Wow: Aer Lingus Launching Cleveland Flights In 2023

Wow: Aer Lingus Launching Cleveland Flights In 2023

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Aer Lingus is launching a transatlantic flight that most people probably didn’t see coming.

Aer Lingus launching Dublin to Cleveland route

As of May 21, 2023, Aer Lingus will be launching a new route between Dublin (DUB) and Cleveland (CLE). The 4x weekly flight will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, with the following schedule:

EI87 Dublin to Cleveland departing 3:30PM arriving 6:50PM
EI86 Cleveland to Dublin departing 8:20PM arriving 8:50AM (+1 day)

The 3,466-mile flight is blocked at 8hr20min westbound and 7hr30min eastbound. Aer Lingus will use an Airbus A321LR for the flight, featuring 184 seats. This includes 16 business class seats and 168 economy class seats. Read my review of Aer Lingus’ A321LR business class.

The new flight is already bookable. There’s even business class award space (generally two seats per flight), bookable with Alaska Mileage Plan, British Airways Executive Club, etc.

When it launches, this will be Cleveland’s only transatlantic flight. Cleveland’s last transatlantic service was on Icelandair and WOW Air, as the two Icelandic carriers announced flights to Cleveland in 2017 (right around the same time). Both airlines pulled out in 2018, citing weaker than expected demand.

Aer Lingus Airbus A321LR business class

Why is Aer Lingus launching Cleveland flights?

What’s Aer Lingus’ motive for launching Cleveland flights? After all, the airline cut some routes during the pandemic that still haven’t relaunched (including Hartford, Minneapolis, and Montreal), so why now start service to a new city altogether?

The answer is subsidies. Aer Lingus will be getting millions of dollars in contributions for launching this route. Among other things, Aer Lingus will be getting a $600,000 UDAG grant over a three year period for maintaining this service. On top of that, Jobs Ohio will assist with additional funding and the City, County, GCP, Team NEO, and Destination Cleveland, will combine for $2.4 million in funding.

Of course good air service can be great for local economies, though more often than not this doesn’t seem to work out the way governments hope. Subsidized service usually lasts for as long as the incentives are in place, and then the route gets canceled once that’s over.

Roughly 9% of the population in Cleveland is of Irish ancestry, so that should help a bit with this route. However, in and of itself that’s probably not enough to sustain this route.

Interestingly back in 2019, a billboard popped up in Cleveland welcoming Aer Lingus to the city, even though at the time the airline hadn’t announced such service. I’m not sure if someone just jumped the gun there, or what happened. Regardless, it’s cool to see this become a reality a few years later.

Aer Lingus is receiving significant support for this route

Bottom line

Aer Lingus will be launching a new route between Dublin and Cleveland as of May 2023. The service will operate 4x weekly with an Airbus A321LR. This is a unique route that many travelers will no doubt appreciate, and it’s ultimately made possible by millions of dollars in support from the local community.

What do you make of Aer Lingus’ new Dublin to Cleveland route?

Conversations (39)
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  1. Rick Guest

    Have flown 4 times on Aer Lingus A320 Airbus from Chicago to Dublin and back....to Vacation in Ireland.....each flight was great! Round trips the last 2 weeks of May...the most I've spent including upgraded bulkhead seats has been $1800.00 for 2....returning in 2024.. and I expect to pay more given the economy.....but I love flying Aer Lingus and highly recommend them...I am surprised that the flight time is the same from Cleveland as from Chicago...

    Have flown 4 times on Aer Lingus A320 Airbus from Chicago to Dublin and back....to Vacation in Ireland.....each flight was great! Round trips the last 2 weeks of May...the most I've spent including upgraded bulkhead seats has been $1800.00 for 2....returning in 2024.. and I expect to pay more given the economy.....but I love flying Aer Lingus and highly recommend them...I am surprised that the flight time is the same from Cleveland as from Chicago 7hr 30min....living between Cleveland and Columbus OH. Drive to Chicago each time.

  2. Eric Guest

    7.5 hrs. EB, 8.5 hrs. WB. Wouldn’t want to fly that long on a Narrow bod.

