Aer Lingus is the flag carrying airline of the Republic of Ireland. It’s also the country’s oldest airline, and celebrated its 75th birthday in 2011. The airline is based out of Dublin Airport and has operational bases in Belfast-City, Cork, London-Gatwick, London-Heathrow and Shannon. Aer Lingus serve Europe, North Africa, Turkey and North America and are known for their great transatlantic flight deals.
Although the airline is now publically owned, Aer Lingus was originally set up by the Irish government in 1936 to make travel between Britain and Ireland easier. Aer Lingus has come a long way from its maiden voyage, in which five people were transported over the Irish Sea. Today Aer Lingus handles over 10 million passengers a year, and flies to over 70 destinations worldwide.
Irish budget carrier Ryanair owns a 29.4% share in Aer Lingus, however the older airline has stood strong against Ryanair’s repeated takeover bids. Nevertheless, Aer Lingus have responded to the rise of budget airlines by changing the level of service offered on their flights. They cheerily refer to themselves as a “some frills” airline, offering basic flights within Europe and more extravagant long-haul flights which include free meals, baggage allowance, and even Wi-Fi on some transatlantic routes.
How to Check-in
With Aer Lingus you can check in online, at the airport, or via mobile phone. Online check in opens 30 hours before departure, and closes two hours before departure. On some routes it’s possible to check in 30 days in advance, and this check in option closes 30 hours before departure. Mobile check-in is via the Aer Lingus app, which is free on IOS and Android phones. Aer Lingus offer evening before check-in for flights leaving Dublin Airport between 6am and 8am. Passengers with lots of baggage to drop off can check in at the airport between 4pm and 8pm the evening before, so they can go straight to the gate in the morning.
Baggage Allowances and Fees
Passengers on transatlantic flights are entitled to one hold bag weighing up to 23kg. Passengers have to pay baggage fees for flights within Europe and can choose to bring a small bag (15kg), a medium bag (20kg), a large bag (25kg), or an XL package (40kg split over two bags). Baggage fees depend on destination and season, but start at €15 (small bag, low season, from Ireland/N.Ireland and Europe) up to €65 (XL package in the high season between Dublin, Cork or Shannon and Agadir, Athens, Bourgas, Bucharest, Catania, Corfu, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Izmir, Lanzarote, and Tenerife).
Seating – Leg Room, Choosing Seats
Seats are allocated on check-in, however you can upgrade to a seat of your choice for a small fee during your booking. ‘Choice’ seats (Rows 1 to 7 at the front of the cabin) cost €10 within Europe or €20 transatlantic, ‘Exit’ seats cost €15 within Europe and €40 transatlantic, while all other seats can be booked for €5 in Europe or for free if you’re flying translatlantic. Economy seats have a 31-32 inch pitch, offering a fair amount of legroom. Business class seats on Transatlantic flights offer a whopping 58 inch pitch, meaning plenty of space to stretch out.
The cost of check-in is included in the ticket price, and there are no extra fees for credit or debit card bookings.
Meals, Snacks, Drinks
Free meals are offered on transatlantic flights, with economy passengers receiving a hot meal and business travellers receiving a gourmet meal with matched wines. Economy passengers can upgrade to a fancier dinner by pre-booking a Sky-Dine upgrade before they fly. Within Europe passengers can choose to purchase food from the in flight menu, which features meals that have been planned by Irish celebrity chef Clodagh McKenna.
Aer Lingus have a good punctuality record, with 87% of their flights landing on time during 2013.