Regular readers will know I recently booked my very first reward flight in the Aer Lingus AerClub frequent flyer programme. The booking itself was painless, but what transpired after was an hour spent on four phone calls with no resolution.

In the days since, the Avios representative and I have been in touch via e-mail. The conclusion of the story is that I cancelled my booking and received a refund of both my miles and the money paid. As a result, I now have some knowledge to share when it comes to AerClub reward flight bookings.

Seat Selection On Reward Flights

When making a booking with Aer Lingus using cash, you have the option to pay for seats during your booking. These cost €9.99 for a standard seat, €13.99 for a seat up front with priority boarding and €15.99 for exit row seating.

Unfortunately it is not possible to select a seat when making a reward booking through AerClub. Aer Lingus staff advise they are not permitted to add seats to bookings made with Avios miles and Avios staff report they do not have the functionality to do so.

Update June 2018: This has changed and you can now call Aer Lingus to select seats.

Priority Boarding

Something I find a tangible benefit when I fly is priority boarding. Maybe I’m strange but I like being one of the first on board so I know I have enough space for my carry on luggage and also because I enjoy being on an aeroplane.

Priority boarding can only be given to you when you select a seat in the first seven rows on the Airbus A320. The only way to select a seat is to pay for it and as you know from above, you’re not able to buy a seat on an AerClub reward booking.

Update June 2018: See above in seat selection. This should now be possible.

Online Check-In

It is not possible to check-in online on reward flight bookings made through the AerClub. This means you must go to a check-in desk at the airport in order to get your boarding pass.

The reason for this is due to the fact that AerClub Avios bookings are issued on British Airways 125- tickets and not Aer Lingus tickets, meaning the Aer Lingus IT systems don’t recognise it and it has to be done manually.

Overall Thoughts

Seat selection, priority boarding and online check-in are arguably the three things that frequent flyers value the most. The fact none of these are available when booking a reward flight through Aer Lingus AerClub is astonishing.

Aer Lingus employees can add seat selection to the bookings. Oddly, they have been told they are not permitted to do so on Avios bookings. I would urge this decision to be reviewed as it looks terrible from a customer perspective. The issue with online check-in also needs to be addressed as this is unacceptable in 2018.

What is your experience with Aer Lingus AerClub? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by PierreSelim via Wikimedia Commons.