turned on a movie and slept until landing.

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A breakfast was served, but I just wanted to sleep. I didn't wake up until I had to put my seat upright for landing.

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Arrival



With the early departure from IAD and the short flying time, we arrived in DUB ahead of schedule. Immigration was a breeze as I used my French passport to go through the EU lanes.

I did quickly visit the Aer Lingus arrivals lounge as I waited for bags to be delivered. The lounge is located on one end of the baggage hall, which is convenient. It is a veeery small space, but serves its purpose. You can grab a coffee and a croissant in the tiny seating area, or ask for a "revival" room, where you can take a nap or shower.

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The revival rooms are a nice perk for Business class passengers. Too bad I didn't have any time to enjoy one.

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Thanks for reading!
See more

Verdict

Aer Lingus

8.8/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew9.0
In-flight Entertainment8.5
Meal/catering8.5

British Airways Galleries Lounge

8.0/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering8.0
In-flight Entertainment8.0
Services8.0

Washington - IAD

7.9/10
Efficiency8.0
Access6.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.5

Dublin - DUB

8.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access7.5
Services9.0
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

I absolutely LOVED Aer Lingus! I was really impressed by the level and quality of service. The Business class cabin was wonderful, and having a throne seat on a narrowbody feels very First class. The cabin crew were lovely and friendly (of course, they're Irish!). Service was professional and attentive, with that added touch of Irish warmth and humour. I really wish Aer LIngus would finally join oneworld, but alas, based on recent comments by the CEO, it doesn't seem that will happen anytime soon. The only downside was not being able to accumulate miles with AA--luckily, I have a BA Executive club account and was able to get avios (though not Tier Points, not that I need them).

Related

22 Comments

  • Comment 420992 by
    757Fan 481 Comments

    Great report! I have not read many reports about Aer Lingus and so it was nice to see photos and hear about your experience with them! My wife and I just visited London and we were considering flying through Dublin as the prices on Aer Lingus were very reasonable, but ended up going with Delta through JFK. It looks like they offer a nice Business Class product.

    Thank you for sharing, Kevin! Looking forward to your next report.

    Matthew

    • Comment 421080 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      Hi Matthew, thank you for your comments as always! Aer Lingus does indeed offer some good Business fares across the Atlantic; however, as their intra-European flights are all-Economy with an LCC-like model onboard, I would have a difficult time going from such a nice Business class experience to an LCC experience on the Dublin to Europe leg.

  • Comment 421005 by
    KL651 TEAM 4297 Comments

    Thanks for this FR!
    Work that shamrock girl ^^
    Everything is well presented in nice tableware, but there is nothing too fancy or original in the catering.
    But the small yet spaced out cabin of the 757 is indeed nice and private.
    With a good crew this all concurs to a great flight.

    • Comment 421082 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      They sure do love to work that shamrock! Yes, the main meal is nothing fancy, to be sure, but I think the canapés were a classy touch. I was surprised they could fit 2 rows of Economy behind the 4 (spacious) rowns of business class between doors 1 and 2! I guess if they if they filled the entire forward cabin with just J, they could fit 16 seats, with a little space left over. 16 J is pretty standard for longhaul J on a 757, but in a 2-2 configuration, so it shows that this Thompson Vantage configuration is actually quite efficient on space!

  • Comment 421006 by
    ItsKevin 25 Comments

    Hey Kévin! Thanks for sharing your experience!
    I just realized that Aer Lingus has 757s. The cabin look so modern and comfortable, though the aircraft is old.
    Looking forward from your other report!

    Cheers,

    Kevin

    • Comment 421083 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      Hi Kevin, thanks for your comments! Yes, 757s are old (though I love 757s), but these new cabins definitely give them a nice new fresh feeling. EI really did a good job, and by installing the Vantage seats on the small 757 fleet, they have a consistent Business class product on longhaul since they have the same seats on the A330s.

  • Comment 421015 by
    ashleyyau 200 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this flight report to Westeros! Glad you grab the iron throne^^
    Everything is very nice, i.e. the seat, catering and the crew. It reminds my EI flight (although in Y).
    I like the EI's strategy of ex-US flight which arrive DUB in early morning so that you can start a full day in Ireland or transit to other Europe places.