  3. AnnoyedinIrish Guest

    Not being funny but how is this going to be appreciated?

    Ireland needs routes to anywhere EXCEPT the USA.

  4. Steven Guest

    "Subsidized service usually lasts for as long as the incentives are in place, and then the route gets canceled once that’s over."

    ...and now you know why the BDL route hasn't (yet) been restored.

    1. Rick Guest

      Have flown 4 times on Aer Lingus A330 Airbus from Chicago to Dublin and back....to Vacation in Ireland.....each flight was great! Round trips the last 2 weeks of May...the most I've spent including upgraded bulkhead seats has been $1800.00 for 2....returning in 2024.. and I expect to pay more given the economy.....but I love flying Aer Lingus and highly recommend them...I am surprised that the flight time is the same from Cleveland as from Chicago...

      Have flown 4 times on Aer Lingus A330 Airbus from Chicago to Dublin and back....to Vacation in Ireland.....each flight was great! Round trips the last 2 weeks of May...the most I've spent including upgraded bulkhead seats has been $1800.00 for 2....returning in 2024.. and I expect to pay more given the economy.....but I love flying Aer Lingus and highly recommend them...I am surprised that the flight time is the same from Cleveland as from Chicago 7hr 30min....living between Cleveland and Columbus OH. Drive to Chicago each time.

  5. John Juergens Guest

    Not sure why they’d even choose a failed hub. The incentive money must be a lot.

  6. ZachAir Guest

    It could be a signal to JetBlue opening a Midwest hub/focus city in Cleveland:
    -Spirit flies to 10-12 locations from Cleveland
    -JetBlue lacks any Midwest hubs
    -JetBlue and Aer Lingus have a codeshare agreement
    -Terminal D remains idle and could be primed for development as a hub terminal
    I'm not saying it's a for sure thing, but it could lead to Cleveland developing a true hub for the first time since the Continental days

    1. John Guest

      That would be great as an avgeek Clevelander

  7. Brianair Guest

    I sure hope this route sticks after Cleveland lost its flights to Iceland. Dublin is great for connections to mainland Europe and the US Pre-clearance Facility definitely helps.

    Do you think Europeans like to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Do you think Americans like to visit the Guinness Storehouse?

    2. AnnoyedinIrish Guest

      No, we don't.

  8. The nice Paul Guest

    Isn’t Cleveland where Buffy went, after shutting down the hellmouth in Sunnydale? Not sure I’d want to go to somewhere with such a vampire/ demon problem.

  9. Robert Fahr Guest

    Two years from the launch this service will end. Take the money and run Aer Lingus.

    1. John Juergens Guest

      That’s what they did in MSP. They got some subsidies and 85% load factors. Then the COVID came and that was it.

  10. ST Guest

    Great news for the city of Cleveland & Ohio. I will use Aer Lingus gladly to bypass the mayhem of the east coast weather & traffic delays, & connect on them to Athens Greece. Thank you to the people that made this happen! ☘️

  11. Hoosier in Paradise New Member

    So, the only transatlantic flights in three states (IN,KY,OH) will be CLE-DUB on Aer Lingus and CVG-CDG on Delta?

  12. Janet Guest

    Anyone looking for comfort and service can skip Aer Lingus. This month I flew Boston to Dublin, and Shannon to Bos. Business was $4000 more than economy, not worth it to me for a 6 hour flight. Service was virtually non existent, and the IFE was broken.

    1. John A Guest

      Not surprised about your poor onboard experience. But given the plethora of bad and average reviews, I would have thought that regular fliers would have known what to expect, and either (a.) avoid Aer Lingus or (b.) temper their expectations accordingly.

  13. Ante Guest

    Perfect !! I can take this flight to Dublin, then get a connecting flight to Croatia

  14. Ed Guest

    Customs pre clearance in Dublin. No more customs clearance in Cleveland. A major advantage!

  15. Moondog Guest

    As pointed out, once the subsidies end, so will the route. The Winter schedule will be tough for this route. Maybe the local companies can guarantee a certain amount of seats.

