Airline Review: Aer Lingus

Photo of the Aer Lingus airplane about to fly around EuropeOn my recent flight to London, I flew the Irish carrier Aer Lingus. For $350, they were the cheapest deal, and they code-shared with my frequent flier program. I expected an awful flight, as some of my Irish friends didn’t have kind words about the carrier. But I actually found the flight to be great.

Aer Lingus used to be a major carrier but has restructured itself to be a low-cost carrier offering cheap flights around Europe and America via its hub in Dublin. Aer Lingus recently partnered with the American carrier Jetblue to offer flights from anywhere in America to destinations in Europe. Additionally, it frequently offers no-fare flights to and from Ireland (just taxes!). I’m still not sure how they make any money this way, but I’ll take it while the taking is good.

The Aer Lingus flight was a lot better than my previous flight to Europe. However, sadly, this plane didn’t have any personal viewing screens, a necessity in my view for any overseas flight. No personal screens are a sure sign of an old plane and, as you can probably tell from the pictures, this was an old plane. I don’t hold this against Aer Lingus like I do Air Canada, though. Whereas Air Canada is a major carrier, Aer Lingus is “low cost,” meaning amenities are few and far between. I expect perks from a big-name carrier when I’m paying a big-name price, but from a low-cost airline, I just expect a cheap ticket and a seat.

Aer Lingus sadly doesn't have personal viewing screens on the back of each airline seatGetting cheap flights to Europe, especially to London, during the summer is always hard. The next cheapest ticket for a one-way was over $500 dollars. Round trips can run over $1000, but are generally around $800 to $900 during the summer. So $350 was a steal and, judging by the full flight, I’m not the only one who thought so.

The staff was friendly and all smiles. Plus, they had those amazing Irish accents. How can you not like someone with an accent as wonderful as that? You just can’t. Moreover, no one woke me up when I was asleep. I hate being woken up to “Would you like any coffee?” After all, if I wanted coffee, I wouldn’t be sleeping. The flight attendants were respectful of my sleep.

The food was average. Typical airline fare. I had some chicken and veggies that were passable. Again, though, I wouldn’t expect gourmet food on a flight like this. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t really anything good, either.

Something that did stand out was the legroom. I’m not a giant, so I usually do have room, but there seemed to be more than usual here.

Overall, Aer Lingus isn’t a bad carrier to fly. I’ve had more luxurious flights, but for the price you’re paying, Aer Lingus is great. I would fly them again as well as suggest them to other fliers, especially if the lowest price was all that mattered.

Next time you fly to Europe from the States, take a look at Ireland’s national airline, Aer Lingus.

  1. I agree with you – not the most glamorous flight, but it doesn’t claim to be and it gets you to where you need to be on a pretty decent budget. Though I have only flown from Cork to London, which is a very short fligt.

  2. Anthony

    That is when living in a mega-uber-city like Boston or New York comes handy: uber-cheap flights across the ocean. Three-hundred dollars?! Living in Orlando: not as cheap :(

  3. Theresa

    My first international flight was on Aer Lingus, so it holds a special place in my heart :-)

  4. Erica Johansson

    Haven’t flown with Aer Lingus (yet), but if it’s a cheap flight I’m looking for I know what airline to opt for. When I was looking for flights to the US from UK a while back I couldn’t find anything under $500.

  5. The Irish accent does it for me too. Is English spoken any more pleasantly than with that lilting tuneful Irish accent? Not that I;ve discovered….

    • The scottish accent is also has the same effect. Not that i’m biased in any way.. 😛 I’ve never flown with Aer Lingus(yet). I just hope it’s not like Ryan Air (another irish carrier). I flew with them from Glasgow to Duesseldorf, but the airport was actually 60 miles outside of Duesseldorf and was actually much closer to some cities in Holland. That being said, they are cheap, and as much as I complain I still won’t pay more for a better airline! I will make a point to check out Aer Lingus next time I am looking for a cheap flight. :)

  6. Glad you have a safe trip and I will keep them in mind for any transatlantic flight I book.

    I recently published a review of TAM Airlines. If you are planning a flight to South America you should seriously check them out. We got fantastic service and the food was actually quite good. For an airline that is.

