Aer Lingus returns: Hartford gets back its nonstop flight to Europe
Connecticut will soon be re-connected with Europe.
Aer Lingus, the Irish flag carrier, will resume flights on March 26 between the state's largest airport, Bradley International Airport (BDL) near Hartford, and Dublin Airport (DUB).
Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG's free biweekly Aviation newsletter.
The service began in 2016 and was suspended in 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The flight will be daily, though initially it will operate just as a seasonal route through October. The initial incarnation of the flight operated year-round, though not always daily. Connecticut officials cited lagging business travel demand as the reason for the seasonal service — and said they hope the flight once again becomes year-round.
When the flight began in 2016, it was operated by a Boeing 757, transitioning to Aer Lingus' Airbus A321LR in August 2019, according to Cirium, an aviation data firm. The re-inaugurated Hartford flight will likewise be operated with the A321LR, a long-range variant of the A321neo. That configuration features 16 seats in lie-flat business class and 168 seats in economy class.
Flight EI130 departs Bradley at 6 p.m. and arrives the next day in Dublin at 5:15 a.m., all times local. The return flight, EI131, departs Dublin at 2:10 p.m. and arrives in Bradley at 4:35 p.m. It's the same exact flight numbers and times as the flight's previous incarnation, according to Cirium.
Aer Lingus is planning a significantly larger summer transatlantic schedule for 2023 than in 2019. In addition to the restarted Bradley flights, the carrier will also inaugurate service to a new U.S. city, Cleveland, next May.
Review: Aer Lingus business class on the A321neo, Dublin to Philadelphia
“We are opening up key cities and regions in the United States to Irish and European customers, by adding new transatlantic routes to our schedule," Aer Lingus CEO Lynn Embleton said in a statement. "Aer Lingus is forging ahead with its North American expansion plans, growing the number of transatlantic routes from its Dublin hub. The restart of the daily flight into Bradley International Airport is the only direct service to Europe, reflecting Aer Lingus’ ability to connect North American customers with Europe."
While Bradley features a federal inspection station that can process travelers through customs and immigration, it won't be needed for this flight, as Dublin Airport features a U.S. preclearance station. With those formalities taking place in Dublin, travelers will arrive in Connecticut as if they were arriving on a domestic flight.
Aer Lingus' service to Dublin has been Hartford's most consistent service to Europe over the years. Northwest Airlines served Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) from Hartford in 2007 and 2008, while Norwegian Air flew Boeing 737s between there and Scotland's Edinburgh Airport (EDI) in 2017 and 2018.
Introductory economy class fares on the Aer Lingus flight start at $459 roundtrip to Ireland and $659 to other European destinations and are now bookable on Aer Lingus' website.