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Aer Lingus Launches San Francisco – Dublin (SFO-DUB) Route – And Ideas For How To Book It

by on April 3, 2014 · 21 comments

in Aer Lingus

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As yesterday marked the start of Aer Lingus’s non-stop flight from San Francisco to Dublin, the airline’s social media team was in a full-on frenzy promoting the new route (#DUBSFO).

Aer Lingus promotes their new SFO-DUB route

Aer Lingus promotes their new SFO-DUB route

The airline is flying its new SFO-DUB route aboard its flagship A330-200′s, all featuring WiFi connectivity throughout the flight, as well as power outlets at every seat in business class and between every two seats in economy, which is a nice update. It’s great to see more and more airlines adding in transatlantic WiFi, making it easier to stay up-to-date on work even while over the ocean.

The airline will operate five flights per week in each direction. Flight EI146 departs SFO at 5:20pm and arrives in Dublin at 11:35am, while flight EI145 departs Dublin at 12:20pm and arrives in San Francisco at 3:20pm. Flight time is 10:15 hours on the outbound and 11:00 hours on the return.

New connectivity options on Aer Lingus A330's

New connectivity options on Aer Lingus A330′s

My friend who lives in San Francisco recently traveled to Dublin to meet me for my birthday and at the time he flew United  from SFO to Frankfurt, then on to Dublin. Given the new direct route, we were discussing options how to get there using the various miles and points he’s accrued. Last year, I flew Aer Lingus Business Class from JFK to Dublin and at the time, I booked it using 40,000 British Airways Avios and only $30 in taxes in one direction, and saved tons of cash by not having to pay BA’s fuel surcharges.

Curious about the new SFO-DUB route, I did a search on ExpertFlyer for award availability on Aer Lingus through September. However, I could only find flights available in economy so far – I suspect more availability will open up as time goes on, I’d set some award alerts for your prospective dates.

ExpertFlyer only showed economy rewards available...a call needed to be made...

ExpertFlyer only showed economy rewards available…a call needed to be made.

Using British Airways Avios

That said, Michael, my friend in San Francisco, has a bunch of Avios and Ultimate Rewards points that he can transfer to British Airways, so I gave British Airways a call to see what the options available were flying on Aer Lingus (none showed up on the BA website). After a long hold (which has seemed to be their standard as long as I can remember), I was able to get in touch with someone at BA who told me that the the cost of a one-way award in economy would be be 25,000 Avios and $55.87 for economy or 50,000 Avios and $80.87 for business class. BA.com won’t display Aer Lingus award flights, so you’re better off searching ExpertFlyer or united.com to find seats and then ring up BA. British Airways will try to charge you a $25 phone booking fee, but remind the agent that the website doesn’t show Aer Lingus award availability and if they’d be willing to waive the fee, and that tends to do the trick.

I’d say this is one of the best use of Avios to get from the west coast to Europe since you avoid paying BA’s huge fuel surcharges and use a relatively low amount of miles compared to Delta and United these days. Not only that, but British Airways is a transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards if you have a premium card like the Platinum or Premier Rewards Gold; as well as Chase Ultimate Rewards if you have the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold or Ink Plus; and Starwood Preferred Guest – so you have options. I covered my experience booking JFK-DUB on Aer Lingus with Avios last year.

United Miles

United is also one of Aer Lingus’s airline partners, though Aer Lingus isn’t in Star Alliance. I checked on United.com – which is displaying Aer Lingus award space again – and though I still couldn’t find much SFO-DUB space, I priced out awards from Aer Lingus’s other North American destinations and award tickets were coming to 30,000 miles + $5 each way in economy or 70,000 miles + $5 each way in business (well, once those business awards start opening up).

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 6.39.49 PMUnited is also an instant 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, so that’s an option – though personally I’d rather use 25,000 Avios than 30,000 United miles – and most certainly 50,000 Avios instead of 70,000 United miles to book the same ticket!

It’s obviously good to have options, but in terms of going head to head, using Avios seems like the clear winner here. If you were to purchase the ticket direct from the airline, the roundtrip costs begin at $706 for economy and $2,170 for business class – so you’re getting a decent value.

One-way economy and business options for Aer Lingus from SFO to DUB

One-way economy and business options for Aer Lingus from SFO to DUB

There are plenty of ways to book your trip, and once Michael figures out if/when he’ll go back, hopefully he’ll take advantage of one of the options! I personally love Ireland and go back every year or so. Not only is it a great, quick trip from the east coast and an easy flight, but it makes for a great gateway to the rest of Europe and is a smart way to put your Avios to use while avoiding British Airways’ huge fuel surcharges.

Oh, and if you’re feeling lucky, the SFO Airport’s Facebook page is running a contest to give away a trip for two on Aer Lingus to celebrate the new route!

Related Links:

My Experience Booking Aer Lingus Business Class with British Airways Avios
Using British Airways Avios on Aer Lingus to Avoid Taxes and Fuel Surcharges
Why I Love Dublin So Much

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • AndrewAbroad

    It’s nice to see SFO getting some love.

