I hate turning right instead of left when I board a plane. As a luxury traveler, a part of me dies a little when I see the beautiful premium classes onboard a plane and I know that I won’t be enjoying them. Flying over to Ireland on Aer Lingus in Economy was fine, no complaints, but it was when I was upgraded on the way home that my respect for this airline instantly grew by leaps and bounds. Before my experience, I had no idea that they had such a great product, something I learned thanks to an easy upgrade using the airline’s bidding process in advance of the flight. I’m still thankful that my bid was accepted, because the flight home really was one of the most enjoyable I’ve experienced on the way back from Europe in a while.
Right away I knew that Aer Lingus takes its premium passengers seriously when I walked through a wood-paneled “lobby” to reach their dedicated Business Class counters at Dublin International Airport. I have to be honest, I really didn’t know a lot about Aer Lingus before my recent flying experience with them; I sort of thought they were a budget-ish airline. Well, they’re not – far from it actually. The counter was only the first step in my Aer Lingus Business Class education though as I made my way to their Dublin lounge. Walking into the lounge I was impressed with its light and airy feeling. When you’re in the bowels of an airport, that’s an important feature and its 2-story design not only allows for plenty of natural light and runway views, but enough seating for everyone as well. The food and service in the lounge was excellent and made for a great place to relax before my flight. The only drawback was that it was before US Customs and Immigration pre-clearance, so after clearing customs I was a traveler without a lounge once again. Aer Lingus seems to try to address this by providing a special seating area for elite travelers next to the gate, but a lounge post-immigration would be better.
Seat & Amenities
I’ve been in a variety of Business Class cabins, some great and some just ok. I frankly expected Aer Lingus to have an older product, which is probably why I was so surprised to see the new and apparently much improved product waiting for me as I plopped down in Row 1. I was lucky, earlier this year Are Lingus released their brand new Boeing 757 Business Cabin and by the time I flew with them, from Dublin to Washington, DC, four of their Boeing 757-200 aircraft had been retrofitted with their new Business Class suite; and what a product it is.
Immediately, I was reminded of some other premium airlines I’ve flown with seats that feel like a separate compartment. Aer Lingus has replicated this feature and unlike many other Business Class sections, the result is an area that’s just that, an area instead of just a large seat. This is an important distinction and should not be underestimated. What I love most about flying in Business Class is being able to relax in privacy. I don’t want to share anything with anyone else, and while relaxing in my seat up front I didn’t have to.
Some of the many features of the brand new Business Class product include:
- 6’5” fully flat bed (perfect for a tall guy like me)
- 22-inch seat width
- Plenty of stowage areas for shoes, tablets, etc.
- Charging stations and workspace
- 14” personal TV screen with touchscreen
- Custom made duvets and pillows.
If you follow me on social media, you might remember how shocked I was to discover such a modern and comfortable product as I boarded my flight in Dublin. I was genuinely thrilled with the seat and that sense of elation continued throughout the entire flight.
Food & Overall Experience
Airlines have never paid more attention to serving their Business Class passengers than they do today and at the heart of this experience for many is the food. Food isn’t as important to me as it is for others, but I certainly do enjoy a delicious and well-organized Business Class dining experience. Like many other airlines with a focus on local cuisine, Aer Lingus has redesigned their Business Class food experience to showcase the best of Irish food, even featuring the farms and other providers in their special in-flight Business Class brochures. National airlines are in a unique position to share with the world everything that makes their respective countries great, from the culture to friendliness and certainly the food. Few places have the fresh ingredients and food culture that Ireland enjoys, all of which is thankfully showcased 37,000 feet in the air.
The entire flight experience though was as lovely a one as I have enjoyed in a while. I was genuinely happy for the duration, my only regret being that I flew economy on the way over to Dublin. In addition to the incredibly comfortable and practical chair area and the food, the onboard entertainment options were excellent, affording me the opportunity to catch up on some movies I had missed. The amenity bags were handy and most importantly, the service and attitude amongst the flight crew was beyond reproach. That’s certainly not always the case, but they made me feel welcome throughout the flight, transforming it from a means of conveyance to a memorable travel experience.
I never expected to fly Business Class with Are Lingus, a lucky bid came to my rescue. I’m so glad it happened though, because it was an unexpectedly positive experience from check-in to deplaning and now ranks amongst my most favorite Business Class experiences with any airline. If that’s not the luck of the Irish, then I don’t know what is.