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.
I was able to score a throne seat both ways! Woo hoo! #AvGeekHeaven ^^
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.
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.
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.
Arriving in Concourse B
Aer Lingus, as a member of IAG (but sadly not oneworld), use the British Airways lounge at Washington-Dulles.
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.
I went to the bar to get some champagne and spotted our plane arriving from Dublin.
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.
The view from the bar area
As it was early, I wasn't hungry yet and just had a glass (or 3) of champagne with water.
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.
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.
Our bird was on a corner gate so there weren't any unobstructed views, unfortunately.
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.
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.
As I mentioned earlier, there are four rows of business class with alternating rows of 1-1 and 2-2 seating.
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
The noise cancelling headphones are found in the pocket under the IFE. Four languages are available on the IFE: English, German, French, and Spanish.
Great amount of legroom.
Seat controls, universal outlet, and USB port
The throne seats are very spacious with wide tables on both sides and lots of storage.
The amenity kit
Menu and invitation to the Aer Lingus arrivals lounge.
Boarding was quick for a full flight and we pushed back from the gate early.
We taxied by some international heavies on the way to the runway.
South African A330-300
More diverse tails at Concourses A and B, Including Air France A380 and Etihad 787-9
United 787-9. Normally, I'm not a fan of the dated Unitental livery, but the swooshy version on the Dreamliners looks decent.
United 777-200 in the boring normal livery
Taxi was quick and we took off towards the north
Crossing the Potomac River
I turned on the IFE to put on the air show
The flight time is really short at only 6h20m
We flew just north of downtown Washington, DC
This is always a nice view of the whole city, the MD suburbs, and NoVA suburbs, including Reagan National airport, my other home airport.
Annapolis, MD and the Naval Academy
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge, 4.3 miles (6.9 km) in length, spanning the Chesapeake Bay.
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.
Cheers! The EI shamrock is everywhere :-)
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.
And a Cognac digestif to end the meal
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.
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.
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.
The revival rooms are a nice perk for Business class passengers. Too bad I didn't have any time to enjoy one.
Thanks for reading!
British Airways Galleries Lounge
Washington - IAD
Dublin - DUB
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).
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