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
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?