Review: Aer Lingus Economy 757 Washington To Dublin

Filed Under: Aer Lingus, Airline Reviews

I flew to Ireland recently to go to Neil Diamond concerts with my mom (am I a good son or what!?). Aer Lingus was the best deal using points (more on that a little later), and has a convenient nonstop from my home airport.

Some Aer Lingus medium-haul flights, including the Washington-Dulles to Dublin route, are actually operated by ASL Airlines Ireland. ASL wet leases 4 Boeing 757-200 aircraft to Aer Lingus (meaning they provide them not just with the airplane but with the crews, maintenance, and insurance as well). So this report actually covers a flight operated by a contractor on Aer Lingus’ behalf.

Booking

I paid for this trip using Avios. Amazingly, a one-way flight in Economy from Washington to Dublin is only 13,000 Avios – a really great deal (and no fuel surcharges!).

I transferred them from my Chase account to British Airways, which is instantaneous, but could have also have also moved them from American Express. I had to call BA to confirm award space and make the booking, which was easy.

Check-In

Aer Lingus charges for seat selection prior to check-in.

At check-in, the only seats it would let me select for free were middle seats, so I paid $45 for a “Choice Seat,” which lets you board earlier and choose a seat toward the front of the plane. I selected 6A for myself.

$45 to avoid a middle seat on a 7-hour flight? Sold.

The Flight

Boarding was through the forward left door, meaning I got to walk through the business class cabin and see what I was missing.

I was surprised that they have fully-flat seats in a staggered configuration, very similar to the new product Aer Lingus offers on their A330s.

Aer Lingus (ASL Airlines Ireland) 757-200 at Washington-Dulles
Boarding gate for Aer Lingus at Washington-Dulles

Aer Lingus 757-200 business class cabin

A couple rows behind business class, I found my seat. I was just in front of the second set of doors.

I was hoping this would feel like a mini cabin (some of Delta’s domestic 757s have a set of Comfort+ seats in this area that feel like they’re in their own little section), but there’s no bulkhead behind these seats, so it feels like one big cabin.

Aer Lingus 757-200 Choice Seat
Aer Lingus 757 economy class (view from seat 6A looking back)

Seatguru actually recommends avoiding seat 6A on this aircraft, claiming it is “missing a window” and has limited recline.

I found the recline to be fine (though might have been slightly limited), but the seat isn’t missing a window. The window is a little farther forward than it is at most seats, but you can still look out of it.

Waiting at my seat were a pillow, blanket, and earphones. Each seat has a personal TV with a USB charger.

Personal TVs

The seats themselves had adequate padding and felt reasonably comfortable. Leg room seemed about average.

Leg room

Flight attendants actually distributed menus. I was pretty impressed with that. I also liked the little schedule at the bottom of the menu, showing the sequence of service.

Aer Lingus economy class menu IAD-DUB

These meals are complimentary. Aer Lingus also lets you pre-order premium meals online for a fee, though I didn’t take advantage of that.

Meal service was done quickly, which I appreciate on a relatively short flight.

I ordered the beef stroganoff. Everything was served on a single tray in plastic packaging. It came with a roll, and with a small salad-like thing with tomato, mozzarella, and pesto. It all tasted pretty good, though the dessert was a key lime pie, which I don’t really like.

Aer Lingus economy class meal IAD-DUB
Beef stroganoff

The crew was really friendly from start to finish. The Irish are known for their warm hospitality, and I think this crew was a perfect example.

As a passenger, you generally wouldn’t know that this flight was operated for Aer Lingus by another company. The uniforms were all Aer Lingus, and the branding of the food, entertainment systems, interior color scheme, etc. was all the same as you’d find on a regular Aer Lingus flight.

The movie and TV selection was pretty extensive. I watched The Big Sick, which was funny and enjoyable.

Airshow

I slept for about two hours on the flight, including through the breakfast service. So I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of it. It was a cold boxed breakfast with a muffin, so you’re not missing much.

