Aer Lingus is the long-established Irish national carrier, part of the IAG group of airlines. This is my Ultimate Guide to flying with Aer Lingus in Business Class from their hub in Dublin to Los Angeles, California.
Within Europe, Aer Lingus competes on service and price in a very tight market with high volumes, but its history and long-haul business class product to North America distinguishes Aer Lingus from low-cost competitors.
The Aer Lingus website is one of the smoothest airline booking experiences to step through, not least because the font and font size is large and easy to read. In 2023, Aer Lingus started to show alternative indirect and code share options for your search, based on an initial Dublin to North America flight plus an onward flight to your final destination with a code share partner. I’ve yet to use this facility, but it could be a useful addition for the airline.
[Note: the Los Angeles route can be seasonal, flights are currently available Dublin to San Francisco].
Aer Lingus offers no Premium Economy seating, just Economy or Business.
Aer Lingus uses the Plusgrade system, through which it offers paid-for upgrades from Economy seats to Business Class. I should say it *may* offer upgrades because if business class is full with full-fare passengers, it’s full! If there is availability, Aer Lingus will email all eligible passengers and invite you to apply. If you make a successful bid, it’s because you made the highest acceptable bid for the upgrade.
Business Class Benefits
Lie-flat Seat, large IFE, separate cabin
High-quality food and drink options
You might also like my complete guide on How to Get (to &) from Dublin Airport to Dublin City Centre & Beyond
Aer Lingus Check-in
Aer Lingus is based at Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport and has a substantial check-in area on the ground level on the right as you enter the terminal. Anyone with a business-class ticket or who has AerClub status of silver or higher is able to use the Premium Check-in. I have seen this check-in area very quiet or with a long line, while economy has check-in screens which can move quickly.
Aer Lingus ground staff are unfailingly polite and I was checked in for my Los Angeles flight quickly. Business class provides a fast track pass to get through security. Don’t forget that security is two levels up in Terminal 2! There are both escalators and lifts and fast track is positioned to the left of the security hall.
Gate & Boarding
The duty free area in Dublin Airport is huge. If you’re looking for anything, from Bushmills whiskey to Irish smoked salmon, you’ll get it there. However, watch your timing as it will take time to get to the gate. Here’s why…
Dublin Airport is one of the few outside the US which has a US Pre-clearance for immigration and customs. This means that passengers arrive in the US as if they were domestic passengers, with no wait time on arrival.
Fun Ireland Activities
Business-class passengers are able to short-cut the second security line at pre-clearance, saving quite a lot of time. Also, if you have Global Entry (or another known traveler pass), you can shortcut the pre-clearance line and get through quickly. Economy class passengers without Global Entry will have the longest wait to be processed.
For many people, this won’t matter at all. However, if you flying in business class to the US, you get access to a lounge AFTER pre-clearance.
Lounge: 51st & Green
You can read my full 51st & Green lounge review by clicking here. Note that you CAN pay to enter, meaning if you’re flying economy, you can still have lounge benefits.
Cabin & Seat
Typically, Aer Lingus uses a wide-body Airbus A330-200 for its longer transatlantic flights, including to Los Angeles and San Francisco. If memory serves, Seats 3K and 5K are the best on the A330, as they are ‘throne seats’ with storage and extra space on either side of the seat. Next best (for me) is 5A, which positions the seat beside the window and the storage and arm rest next to the aisle. This minimises the risk of having your gin and tonic bumped as people go by!
The lie-flat option on Aer Lingus is pretty comfortable. It’s fair to compare it to other premium cabins and the facility to add a mattress pad and/or sheet on an airline like Virgin in Upper Class is preferable. Here, you have the regular seat, laid out with a warm blanket: still comfy all the same!
As you get settled in, you are brought a glass of champagne, cold water or orange juice. At the time of writing (2023), Aer Lingus is serving Jean Pernet Tradition Brut NV Champagne. A lighter champagne to help you toast your departure!
Aer Lingus: Amenities & Service
It’s not just because I’m Irish, but I’ve never had a bad service on board Aer Lingus, whether in an Economy or Business seat. On this flight, the first drinks service was prompt and food was quite a bit later (it’s a long flight, after all). However, staff were present in the cabin if you did require anything.
In Flight Entertainment
The IFE screen is a generous size and is very clear. However, it did not appear to tilt, to adjust for shadows or sunshine. The headphones offered in the business cabin were of reasonable quality, although I prefer to use my own Sony over-ears with noise-cancelling or my Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones.
Wi-Fi can be purchased on board (vouchers for free usage are offered for business customers). On this occasion, the wi-fi worked perfectly and it was fast enough for general social media and blog reading.
Aer Lingus does offer an amenity kit. To be frank, compared to the rest of the offering on this flight, this was the poorest quality item.
The Voya products ARE excellent. However, the bag itself isn’t great (you might not want to keep it) and the offering could be a bit more generous.
Food & Drinks
The quality of the Aer Lingus food offering was really excellent. The menus are nicely printed and sound very tempting. You can find the current menu by clicking here (opens a new window).
You can check out the menu that I enjoyed below:
First up was a canapé set to be enjoyed with your first main beverage. The star of the show was that beautiful pesto tart in the centre. The pastry was unctuous and crumbly.
The first course was a duo of smoked salmon and hot-smoked salmon, served with a delicious side salad and fresh bread roll. What really sets this meal apart is the proper cutlery and porcelain plates. Attention to detail is very important at this end of the market.
The main course was Irish beef fillet with Guinness and rosemary potatoes. Getting beef right in a galley kitchen on board a flight is a magical mystery unclear to me, but this was soft and tender and had a punchy umami flavour from the Guinness.
Dessert was an orange chocolate marble cake, which i would not have liked, so I went with the Dubliner and Cashel Blue cheeses with crunchy biscuits and a plum and apple chutney. I love the charcoal cheese biscuits (the black biscuit below) and this was served charmingly on a piece of slate.
A couple of hours out from arrival, a range of sandwiches was served with a hot mug of tea and a scone with clotted cream and jam. It tasted as good as it looked and after a refreshing nap on the lie-flat seat, it was just the ticket.
Have no doubt, there’s a wide range of alcoholic and soft beverages served on board. I enjoyed a gin and tonic and Hendricks was served here with Schweppes tonic. I had a glass of red wine with my main course and it was really excellent. There’s clearly a proper sommelier in the pay of Aer Lingus!
After two gins and a glass of red wine, I think anyone would be ready for a mid-flight nap!
Fun Los Angeles Activities
Like Ultimate Guides? Try out this Ultimate Guide to Norse Atlantic in Premium
The flight from DUB-LAX takes around 9h30m. I love a moving map and seeing the flight come in over Las Vegas means you’re almost there.
The sun was setting over the Pacific Ocean as EI145 edged towards LAX.
The familiar grid pattern of Los Angeles stretches out towards Santa Monica and the coast.
Time to put my book into my hand luggage and prepare for transit into the city.
Aer Lingus Revival Lounge
On arrival in Dublin Terminal 2, it’s worth checking out the Aer Lingus Revival Lounge which is included for business class passengers. Read my full report and guide right here.
Aer Lingus in Business: Overall Impression
Aer Lingus in Business is enjoyable in a narrow body shorter transatlantic hop (such as JFK or Toronto to Dublin), but is particularly good on a wide-body aircraft. The quality of the food, drink and service is top notch and the overall experience from check-in to arrival makes you feel very special as a passenger. There isn’t much lets this product down, perhaps apart from the quality of the amenity kit.