Aer Lingus to Offer Lie-Flat Biz Seats on Intra-European Routes
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Aer Lingus is slated to launch what will likely be the most premium intra-European business class next fall. The Irish Times is reporting that in the second half of 2019, upon taking delivery of the airline’s new Airbus A321LR (long-range), Aer Lingus will launch a new European business class product. The A321LR will feature the airline’s newest business class seats, which are lie-flat seats launched aboard the much larger Airbus A330 in 2015. While the A321LR’s main purpose in the Aer Lingus fleet is to serve secondary cities in North America, the airline has decided to use them on European routes in between flights on the longer transatlantic sectors.
Aer Lingus will install 16 lie-flat seats aboard the A321LR. The carrier’s business class product is a slightly modified version of the popular Thompson Vantage seat — the same one used for JetBlue’s incredibly popular Mint product. The business class cabin will be configured in a 1-1 and 2-2 staggered configuration. The only major difference between Aer Lingus A321LR and JetBlue’s current A321s is Aer Lingus has opted to not include a door in rows with just one seat on either side of the aircraft.
Door or not, Aer Lingus has a very competitive hard product. While direct aisle-access on all seats would be even better, the seats are still fully lie-flat, offer a fair amount of privacy, and are quite spacious — all of which can be difficult to obtain on a single-aisle aircraft.
When it comes to business class on most intra-European flights, European airlines usually offer the same seat that is found in economy class but with the middle seat blocked off. In addition to a blocked middle seat, European airlines usually provides enhanced catering and lounge access. So this move by Aer Lingus to fly aircraft with lie-flat seats on European routes is a giant leap above what’s offered on competing airlines.
While Aer Lingus will certainly provide the nicest seat in the sky on intra-European flights, their soft product will be far from the best.
“All that will be on offer will be the space and the comfort,” said Aer Lingus Chief Executive Stephen Kavanaugh in an interview with the Irish Times. “We are not going to be reintroducing bespoke catering. There will be catering but it will be the same as you buy on board, it will just be complimentary. We will keep the process relatively simple.”
The product will only be available on a select few routes during the morning. The rationale behind this is to allow passengers who are traveling on a transatlantic flight in business and connecting to another European destination on Aer Lingus to continue on in the same product and cabin.
“When we have the LRs going on into Europe, they will now have a business cabin with full lie-flat seat,” said Kavanaugh. “So they’ll [passengers] get consistent service from all of the gateways in North America to the principal gateways in Europe.”
Essentially, it’s not to offer those who are flying intra-European business class another premium cabin option, but to give business class flyers a more consistent experience. Routes that are being considered for the new Airbus A321LR service include: London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Barcelona — among the most popular onward destinations for American travelers, added Kavanaugh. Only eight of its 14 new A321LRs will fly onwards from Dublin to Europe.
Aer Lingus is scheduled to take delivery of its first Airbus A321LR sometime in mid-2019. The jet will go into service in the late summer months initially serving cities like Pittsburgh (PIT), Hartford (BDL), and Montreal (YUL).
Featured Image by Zach Honig/The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.