Aer Lingus was supposed to launch transatlantic flights out of Manchester as of July 2021. In June, the airline announced that these routes would be delayed until at least September. Now it has been announced that the routes will be delayed even further, with US routes scheduled to launch no earlier than December 2021.
This delay is due to international borders opening later than expected. Specifically, while the United Kingdom is now open to vaccinated Americans, the United States continues to remain closed to those from the United Kingdom. These routes seem highly targeted at leisure travelers from Manchester, so it’s no surprise to see a further delay.
Presumably even if these restrictions are lifted in the next few weeks, there will be a lag until demand for transatlantic travel fully returns.
Aer Lingus’ transatlantic Manchester routes
With the above update out of the way, let’s recap the revised details of this new Aer Lingus service. Aer Lingus will be launching transatlantic flights from Manchester to four destinations — Barbados, Boston, New York, and Orlando.
Aer Lingus’ Manchester to New York route
As of December 1, 2021, Aer Lingus will launch a daily, year-round nonstop flight between Manchester and New York. The route will be operated by an Airbus A321LR with the following schedule:
EI45 Manchester to New York JFK departing 12:05PM arriving 3:45PM
EI44 New York JFK to Manchester departing 6:25PM arriving 6:45AM (+1 day)
The 3,341 mile flight is blocked at 8hr40min westbound and 7hr20min eastbound.
Aer Lingus’ Manchester to Orlando route
As of December 11, 2021, Aer Lingus will launch a 4-5x weekly, year-round nonstop flight between Manchester and Orlando. The route will be operated by an Airbus A330 with the following schedule:
EI35 Manchester to Orlando departing 11:00AM arriving 3:50PM
EI34 Orlando to Manchester departing 6:50PM arriving 8:10AM (+1 day)
The 4,236 mile flight is blocked at 9hr50min westbound and 8hr20min eastbound.
Aer Lingus’ Manchester to Barbados route
As of October 20, 2021, Aer Lingus will launch a 2-3x weekly, seasonal nonstop flight between Manchester and Barbados. The route will be operated by an Airbus A330 with the following schedule:
EI31 Manchester to Barbados departing 10:15AM arriving 2:35PM
EI30 Barbados to Manchester departing 7:40PM arriving 9:20AM (+1 day)
The 4,163 mile flight is blocked at 9hr20min westbound and 8hr40min eastbound.
Aer Lingus’ Manchester to Boston route
Aer Lingus will be launching a flight between Manchester and Boston using an Airbus A321LR, though it will only launch in the summer of 2022. We don’t have any further information yet in terms of the schedule, frequencies, or whether the flight will be daily and/or year-round, so we’ll have to patiently wait for more details.
Redeeming miles on Aer Lingus flights
If you’re interested in redeeming rewards on Aer Lingus’ flights between the United States and United Kingdom, there is a fair bit of award availability.
The best way to redeem points for these flights is by booking through the British Airways Executive Club program, given that these flights don’t have hefty carrier imposed surcharges (though you can expect to pay the UK’s steep APD). You will have to book by phone, though. How much do these award flights cost?
- For Manchester to New York, one-way business class costs 42,500 Avios off-peak and 50,000 Avios peak
- For Manchester to Orlando or Barbados, one-way business class costs 50,000 Avios off-peak and 60,000 Avios peak
You can also redeem Alaska Mileage Plan and United MileagePlus miles for these flights, but personally I think redeeming Avios is the best value here.
What is Aer Lingus business class like?
Personally I quite like Aer Lingus’ inflight product — I’ve found employees to be friendly, and also like the seats and service.
Often there’s a significant difference in terms of the inflight product between a narrow body and a wide body. Fortunately that’s not the case at Aer Lingus.
Aer Lingus’ A330s feature staggered fully flat business class seats, which are quite comfy, especially for the (fairly) short flights we’re talking about. Read my review of Aer Lingus’ A330 business class here.
Aer Lingus’ A321LRs feature the same seats, and I find the plane to be one of the snazziest narrow bodies out there. Read my review of Aer Lingus’ A321LR business class here.
Why is Aer Lingus expanding out of Manchester?
It might seem random that Aer Lingus would launch transatlantic flights out of Manchester, but this has been in the works for a while, and it kind of makes sense:
- In September 2020, Aer Lingus revealed that it would cut transatlantic flights from Shannon, and that the airline was in discussions with six UK airports about the possibility of launching transatlantic flights (clearly the airline was looking for some sort of subsidies)
- Aer Lingus is now joining the oneworld transatlantic joint venture, which essentially means that the airline can coordinate fares and schedules with American, British Airways, Finnair, and Iberia
- Delta and Virgin Atlantic also have a big joint venture between the USA and Europe, and Virgin Atlantic has been growing its Manchester presence even pre-pandemic
- For whatever reason British Airways has steered clear of transatlantic flights from Manchester, so putting another IAG airline in the market could make sense
- Thomas Cook went out of business last year, though up until that point the airline had the most transatlantic capacity out of Manchester
- American has permanently canceled its Philadelphia to Manchester route, meaning there’s less oneworld transatlantic capacity in Manchester
Aer Lingus is launching a transatlantic base in Manchester, though later than initially planned. The airline plans to start flying to Barbados as of October 2021, to New York and Orlando as of December 2021, and to Boston as of the summer of 2022.
This service has been delayed by several months due to United States border restrictions still not having been lifted. This new service coincides with Aer Lingus joining the oneworld transatlantic joint venture, which means the airline will benefit from more pricing power and better connectivity.
Hopefully we learn more about what kind of elite and mileage reciprocity we can expect between Aer Lingus and other oneworld transatlantic joint venture airlines, like American. It should be possible to eventually earn and redeem American AAdvantage miles for these flights, and also to at least receive some elite perks, given the goal here (of creating as much metal neutrality as possible).
On the surface launching transatlantic leisure flights in December seems like a bad idea, but I guess Orlando could work pretty well, for Brits looking to escape the cold (assuming restrictions are lifted).
What do you make of Aer Lingus’ new Manchester transatlantic service?