No, it’s not April 1st. Aer Lingus has announced plans to bring back Business Class on some of its key short-haul routes. And it will be doing it with FULLY FLAT seats.
And here’s the thing – this is actually a remarkably sensible thing to do.
Aer Lingus has 14 A321LR aircraft on order, with the first arriving in June. The LR bit in the name means ‘long range’, and this particular model has the longest range of any single aisle aircraft. This means that it has the ability to fly directly to the US East Coast and beyond. In a test flight, it managed to fly from the Seychelles to the Airbus factory in Toulouse – an 11 hour trip.
Aer Lingus will be using them to increase the number of US destinations it serves, with the smaller number of seats versus a two aisle plane giving it the ability to enter smaller markets.
Each of the Aer Lingus A321LR aircraft will have 16 fully flat Business Class seats along with 170 Economy Seats. Aer Lingus does not have First Class or Premium Economy.
These planes need to be kept busy
Aer Lingus has two reasons to introduce Business Class on its European network.
The first reason – and the reason they are giving publicly – is that some customers won’t book an airline unless they are getting Business Class on all legs. At the moment, connecting passengers in Dublin are moved to an Aer Lingus ‘all Economy’ short haul flight. As well as 3×3 seating, they don’t even get free catering. Your average East Coast banker or West Coast entertainment lawyer won’t go for that.
Secondly – which is not a stated reason but which I am sure is true – is that Aer Lingus simply needs to keep these expensive new aircraft busy. The problem with running all of your long-haul flights to the US is that the aircraft tend to leave in the evening and land back in Dublin early in the morning. By rostering the new A321LR planes for short-haul duties, they can be kept busy all day.
The timetable will not allow Aer Lingus to operate all of its A321LR aircraft into Europe. The current plan is that eight of the new planes will also operate on short haul, primarily to major European business cities.
Don’t get too carried away though. The catering will be the same as buy-on-board options in Economy, although Business Class passengers won’t have to pay.
Even before this launches, it is highly likely that the A321LR planes will be used on short-haul routes for a few weeks from June in order to train cabin crew. I’ll let you know when these trips appear in the timetable in case you want to give it a try.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.