Aer Lingus introduces US immigration pre-clearance at Dublin for ALL flights

Aer Lingus redemptions to the United States are very popular amongst Head for Points readers.  There are two reasons for this.

The first is that they charge SUBSTANTIALLY less tax than British Airways when redeeming Avios.

The second is that, if you fly to Boston, the flight is under 3,000 miles which means it falls into the cheaper Avios pricing zone!  A business class return from Dublin to Boston is just 50,000 Avios rather than 80,000 from London.

You can learn more about Aer Lingus redemptions in this Avios Redemption University post of mine here.

Aer Lingus

A further benefit of Aer Lingus is US customs and immigration pre-clearance.  US immigration can be a painfully slow process, often taking well over an hour.  Dublin has its own branch of US immigration, however, which allows you to clear your formalities before leaving Ireland.  On arriving in the US, you are treated as a domestic arrival and can walk straight out of the airport!

The following has now been posted on the Aer Lingus website:

From 27 October 2013 all flights to the US will pre-clear US Customs and Immigration in Terminal 2 (Dublin) or Shannon airport before departure.

At the moment, these Dublin flights do NOT have US preclearance:

EI 125 – Dublin to Chicago

EI 137 – Dublin to Boston

EI 139 – Dublin to Boston

The following Dublin flights already have US preclearance and will continue to have it:

EI 105 – Dublin to New York

EI 109 – Dublin to New York

EI 121 – Dublin to Orlando

EI 123 – Dublin to Chicago

The Shannon flights which retain preclearance are:

EI 111 – Shannon to New York

EI 135 – Shannon to Boston

All in all, this in another good reason to keep Aer Lingus in mind when planning redemptions.

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  1. Phillip says:

    Did I read somewhere that new business class is on its way?

    • Yes it is, but not until 2015. It may involve a smaller business cabin in terms of seat numbers and therefore fewer redemption seats, so not necessarily all good news.

  2. That is great. Might be worth the extra leg to Dublin too to avoid the immigration lines on the other side of the pond. Especially with kids in tow!

  3. ALL EI flights to the US? Great news!

    Is that EI-specific or will it also apply to BA3 LCY(-SNN)-JFK, which currently has no US Immigration check at SNN?

  4. We used Aer Lingus to Boston this summer, the Business class was a small cabin which I prefer. But I almost lost the will to live at Boston immigration, lots of welcome posters but 4 desks open for non US passengers to cope with 5 international arrivals. Good to see 18 closed desks. Eventually once all US passengers had been processed they started to divert us to that side. I think I was especially annoyed as I’d expected to do it all in Dublin
    On the positive side easily got 4 of us to the US in business for minimal Avios / cash spend.

    • Did you get 4 business seats on the same flight. That is good going, usually caps at 2.

      • Yes, booked outbound as soon as released got 4 out end of July, then booked inbound a couple of weeks later again 4 on the same flight. So a great result for during school holidays. It was my teen-aged daughters first experience of business class, their facebook and whatsapp groups were full of pictures of them with champagne and decent food. We also enjoyed Dublin, used Hotwire and stayed at The Morgan on the way home. Taxi into Dublin is about 30euro. Outbound we just used the Premier Inn at the airport, close by, okay food, not too expensive. We flew to Dublin using Flybe as Southampton is very local for us, booked with cash but you can use Avios and pay the taxes.

        • Brendan says:

          Can I ask how far in advance seats get released? Is it 11 months?

        • Will be either 330 or 355 days, although whether they release them all at once or drip them out is a different question

        • Are you the reader Raffles referred to in his Redemption University post?
          “A HFP reader told me this week that they had bagged 4 business class seats Dublin to Boston and back for late July 2013”

        • Yes that was me!

  5. Of interest too is that in Ireland’s budget yesterday declared that air travel tax will be scrapped from April 2014. Great news which should make these redemptions even better value!

  6. Could this just be a seasonal change?

    • I flew EI137 in January and it did have pre-clearance. As the summer schedules started up, the flights listed, EI137,EI139,EI125 appears to have been relegated due to capacity.

      So I wouldn’t be surprised to see these flights suffer the same fate in 2014….

  7. This got me thinking, in the spirit of strengthening cross border ties and an investment project to stimulate the economy a rail (tunnel) link from Dublin to Birmingham would be a real winner. As a bonus us Midlanders could get to Dublin for our tax free redemptions 🙂

  8. i am after four AVIOS business return seats on SFO-DUB next Summer. Apart from ringing up BA how do you find out reward availability on the flights. ? I read somewhere, I think on flyertalk that you could see availability on Quantas. I signed in on their website and couldn’t see anything as in any aer lingus flights schedules.

    • Qantas seems to have different availability to BA so it doesn’t matter. There is no foolproof way of checking except by ringing.

  9. on a separate note.all the aer lingus sales staff I have spoken to( including supervisors) have had no knowledge about Avios at all. It was as if I was talking to them in a foreign language. What are the lounges like in Dublin ? I have the Amex gold charge card which has given me two free visits. If there is more than one lounge, which lounge can/should I use ?

  10. Looking at the Aer Lingus website a one way DUB – ORD has £169 tax. Has this gone up recently?

    • Ignore that. BA charges about £75 although I’m not sure why.

      • I paid £58 per person for taxes DUB to SFO via an Avios booking. £253 with BA

        • That was one way though

        • Thanks for your replies, I’m trying to get a skiing trip together (with northern lights). No availability in CW on BA direct so looking to save some cash and be a bit more creative with the routing – we live in MAN and have enough Avios.