Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Aer Lingus to launch US flights from the UK regional airport that pays it the most money

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Aer Lingus has decided to scrap its direct flights to the United States from Shannon, according to media reports.

The two aircraft based there will be moved to a UK regional airport and used to launch US services. As is usual with Aer Lingus, which is well known for seeking inducements to open routes, it seems that the flights will go to whichever airport is willing to offer the airline the most money.

Aer Lingus to launch US flights from UK regional airport

(Back in 2018, as we wrote about, Aer Lingus was brazen enough to launch a public competition, offering to launch flights to the US city which handed over the most ‘incentives’.)

This money is usually directed from the tourism budget when it is US cities involved. Since I doubt any UK city would be willing to fund Aer Lingus flights, it is likely that the money will come from the airport. This could be in the form of cash payments or substantial discounts on landing and passenger fees.

There is no indication that these flights will stop in Dublin on the way.

Where may Aer Lingus fly from?

The Irish Times reports that six regional UK airports have submitted a bid. Edinburgh and Manchester are the only two which were named.

Aer Lingus to launch US flights from UK regional airport

What aircraft will Aer Lingus base there?

Shannon is currently the home of two Airbus A321LR aircraft.

We have written about the Aer Lingus A321LR fleet a few times, including here. This is a new long range (hence the ‘LR’) version of the single aisle A321 aircraft.

It is capable of flying from Ireland, and presumably the UK, non-stop to the US East Coast. Shannon currently serves New York and Boston.

The A321LR has a rather nifty flat bed business class seat which you can see here. The business class cabin has 16 seats.

Aer Lingus to launch US flights from UK regional airport

This appears to be a long term deal

The Irish Times reports that Aer Lingus is offering a three year contract to the winning airport.

This is bad news for Shannon, which is also facing the loss of flights by Delta and United to the US. American Airlines is the only airline which is currently offering flights to Shannon for 2021.

For UK based HfP readers, this is good news. There will be new Avios-bookable flights to the US East Coast from a UK regional airport.

The Irish Times report is here.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points 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.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

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.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (45)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Nick says:

    In any business, if the tables have been turned for you to the extent that they have over the past few months, the phrase ‘dog eat dog’ could never be truer, or more apt, if you want to survive.

  • Andrew Mc says:


    • Andrew says:

      Yes, I was thinking that too. HIAL have very deep pockets, and there would be zero APD. Would be a bit of a shocker for people who hadn’t done their research properly for connecting transport from “London Inverness Airport”.

      Edinburgh (in normal circumstances) has direct flights to New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago & Washington – so I’m not sure what they would bid without upsetting United, Delta and American.

      Prestwick? It’s only 45 minutes on the direct train from Glasgow Central to Prestwick International Station. It’s taken me longer than that on the bus from outside Queen St to Paisley International.

  • Jan M says:

    Tbh, I would settle for Aer Lingus running a flight from Cardiff to Dublin. CWL airport really has a lack of flight connections since the collapse of FlyBE.

  • dudeabides12 says:

    Here’s hoping BHX have thrown their hat in the ring.

    • Andrew says:

      +1 it’s a shame BHX lost New York first from United and then American. And it’s location with a train station attached means even for Milton Keynes, BHX is more convenient than LHR (although of course LTN is closer by road)

    • Chris L says:

      Agreed, they’ve been desperate to get some transatlantic routes back since the US carriers pulled out. Anyone remember Primera Air??! However, right now I’m guessing they’re in something akin to survival mode.

      • Andrew says:

        Yes, Primera pulled out of BHX before it even launched! At least QR and EK still fly from BHX.

  • Nick_C says:

    Bad news for the CBP guys based at Shannon. I can’t see how this will remain viable if only AA are flying from there.

    I flew EI LGW-SNN-JFK a few years ago when I needed a cheap one way flight. Both flights were full. I would have thought using SNN as a hub with feeder flights from multiple regional UK airports would attract more pax than direct flights from a single UK base.

    • Callum says:

      But isn’t that exactly what they do in Dublin already – with a much, much larger feeder network. Seems pointless to replicate it in Shannon for just a couple of routes.

      • Nick_C says:

        Actually DUB was replicating SNN, which has had US Immigration clearance since 1986.

        At one time, all flights from Ireland to the US operated via SNN. This was to protect Shannon’s historic traffic as a refuelling stop for long haul flights.

        • Callum says:

          I didn’t say it wasn’t! The suggestion was to make SNN a hub with a feeder network, which would just be replicating what they have in DUB given it currently is not one.

    • Chris L says:

      I think the point has been made by Rob many times that full flights don’t equal profitable flights. I think it’s a great idea. The narrow-body jets are likely to be right-sized to suit somewhere like MAN or BHX. It will be interesting if IAG consider setting up these routes somewhere like MAN or EDI to cause cannibalisation of BA’s routes.

  • tony says:

    I wonder if they would operate on a triangular route, so via DUB on the outbound for the pre-clearance, a move which would also give them the flexibility to swap the plane or crew over? Presumably it’ll be a major city that’s served in the US, so unlikely to be supporting an A321 from DUB?

  • Anna says:

    MAN would really benefit from some more direct flights across the pond. An Avios spending/earning opportunity to JFK would be fantastic.

  • Jonathan says:

    Never understood the point of Shannon. A country the size/population of Eire can easily survive with 1 long haul hub. It’s 1hr 30 drive from Cork to Shannon & only an hour more to Dublin so population that are significantly shorter travel time to Shannon is minuscule!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.