  • Allen

    I like how you describe British Airways “huge fuel surcharges”. I tend to think of them as “criminal”, “underhanded” or “deceitful”

  • Hayden

    Aer Lingus business award availability doesn’t show on Expert Flyer on a reliable basis. Only reliable search is by calling BA. Also, agents will not waive the telephone fee. By policy Aer Lingus award redemptions are a phone-only proposition and therefore subject to the phone fee. My experience is that front-line agents must always get approval from a supervisor to waive the fee, and the supervisors almost invariably return that same line (having booked 6 roundtrips on the DUB-BOS route and not having the fee waived once).

  • Kevin

    How is it only 25k miles from SFO? I thought anything farther than BOS (like New York or Chicago) was 40k

  • thepointsguy

    One way- Boston is 12.5 one way coach, NY 20k, SFO 25k

  • Erik B

    Business class is still angle lie-flat on all Aer Lingus, right? Might be fine if you’re going to Dublin, but probably makes it less attractive if you’re just trying to connect elsewhere in Europe.

  • Kevin

    I see. I must have been looking at round trip and not one way. Sorry.

  • DBest

    But redemptions on Alaska are also phone-only and the agents waive that fee on a regular basis, often without even requesting it.

  • Dennis Hodgson

    Is it really BA’s huge fuel surcharges or is it Londons? Does London or LHR charge super high taxes that they have to pass on? Im not sticking up for them, im legitimately asking

  • thepointsguy

    It’s both- but if you use AA miles to fly to London your taxes are ~$200 vs $900 flying BA using avios

  • Justin

    Bri you still like their biz class DUB to JFK for 40k (Avios)? Thinking about it for Sept return. Though I don’t know if we have more Oneworld options to Philly from Dub now.

  • Greg

    Glad to see SFO getting this route. Hopefully we will see some award availability open up in business this year.

    Just a couple of points to correct. British Airways does not generally waive the telephone booking fee. In all the tickets I have booked, and from all the reports I have read, that nobody gets the phone fee waived. So you are mistaken, or have some magic charm that is not likely found in a typical individual.

    Also another point to correct, ExpertFlyer does not correctly display award inventory. Setting up an alert will help you, but does not necessarily mean that inventory is available. Typically it shows 9 seats available, when at most I believe is 2 seats available.

  • Nick

    $2,100 for roundtrip business class between California and Europe is really not that bad at all, is it??

  • Jon H

    I’ve had a similar experience to TPG getting the phone booking fee waived for Aer Lingus through BA. The agents have been personally aware or checked that EI is not bookable on BA.com and then waive the fee no problem. This has been on five or so flights and I’ve never put up much of a fuss to get them to do so.

  • gyb

    ha :) Aer Lingus found that there were a lot of Irish descendants living near SFO :)

  • BA is starting to suck

    I have a love/hate relationship with BA.

    I love the daily non-stop DEN-LHR. Ilove the Club World…and even the premium economy.

    But I hate the fuel surcharges.

    And I hate BA’s customer service. I’ve spent 6 months now trying get BA to add mileage and teir points for a return trip on October 7. I took my parents to visit our family heritage in Ireland/Scotland last fall. OUr return trip from Shannon (via Heathrow) was cancelled due to massive London fog… while BA did book us on Aer Lingus from Shannon-Boston (and then on United from Boston to Denver)… we were put in coach (center!) seats… and I lost all of my mileage/teir points… PLUS.. I had paid for Club world seats on the return for all three of us!

    For six months… a lot of run-around from BA. No refund adjustment on paying for 3 Club World seats . No mileage re-capture on my personal Avios. “WE are contacting our refund department and will get back to you,” they say… now 3 times over 6 months.

    So, BA sucks to me big time now. You can’t contact them by phone for this… they send you to their crappy “online” system.

    BOO! BA. This is the kind of crap that will make you change carriers.

  • AndrewAbroad

    Or during the summer. I thought my friend was exaggerating when he said a lot of Irish students come during the summer to vacation and work.

  • hoop

    Aer Lingus and Iberia business class kind of suck if it’s more than 6 hours or so. It’s like flying in the 1970s.

  • Warren

    I have had the fee waived many times. There is a trick to it.

  • Tom Nicholas

    Been lurking for a while and this site has been invaluable. I’ve even signed up for some credit card offers based off of what I have learned here. I’m in a bit of a bind with Aer Lingus and I wasn’t sure where to post. This summer I am going to Europe, ideally through Dublin, as I live in Boston and have a ton of AMEX points. I just called BA executive club and they said none are available for either day I am flying. They told me that they open up as Aer Lingus authorizes so I should keep calling back. If I am flying in July and they told me neither flight is close to selling out yet. Should I wait or book and save my points for one of the transfer bonuses knowing I should book earlier next time? Thanks!

  • Warren

    Beware of Aer Lingus during June July and August. They do not release any business class seats for award redemption. You have to call a request them, but only on their own rewards program. Other airlines, eg BA are unable to book them. Any thoughts pointguy?

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