Aer Lingus has finally confirmed its first three routes from Manchester Airport – and they are not fully what we were expecting.
Aer Lingus is launching the following flights:
- New York, daily from 29th July
- Orlando, 5x weekly (Thu-Mon) from 29th July
- Barbados, 3x weekly (Wed/Fri/Sun) from 20th October
Boston has also been announced but will not launch until Summer 2022.
Barbados is a surprise. There was some rumour about Antigua but no-one had mentioned Barbados.
These are non-stop routes and do not go via Ireland. They use aircraft which are currently not required for the reduced Aer Lingus long-haul schedule being operated from Dublin.
What aircraft are being used?
From a few random searches:
- New York is on a single-aisle A321neo
- Orlando is on a standard two-aisle A330-300
- Barbados is on a standard two-aisle A330-300
Boston is also reported to be using an A321neo when it launches in 2022.
Business Class on the A321neo is an alternating 1-1 / 2-2 configuration with a fully flat bed seat, so it works for both couples and solo travellers.
The A330 is an alternating 1-2-2 / 1-2-1 configuration. Both should be well above British Airways Club World, although not Club Suite.
Here is the A321LR business class cabin – the A330 is very similar:
The New York flight has a sensible 12.05 departure time from Manchester, arriving into JFK at 15.25. This means that a connection from elsewhere in the UK may be possible if timed right.
Interestingly, due to regulatory reasons, tickets may not be purchased for departures FROM the United States. Only UK-originating passengers are allowed to travel.
Which terminal will Aer Lingus use?
It isn’t clear. At the moment, all flights are departing from Terminal 1 but this may have changed by July.
In the long term I would expect them to use the new pier in Terminal 2. A new Escape and 1903 lounge will be in the extension – it isn’t clear if there will also be a oneworld lounge alongside the confirmed Virgin Clubhouse.
What will these flights cost with Avios?
At the moment, I cannot see any Avios availability for these flights. We will keep an eye out and let you know, which could be later today or it could be in a few weeks.
There are two ways of booking Aer Lingus flights with Avios. You can either:
- book on avios.com, transferring Avios from British Airways Executive Club, which gets you the best availability but higher taxes, or
- call British Airways Executive Club (no online booking) which anecdotally has worse availability but lower taxes – out of Dublin you would pay under £100 but obviously you now need to add Air Passenger Duty
Aer Lingus has its own peak and off-peak calendar which is different to the British Airways one. You can see the 2021 BA, Iberia and Aer Lingus peak and off-peak Avios calendars in this HfP article.
For clarity, you cannot use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher or a Lloyds Avios Rewards upgrade voucher on Aer Lingus.
The article in our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series explains everything you need to know about redeeming Avios on Aer Lingus.
Will these flights earn Avios or British Airways tier points?
Once Aer Lingus joins the BA / AA / Iberia / Finnair transatlantic joint venture then, yes, the New York, Boston and Orlando services will earn Avios and tier points. It isn’t clear about Barbados although I consider it likely as I expect all Aer Lingus flights to become ‘earning’.
You will earn Avios irrespective. You need to weigh up whether you get a better deal crediting to Aer Lingus AerClub, where the Avios earned is based on the price of your ticket, or into British Airways Executive Club where you earn via the standard partner table, based on miles flown.
This is an exciting opportunity for travellers outside the Heathrow catchment area. If the taxes on redemptions are low, it may also persuade some London residents to head up to Manchester too.
You can see full details of these new services on the Aer Lingus website here.
You can book on the Aer Lingus site here.
We look forward to reviewing these new services in Business Class, especially the A321LR which we haven’t tried yet on any airline, over the Summer.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2024)
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.
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.