Aer Lingus announces San Francisco and Toronto – yours in Business Class for <£100 tax!

In what could be another great use of Avios points, Aer Lingus has announced new routes from Dublin to Toronto and San Francisco.

San Francisco launches on April 1st, whilst Toronto launches on April 21st.

Aer Lingus route map

What is attractive about Aer Lingus is:

they are a British Airways partner, so you can book them using Avios (as long as those Avios sit at ba.com and not avios.com)

they charge very low taxes and charges.  It is difficult to calculate these in advance, but a long-haul Business Class generally comes in at around £75 per person.

My ‘Avios Redemption University’ article on Aer Lingus, which lists all of their long-haul routes, is here.

The most annoying thing about Aer Lingus is that you cannot book their redemptions online.  You need to call British Airways Executive Club to do it.

It is also not possible to accurately check availability online.  The Qantas frequent flyer scheme website appears to be relatively close to showing the seats BA can book.  However, the Qantas site has a habit of showing 9 business class seats available, when in reality there tends to be just two.

The San Francisco service appears to be operating five times a week, with the Toronto service operating daily.

Interestingly, these routes represent a genuine addition to the Aer Lingus network.  They are not cutting other routes in order to offer these services.  The company has leased three Boeing 757’s, previously used by Finnair, for the shorter routes.  This is unlikely to offer state-of-the-art comfort or space, but you can’t have it all!  San Francisco will be operated by an A330 which will be freed up from New York and Boston runs.

The addition of the Boeing 757’s also allows the Shannon to Boston service to be increased to an ‘all year’ service and for the Shannon to New York service to increase frequency.

Flights will cost the same in Avios points as a British Airways service, ie 100,000 in Club World / 50,000 in Economy to San Francisco and 80,000 / 40,000 to Toronto, return.

These new Aer Lingus flights start from Dublin.  You would need to book a separate ticket to Ireland if you don’t want to pay long-haul Air Passenger Duty to the UK Government.  If you do this, though, remember that Aer Lingus is not liable to you if you miss your connection.

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Comments

  1. As you point out, travelling on separate tickets via an intermediate point such as DUB runs the risk of misconnection if the first flight is delayed.

    If you have the time and want the craic, isn’t the way round this and to avoid excessive APD to book an overnight stay in DUB of greater than 24 hours and then have the APD based on DUB?

    • Good question – never actually tried to do this, whilst keeping both on the same ticket. Although, if you’re planning to stay more than 24 hours and 1 minute in Dublin, you don’t have much misconnect risk anyway.

      • I’ve not done it either, though I admit I’m attracted to it, along with US immigration in DUB if on the right flights.

        Including the UK-DUB leg in the ticket with a >24 hour stopover means using the same Avios as ex-UK longhaul without the need of buying a separate ticket to DUB, though a RFS @ 4,500 Avios + £30/35 would fit the bill.

  2. pazza2000 says:

    Glad to hear there is another redemption route to the W.Coast; I never understood why Aer Lingus dropped LAX.

  3. Don’t forget that it is Easy to get to Dublin from virtually anywhere from Britain using the historic and good value “Rail & Sail” deals.
    I found a group of us stranded in Dublin (don’t ask, it involved Rugby and Beer) facing walk-up fares back to london of around £250 each single flight (there were four of us so £1000.00) and were tipped off about this. A combined rail ticket and ferry ticket cost less than 50e each and was valid with Stena Line and B&I line. The beauty of it is the fact the ticket can take you to virtually any station in Britain!

  4. Louise says:

    This aer lingus link is of great interest to me. I live in Lancashire and avios/ba south bias means spending them is often difficult and we have to go via London which is not really ideal. It’s worth a mention that aer lingus do a daily flight to Dublin from Blackpool airport which I’m assuming you could also pay for with avios. It’s an extra option for northerners who don’t always want the stop in London. I’m now wondering whether if I called ba they would be able to class it as one journey, Blackpool to San Francisco?! Now that would be something!!

    • Hi Louise,
      I live in Blackpool and agree it is great news. However as Raffles pointed out in the article, if you ask BA or Aer Lingus to put it all on one ticket you would be paying hefty APD duty so the taxes would probably increase from approx £75 to circa £500! Far more cost effective to include a night in Dublin to avoid potentially missing your connection….

      • You only pay the APD if its all on one ticket, so another £150 or so for Business Class. You still won’t get fuel surcharges added to the long-haul leg.

  5. Though this is the same cost in avios as Club World, the seat Aer Lingus use is not fully horizontally flat, just “lie flat at an angle” which isn’t great for sleeping. More of a Premium Economy experience.

    When you add in the cost of getting to Dublin (maybe £100-£150), and the risk of missing your connection, plus the hassle of it all, particularly on the way home, it’s a marginal saving over a direct, hassle free departure from T5 – where the shopping and lounges are far superior to those in DUB.

    • Although for those of us flying from the regions T5 isn’t direct either – we still have to take a connecting flight to it. Yes, with an Avios redemption it would be included, but Edinburgh/Glasgow to Dublin flights are only £40-50 return. I did this before for a different trip and stayed at the Hilton Dublin Airport for only €35 or so – very good value for a stay credit and some extra points 😀 Remember too for Boston that it’s a lower number of Avios than leaving from LHR and that you also pre-clear US Immigration in DUB, which eliminates lots of hassle at the other end. Agree T5 lounges better, but apart from Dixons there’s little I’m interesting in with the T5 shops.

      Totally agree re. the seats though – personally I’d be happy with an Aer Lingus dayflight westbound and then come back overnight in a fully flat bed with BA (or in my case with United, where you can fly direct into EDI or GLA!)

      • I tried checking revenue flights for EI flights to New York via DUB with a >24 hour stopover in DUB – and a €35 overnight at the Hilton is attractive. 😉 – to see what extras would cost.

        ITA wouldn’t let me combine a Y LON-DUB with a biz fare onward, and the biz choices involved BA biz via EDI or GLA the a Y sector to DUB. What came out of it was that the APD on such an economy fare was just £13 (that’s LON-DUB) and on a biz fare just £26 (that’s LON-EDI/GLA).

        I could put up with the ‘hardship’ of an EI daytime flight with a return leg to LON in biz (especially if to LCY).

      • I have stayed at the Hilton Dublin Airport ( the friendliest Hilton I have stayed) a few times when dodging the APD .. They also offer a free mini bus service to and from the village of Malahide for a great night out.

    • James67 says:

      I usually start my outward journeys in J class from HEL with BA avios or AMS with AA miles to avoid UK APD. Even with my RFS or easyjet flights and a budget hotel for the night I can save at least £100 compared to GLA or EDI departures. Have come to enjoy the overnight stays prior to my longhaul flights, I find it much less stressful.

      • Hi,

        For Avios redemption from HEL how do you get it to work? Trying to book say HEL to NYC on BAEC it routes it back through London.

        • I’m guessing that’s probably the routing that James is meaning – however as your origin is HEL and you’re only connecting in London that means no UK APD 😀

  6. this is great. I’m in Belfast so just 90 minutes in the car to Dublin airport!

  7. Exitcontrol says:

    I’m guessing this means the sub 3000mile DUB-BOS rewards will be served by the incoming 757s? Any news in the accommodation up front?