As you will know Aer Lingus was bought by IAG last year and they have just entered into the Avios fold this week. Availability is now showing on Avios.com. However you should be aware that Aer Lingus is not part of the One World Alliance currently.
Despite some changes to the number of miles needed, Aer Lingus still provides a good alternative to BA and AA for Business class Avios redemptions to the US. There are a number of reasons for this.
Business class product
All Aer Lingus A330 and B757 now have their new business class product. 90% of the seats have direct aisle access which is a definite improvement on the average BA aircraft. The new business class includes:
- Seats that convert to two metre lie flat beds
- Touchscreen seat controls
- In-seat massage function
- Personal AC and USB charging points
- IFE 16 inch flat screen monitors with AVOD (from Inflight Dublin)
- Storage space for shoes or laptop, tablet, water bottle
- On demand food and beverage service
- Courtesy WiFi
Here is a promotional video that shows the new seats.
Aer Lingus now fly to a range of destinations in North America: Toronto, Washington, New York (EWR & JFK), Boston, Orlando, Los Angeles, Hartford, CT and Chicago. They start flying to Miami summer 2017.
The actual number of Avios has changed for some destinations but is comparable to BA.
For example New York or Boston from Dublin is 100,000 Avios off-peak and 120,000 Avios peak. However the taxes and charges are very different at around £200 versus £500 on BA. The other advantage is that the peak pricing dates are different to BA so it may pay to book with Aer Lingus on some dates. Also you may get availability on dates where there is none on BA or AA.
Aer Lingus peak dates for 2017:
- 1 – 4 January
- 7 – 23 April
- 17 June – 10 September
- 16 – 3 December
For those that hate queuing at US immigration after a long flight this is a major advantage when flying to the US from Dublin or Shannon. You clear not only U.S. immigration, but also full U.S. customs and agriculture controls.
This means that you land as a domestic passenger and only have to get your luggage before you head out of the airport which can save a great deal of time and hassle. For those that enjoy their lounge time there is an additional business class lounge at Dublin after US immigration called 51st & Green. It is not operated by Aer Lingus but looks a reasonable place to kill some time whilst waiting to board.
The only thing to be aware of is that duty-free goods including cigarettes and alcohol can’t be sold on board flights which pre-clear U.S. customs and immigration.