    • Comment 421085 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      Hi Ashley, thanks for your comments! Haha, yes, it was nice to have the Iron throne to myself! :-P
      The flights arrive a little too early for my taste, haha. We landed early so it was barely 5AM. I was at my downtown hotel by 6:30, luckily I have booked the room from the night before so I didn't have to wait for 2PM check-in, otherwise that 5AM arrival would have been very rough. EI do seem to run a very efficient hub out of DUB. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 421016 by
    Rewardflying SILVER 442 Comments

    Hi Kévin, Wow, Aer Lingus looks nice! The Vantage throne seats are a great way to fly. Maybe it was just the photo but the leg room looked a little better than some other installations, like on OS. And the most annoying part of the Vantage is the seat controls are on the arm rest. I noticed on this installation they are out of the way.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Comment 421086 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      Hi Rewardflying, thank you for your comments! Yes, it was indeed a very nice experience. I had no expectations and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. I believe you are right about the seat pitch! I'm flown in these Vantage seats many times (DL and AA), and the legroom on EI definitely seemed superior. Sooo true about the controls in the armrest. On AA 767s, the controls are so sensitive and poorly places that I kept changing the seat position every time my elbow barely brushed past the controls. EI did a great job with configuring these seats, and added lots of nice storage all over. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 421026 by
    East African 1442 Comments

    Thanks KevinDC for this first EI report that shows a nice product!
    Basically, for passengers what are the benefits of EI being part of IAG?
    Looks like the SN is a -300 variant
    Looking forward to the return

    • Comment 421087 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      Thanks very much for your comments East African!

      "Basically, for passengers what are the benefits of EI being part of IAG?"
      - Good questions. It doesn't seem like there are many benefits at all. There are certainly no advantages to oneworld flyers like me, that's for sure, since EI aren't joining the alliance. For IAG flyers, it's a little better since EI's FF programme is Avios based as well; however, as I found, you don't necessarily get Tier Points when crediting to other IAG programmes. Because I bought my tickets directly from EI on their 053 ticket stock as EI operated and marketed flights, I only got redeemable Avios on BA (though with a nice class bonus). However, I've learned that had I bought the flights as BA marketed (the BA codeshare flight number), I would have been able to get BA Tier Points as well. Though I didn't really care about TPs since my status is with AA. So it's complicated and messy, as you can see, even within IAG. I really don't understand why EI won't join oneworld, I'm assuming they don't want the added costs and don't really need the feed at DUB. Plus they probably don't want to have to start offering a Business class product on intra-European flights. Sigh :-/

      Good catch on the SN A333. I couldn't really tell from the angle and assumed it was a 332 since that's what they normally run to IAD, but I just looked up the rego and it is indeed a 333. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 421075 by
    CounterSurprise 72 Comments

    Hi Kevin, great report once again with a product not seen before on the English side of this site. I do read the French reports from time to time but my French is terrible so I’m glad you took the effort to write an English version. Thanks! Anyway, love the report and the great photos. IAD has a special place in my heart just like the sleek and beautiful 757. The IFE looked interesting though like a seat mounted tablet.

    • Comment 421088 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      Hi CounterSurprise, thanks so much for your comments and kind words! I used to write each report in both English and French, but that was waaaaay too time-consuming so now I only post in English. I do love IAD as well (and DCA, but less). I'm fortunate to have 2 very nice airports near me, especially when so many airports in the U.S. are dumps (ahem, LGA, haha). I'm also a big fan of 757s. Truly the most beautiful passenger aircraft, after 747s maybe. The IFE does look like a tablet. Several of the more modern IFE screens like this look like tablets, I've noticed. Thanks again for your feedback!

  • Comment 421124 by
    loukas SILVER 264 Comments

    Hi Kevin, Thanks for a great report on a great flight. I didn't expect Aer Lingus to be that good as I read not so enthusiastic reports before. It seems they've improved their service significantly, need to check what they currently offer in economy on across the pond flights. Have a nice weekend!

    • Comment 421127 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      Hi Loukas, thanks so much for your comments! It does seem that there are quite a bit of negative reports on EI based on their overall score, but I think that's because the majority of the reports are on intra-European short-haul flights, where they operate a LCC model. That's why I've said in other comments, I wouldn't want to fly EI in Business on Transatlantic and then connect to a short-haul flight with them because I think the difference in products from Long-haul J to short-haul LCC would be unpleasant. To be honest, I'm not sure how good they are on long-haul Economy. I believe they've started offering a "Basic Economy" type option where the lowest fares don't get seat assignments, checked bags, or meals, which sounds awful. Thanks again for sharing your feedback!

  • Comment 421422 by
    Rl 777 812 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this exciting FR with us!

    “but I found a nice quiet corner.“
    - Nice to hear.

