Aer Lingus Launches Manchester Transatlantic Flights

Filed Under: Aer Lingus

Note: This is an update to a post from a few days ago to note that Aer Lingus has now loaded award seats for these flights. See the section below about awards for more details.

Aer Lingus has officially revealed its new transatlantic routes out of Manchester, which are now on sale. We’ve known for months that Aer Lingus planned to set up a transatlantic base at the airport, but the final routes aren’t exactly what we had expected.

Aer Lingus’ transatlantic Manchester routes

Aer Lingus will be launching transatlantic flights from Manchester to four destinations — Barbados, Boston, New York, and Orlando. There are a couple of surprises here, as the Barbados route wasn’t expected, and the Boston route will only launch in the summer of 2022.

Let’s go over the details of each of these routes. Let me first note that for the time being these flights are only bookable for those originating in the United Kingdom, and not those originating in the United States. That should change soon.

Aer Lingus’ Manchester to New York route

As of July 29, 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 3:25PM
EI44 New York JFK to Manchester departing 5:25PM arriving 5:50AM (+1 day)

The 3,341 mile flight is blocked at 8hr20min westbound and 7hr25min eastbound.

Aer Lingus’ Manchester to Orlando route

As of July 29, 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 3:45PM
EI34 Orlando to Manchester departing 7:00PM arriving 8:35AM (+1 day)

The 4,236 mile flight is blocked at 9hr45min westbound and 8hr35min 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 or year-round, so we’ll have to patiently wait for more details.

Aer Lingus flights have award availability

Overnight Aer Lingus seems to have loaded award seats on Manchester transatlantic flights. In addition to plenty of economy award seats, there are one to two business class award seats per flight. Business class award availability should align with the “U” fare bucket, which you can search on ExpertFlyer, for example.

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

In theory you can also redeem Alaska Mileage Plan and United MileagePlus miles for these flights, but these particular Manchester flights don’t yet seem to show on the airlines’ websites.

Redeem miles for Aer Lingus business class

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 has some snazzy A321LRs

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 A330 business class

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.

Aer Lingus A321LR business class

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 US 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 will be part of the oneworld transatlantic joint venture

Bottom line

Aer Lingus is launching a transatlantic base in Manchester. In the summer of 2021 the airline will start flying from Manchester to New York and Orlando, then in the fall the airline will start flying to Barbados, and then in the summer of 2022 the airline will start flying to Boston.

This coincides with Aer Lingus joining the oneworld transatlantic joint venture, which means the airline will benefit from more pricing power and better connectivity.

It’s exciting to see these flights finally on sale, given for how long we’ve been anticipating them. Hopefully soon 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).

I’m curious to see if this timeline actually sticks, based on current travel restrictions. Rumor has it that the US will lift its travel restrictions against the UK around mid-May, while it’s anyone’s guess when the UK will reduce or eliminate its quarantine requirement.

What do you make of Aer Lingus’ new Manchester transatlantic service?

Comments
  1. This is good news for those that use Manchester. Just waiting for EI to fully become part of the JV then AA miles will work. Any bets that there be something announced on 31 March when Alaska joins oneworld?

    Apparently the routes are currently non bookable for US outbound customers–I assume for some regulatory reason that will be resolved shortly.

    I don’t think the Barbados route announcement is such a surprise. I said in the comment thread in the previous article that I would not be surprised to see a Barbados or a Toronto launch.
    A lot of commentators were placing their expectations on the DOT route application, but that is only relevant for US routes. Given that EI was basing more planes than DOT routes at Manchester it was an indication that it wasn’t just looking to launch US routes. Barbados is a big holiday route for Virgin and Tui and was for the late Thomas Cook, so it was always a pretty high possibility that EI would fly the route.

  2. Won’t these flights be subject to the UK’s ridiculous Air Passenger Duty? And every one would be in Band B – which is steep. This will add up to $113 per cattle class discount seat, $248 for a standard economy or economy plus seat and a whopping $726(!) for business class. This tax is added to your fare.

    Given this, you would save a ton of money (even on award tickets) by flying these guys to Dublin and then taking a regional to MAN than using MAN as your gateway. Doesn’t make much sense to me – perhaps it’s targeting locals around MAN and the north. We’re making plans for a family trip to the UK early next year and there’s no way we’re using any UK airport as a gateway from the US. Looking at itineraries via CDG, AMS, and DUB to save a ton of money.

  3. Aer Lingus have been pushing connecting flights from Dublin to Barbados through Manchester today, via mail shot and on their Irish homepage.

    Also worth nothing that the tourism minister in Antigua says EI approached them about flights from Dublin and Manchester.

    Strange times were living in, in every way!

  4. I give these routes a low chance of success. MAN-US/US-MAN doesn’t seem to work really well , although the risk is much reduced with a smaller jet like the A321LR. Many of these have been tried before and have ultimately not worked. Demand to/from the UK will remain muted for the year, even with vaccination uptake on both sides. This is probably more about EI having less of an opportunity right now to use these jets from DUB and EI operating as the third runway for LHR, it makes some sense to look for alternatives, but the likelihood of successfully making MAN a lasting and profitable gateway for EI to the US is slim.

  5. Stogieguy7

    you have misunderstood the cabin rates of APD.

    That very high £ 541 / $745 rate only applies to private jet flights.

    The rates from April 2021 that would apply to these flights are

    Economy – £ 82 / $ 113 (this is for any seat in the economy cabin and being ‘ cattle class discount’ makes no difference as it’s the seat that matters not the fare paid)

    Premium economy / business / first – £ 180 / $ 246

    These aren’t added to the fare as they are included in the figures already when you book so it’s quite clear the total you have to pay.