We landed in Dublin around 5:00 am (midnight on the East Coast of the U.S.) and had a 3-minute taxi to the gate. We deplaned through the door immediately behind me, which meant I was among the first people off the aircraft.

Approaching Dublin

Bottom line

Overall this was a really pleasant journey, especially considering the price.

I know some people don’t like transatlantic flights on narrowbody aircraft, but they don’t bother me. I can think of worse ways to spend 7 hours (my last visit to the DMV comes to mind).

Have you flown Aer Lingus economy? How was it?

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Comments
  1. For what it’s worth, ASL Airlines provides the flight crew, but the cabin crew are regular Aer Lingus staff, so the service should be the same as any other Aer Lingus longhaul flight.

  2. seat selection on avios awards is free…..but if you leave it late all the seats might already be gone except for the paid Choice Seats

  3. I’ve done this flight several times, always in economy. I guess it’s OK for a transatlantic flight in coach, but I really hate this flight because of the timing. Arriving at midnight ET basically ensures that I won’t be able to sleep at all, and the 5am arrival time is pretty awkward as far as hotel check-in, etc. It’s also kind of annoying that Aer Lingus doesn’t provide free wine/beer, which most other airlines do on transatlantic flights.

  4. Why is Lily O’Brien’s dessert only available on flights out of Toronto? Is she Canadian? Would it be worth routing through YYZ? 😉

  5. You wrote: “The Irish are known for their warm hospitality”.

    National stereotyping can sometimes be gentle fun, but I’m not sure half a century of terrorism (much of it against each other) is my idea of “warm hospitality”.

    But thanks for the trip report – I always enjoy your writing.

  6. I like those Irish culinary specialties that you had to choose from:

    Chicken curry or Beef Stroganoff 😉

  7. ” I had to call BA to confirm award space and make the booking, which was easy.”

    Oh Really? Everytime I try to call BA to book partner awards my call is either a) dropped immediately because the wait is so long they cannot possibly put another caller in the que or b) I have to wait for 45 minutes.

    When I am lucky and do actually get the privilege of waiting, I get to speak to a BA representative. And even though I have the name, DOB, mother’s maiden name, blood type and body measurements of everyone of the passengers I am booking for saved to my BA family account, we have to go over everything again. And we can’t simply confirm by speaking each persons stats, literally have to spell it letter by letter.

    And when we are finally done, they inevitably tell me I have to pay a telephone booking fee. At that point I tell them I would have booked online if it was possible, and I would have paid a fee to book online to save the last 90 minutes of my life. But alas, I will not be paying a telephone booking fee so please speak to your supervisor. Eventually supervisor backs down from the telephone booking fee.

    So now, I ask if I can get the confirmation code for the partner airline. And this is where BA customer service really shines, because about half of them can easily do this, while the other half tells me unfortunately its not possible.

    I would take a trip to the DMV or dentist over calling BA partner awards any day.

  8. Did you first search award space on United? Or how did you find it before calling? I gather you think the business class was pretty decent and worth it if I’m sitting on a stash of avios? Glad to see this review, I had wondered about the ASL.

  9. I’m glad someone on this site is reviewing long haul economy, not all of us can afford business or first. It also sucks you had to walk through business, but it must suck more for them to have ~200 economy people walk through the cabin lol

    aer lingus has used flat bed business on their 757s for a while now, so not sure why you were surprised lol

  10. “National stereotyping can sometimes be gentle fun, but I’m not sure half a century of terrorism (much of it against each other) is my idea of “warm hospitality”.”

    Speaking of national stereotyping…

  11. The worst flight I’ve ever had in my life was on Aer Lingus economy, back in the 1990s.

    100% sold-out flight. We board and my seat’s in the middle of an x-5-x configuration. If that’s not bad enough, the seat’s absolutely soaked from water dripping from the ceiling of the the plane. There was nowhere else for me to sit, as even the flight attendant & jump seats were full (this was back when you could do such a thing). The FAs themselves were lovely and did what they could, wrapping the cushion with several layers of blankets and taping a trash bag to the service panel to divert water away from my head.

