Aer Lingus Business Class was revamped at the beginning of 2015 when the carrier chose the ‘Vantage Seat’ by Northern Ireland based company Thompson Aero, which is 22 inches wide converts to a fully-flat 6’6″ long bed. Keeping with Irish suppliers, all fabrics were weaved by Dublin based Botany Weaving. This seat now features across the entire Aer Lingus long haul fleet, being the same product on the Airbus A330 and Boeing 757 fleet.
EI137 – Dublin to Boston (DUB-BOS)
22 October 2015
Airbus A330-300 EI-ELA “St. Patrick”
Seat: Business Class 3A
Departure: 11:50 Arrival: 13:45
On the ground at Dublin Airport, a separate Premium Check-in area has been created for Business Class passengers and members of the Aer Lingus Frequent Flyer programme, The Gold Circle Club (which is to be replaced by the new Aer Club from late 2016).
Today, there was no queue so I was seen immediately and checked in promptly. You’ll see there are flowers on the desk to add a fresh and friendly feeling to the proceedings.
My boarding pass was issued and I waved goodbye to my hold luggage which was proudly sporting an Aer Lingus Business Class bag tag. Turning around, there were signs instructing passengers to go to the lounge.
Business Class passengers can use Fast-Track security at Dublin, which was fast and efficient as usual and immediately after I made my way to the Gold Circle Lounge. It was only 20 minutes until the flight to Boston was called, as time needs to be allocated for U.S. Customers and Border Protection’s Dublin Preclearance.
Dublin and Shannon are the only two airports in Europe that allow you to clear immigration and customs before you depart. This means you arrive into the USA as though you had come off a domestic flight which makes the arrival experience much faster and absolutely stress free.
In Dublin, the procedure is as follows. First your carry-on luggage is screened again. From there you join a queue and I was directed to a machine that automatically matched me with my Passport.
You then join another (long) queue to see an immigration officer. The queue did move fairly swiftly and once at the head of the line I was asked why I was going to the USA, when I last went to the USA, and where I was staying while there. Once done, you go to your gate area where you mill around in a very small area with lots of other people until your flight is ready for boarding.
There is no lounge in this area below the normal gates and almost no facilities which Dublin Airport is addressing by planning to build a new lounge here.
Business Class passengers were invited to board first and I was soon on the aircraft taking pictures.
The cabin configuration is interesting, being alternatively 1-2-1 and 1-2-2. The new lie flat seats are a lot nicer than the previous angled flat bed seats, with far more storage per passenger. The seats had a big soft pillow waiting on them which I immediately put up into the overhead with my carry on bag.
All the seats on the left are single seats with the console alternating between being next to the window or next to the aisle. I had deliberately tried to choose a seat with the console on the aisle side, but alas I had got it wrong. Row 1, 3, 5 and 7 on the A330-300 have the console on your left by the window so that you’re exposed to the aisle. Row 2, 4, and 6 let you sit right next to the window with the console on your right hand side protecting you from the aisle. I had chosen my seat based on an incorrect seat map on the Aer Lingus web site which has since been corrected. Below is one of the seats I would have preferred.
Once I settled in, the crew came by with the welcome drinks and for a change there was a choice of four. The usual three standard Business Class drinks the world over were on offer (Champagne, Water and Orange Juice) along with and something different – a Bellini. Naturally, I chose the Bellini!
The seats feature a massage function which is always very welcome so while I sipped my Bellini and relaxed, I had myself a nice in seat massage.
I found the headphones in the convenient storage area under the PTV. There were two types issued which I have never seen before – both over the ear ones and bright green bud types.
Amenity kits were also handed out and happily we were given our wireless internet cards. Wi-Fi is free for Business Class passengers and available for a fee in Economy Class on Aer Lingus.
When I went to put my headphones in one of the many storage areas around my seat, I found a thoughtfully left pair of balled up socks in a console from a previous passenger. A cabin crew member took them from me with an apology. I really hate finding things left from other passengers when I fly, but in this case they were black socks in a black bin so they would have been difficult to see. Even so, not up to standard.
The menu was very handsomely presented and I perused this before departure.
Soon enough our drinks were collected, we had the video safety demonstration, pushed back and were off in the air on our way to Boston. We had a female Captain on the flight and I noticed that the Purser made the error during her welcome announcement that the “Captain has introduced himself”. Perhaps it was only me who noticed, but not good when you have a female captain.
It was time to check out what movies were on offer. The screen is quite large and you can see here.
The selection of movies and television shows was quite disappointing. You can see there that they had all three Godfather movies, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Goonies, Harry Potter and a mix of a few other classic and relatively new movies with a distinct aim at family friendly titles. The selection was very light on content and the television selection wasn’t much better. This was definitely a weak point, especially as none of the movies seemed to be particularly new. I’m quite used to catching up on my recent new release movies when I fly, but this wasn’t to be the case with Aer Lingus.
Here is a view of the cabin from my seat. The Shamrock on the bulkhead looks quite classy!
Cabin service began with drinks as it tends to do. Here comes the drinks trolley!