    And given APD only applies to ex UK fares you can quite safely fly into the UK as a gateway for your Europe trip and then fly home direct from AMS or wherever and avoid it.

  6. @ChrisC: thanks for the clarification. I realize that I worded the part about being “added to the fare” incorrectly, as they are part of it. I read the APD rules from the government website and it sure looked like business/first was that massive tax, but I could be wrong. Adding $246 still isn’t chump change.

    And your wallet still takes a pretty hefty hit on any flight to/from Band B. I question the competitiveness of EI’s plan to grow MAN as an international focus city. There isn’t enough there to attract a lot of O and D traffic, and it lacks the high income of Greater London – who has enough people that shrug off the APD. For the average person needing to get from MAN or another city in that part of the UK to the USA, it’s a lot cheaper to grab a short flight to DUB and leave from there. In our case, we’re looking at taking a couple extra days on each end to fly in/out of, say CDG, and use rail from there to get to the UK for much of our trip. Should save a lot of money with 4 of us.

  7. A question for you Ben, but aren’t those flights in jeopardy if the UE and the UK don’t sign an open skies agreement at some point?

    After Brexit, the current situation of status quo is due to expire at some point, and a new agreement needs to be signed – no?

  8. The Boston flights will use the 321LR – it is in the press release on the EI site.

    You forgot to mention that US residents are banned from booking these flights because Aer Lingus UK does not have a licence. You can only ticket these flights ex-UK.

  9. As a regular Oneworld traveller from MAN this is great news.

    Flying AA55 MAN/ORD, on a 757/767 rust bucket, was a way of life for a couple of years and to have recently had no direct USA OW flights was kinda dinting my interest in OW.

    The Barbados flight might make for an interesting redemption one day!

  10. @Stogieguy7 I am not to sure how you would find flying into CDG any cheaper. The cost of the Eurostar is roughly £130 return per person return. Currently the cheapest EX US fares into the UK are with TAP where you can quite often pick up £220 return fares. The direct EI routes are to deter OW members from flying VS/DL who offer multiple frequencies without having to transit London. If your after cheap look at TAP.

  11. @AirlineInsider91: You make a very good point; however, this particular UK trip is about visiting my wife’s relatives and we would like to take some time in another country (like France) as part of this. So it actually works pretty well. But I will say that trying to fly business class using points is an exercise in frustration (especially on BA). So, relatively close-by destinations on the continent are being considered.

    Also, as much as I want to do Eurostar, if it’s too pricey we might consider an EasyJet flight instead. We have to go up north anyhow, so that may make sense. But really, wouldn’t a cheap fare on EI to DUB, followed by a Ryanair connection from DUB -> UK be the cheapest option if you’re not planning on a side trip?

  12. Great news, a shot in the arm (forgive the pun) for those of us based north of London . I was a regular on the MAN -JFK BA 767 for many years which was always busy. I too like Aer Lingus staff and product. Add in Qatar, Finnair and Cathay from MAN to the OW offer makes the zoo that is LHR transit redundant. Hope it does well.

  13. Can anyone assist? I logged onto Avios.com to try and find availability in bus class JFK – MAN -JFK in September and all that is offered is economy seating – bus class not available on any date I tried? It’s blocked, per Lucky, at 3341 miles – anyone know how many Avios a bus class trip requires?

  14. I’m pretty excited about this (family 90 mins away). I could see myself flying regularly in/out of here as the departure time to JFK also allows a reasonable same-day wake-up time.

  15. I can’t see any direct EI reward flights from MAN on Avios.com (Aer Lingus’s booking portal). it only shows connections in Dublin.

    @Englishder – were you seeing direct flights to JFK on Avios.com? If you’re looking at connection flights in DUB it won’t show you business class redemption options are there is no business class on the MAN-DUB section. But if you search the legs separately it will show business seats from DUB-JFK

  16. Just out of interest, because there is no US pre-clearance in MAN, will the EI flight from there arriving into JFK need to use a different terminal?

    Also, didn’t EI try MAD-IAD a few years ago? Don’t recall it lasting long at all.

  17. When searching on US site on Aer Lingus JFK-MAN I see no direct flights (e.g. 8/1 to 8/31). Reversing it I get this error:

    “Flights operated by Aer Lingus (U.K.) Limited from Manchester to the United States are for United Kingdom originating traffic only. Sales are not available to persons in the United States. All flights subject to government approval.”

    I can see the flights if I change location to UK, but only for MAN-JFK, not JFK-MAN.

  18. Apparently “the carrier is not yet licensed by the CAA”, US originating ticket sales should come soon I suppose. But, presumably this will stop anyone booking with Avios from the US too for now.

  19. @Declan – I was looking on the Aer Lingus site for these flights, not on Avios. The answer to why this cannot be booked was seemingly answered in another post – originating in JFK is not bookable yet [for cash or miles] due to licensing, per Anthony Thomas.

    With a 3341 blocked mileage I would think the Aer Lingus bus class mileage redemption rate would be pretty good? Anyone with good knowledge of Aer Lingus know what that might be?

    P.S. – also some pretty good bus class fares on Iberia from ORD – MAD, both miles and paid.

  20. @Englishder: I’m confused. You specifically stated that ” you logged onto Avios.com to try and find availability in bus class”

    Lucky has answered your question about what the mileage redemption rate is in this article:
    “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”

  21. @Declan – My bad. This was last week and I guess I did not read fully about redemption rates. I was on both sites at that time.

  22. Which terminal are they flying into in JFK for example? Because there is no pre-clearance in Manchester, wouldn’t this pose a problem?

  23. Tom – EI uses T5 at JFK which handles other international arrivals so it’s just a case of which gate they use and closing the wrong doors and opening the right doors to filter passengers to CBP.

    It’s not an insurmountable issue.

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