    So, as is typical, we backed up from the gate, got in the taxi queue at JFK…and had an indefinite ground hold due to weather. It ended up being 2+ hours. No big deal, the FAs did a cocktail service and started showing a movie on the screen. Some of the overhead lights started flickering…then the engine died and the aircraft lost power. They did manage to get the aircraft restarted and did fly the flight when the weather cleared. I was none too enthused about flying over the Atlantic in that POS. I’m sure such things wouldn’t be tolerated today, but somehow we made it in one piece.

    @The nice Paul: I’m assuming you’re American… take a look at your own country first, mate.

  12. Its nice to see a review of an economy flight for a change. 🙂 As far as narrow body flights across the Atlantic go, have to say, I much prefer a widebody. I’ve got lots of time on the American ORD-MAN and JFK-MAN routes which are serviced by 757s (depending on time of year). Hands down, the 767 (and more recently 787) service is a MUCH more comfortable ride. The crews seem to prefer the larger jets as well, if their attitudes are anything to go by. Might just be AA, though.

  13. That business class looks a lot like JetBlue Mint, just without doors on the “thrones”. I previously thought that it was a proprietary product but a quick search revealed that those seats are made by Thompson, who are one of the biggest manufacturers out there. Why haven’t more airlines adopted this seat for their narrow-bodies?

  14. Great plane the 757. Shame they’re not around anymore. Used to be made of solid steel. Trustworthy unlike these titanium things you get now. RIP 757. Gone but not forgotten.

  15. @Aaron Tan- Why do you say the 757 is “gone.” I fly on these POS all the time on United from SFO to MCO..when they aren’t delayed due to “mechanical.”

  16. Good review, however I agree with @AlexS regarding EI economy – I had a nightmare JFK-DUB flight recently…the seats are awful: narrow and cramped (similar to UA economy seats on the old 747 longhaul routes): my knees were crunched into the seat in front of me (I’m 6′ ), and that meal was tough to manage working on a tray table that was small, with the plastic meal tray sliding all over the place. The friendly Irish crew was a plus…

    @Thomas: I had no issues getting thru to BA on the phone recently and getting assistance with using Avios to book a Cathay Pacific flight. I did reach them right when they opened at 6 or 7am GMT.

  17. @The nice Paul, Perhaps you’re mixing up Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland? While we are on national stereotypes shall I start on the various stereotypes associated with Americans? I mean you guys do have a habit of invading other countries and starting wars.

  18. @The nice Paul for the most part the Republic has been peaceful since the foundation of the state. Google is your friend.

  19. Since when has Northern Ireland not been part of the island of Ireland? Let alone, culturally, part of “Ireland”?

    And are Northern Irish people somehow not Irish?? That would be an outrageously inflammatory assertion.

    Until the British started interfering, Ireland was a single polity (albeit often divided into separate kingdoms).

    When the British took over, the whole island continued to be treated by them as a single political entity (British monarchs were bosses of “the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland” (sic)).

    After the Uprising and civil war, the politically expedient solution of partition was created; the RoI and NI sharing the same island. No one in their right mind* imagines that, one day, these two will not be reunited.

    So if you want to argue that NI is not a part of Ireland, I’d suggest history is against you, and among others you’re sharing political ideals with an extraordinarily dodgy group of hard-right, homophobic, Creationist nut-jobs.

    Ireland isn’t all craic, Oirish charm and leprechauns. It’s a complicated, mostly beautiful, actually rather wonderful place. Not a Disney caricature.

    * I would suggest that the ultra right-wing Ulster “loyalists” are mostly not in their right minds.