  7. Here’s a bit of background for you. Aer Lingus used to be expensive with shabby service and had a virtual monopoly for flights originating from Ireland. Enter low cost carrier Ryan Air and things changed quickly. Aer Lingus almost went bust.

    Eventually they did what any other airline would do and copied the competition while upgrading the service so finally they are profitable and actually quite good again.

    They have incorporated the low cost approach for short haul flights as well as upping their service on transatlantic flights in order to survive. fyi – Ryanair are planning to open routes from Europe to USA for around 20 euros + taxes so let the good times roll!

  8. Pol Mac Cnaimhin

    Hi all,

    Well, I’m Irish, and thanks for all the kind words on the accent.

    As regards Aerlingus, they are no longer part of one world. I always did feel a bit sorry for those that had booked with American Airlines, paid their fare, and then been asked to use Aerlingus to take them oversees. with the guy in the next seat paying a fraction of the AA price, it’s no wonder that they are no longer part of oneworld.



  9. Donna

    aer lingus are no more part of one world and there selling there a330s and buying brand spanking new ones wich mostlikely will have personal screens.

  10. Fry

    To anyone who has the unfortunate Aer Lingus experience or thinking of flying with them;

    firstly I am not a Ryanair fan infact both of the aerlines can kiss my griss,
    put it correctly AerLingus are the biggest scumbag enterprise in Ireland, last Friday they announcement 1 hour before flights were to depart that they were canceled

    when arriving everyone was forced to queue which took minimum 8 feckin hours! it drove ppl crazy either way dealing with that they were the most dog arrogant staff I ever dealt with,

    ppl queueing that I met:
    An elderly couple standing for 1 day coming home from US
    A mother carrying 2 bags and her toddler child who was crying her eyes out from hunger and cold
    A German family who stood patiently unaware of the next outcome

    the queue was arsely organised by the staff who were speaking to ppl in the rudest manner because they were hungover and had to work on the 1st,
    the airport police gave up looking after the queue after 2 hours, ppl were fainting in the queue, ppl falling asleep on bags and young ppl skipping the queue coz they didnt feel like queueing,
    either way this could be managable but noticed that the staff kept changing as their shift was ending, new staff came in,
    I felt so sorry for the poor customers who were treated like animals in a sick way that aer lingus bosses wouldnt dream of doing,
    My father used to work in the NDT section for Aer lingus for 40 years until been told the company was shut down without redundancy and battling for his pension, these feckin muppets said flights were cancled because of the weather (this was infact true for UK flights) as per standard which my dad explained that if there not used to weather conditions and precaution is to cancel flight.. HOWEVER the AL scumbags decided to close flights from Rome and Budapest simply because they flights were not full (this is the case if a flight has less than half full it wouldnt cover the cost of profit so they will change it) (check it out for yourself)

    during the queue i did infact try faithful Ryanair and the cheeky muppet smiled really vigorously at me telling me the flight (per person) has gone up to 650 euro,

    either way approaching the end of the queue (last 60 mins of queuing)
    I saw all the ppl I was chatting to in the queue, old ppl standing tired and cold, single mother with her crying daughter and funny enough I saw how arrogant the ppl who have only been sitting down for 2 hours behind their desk shouting at the customers, i mean this is insane I lost count of how many times I over heard (thats not my problem)
    I saw grown men cry, fathers having to go back to their wife and kids with giving them disappointing news,

    and I am even pissed at that absolute scumbag staff member who was flirting with the women and letting them cut the line,
    I heard 1 girl saying to an elderly couple ”we dont do vouchers, not my problem” they had trainees working behind the desk, I saw 1 guy banging his head on the counter,

    coming to the end of the queue the most stuck up arse approached ppl (at the ENDING OF THE QUEUE probably because the start of the queue was 800 meteres away and too far for comfort) telling them to go back and book online and saying ”because of the weather the flights were cancled” telling elderly ppl to get out of the queue and book online, she was there since 20 mins,

