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Aer Lingus Business Class Throne Seat

5 Things I Loved Flying Aer Lingus Business Class (& 2 I Didn’t)

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Maybe it's just the luck of the Irish, but I can't imagine a better way to get to Ireland than flying Aer Lingus' business class. 

Just days after Aer Lingus' long-awaited return flying between our home airport of Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and Dublin (DUB) late last month, I had a chance to fly the Irish flag carrier on a recent trip to Europe. While the business class seat won't win any awards for massive space or privacy, the tasty food and top-notch service more than made up for it. 

Little things can make or break a flight, and Aer Lingus (mostly) did a good job of nailing the details. Combined with the fact that the airline is operating more nonstops between the U.S. and Ireland – and another addition from Las Vegas (LAS) coming this fall – than ever before, that's enough to make Aer Lingus business class a top pick to cross the Atlantic on the way to Dublin.

Here are my key takeaways from my recent business class flight on Aer Lingus' Airbus A330-300. 

 

Quintessential Irish Hospitality

Service can make or break a flight, no matter the cabin you're flying in. And the bar is higher at the front of plane. 

I've had excellent service in business class … and other flights where it clearly missed the mark. But the service on Aer Lingus was among the best business class experiences I've had to date.

It probably didn't hurt that the 30-seat cabin was just over half full. But I'm convinced that's not the only reason – Aer Lingus just does the little things right, and service is certainly one of them. 

I was traveling with my wife and our nearly three-year-old son on this flight to Dublin. And while you may or may not be flying with young children, there were several instances where the crew went above and beyond to help – a mindset I'm sure would carry over even if you were flying solo.

For starters, my son lost his pacifier in between the fuselage and his seat. Uh oh. While he's certainly old enough to not need it anymore, I don't think our fellow passengers would have appreciated him trying to kick the habit on a nearly-eight hour overnight flight.

Fear not: Elaine, the flight attendant working our aisle, came to the rescue, spending a solid five minutes contorting to finally fish it out for us. 

 

Aer Lingus business class bed

 

Then, when it came time to get some sleep, our toddler had other plans. In an effort to get him to settle in, I went to sit with him in one of the open seats at the back of the cabin.

Elaine noticed and quickly came back, offering to take him from me so I that I could get some rest. I couldn't let her do that … but she was genuinely offering! Rebuffed, she instead pulled out additional pillows and blankets to get him comfortable and stood by singing nursery rhymes. It worked: He was fast asleep soon after, snoozing right up until we were on final approach.

These examples of Aer Lingus' service might be specific to my situation. But even if you're not traveling with kids, I'm confident you'll walk away with the same impression of the airline's top-notch and genuine service. 

 

Delicious In-Flight Meals

There's good food and then there's “good airplane food.” The meals I had on Aer Lingus were just plain good, whether they were served on the ground or some 30,000 feet in the air.

Our flight departed Minneapolis shortly after 7 p.m. which meant dinner service began as soon as we reached cruising altitude. The printed menu showed all the available meals for our flight and for dinner, I chose the Guinness short ribs with smashed red potatoes and garlic lemon savoy cabbage. When in Ireland, right? 

 

Aer Lingus beef short rib

 

You'll have to forgive the dim lighting in my photo, as one of my overhead lights wasn't working, but it looked every bit as good as it tasted.

Most beef on an airplane is all but guaranteed to be dry and tough, saved only by a sauce if you're lucky. That wasn't the case here: The short ribs were fork-tender, juicy, and full of flavor. The mashed potatoes and cabbage paired perfectly with the beef for a comforting and hearty Irish meal. 

For dessert, I went with a cheese plate… but because of just how few passengers were in the business class cabin, I was also given a chocolate truffle tart. To be clear, I didn't choose the tart but got both desserts, anyways – another reminder of just how good the service was.

 

Aer Lingus dessert

 

Both were delicious and proved to be the perfect way to cap off a really, really good meal. 

 

King (or Queen) of the Castle

These days, enclosed suites have become the industry standard for international business class. You won't find doors on Aer Lingus, though … and that's just fine by me. 

