Review: Aer Lingus Business Class A330 Dublin To New York

Filed Under: Aer Lingus

The last time I flew Aer Lingus business class was back in 2012, so I was curious to see how the experience changed, especially given that Aer Lingus installed new business class seats a few years back.

Aer Lingus 109
Dublin (DUB) – New York (JFK)
Tuesday, November 21
Depart: 4:10PM
Arrive: 7:05PM
Duration: 7hr55min
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Seat: 5K (Business Class)

At door L2 I was greeted by Glenn, the cabin service manager, and pointed left into the business class cabin. Aer Lingus has a few different A330 configurations, and this one features their largest business class cabin. This A330 featured a total of 30 business class seats in a staggered configuration.

Aer Lingus A330 business class cabin

Aer Lingus business class seats cabin

There were four to five seats per row, depending on the row we’re talking about. There are two “throne” seats on this plane — 3K and 5K — and I was lucky enough to snag one of them. This seat is very similar to the JetBlue Mint Suite, except it doesn’t have a door.

Aer Lingus A330 business class throne seat

My initial assumption was that seat 7K would also be a true throne seat, though oddly it only has an armrest on one side. So you’ll definitely want to select seat 3K or 5K if traveling alone.

Aer Lingus business class seats A330

I’ll talk more about my throne seat in a bit. All of the even numbered rows on the right side had sets of two seats. There are only three seats in business class without direct aisle access from every seat, and those are the window seats on the right side in even numbered rows.

Aer Lingus business class seats A330

Aer Lingus business class seats A330

All rows had two seats in the center section, and each row is staggered so that the legrest is essentially between or to the side of the seats in front.

Aer Lingus business class seats A330

The left side of the plane then has one seat per row, with seats alternating between being closer to the aisle and being closer to the window.

Anyway, back to my seat. The seat itself felt a bit narrow, though the amount of storage at this seat was unreal.

Aer Lingus A330 business class throne seat

For one, there was a massive table on each side of the seat, so there was almost no need to even use the tray table.

Aer Lingus business class seat storage

To the left of the seat was a reading light, a water bottle holder, headphone jacks, an outlet (for both 110v and USB), and the seat controls.

Aer Lingus business class seat 

The seat controls were easy to use.

Aer Lingus business class seat controls

The tray table folds out from the side of the seat, and is extremely easy to get out, unlike many other airlines with these staggered seats.

Aer Lingus business class seat tray table

Then next to that was a large closed storage area.

Aer Lingus business class seat storage

Underneath all those controls and to the left were the entertainment controls as well as some simple seat pre-sets, in case you don’t want to control individual aspects of the seat.

Aer Lingus business class seat entertainment controls

Aer Lingus business class seat controls

As you can see below, the footrest is between the seats in front.

Aer Lingus A330 business class throne seat

There’s only one downside to these throne seats, which is that the area for your feet is quite small. However, I actually didn’t find this one too restrictive. It’s still on the tight side and I couldn’t really wiggle my feet around much when trying to rest, but it was definitely worth the other benefits of the seat.

Aer Lingus business class seat legroom

Then underneath the seat and to the right is yet another large storage area, with three different compartments where you can store things.

Aer Lingus business class seat storage

I should also point out that Aer Lingus has individual air nozzles on their A330s, which is a nice feature given how hot many airlines keep their cabins.

Aer Lingus business class seat air vents

Already waiting at my seat on boarding were headphones, which felt low quality, and hurt my ears.

Aer Lingus business class headphones

While I’m used to airlines making repetitive PAs during boarding, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the same announcement made as often as on this Aer Lingus flight. It started with “you’re all very welcome onboard your Aer Lingus flight to New York,” and then asked people to find their seats as soon as possible. While I love the Irish accent, I thought making the announcement over a dozen times was a bit excessive.

The service throughout the flight was friendly and well intentioned, but super slow. That was true of pre-departure beverages as well. It was 30 minutes from boarding until I was offered a drink. The pre-departure drink choices were water, orange juice, champagne, or a “cocktail,” which was described as champagne with berry juice. That’s what I selected. It was tasty, though super sweet.

Aer Lingus business class pre-departure drink

A few minutes later the crew distributed menus, wine lists, and amenity kits.

Aer Lingus business class amenity kit, menu, and wine list

The amenity kit was a fairly basic pouch with socks, eyeshades, a toothbrush and toothpaste, earplugs, mouthwash, hand cream, and lip balm.