I ordered a Bloody Mary and canapés were served along with it.
The drink was hideous. It didn’t taste anything like the delicious Bloody Mary you can get on Cathay Pacific or even the one on British Airways. I gave back the second miniature vodka unused as there was no way I was having a second one.
The canapés on the other hand were lovely! Delicious olives, the cucumber and cheese was delightful, and the fishy notes on the third one were unexpectedly nice!
I visited the toilet and found things to be quite satisfactory. It was good to see more Irish companies being supported with the Co. Sligo based VOYA company’s products being available for hand washing and moisturising.
When I returned, we were given hot towels to refresh ourselves before lunch. These were adequate, but I’ve used better.
Meanwhile, the view was quite nice for this daytime flight and no-one was insisting on the window blinds being closed.
Soon enough, lunch was served! The serviettes were embroidered with the Shamrock – of course!
For my starter, I chose was the St Tola goat’s cheese with beetroot and rocket. When the tray arrived, I thought everything looked very nicely presented. It was a great mix of colours which caught the eye.
I was especially enamoured with the shape of the plate the beetroot dish was served on. It just looked so cool!
Someone had paid good attention to the colours in the salad making it look pleasing to the eye. Luckily there was vinaigrette with it, as I am quite partial to a bit of that.
Bread had been offered as well and I took one small roll which was tasty too.
The whole course was particularly nice and felt very healthy. The salad had a really nice mix of things what with the peppers, cucumber, olives and so on rather then being overly leafy like some salads can be. The beetroot and goat’s cheese was stunning. I love beetroot and I love goat’s cheese, so full marks from me!
Once this was cleared away, it was time for the main course. For this course I chose the Daube of Lambay Island beef, colcannon and rich gravy. It was the colcannon mash that sold me on this choice.
The beef was astonishingly nice! It was perfectly cooked so that it just fell to pieces with the slightest effort. I was so taken with the taste and this fact that I took another shot mid-meal.
The colcannon mash was delicious even if it was a little unfortunately presented – it looked a bit like it was squeezed from a tube. The vegetables were great also. I remembered from my last flight on Aer Lingus Business Class (5 years previously!) that the meals were delicious and I was happy they still were. I found the portion size to be perfect – it was enough food to not be stupidly full.
Dessert followed and this was the Chocolate Mousse.
Once I had finished eating, I decided to get some photos of the seat area. These are the seat controls, which are well labelled.
The tray table is fairly large and hinges over and up into the divider beside you. It also felt very sturdy so I would have had no trouble using a laptop on this at all.
Beside you is a storage area for a bottle of water (where the light is coming from), your device charging point and a personal light.
Further over is a storage cabinet which is actually quite large as you can see below.
Legroom was ample and you can see the foot well also. Your feet actually go under the console of the person in front of you, so it’s quite a nifty use of space.
On the wall is a Wi-Fi sticker to alert you to the fact you can be connected during flight.
I walked to the rear of the cabin and took a picture – as you can see the flight was virtually full in Business Class. The 1-2-1 and 1-2-2 layout is clear here.
Another view from my seat, this time with the flight information on my screen. It’s a shame it’s so boringly presented on a blue background.
The pull tab in the next picture (bottom centre) is what you use to start the process of pulling out your tray table.
Let me mention the Wi-Fi at this point. The connection was surprisingly speedy and it only dropped out once or twice and then only for a minute or so maximum. I have experienced the blindingly slow Wi-Fi on other flights (I’m looking at you, British Airways Club World London City) and this was far superior than any I have used before.
I was on Facebook and Snapchat posting pictures of my flight just because I could. It was a bit of a novelty to be in the air and mucking around online. iPhone weather even worked!
Full marks on that, it was very good!
A while before landing it was time for afternoon tea. This consisted of a Super Power Salad (Courgette, quinoa, broccoli, feta) and Scones.
This was very nice and exactly what I needed before landing. It was actually more substantial than I would have expected for afternoon tea. Here’s the delicious jam to go with the scones!
Once afternoon was cleared away, I took two more views of the seat. You can see the manual controls for the inflight entertainment along with the side console.
Directly underneath you can see some storage, the magazine area and the place where I found someone’s socks!
We descended and landed uneventfully into Boston and it was off to Baggage Claim to collect my bag. The priority tag worked and my bag was one of the first onto the carousel.
What did I think? I was thoroughly impressed with the decor and the way the items were much more elegant than previously. For example, the menu design was quite chic, the Shamrock on the bulkhead was great and the colour scheme was very reminiscent of Ireland.
The food was brilliantly prepared and presented, full of flavour and utterly delicious. The only down sides were the terrible Bloody Mary and the limited selection of new release movies on the inflight entertainment. That said, the Wi-Fi meant that I had something to do instead of watch movies and that was quite fun.
The service from the crew was typical of Aer Lingus which is to say that it was very good indeed. Aer Lingus offer a very competitive product across the Atlantic and I’d have absolutely no qualms about using them again.
Thank you for reading and if you have any comments and questions, please leave them below.