Aer Lingus Introducing Flat Bed Business Class On Some Shorthaul Flights

While Aer Lingus offers a solid business class product on their longhaul flights, the airline doesn’t offer business class on their intra-Europe flights (they axed it in 2002). For a few years there have been rumors of Aer Lingus introducing business class on shorthaul flights, though it hasn’t happened.

In a way that’s a bit surprising, when you consider that business class on intra-Europe flights is simply economy with a blocked middle seat and better service, so it’s not like it’s that costly to offer. This has led me to believe that Aer Lingus simply doesn’t think there’s a market for it.


Lufthansa’s intra-Europe business class

Well, The Irish Times is reporting that Aer Lingus will be introducing business class on select flights within Europe, but it’s not what you think.

The introduction of business class will be tied to Aer Lingus taking delivery of the A321LR next year, which they plan to use for transatlantic flights. These planes will feature 186 seats, including 16 business class seats and 170 economy seats.

At the moment Aer Lingus has a lot of room in their schedule, given that planes operating transatlantic flights typically have a lot of time on the ground in Dublin. They typically land early in the morning and depart in the afternoons.

So the plan is to operate some of these planes to key gateways within Europe, so that customers can have consistent seats throughout their journey.

As explained by Aer Lingus’ CEO:

“We will have 15 aircraft arriving before 5am across the Atlantic. At the moment, passengers getting a business class experience across the Atlantic transfer on to an economy aircraft

When we have the LRs going on into Europe, they will now have a business cabin with full lie-flat seat. So they’ll get consistent service from all of the gateways in North America to the principal gateways in Europe.

We expect there to be a lot of demand. The service will be available on a number of flights out of Dublin, including to London, Paris, Amsterdam and Barcelona, which are among the most popular onward destinations for American travellers.”


Business class is coming to intra-Europe Aer Lingus flights

The plan is for this to be introduced in the third quarter of 2019. Their first A321LR arrives in June and the second in August, and the plan is for eight of the 14 aircraft to eventually operate flights within Europe.

Aer Lingus says that they don’t intend to introduce new catering in business class. Rather they intend to offer their existing buy on board food in business class on a complimentary basis.

Bottom line

I’m surprised it has taken Aer Lingus so long to do this. I’m not just referring to introducing business class on shorthaul flights, but rather I’m referring to utilizing their aircraft better. So many of their planes have so much downtime in Dublin, so it seems like such a missed opportunity.

While a flat bed is hardly necessary on a short flight within Europe, just having more personal space than the 30″ of pitch offered in business class on some airlines will be really nice.

I really think this could be a game-changer for Aer Lingus. I know a lot of people avoid Aer Lingus on transatlantic journeys due to the lack of business class on a connection. With this change, Aer Lingus is going from offering no business class to offering just about the best business class within Europe, at least on select routes.

What do you make of Aer Lingus introducing business class within Europe?

Comments

  1. During the summer months Aer Lingus already operate 330s to faro and Malaga between transatlantic flights. They have been doing this for a few years

  2. “While a flat bed is hardly necessary on a short flight within Europe”

    I’m not sure I agree for Aer Lingus. For flights arriving around 5am the flights likely depart at times that don’t make it too easy to sleep on an already short flight (e.g. NYC departure of 6PM, with a 6 hour duration). You can squeeze another hour sleep on the connection.

  3. As Niall said, they’ve had great success with doing this with A330s on the high traffic sun holiday routes in the summer. It makes logical sense to use the A321LR for this too. My experience is that LHR, LGW, and other UK traffic on EI is primarily Irish & British passengers, so the demand might not be huge. However, my wife and I were on a morning flight from DUB-FCO a couple of years ago where probably 85% of the passengers were connections from US or Canadian flights, so this would be a huge advantage for them, especially if they deploy any on the 2.5 hour + European flights.

    EI has my favorite shorthaul Y service and soft product in the world, so I am so glad to hear of these shorthaul J improvements!

    It is also great that some of the Irish government and union concerns about IAG’s takeover of EI have been listened to. At a time when IAG is putting most of BA’s products down the toilet, EI continues to improve!

    @vlcnc EI has incredible quality shorthaul buy onboard catering in Y, better than what you get in F on any domestic US carrier flight.

  4. Great news! I expect Aer Lingus to do very well with this.

    @Anthony Thomas – Do you agree or not? LOL. Anyway, Its not about offering a flatbed so people can sleep ;-). It offers a seamless cabin experience overall room – much more comfortable seat over a standard Y bench.

    Also if you’ve ever arrived somewhere overnight on a short JFK-BRU or DOH-BKK flight for example, and then had to make a connecting flight…sometimes you are still a bit sleepy and a flat bed would be welcomed.

    Its no different than AA using 76 and 75s on 2.5 JFK-MIA, a flatbed is not needed, but its there if required. Aircraft utilization is key!

  5. Am example for other European carriers on what to do for connections in Business.
    I agree that catering is unimportant on such short flights – just avoid annoying people by charging them.

  6. “eight of the 14 ”
    I know this is what journalism schools teach, in order to use words unless numbers are large (defined arbitrarily as over ten) , but I suggest that it should be subject to the override: “all numbers in a given phrase should be in the same format: digits or text”.
    So “8 of 14” or “eight of fourteen”.

  7. Great move, finally an airline offering a consistent experience in premimum cabins.
    The only other airline at least planning this is SQ, so Are Lingus is in great company!

  8. Bagoly – it’s not really an example for anyone else as none of them, to my knowledge, have a fleet of long haul configured planes sitting around doing nothing all day.

  9. Despite my usual rule that non-stop flights take precedence over flights with transfers, I might be tempted by this now – only because of US pre-clearance in Ireland. And J class throughout means I could now get away with a decent-sized carryon for the whole journey (hold baggage is a definite no-no for me).

  10. Correction: They mostly axed European Business Class in 2002. It was retained on select key routes like LHR, CDG, AMS, FRA until 2005.

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