    1. Rick N. Guest

      Its only 148 seats. These can easily be filled. I was surprised it was only 4x weekly. It will be daily for sure in 2024.

  16. SH Guest

    Cleveland is a great city and CLE really needs to start advertizing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to Ireland along with the opportunity to see some basketball, baseball, and football. Lots of good things to see in CLE for a long weekend.

    1. shoeguy Guest

      Cleveland has a phenomenal art museum, a world class orchestra, and top rated medical facilities. There is indeed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but it is not a tourist destination. This route capitalizes on the catchment area, which includes a big chunk of Northeast Ohio, Akron/Canton, and areas surrounding Toledo too, though that is also close to DTW.

    2. ChurnieEls Guest

      Nice as Cleveland might be for a domestic weekend trip, there will be little to no DUB origin traffic on this route imo.

    3. Eskimo Guest

      Cleveland is a great city.
      You have rich developers building a football stadium in a prime location.
      Your lakefront is a parking lot for said developers.
      Your lakefront has an airport that seems to cater mostly to the wealthier people.
      And the rest of the lakefront is either a couple of yacht clubs or warehouses.

      Has improved in the last ten years (hat tip to LeBron) but still a lot of room for improvements.
      I just hope it doesn't become the next Detroit.

  17. Vincent Hart Guest

    I think an Aer Lingus transatlantic route ex Cork would be a far better idea

  18. LK Guest

    Aer Lingus - start a Texas route! It's long overdue!!

  19. West Coast Flyer Guest

    "Cleveland. What a dump!" - John Cleese

  20. thurstontravel Guest

    It makes sense. DUB is LHR's third runway and BA doesn't have a plane suitable for a thin route like this. Even the 787 is too big, and why tie up a slot when you can hand it off to EI, which is sort of BA's LC subsidiary.

  21. Brian Guest

    I took one of these Aer Lingus 321s from LHR-SNN over the summer. There were no extra legroom coach seats available and the IFE was pretty limited. No issue on that flight, it was an hour. But I remember thinking I’m glad I’m on the next flight on the plane, which was to Boston. Eight hours on these birds is definitely for the economy vacation crowd but good for Cleveland.

    1. Kevin Guest

      The IFE on EU short haul is a different proposition to the IFE available on Long-haul flights it has a much more extensive selection and features.

  22. dn10 Guest

    I wish Aer Lingus would join OneWorld

  23. Klaus Guest

    Is Cleveland still a focus city for United?

    1. Adam L Guest

      Not officially, but they still do a fair amount of non-hub flights including year-round to Cancun, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, etc. All legacy leisure routes left over from Continental.

    2. Alan Guest

      And they almost seem to be trying to price themselves out. I'm UA Platinum and will barely requal for Silver next year because AA is eating their lunch on fares out of CLE lately. We're talking several destinations on several dates, $400 for AA and $1,200 for UA.

  24. DCAWABN Guest

    Well, if Cleve-LAND (Howard the Duck reference for those of us old enough to remember that amazing movie) can get an actual intercontinental flight, maybe there's an actual chance for MCI's push to attract TATL flights. I'd argue that KC has more to offer than Cleveland, but I may be biased.

    1. heterovalium Guest

      Having spent considerable time in both, I feel like they're about equivalent. However, most of the media would indicate KC is better.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

John A Guest

Not surprised about your poor onboard experience. But given the plethora of bad and average reviews, I would have thought that regular fliers would have known what to expect, and either (a.) avoid Aer Lingus or (b.) temper their expectations accordingly.

1
Janet Guest

Anyone looking for comfort and service can skip Aer Lingus. This month I flew Boston to Dublin, and Shannon to Bos. Business was $4000 more than economy, not worth it to me for a 6 hour flight. Service was virtually non existent, and the IFE was broken.

1
thurstontravel Guest

It makes sense. DUB is LHR's third runway and BA doesn't have a plane suitable for a thin route like this. Even the 787 is too big, and why tie up a slot when you can hand it off to EI, which is sort of BA's LC subsidiary.

1
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