Because what they do have is a seat fit for a king or queen: The coveted throne seat. What's a throne seat? Take a look. 

 

Aer Lingus Business Class Throne Seat

 

Thanks to Aer Lingus' staggered business class seating, the Airbus A330-300 features two of these unique throne seats in row 3 and 5 on the right side of the plane. Just look at all that space! 

 

Aer Lingus Throne Seat (view from the rear)

 

The additional privacy and direct-aisle access is one thing – while they still aren't the most private seats in the world, it's a huge step up compared to sitting next to (and maybe even climbing over) a stranger. But there is an absolutely unparalleled amount of storage in these Aer Lingus business class throne seats, with two sizable console tables on either side of the seat itself and plenty of compartments throughout.

 

Aer Lingus business class storage

 

With so much table space, I had no issue keeping my laptop out to work on while the crew was serving drinks and beginning meal service. This meant a little bit more productivity for me before trying to get some much needed rest on the relatively short flight to Dublin. 

As you can see on this seatmap from AeroLOPA, there are just two of these coveted throne seats in the 30-seat business class cabin – they're available on a first come, first served basis. There are plenty of other solo seats on the plane, including the entire left side along the windows. But they aren't throne seats! 

 

aerolopa of aer lingus

 

If there's one knock on these seats, throne or not, it's that they're a little narrow.

I'm by no means a big guy, but laying down on my back while in bed mode felt a bit cramped, with at least one of my shoulders was up against the side console at all times. If you're a side sleeper, you'll probably do just fine, but for the rest of us, it felt a bit tight. 

 

Individual Air Vents!

I'll admit straight away that this is silly, but this seemingly minor detail honestly matters to me. 

Many foreign airlines don't equip their planes with individual air nozzles – and in my opinion, they tend to keep the cabin far too warm for a comfortable night's sleep. But with Aer Lingus, that wasn't something I needed to worry about. Each seat is equipped with two air nozzles … and since I had a solo throne seat, they were both mine for the taking! 

 

Aer Lingus Air Nozzle

 

So instead of tossing and turning all night because I was too warm, I had enough air flow to stay cool and get a respectable four hours of sleep. That's nowhere near a full night of sleep but for a relatively short transatlantic flight, that's about as good as it gets. Indeed, it was enough to help me power through my first day in Ireland without needing a mid-day power nap. 

 

Surprisingly Easy to Book 

There's no points and miles sweet spot nearer and dearer to my heart than booking Delta One business class to Europe for just 50,000 Virgin Atlantic points each way. But finding award availability to actually book these seats with Virgin points is about like finding a needle in a haystack. Actually, finding a needle in a haystack might even be easier. 

Thankfully, that isn't the case with booking Aer Lingus' business class using miles – at least not lately. 

This spring, we've repeatedly sent Thrifty Traveler Premium members alerts for wide-open award space flying Aer Lingus business class to Europe – including the new route from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) – and countless other cities. Best of all, you could book these nonstop, lie-flat fares for as low as just 45,000 points each way.

 

Aer Lingus business class

 

You can book these seats with Avios from either Aer Lingus or British Airways, which are transferrable from many different credit card programs. You can also book them with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan or even with miles from United, too! 

In my case, I booked via British Airways for just 50,000 Avios and $137 in taxes and fees. This deal gets even better if you're able to take advantage of the semi-frequent transfer bonuses between British Airways and its slew of bank partners. 

 

Aer Lingus business class booking via British Airways

 

In my case, I transferred the full 50,000 Avios needed from my stash of American Express Membership Rewards. Had I been light on Amex points, I could have also transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One miles, Bilt Rewards points, or even Wells Fargo Rewards to British Airways instead. And since you can combine Avios across all the different airline programs that earn them, I also could have moved Citi ThankYou points to Qatar Avios and then transferred those to British Airways to book.

The beauty of booking Aer Lingus business class isn't just the low price … it's just how easy it is to get the miles you need.

Related reading: How to Transfer Avios Between British Airways, Qatar, Aer Lingus, Iberia & Finnair

 

No TSA PreCheck

At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, Aer Lingus not offering TSA PreCheck is a big and inexplicable negative.

