I traveled on Aer Lingus from London to Dublin to visit Ireland for Easter break and later flew to Toronto on Aer Lingus A321LR Transatlantic.
Heathrow was extremely crowded as travel is bouncing back. The Aer Lingus lounge at Heathrow is new with nice furniture. It has very limited food options (only soup and biscuits). The apron and runway view is hindered by the blinds in front...what a shame.
Flying Aer Lingus A321LR London to Dublin
To my surprise, I received an upgrade to Business Class onboard the new Aer Lingus A321LR. The flight to Dublin was a short 55 minute hop. The flight has a proper long haul Business Class but is sold as Economy Plus.
The code of Aer Lingus A321LR is 32Q in booking engine. The new A321LR flies at least once or twice daily between Dublin and London, in addition to the evening A330 widebody service.
The Business Class has 16 flat seats with 4 seats being single seat that you don't share with anyone. ('throne seat' in row 2A/K and 4A/K).
I received a sandwich and cup of tea for the short 51 minute hop.
Visiting Ireland 🇮🇪
After landing in Dublin, I went plane-spotting at Dublin Airport. The next day I drove around the Irish countryside to visit Galway, Cliff of Moher and Shannon. The scenery and people are both lovely in Ireland.
After 2 wonderful days in Ireland, it's time to be back at Dublin Airport to fly to my next destination; Toronto, Canada.
Dublin Airport - Aer Lingus Lounge
I visited the Aer Lingus Lounge at Dublin Airport, it has a great view from the 2nd floor. Limited food options. There is US Pre-clearance at Dublin Airport, but this doesn't apply to flights to Canada.
Onboard the A321LR
Aer Lingus has decent Business Class products and I particularly enjoyed the meal onboard.
The Aer Lingus crew did a good job to finish serving lunch within 2 hours despite a full cabin. Strangely, there is no Guinness available, the crew was cheeky saying "due to the pressure inside the airplane, it will taste different so we don't serve it!"
There is a decent movie selection and free Wi-Fi for Business Class passengers. Economy passengers can purchase them.
Given the whole flight was fully booked, I could not get hold of the single throne seat and felt a little disappointed initially. However, soon I found out the pair seat has a bigger footwell when the seat goes fully flat. So, this advantage meant a better sleep even though you're sharing with a neighbour. For the single throne seat, the footwell size is smaller and it is very hard to move 'inside the box'. I slept a sound 3 hours.
The A321LR/XLR will become a regular sight on TransAtlantic flights in the near future. While my experience on Aer Lingus A321LR Business Class has been positive, I remain concerned about flying economy on a narrowbody for more than 6 hours. I hope airlines can provide better legroom or a double armrest. Every inch counts on long-haul flights. Below is a list of a few pros and cons of flying the narrowbody A321 Transatlantic:
It opens up more direct travel possibilities. It also saves time without connecting at busy hub airports.
The single-aisle takes longer to board, and may not have as much space as a widebody airplane. Airlines seem to focus more on the Business Class product with little difference in Economy. Perhaps a stand-up stretch area?
Aer Lingus has generally decent award availability in Business Class (U class) for miles redemption. One can redeem BA Avios to fly on Aer Lingus.