Aer Lingus business class amenity kit

Aer Lingus business class amenity kit contents

At 3:55PM boarding was completed, and business class was about two thirds full. The two seats across from me were empty, as if I didn’t already have enough space to myself.

Pushing back Dublin Airport

The door closed at 4PM, at which point cabin service manager Glenn made his welcome aboard announcement, informing us of our flight time of 6hr55min.

At 4:10PM we pushed back, at which point the safety video was screened.

Taxiing Dublin Airport

Our taxi to the departure runway was quick, and we crossed a runway with a Ryanair 737 on it.

Taxiing Dublin Airport

At 4:20PM we were cleared for takeoff. The views on the climb out were beautiful, and I was sad that I wasn’t actually visiting Ireland this time around, as the landscape is so lovely.

View after takeoff from Dublin

View after takeoff from Dublin

View after takeoff from Dublin

Given that we were leaving in the late afternoon in winter, the sun was already setting. Since we were flying westbound, I was treated to one of the longest and most beautiful sunsets I’ve had this year, as it continued for hours and hours.

Beautiful sunset enroute to New York

About 10 minutes after takeoff the crew came through the cabin distributing pillows & blankets. Aer Lingus doesn’t allow the use of pillows and blankets during taxi and takeoff (for example, pillows have to be behind your back if you don’t want to put them in the overhead bin), so I guess that’s why they only distribute them after takeoff. The pillow and blanket were quite good — while not the highest quality bedding in the world, I found the blanket to be plush without being too warm, and the pillow to be substantial.

Aer Lingus business class pillow & blanket 

After takeoff I checked out my personal entertainment system, starting with the airshow.

Aer Lingus business class entertainment selection

Airshow enroute to New York

Airshow enroute to New York

The entertainment selection was better than I was expecting. By my count there were 53 movies, and some of them were fairly decent.

Aer Lingus business class entertainment selection

Aer Lingus business class entertainment selection

I don’t usually watch movies on planes, but on this flight I watched two — The House, and then Snatched. Yes, my taste in movies is that bad.

Aer Lingus business class entertainment selection

Aer Lingus business class entertainment selection

About 30 minutes after takeoff the captain came on the PA to announce our anticipated landing time of 6:05PM, and to wish us a pleasant flight. Around this time the cabin service manager came through to welcome each passenger onboard and offer complimentary Wi-Fi codes. There aren’t many airlines that offer free Wi-Fi in business class, so this is a nice offering.

Aer Lingus business class complimentary Wi-Fi

For reference, Aer Lingus charges for Wi-Fi based on how much data you use, with packages ranging from 50MB to 270MB, and ranging in cost from 6.95EUR to 29.95EUR. So while the Wi-Fi isn’t cheap, I’ve also seen more expensive.

Aer Lingus inflight Wi-Fi pricing

If you’re given a Wi-Fi code you can click the “Access Code” section at the top right of the page.

Aer Lingus inflight Wi-Fi access code

Rather impressively this plan comes with 400MB, so you’re unlikely to run out.

Aer Lingus inflight Wi-Fi usable limit

The service on this flight was slow to get started, though about 45 minutes after takeoff the service finally began, starting with drinks.

The menu read as follows:

The wine list read as follows:

The drink list read as follows:

Service began with drinks and canapés. I ordered a glass of the Jean Pernet Tradition Brut, which I enjoyed given the price point. I also had a glass of sparkling water.

Aer Lingus business class lunch — selection of canapés

Warm towels were distributed after the canapés.

Aer Lingus business class warm towel

70 minutes after takeoff tablecloths were distributed and orders were taken for the main course.

Aer Lingus business class table setting

Then a full 1hr40min after takeoff the appetizer and salad were served. The beetroot and feta salad was small but flavorful. For the appetizer I selected the smoked salmon with mozzarella and roasted red pepper, which was alright — the mozzarella and red pepper were nice, but the salmon just tasted a bit “wet” and slimy.

Aer Lingus business class lunch — appetizer and salad

Next up was the main course, which was served about 2hr20min after takeoff. For that I selected the oven baked cod, braised savoy cabbage, baby potatoes, and chorizo. While the sides were quite good, the fish itself was fairly flavorless and overcooked.

Aer Lingus business class lunch — main course

Once the main course was cleared the dessert trolley was rolled down the aisle. For dessert there was the choice between a cheese plate and a chocolate profiterole gateaux, which was so good. I had a cup of coffee to go along with it.