There are roughly 100 airlines that participate in PreCheck including both the Irish airline's sister carriers, British Airways and Iberia, which are part of the same ownership group. Yet somehow, Aer Lingus itself still isn't part of the PreCheck program. 

If airline startups like BermudAir and Japanese low-cost carrier ZIPAIR are able to make it work, I don't see why Aer Lingus can't as well. I mean seriously, even the now-defunct New Pacific Airlines (formerly known as Northern Pacific Airways) offered passengers TSA PreCheck before it halted commercial service.

So even though I've got PreCheck, I couldn't use the dedicated lane ahead of my Aer Lingus flight overseas.

 

TSA PreCheck security

 

Yes, first world problems, I know. But after exclusively using TSA PreCheck lanes for years, I'd forgotten how big of a pain it is to get through security without it. It's not just the waiting in line that stinks – it's having to remove liquids and electronics from your bag, in addition to taking off your shoes.

I probably looked like a first time traveler going through TSA because of how unprepared I was for security screening without PreCheck. Here's to hoping Aer Lingus will finally join the 21st century and join the list soon.

Read more: Which is Better For You? TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

 

A Subpar Amenity Kit

Shortly after boarding, amenity kits were passed out to all business class passengers. One amenity I value was missing.

Aer Lingus' amenity kit is a small green pouch stocked with airline staples like ear plugs and an eye mask. It also included a small disposable toothbrush, socks, hand lotion, and lip balm. But there were no slippers to be found. 

Socks might be a decent substitute, but not when you have to get up to use the restroom mid-flight. Even a flimsy set of cheap slippers mean you can skip slipping your shoes back on and off. And no, I'm not willing to use an airplane lavatory wearing socks alone. 

 

Aer Lingus amenity kit

 

The pouch itself was on the cheaper side, too. While I don't expect Aer Lingus to have designer amenity kits like many Middle East airlines do, something a little more substantial would have been a nice touch. 

Again, this is a fairly minor gripe – not something that will have me reconsidering flying Aer Lingus in the future. But if there's any room for improvement, beefing up the amenity kit would be a good (and inexpensive) place to start.

 

Bottom Line

After a recent business class flight from Minneapolis to Dublin, I'd welcome the opportunity to fly Aer Lingus again straight into Dublin sometime soon.

The food and especially the service service made this flight a truly memorable one. The PreCheck-less experience at the airport and a subpar amenity kit onboard were the only real misses. 

For a quick nonstop flight to the Emerald Isle, I can't think of a better option than Aer Lingus business class – especially when you can book it using points.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.

4 Responses

  • We fly Aer Lingus exclusively and have been chasing the dragon ever since we received similarly impeccable service the first time our family flew together when our son was smaller. Ever since then, every time we’ve flown, the service has been indifferent at best. Which makes me so sad… that first time was just above and beyond.

    I also have to say every time I’ve ordered the beef on an Aer Lingus flight it’s been inedible, but now I just don’t order it and the other dishes have been great.

    I do agree on the amenity kit. It’s not great.

  • I regularly snag JFK-DUB and DUB-JFK business class reward seats on Aer Lingus, and it’s incredible value a 50,000 Avios one way for a seat that sells, on my last trip, for $4,932! For that, I’ll put up with no slippers and TSA Pre-check, as on DUB-JFK, the TSA Pre-Clearance, combined with Global Entry, in Dublin is a huge win and time-saver.

  • It didn’t make your list, but pre-clearing US immigration at Shannon is a nice benefit if you’re on a connecting service from elsewhere in Europe.

    I think I may have had the incredible ‘Elaine’ on my transatlantic flights – I’m fairly sure that was her name, and I was lucky enough to have the same crew on the outbound and return flights.

    • Clearing U.S. Customs in both Shannon and Dublin is an awesome perk. Unfortunately, I flew home through Paris so I didn’t get to take advantage of this myself.

      Elaine is a joy. Happy to hear you had a great crew in both directions!

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