Looks like there will be a new player in the flat-bed business class seats market across the Atlantic. Aer Lingus is upgrading their cabins starting in March 2015 to include a massive flat-bed seat, along with all the usual accoutrements.
About the seat
The new Aer Lingus business class seat is nearly identical to JetBlue‘s Mint seat, at least from the outward look of things. Similarly long bed (2 meters/ 6.5’ on the Aer Lingus version) and a staggered layout providing some solo seats and some pairs. It is a very nice product and will quickly launch Aer Lingus into a competitive position in the market. And there are a few soft product improvements coming which should also help on that front.
With the staggered layout not every seat will have direct aisle access, but 90% will. And for couples traveling together the paired seats are pretty nice. Still a decent amount of privacy but also the ability to interact with your companion.
There are also some pretty cool storage options in the seat, including a slot for shoes and a laptop or other reading material. Little things like that make a big difference when it comes to being comfortable and having your “stuff” easily accessible in flight.
Aer Lingus has a new lounge in Boston and will be building a new one at JFK (no more Airspace Lounge in T5 for them, it seems). There’ s also a new lounge coming at Heathrow T2. The lounges in Boston and New York will offer pre-flight dining, a huge benefit for a trip where the flight is already a bit too short for a decent sleep.
In-flight Entertainment & Connectivity
A new IFE system, sourced from Panasonic, will include 16″ multi-touch screens and a full AVOD selection. The carrier notes 90 hours of TV shows and more than 1,000 albums of music as part of the offering but stops short of details about the number of movies included. Still, that’s a lot of content. And the 16″ screen is one of the largest crossing the Atlantic in Business Class these days (SQ’s is bigger; not sure anyone else is). Also, the in-flight wifi will be complimentary for business class passengers.
And, lest we forget, the business class flight from Boston to Dublin is still a spectacular value on the Avios award chart. At 25,000 points it is hard to beat. Even for the JFK option this is now a product worthy of considering at the slightly higher rates it will command.
There are still a few details left unclear, like what the full rollout schedule is and what will happen with the 757s (though there are only 3 of those and they are a “damp lease” so unlikely to see updates, plus the layout is designed for a widebody). Still, this is a significant upgrade to the product and one which make Aer Lingus very competitive in the market. That sort of thing is always nice to see.
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