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Aer Lingus has been having a few issues with the delivery of its new Airbus A321LR aircraft which has seen the airline push back the start of its transatlantic services with the aircraft on at least two occasions.
Just recently, however, Aer Lingus has brought forward the launch of A321LR transatlantic service to 2 August and now the airline has finally scheduled its first short-haul route with the new aircraft.
From 1 November 2019 Aer Lingus will operate its A321LR aircraft between Dublin and London Heathrow on the following schedule:
EI154 DUB 07:30 – 09:05 LHR (Daily)
EI155 LHR 09:50 – 11:20 DUB (Daily)
[HT: Routes Online]
Ordinarily it’s not exactly big news when an airline schedules a narrowbody aircraft of one of its short-haul routes, but with the Aer Lingus A321LR things are a little different – this aircraft is special.
The Aer Lingus A321LR aircraft has been configured for long-haul travel and that means that it comes with a true Business Class cabin (16 seats) with lie-flat seating.
Lie-flat seating is a big luxury on short-haul routes within Europe so when an airline offers it it’s time to sit up and take note.
Traditionally, Aer Lingus hasn’t offered any kind of Business Class cabin on its short-haul routes (although it recently announced that a single row of ‘AerSpace’ seating would be introduced into the bulk of its narrowbody fleet) but that all changed in December when the airline’s CEO used a December interview with the Irish Times to confirm that the A321LR aircraft would be employed on routes within Europe.
Aer Lingus worked out that, with a large number of its A321LR aircraft arriving into Dublin before 5 am every day (following a trip across the Atlantic), its new aircraft would be spending a lot of time parked up on the ground waiting for their evening departures unless they were put to use…so that’s exactly what Aer Lingus plans to do.
The Dublin – London route is just the first of a number of intra-Europe routes on which Aer Lingus will operate its A321LRs (Paris, Amsterdam, and Barcelona have all been mooted as future A321LR destinations) and on which Business Class passengers will be able to enjoy lie-flat seating.
Sadly the Business Class experience on intra-Europe routes will start and end with the seats as Aer Lingus has already confirmed that it will not be introducing bespoke Business Class catering for these flights.
If you want to try out the new Business Class cabin on the Dublin – London route you’re going to have to pay cash.
Aer Lingus hasn’t configured its systems to recognize the A321LR as offering a ‘Business Class’ cabin on the short-haul routes so there’s no Avios availability to be seen anywhere.
To secure a lie-flat seat on the new Aer Lingus A321LR you’ll have to select an ‘Economy AerSpace Fare” from the booking engine…
..and then you’ll be given the option to choose a seat in the new Business Class cabin:
Prices appear to be starting at €149.99 one-way from Dublin and around €179.99 one-way out of London so I’m not going to be trying this seat out until Aer Lingus starts to release bookable award seats.
The Aer Lingus A321LR complete with lie-flat Business Class seating is finally scheduled to operate its first intra-Europe short haul route from 1 November 2019. Avios award seats are not currently available so you’ll have to be prepared to pay cash if you want to try the cabin out on this route.