Aer Lingus business class lunch — dessert

By the time the trays were cleared it had been three hours since takeoff, which just feels to me like a really slow service. Don’t get me wrong, the flight attendant serving my aisle was lovely and friendly, but it just shouldn’t take so long to serve a meal. As far as the meal itself goes, I thought the food was alright. It wasn’t bad, but the only part of the meal that impressed me was the dessert.

Airshow enroute to New York

After the meal, Glenn came up to a few passengers and asked them to fill out some in-flight surveys, and I was one of the people he asked. I usually hate filling out these forms since they take a lot of time to fill out and are detailed, but I still did it. I left mixed marks, and noted the friendly but slow service, and average catering.

Aer Lingus business class survey

After the meal I checked out one of the three business class lavatories (there are two behind the cabin and one in front). It was clean but pretty no frills, with Voya soap and hand cream.

Aer Lingus business class lavatory

Aer Lingus business class lavatory amenities

Once back at my seat I continued to admire the sunset, and finished my second movie.

View enroute to New York

After that I tried to lie down for a minute to test out the bed. As stated above, I found it to be quite comfortable, and I was even able to sleep with my knees bent, which I’m often not able to do in this specific throne configuration.

Soon enough we were over the US and just an hour from landing, at which point the pre-arrival snack service began.

Airshow approaching New York

Airshow approaching New York

The afternoon tea menu read as follows:

I wasn’t really hungry given that lunch wrapped up less than three hours prior, but I figured I’d still take the meal to get a picture of it. Everything was served on one tray, including chicken and stuffing wrap, as well as the hummus and falafel wrap. Then I could select scones from a basket. I had a cup of tea to accompany it.

Aer Lingus business class afternoon tea

35 minutes before landing the captain made his pre-landing announcement, and shortly thereafter we began our descent. The crew prepared the cabin before landing pretty early, and once again collected pillows and blankets from everyone.

View approaching New York

We touched down at JFK at 6:05PM, and five minutes later were at our arrival gate at JetBlue’s Terminal 5, nearly a full hour ahead of schedule.

JetBlue A321 New York JFK

Aer Lingus A330 business class bottom line

Overall Aer Lingus offers a solid transatlantic business class product. The seats are good, and scoring a “throne” seat for such a short transatlantic flight is a special treat, given how private it is, and how much storage it has. I also appreciated that Aer Lingus offers business class passengers complimentary Wi-Fi, which not many airlines do. Lastly, the crew was exceptionally friendly and well intentioned.

The rest of the experience was pretty mediocre, though. The service was so slow, and the the food was just alright.

Still, I’d recommend Aer Lingus for transatlantic flights, as I still think they offer an above average product.

If you’ve flown Aer Lingus business class, what was your experience like?

  1. I remember when you posted your previous trip on Aer Lingus. To realize it was 5 years ago shocked me. So many flight reviews over the years and still entertaining/informative. Keep up the good work Ben!

  2. @Lucky Two questions:
    1) For people traveling with partner, any discernable difference in non-throne seats (middle vs left side). Guessing I’d want to avoid right side in even rows.

    2) Does Lingus increase Biz availability close to time of booking (or do massive award dumps like AA does?) I have one seat booked for JFK-Dub in June and need a second seat.

  3. I flew Aer Lingus Business Class earlier this year. I liked the beef well enough, though I think we only had ice cream for dessert, and I don’t remember the service from EWR taking quite that long. Solid product overall, wouldn’t mind flying it again.

  4. Re service being slow- As takeoff was 4:15 local, perhaps they deliberately waited until after 5pm to then serve a full dinner?

  5. Thanks for yet another detailed and interesting review.

    Aer Lingus seems good overall, but living in Europe, one thing that find difficult on east coast – Europe flights is that they are too short to get decent sleep even in a good seat. E.g. from BOS I’d rather backtrack to IAD or better yet ORD first so that on the TATL segment there is enough time to get a decent amount of sleep. Is that something that you consider as well or am I a bit crazy here?

  6. on this A330 config, I prefer the window seats on the A side since they’re true window seats, have direct aisle access, and have a much bigger foot cubby than the throne seats. lucky, were those seats taken on this flight?

    I tried the throne seats once on OS. 777..never again. Foot cubbys are too tight and the fixed arms rests make things feel to tight in bed mode.

