Aer Lingus announced this week that they’ll be launching service to San Francisco and Toronto — their fifth and sixth North American destinations — next April.
The San Francisco service will launch April 2, 2014, and will operate 5x weekly with the following schedule initially:
EI147 Dublin to San Francisco 12:20PM-3:20PM
EI146 San Francisco to Dublin 5:20PM-11:35AM (+1 day)
Meanwhile the Toronto service will launch April 21, 2014, and will operate daily with the following schedule initially:
EI129 Dublin to Toronto 2:00PM-4:20PM
EI128 Toronto to Dublin 5:50PM-5:20AM (+1 day)
While the San Francisco service will be operated by an Airbus A330, the Toronto service will be operated by a wet leased 757-200. Aer Lingus is wet leasing a total of three 757-200s, the other two of which will be operating the routes between Shannon and New York/Boston. They’ll each have 12 business class seats, though I’m not sure of the configuration.
Anyway, both of these new routes are really exciting news since they’re a great use of British Airways Avios. British Airways imposes fuel surcharges on a majority of their partner airlines, though Aer Lingus has among the lowest fuel surcharges in the industry, so for a roundtrip transatlantic ticket in business class you’re only paying about $150 or so in taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges.
If booking using British Airways Avios, the service between Dublin and San Francisco will cost 25,000 Avios in coach or 50,000 Avios in business class one-way, while the service between Dublin and Toronto will cost 20,000 Avios in coach or 40,000 Avios in business class one-way. Given that American Express Membership Rewards frequently has transfer bonuses to British Airways, that can be quite a steal.
The best British Airways Avios redemption remains for travel on Aer Lingus between Boston and Dublin. That’s because British Airways has a distance based award chart, and Boston to Dublin is just under 3,000 miles one-way, making it just 12,500 Avios in coach or 25,000 Avios in business class. For more details on booking Aer Lingus awards using British Airways Avios see this post.
(Tip of the hat to Mac)