Aer Lingus service numerous destinations in the United States from both Dublin and Shannon. I last tried their transatlantic economy class product 12 years ago and despite being based in Ireland, I rarely use the airline as I don’t earn status in the British Airways Executive Club when flying them.
This time around I was redeeming Avios for a trip to Cleveland, and I decided to take the most convenient route west. It also meant I could use US Preclearance (making arrival in the USA so much simpler) and use the 51st and Green Lounge at Dublin Airport.
Who in their right mind thinks it’s okay to have passengers line up for 40 minutes as a general rule at check-in? It seems Aer Lingus do. Standing in the snaking queue, I really missed my frequent flyer status, because I had no choice but to wait. It really rammed home just how much time you save by having status. Lots, it turns out!
Eventually I was seen by a friendly agent, checked-in and I passed through standard security in a few minutes. After that, it was off to US security, followed by US immigration as part of the preclearance festivities. This took another while, and then I headed into the lounge to relax before the flight.
Time To Board
Boarding was handled nicely, starting with the usual pre-boarding for people requiring assistance. Next up were business class and AerClub frequent flyers, then the rear economy cabin, followed by the forward one. It all flowed quite well and soon enough I was on board.
EI125 – Dublin to Chicago (DUB-ORD)
8 October 2022
Airbus A330-300 – EI-EAV – St. Ronan
Seat: Economy 11A
Departure: 16:15 Arrival: 18:45
Selecting a seat costs money and I paid the ridiculous €79.99 fee to sit in 11A, which you can see on the seat map here. It afforded nice views for what was going to be a day flight.
Transatlantic Economy Class Cabin
There is plenty of room if you’re short and slim like I am, so I never find things to be too cramped. It would be different story for many other people, but they’re not reviewing this flight and I found the seats adequately comfortable.
At the seat is a pillow and teeny tiny earbuds for the entertainment system. Happily the sound quality was surprisingly okay and I lucked out and got two sets, which came in handy when the person sitting next to me managed to tangle hers in her seat.
Speaking of my seatmate, she could not work out how to turn the screen on. She noticed mine was working and asked how I did that, so I just replied “I touched the screen”.
To her credit she laughed and did that, commenting she is a user interface designer by trade and how she couldn’t believe she couldn’t work that out. It was amusing!
Once everyone was on the flight, it was time for the safety demonstration. Naturally we were advised to check out the safety card, which was quite raggedy after a busy summer season.
Shortly after that, we headed to the active runway and headed off into the evening sky. As we were flying west, we were running from the sunset all the way.
Dinner Is Served
Aer Lingus charge for drinks in transatlantic economy class, which meant there was no way I was having any alcohol, especially after paying to select a seat. During the first drinks run, I had water which was accompanied by pretzels.
Next up, it was time for dinner and the options were Beef Stroganoff or Chicken in a pepper sauce. This is the stereotypical “Chicken or beef?” that airlines have offered for decades. I went for the chicken and it was delivered with a smile.
The pasta starter had lettuce underneath it and it still managed to be extremely dry. I thought the chicken was very average and found the entire dish had very little to no taste at all. The bread was dry, even with butter but the dessert was nice.
Interestingly, the tray is non-slip so the elements remain in place. However, the tray on the back of the seats has no little raised lip on the passenger end, as you find on some airlines. This meant when we climbed during the meal service, the entire tray slid towards me and had nothing to catch it.
Toilets, Ice Cream and Landing Snacks
After dinner, people were served tea and coffee and they got about five rows in before suspending service. The paper cups for some people were leaking and at least three or four people had this happen. It was deemed too dangerous to continue, so people were offered cold drinks instead. Not long after, I visited the bathroom and found it to be normal.
During the flight the cabin temperature was kept excessively warm, which made for an uncomfortable journey. Part way through, everyone was offered ice creams, presumably to eat while watching movies. This is a really nice touch and is something other airlines like Qantas do.
Near landing, it was time for a snack service. The crew offered “a wrap”, which turned out to be a hot Chicken Tikka pastry, which was a pleasant surprise.
This was sooooo good! I inhaled mine with relish and really wanted more. As a crew member passed by, I asked for another one and he remarked, “Oh, you must be hungry!”. I would have agreed to anything to try it again and my wish soon came true. This was by far the nicest food on the flight. Yum, yum! Once done, the cabin was cleared and we landed in Chicago on time.
The Aer Lingus transatlantic economy experience is a mixed bag. The check-in line was annoying to begin with, yet that was expected. As I had a connecting flight, online check-in was never going to work, so I had planned for this. Boarding was fine and the crew service was really decent.
However, a hot cabin is really gross when flying in the dry rarified air of a pressurised cabin. It’s unpleasant all round and does not make for a charmingly relaxed flight. I’m really glad I thought to bring my own water bottle to keep hydrated on the journey.
Food was edible and that is about as far as I can compliment it. The ice cream and pre-landing snack were the standouts, while the main meal and starter were decidedly average and tasteless. Seat comfort was adequate – it was uncomfortable eventually, but anyone sitting for most of eight hours will find that.
What do you think of Aer Lingus transatlantic economy class? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.