  20. All my experiences on Aer Lingus have been HORRIBLE. Crew ranging from unhelpful/pretending they don’t work there to downright nasty. I watched attendants go out of their way NOT to help a couple with a baby. I’ve been delayed for hours with no explanation and not so much of the offer of a glass of water. The gate people in Dublin act like they’ve been sentenced to the job not hired to help passengers. I now take WOW. What a difference!

  21. @The nice Paul

    I was referring to your assertion that “half a century of terrorism (much of it against each other) is my idea of “warm hospitality”.”. Simply put, for the most part that was in Northern Ireland so I wanted to clarify that.
    Anyone I’ve encountered in Northern Ireland has been warm and friendly, given that I’m from the republic and that if anyone was going to experience a hostile reception it would be someone from the south, I find your comments ill-informed.

    My point however is that you called out national stereotyping then proceeded to stereotype and entire island of people based on events in the past which happened (for the most part) in a particular part of the island committed by terrorists on both sides.

    Also I never said they weren’t Irish. I don’t need a history lesson on Anglo-Irish history, I was born and raised here, I’m fully aware of it. Take a Xanax and chill.

  22. @The nice Paul

    Anyway, on that note I wont argue with you anymore. I’m too busy being warm and welcoming and don’t want a bitter person to bring me down to their level.

    xxx

  23. @ Kevin

    Thanks for the good wishes!

    I’ve also mostly experienced only happy welcomes in both RoI and NI. but that should not delude us into thinking Ireland is some sort of Paradaisical fantasy land consisting entirely of happy, smiley people. My point was not that everyone was a terrorist (ie, replacing one deluded national stereotype with another); but that there were undoubtedly vicious terrorists living alongside lovely warm people.

    Incidentally, fascinating that you felt the need to point out that the terrorists were on both sides. I rather felt that went without saying. The only thing they had in common was that all of them were Irish.

    It’s a complicated country. Like most. And not accurately reducible to a single Blarney stereotype.

  24. Interesting, I’ve taken this flight in Business Class, and although we boarded through the same door, we boarded such that economy passengers went right and business left.

  25. I looked at your photo of leg room and though that it looked like 35″ pitch. Checked seatguru and it listed 31″. My legs always touch the seat in front at 31″ so it looks like you have very short legs or seatguru is inaccurate.

    That meal looked very interesting – nice touch. Better than fried tofu.

  26. Flew Aer Lingus A330 from EWR to DUB round trip in June and didn’t think it was bad (for economy)… good food, good crew, wifi, entertainment. I had no complaints!

  27. Paying $45 for a seat assignment was a waste of money. Book via a third party OTA, pick your seat there for free. It’ll pop up as saved in your record locator number. Then pick up the phone when you have a moment, call Aer Lingus, and just “double check” the reservation made it through. Ask about the seats. For me? They’ve always been booked from what I selected on the OTA. No Charge.

  28. We book Biz on long haul as my wife has Lyme and needs to lie down. If she can’t, after 2 hr she is in such pain (it is nerve pain) she will be up for several nights crying and it is crying with no tears. I don’t mind people going through biz class, I have flown around 3 million miles as a pilot, mechanic and for pleasure. Lufthansa and Singapore stand out as just about the perfect airlines I have flown on. UAL has gone from a top to a bottom feeder, AAL too. Food in Biz is usually good except on COPA whose seats are just recliners, not beds. I flew Eco on Ual last year from Dallas to IAD and at 6 ft and 215 lb I don’t fit a Eco seat. My legs hit the metal on the seat in front of me, the seat wasn’t wide enough, and my knees hit the tray. To make it better, UAL had a 1 hr delay to put on more fuel and wait for T storms ove La then we got in a hold pattern for IAD. Never again. We are taking Aer Lingus to Dublin Biz class From IAD. Hoe it.s fun.

  29. Hi…great report. Am flying next week on the 757 from Shannon. Have booked row 5 just in front of where you sat… how was the legroom on the bulkheads? Traveling with 9 yr old he likes the window so I am in the middle. Figured 5B was the best middle option on the flight.

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