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 (May 2021)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
There are two official British Airways American Express cards:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
Do you have a small business? Until 20th May 2021, you can receive a special sign-up bonus worth 29,900 Avios with the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa credit card. This offer is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to learn more.
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)