Aer Lingus Has A New A330 With Inferior Business Class Seats

Aer Lingus has a great business class product on their A330s, as they have a staggered configuration with fully flat seats. It has been cool to see Aer Lingus’ growth the past few years, which has been gradual but consistent. They’ve added a handful of US routes over the past few years, and have slowly increased the size of their fleet (they now have 13 Airbus A330s).

I knew that a couple more A330s were supposed to join Aer Lingus’ fleet this year to fuel their growth, though I didn’t put much thought into how they’d be configured. My assumption was that these new A330s would feature the same configurations as all of their other A330s. It looks like that’s not the case.

Reader Ethan emailed to say that he booked his aunt on flight EI118 from Washington Dulles to Dublin. He pre-assigned her a “throne seat,” but at check-in they told her it was not available due to an equipment change, and she was reassigned seat 3C. No other Aer Lingus A330 has seat 3C, so obviously Ethan found that strange.

Upon boarding, Ethan’s aunt sent him the following two pictures of the cabin interior:

The strange thing is that this looks almost identical to Aer Lingus’ old business class, so it’s interesting to see this reappear.

Based on doing some digging, it appears as if the registration code for this plane is EI-GEY, a 16 year old Airbus A330-200. The plane flew for Qatar Airways for a long time, was stored in March, and then started flying for Aer Lingus in May 2018. It looks like they just kept the same angled business class seats Qatar Airways had, except they changed the finishes from burgundy to green.

Based on looking at Flightradar24, this plane seems to exclusively operate the route between Dublin and Washington Dulles. The odd part is that the seatmap doesn’t reflect that for the coming days, so it sure seems like they’re just choosing to surprise (and not delight) people at check-in, which seems like a not great thing to do.

This seems to be related to the incident that an Aer Lingus A330 had at SFO about a week ago, which took the plane out of service. As a result, this plane has been operating US routes daily. Apparently the plane is expected to be retrofitted with the new business class seats this winter, which is the slow season for Aer Lingus (and most transatlantic airlines, for that matter).

In the meantime, getting the one A330 with angled seats would be a very unpleasant surprise, especially since they don’t seem to be updating seatmaps in advance. My hope is that they plan to reconfigure this, and for whatever reason just haven’t had the time to do so yet.

(Tip of the hat to Ethan)

Comments

  1. Hmmm…I thought the Qatar A330s were going to Meridiana/Air Italy, since when does Aer Lingus suddenly get one, especially since they are not partners? I realise that British Airways was getting some Qatar A330s, so would BA possibly have transferred this to Aer Lingus?

  2. @ Alex — This seems unrelated to Qatar leasing some A330s to BA, since this was a permanent transfer. I suspect it could be that Qatar was planning on retiring this plane anyway since it was quite old.

  3. @Alex only 5 Qatar A330s are going to Air Italy. Then, Air Italy will begin receiving their own 787s, and get rid of the A330s.

  4. Its the ex-QR frame and I’ve read it will be retrofitted in December. They didn’t have enough slack to do it before the summer season and needed to get it into the rotation ASAP.

  5. Talking about Qatar, you can all say goodbye to redemptions for the Qsuite.

    Today, they made their redemption almost 80% more expensive. Would you believe it?? (J between BKK and BOS) was 95K one-way. Now you need to add $100
    and that’s not all…. wait for it… It’s now an unbelievable 169K miles each way, a 77% increase.
    The flyer talk thread is very interesting

    Perhaps an idea for a new Post Lucky (on where to best credit future miles)

  6. Oohhhww those old Qatar 330’s are disgusting. Those seats are angled with a bump in the middle of it, putting you in an extremely unnatural position – unless you are making a porn video.
    Stay far away from those seats.

  7. I remember reading that air Lingus has one aircraft with inferior business class…I think on Andy schuman

  8. If it’s not a one-off emergency type change, it’s pretty rude not to inform customers ahead of time. False advertising?

  9. Oh no. I’m booked IAD-DUB on Aer Lingus in July. Gonna be very unhappy if I get stuck with this plane. Thanks for info. I have time to consider options.

  10. Things got messed around in EI’s schedule after EI146 had the collision in SFO that damaged the winglet so it’s getting used more than planned. This aircraft is getting the full refit during the winter, and will be operating typically as a spare aircraft three days a week and for some high-traffic European leisure routes during the busy summer.

  11. There’s a similar bad apple in the SAS A340 fleet (unless it’s gone in the last couple months).

    From a pax point of view I would alike to know of such a change, esp since it’s a downgrade, but I can see why airlines wouldn’t want to necessarily publicize that.

    T

  12. @ Elteerav
    If you have the flexibility to shift your travel by a day, and really want to avoid this aircraft you can check the inbound flight on Flightaware to ensure it’s not the aircraft in question, and if it is, move to the next day’s flight as given the length of the IAD-DUB sector it’s highly unlikely they’d use the same aircraft two days in a row.

    Harder to do on the way back, since there’s no outbound to verify against.

  13. @adi_T

    They have used this plane (EI-GEY) every single day on the IAD-DUB flight EI118 in the past 7 days, as well as the DUB-IAD flight EI119 in the reverse. It appears consistent on those two flights.

    The best way to avoid it is to avoid EI118/119 for the foreseeable future (until December, by the looks of things, to be safe…unless the plane starts being assigned a different route).

  14. Not sure how a 16 year old plane can be new?

    Headline makes it sound like it’s straight from the production line.

    Bad move from EI nonetheless.

  15. @Ben
    Those are not the old Aer Lingus J seats, but the Qatar ones–EI just reupholstered them in the green EI color scheme.

  16. I’m glad I found this post. I just bought two business class tickets on justfly.com for aer lingus business class on flights 118 & 119. I booked seats 2a & c on the inbound flight and 3h&k on the outbound. I couldn’t figure out why justlfy was allowing me to book seats that both aerlingus and seatguru insisted don’t exist. Now I have my answer. I think flt 119 must use the same old configuration as 118. I don’t dislike this setup as much as many, and only paid 6k for the two seats, so I’m not too bothered. I think they’re similar to Turkish’s biz class seat or United’s pre-Polaris biz class….

  17. I flew IAD-DUB on July 8 on this aircraft. It was much better than expected. Very slight angle to the seat in bed mode, but it did not prevent me from a good rest.

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