  7. I was on that exact flight in 3K, which is a pretty funny coincidence.

    I largely agree with the review. I had the beef for dinner, and enjoyed it (at least for a business class beef fillet that is pre-cooked).
    I definitely noticed that service was slow to start, but as I had been fully acclimated to Irish time, it didn’t feel out of place to wait until after 5 to eat.

    The service was very quick with drink orders once it began though. I had a few g&ts, and they were quick to notice an empty glass and offer another. They also interestingly didn’t mix it for me — but instead gave me a can of schweppes tonic and a little bottle of gin.

    Seat was very comfortable and flight was pleasant, and they were very quick with my checked bag on arrival. I was in a taxi in minutes, and was in midtown before 7pm when the flight was scheduled to land.
    I also managed to book this for 50k Avios back over the summer, taking advantage of Amex’s Avios 40% transfer bonus for a total of just 35,750 MR for the one-way flight.

  8. Lucky, you often say that you enjoyed some champagne or wine inspite of the price point. Do you firmly believe that everything more expensive is necessarily better? Alcoholic beverages, especially wine & champagne are quite subjective. What you may like may not necessarily be someone elses choice. You might find that you enjoy the beverage more if you dont get stuck on the price point.

  9. @Hermann, I agree. We fly out of Boston to Ireland and the overnight 4.5-5 hour flight is nonsensical to us. You’re absolutely right–too short of a flight for any decent amount of sleep, yet the schedule (overnight flights only) means you’re up all night…Why? I’d be very willing to “lose” the day to travel than lose a night’s sleep to arrive at 4:30/5:00 a.m. I understand how this may be a boon to business travelers, but having the option to leave early a.m. Eastern time and arrive early evening Ireland time I’d choose in a heartbeat.

  10. “Short Transatlantic flight”, the flight takes 8 hours and is crossing half the world. I consider 3 hours already as a long-haul flight :p

  11. I don’t agree about your dinner service being slow. I usually fly home on an evening flight from Europe and I like a slow, drawn out dinner service. I find it adds something to do as I feel that sleeping on a flight at this time is terrible for jet lag. And what a view to enjoy your meal!

  12. Lucky, never forget to mention the pre-clearance facility in Dublin (and Shannon). Personally speaking, it’s worth $100 more in economy and $500 more in business. To step off the plane from Europe and walk straight to the taxi rank is sheer heaven!

  13. I have flown on this route several times in the last two years, most recently in November 2017 also. I’m surprised that you found the service slow. In my experience the cabin crew are very quick to offer a PDB and hang up your coat (and yes, the repetitive boarding announcements quickly become rather annoying). I do agree that the meal service can be slow to start but I have sometimes found it a little rushed once it does get underway. I also got one of the comment cards and appreciated the personal approach by the cabin manager who asked me to fill it in – I did wonder though why only a few of us were asked to fill it in!
    All in all, I think EI offer a solid, reliable TATL business class product.

  14. Flew out from Dublin to LAX 17th January 2018 & my experience was good had seat 3A. 4 Crew were very attentive looking after 9 passengers & enjoyed flight very much. My return flight LAX to Dublin 29th Jan was a whole different experience, boarding was like a scrum all passengers asked to board at same time & was greeted by a female crew member who didn’t seem too pleased to see anyone boarding. Seated in 5K which I liked, had to ask for headphones + amenity bag which is not worth having but I needed toothpaste. Crew very slow to offer drinks & came around asking for our choice of meal but they had not given out any menus & Canapés were hit & miss, I along with other passenger had to ask for them. I think there were only 3 crew so maybe they felt under pressure, but there were only about 12 passengers in business class. I fly Aer Lingus as it is direct but outgoing flights from Dublin are always better than those leaving LAX

  15. We flew Aer Lingus Economy Class recently and had a very comfortable flight, appreciated that we could set a family of 4 together in the center aisle!

  16. Great report. Aer Lingus looks like they offer a really nice Business Class product. Thank you for sharing!

  17. I think there’s a cultural difference at work here re. the time dinner was served. I tend to agree with other commentators that waiting till 5pm is more appropriate. One thing that drives me crazy about US carriers is the speed of the service, for example, UA serving lunch at 11am on a flight from Berlin to Newark. It feels like the passengers are an inconvenience and the crew just wants to rush through the service. I find this on pretty much all long haul flights on US carriers.

    Much prefer the slower, more gracious service on European carriers. But then again, I am European!

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