    “The cabin looks modern and spacious.“
    - And spotless :).

    Stunning spotting shots while taxiing to the active runway for departures.

    Breathtaking aerial shots!

    It definitely looks attractive from your pictures, but nice external attributes do not necessarily translate into positive experiences. Thankfully by judging your narrative, we know how good your experience was on this flight with EI :).

    Have a good one, see you!

    • Comment 422729 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      Hi Rl777, thanks for your comments!

      "nice external attributes do not necessarily translate into positive experiences. "
      - Very true indeed, but yes, in this case they did as the soft product and crew were also top notch!

      As we'll see in the upcoming report on the return flight, EI seem consistently good, at least in my limited experience.

      I just wish they would join oneworld!! [insert cry face emoji here] LOL

  • Comment 426150 by
    NGO85 1624 Comments

    Thanks for sharing Kevin!

    “Aer Lingus Business class passengers do not have access to the dining room area” ==. Huh? How do they police this area?

    Vintage 757 TATL, bad memories of UA thin-routes., but the staggered J actually appears roomier than the cabin on the A330 that squeezes 5 seats and 2 aisles in.

    Quite a classy looking menu cover. Canapés look quite nice and definitely a nice change to the standard nut offering on most carriers. The bbef, unfortunately, looks like airplane beef, but you should have known that going in. Very LX-esque with the stone cheese plate, but the packaged crackers bring you back to reality. No dessert?

    So, why do they decide to put USB charger and headphone jack on the side of the IFE? Isn’t that too far to reach from a seated position?

    Arrival lounge (or closet) looks like an afterthought by EI...

    • Comment 426185 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      Hey Michael, thanks for your comments!

      "Huh? How do they police this area?"
      - It's roped off with an attendant checking BPs at the entrance. Similar to the BA EWR lounge I covered in a previous report. I have an upcoming FR on BA with more details on the IAD dining room.

      https://flight-report.com/en/report/27150/OpenSkies-BA8004-Newark-EWR-Paris-ORY

      "Vintage 757 TATL, bad memories of UA thin-routes"
      - Well...'cause it was UA, lol

      "the staggered J actually appears roomier than the cabin on the A330"
      - Yes, it does seem that way. I've sat in these Thompson Vantage seats several times on different carriers and this felt the roomiest. It may be my imagination, but the seat felt wider and generally more spacious.

      "The beef, unfortunately, looks like airplane beef, but you should have known that going in"
      - Yep, I always know choosing the beef means there's a 99% chance it'll be bad, or at the very least, disappointing

      "No dessert?"
      - Nope. It was a choice of cheese or dessert, like on US carriers (except for DL) and BA, rather than a cheese course, and then a dessert, which is the proper Continental way of doing it. I'm sure if I had asked for both, I could have gotten it, but I wanted to maximize sleeping time.

      "So, why do they decide to put USB charger and headphone jack on the side of the IFE? Isn’t that too far to reach from a seated position?"
      - Yeah, those don't really serve any purpose, and yes, they are a but too far. The main USB port and headphone jack is right next to the control panel above the left armrest. I have a picture of it in the FR. That's the one most people use.

      "Arrival lounge (or closet) looks like an afterthought by EI."
      - While the lounge part itself is ridiculously small, the "revival" rooms with a lounger, toilet, and shower are very nice to have.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 426192 by
    NGO85 1624 Comments

    I baited out your 4000th comment, congrats!

    If you check seatguru, they claim the seat is wider on the 757 too. Maybe you aren’t imaging it, seems weird to have a non-standardized seat on your wide-body fleet.

    Is the BA Lounge on the PriorityPass list? Wonder if that’s why they limit the access to the dining room, to keeps their costs down. Don’t recall seeing this at the BA Lounge in BOS.

    All in all, it looked better than the DUB-PHL flight you had on AA. EI catering was much stronger.

    • Comment 426196 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      Woo! Now 4001! :-P

      Ah, yep, though seatguru isn't always 100% accurate it does validate what I thought. Yes, the IAD BA lounge is on the Priority Pass list (EWR is not), but Priority Pass is only accepted in the morning. PP holders don't have access in the afternoon/evenings when there are actual BA and EI passengers. These dining rooms appear to only be in recently renovated lounges, It's kind of like "Concorde bars" which have replaced First class lounges in outstations to block Emeralds from getting access. I think the dining rooms may help to keep their costs down onboard as I imagine a lot of passengers don't eat onboard and go straight to sleep.

      Oh yeah, way better than the DUB-PHL flight on AA!

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