    I was delighted she approached me, I said to her
    ”no problem here is my number go book it for me please” she said you have to do that yourself, then I said ”
    firstly your not doing any good at the end of the queue you need to go to the start of the queue, you have just been here 20 minutes these ppl have been waiting 8 hours’
    secondly I dont think the weather is the cause of these cancalation flights
    as all other flights to Rome and Budapest are fine, it is probably because the flight was half booked and doesnt make enough profit by flying out

    she then said ”im just passing a message”
    I said ”ok from who”
    and she is saying, ”from information, just passing a message”
    I said ”ok I have a message to pass back to them, that their pretty sick ppl who allow countless ppl to wait in freezing cold for 10 hours and treating them in a sick manner just trying to save money”
    she then threatened me to call security, and simply walked off

    I honestly would prefer or would of been less insulting to have ppl shouting at customers who waited all day in a queue, telling elderly ppl who wouldnt know how to use the internet to book the flights,
    to sum it up got to the desk all flights for next 2 days were all booked out because some ppl just booked online,
    all buses then closed no transport was available at all taxis canceled, and ones that stayed charged 3 times the price

    Aer Lingus never gave 2 shits
    I am even not so sure how some of the ppl got home or stayed if everything was cancled, to this rant Aer Lingus are cunts
    its sick how they treat ppl like this, I am a patriot Irish man but so pissed off on how Dublin can treat ppl like this

    1.Dont travel by Ryanair or Aerlingus unless necessary
    2.Check this website to see if a flight is cancled or not as early as possible (you will probably know 1 hour before boarding time
    3.If a flight is cancled go directly to the website, dont waste time queuing and click (canceled flights then re book the flights) dont waste the time to queue up they wont give a shit
    4.Dont give into paying ridiculous money with other Aer ling ie.Ryanair if they know they can get away with it they will keep doing it
    5.If you have to queue up that long its your God given right to give them hell, being nice only gets you so far, rattle their cage if it makes you well nice to other ppl standing in queue save your anger for the desk, ppl in queue could be in same situation as yourself probably worse and always help out someone who might need it (ie swaping your place with a mother or elderly asking if you want to watch their place while they go have a rest)
    7.Complain, Complain,Complain, write to the metro (which is a fantastic newspaper if your nice to the editor and say your complained in a productive way providing its not too long they may print your letter

    Aer Lingus and all Dublin transportation (Taxi, bus, rail) you guys are fucken sick scum, your destroying the good nature of this Country and killing our tourism your so lucky that the society has the patience to deal with your arrogant service

    ps sorry for the swearing :)
    travel safe guys!

    • Valerie

      I was there also on that unfortunate 1st January, Aer lingus cancelled there 2045 flight to Heathrow because of ‘severe weather conditions’. We were told by 2 seperate Aer lingus personnel walking up an incredibly long and slow moving line that there was no way we would make our connecting flight to lapland from heathrow the following day as all flights were booked up. Too bad, nothing they could do. It was either to forfeit our holiday or last chance- got last minute standby one way flights to Stansted by Ryanair for the incredible 1500 euro!!!! 2 adults 3 children(sick vultures) Midnight 2 hour couch with 3 miserable cold children to Heathrow, no sleep but made our connecting flight. I faxed and wrote to Aer lingus requesting refund of this 1500 euro for alternative routing because of their cancelled flight. Got reply today, under European regulations they don’t have to compensate in extraordinary circumstances. Funny how Ryanair took off to London less than an hour after their scheduled flight!! On the runway we saw an Aer Lingus plane land into Dublin( I wonder was that our delayed plane arriving in late(??too late to fly its next flight) Full of CRAP. There is no incentive to try to accommodate/help people in a vulnerable situation-they don’t give a damn. They can hide behind ‘extraordinary circumstances’ when other flights are taking off and get away with it-because there is no retribution for them. They don’t have to compensate ANYONE. Shame on you Aer Lingus-you are a disgrace-you leave an unforgotten bad taste in many peoples’ mouths after your couldn’t care a damn attitude.

  11. Stephen

    Aer lingus has held my refund for a flight for nearly eight weeks..!! I have to pay premium call rates several times to ask why it has not been put back on my card. They cancelled the flight because of snow at Gatwick ,.. not me. Disgusting that they are holding my money this way … there must be laws against this behaviour, ..they are using passenger refund money to run their business… I am sure that may people must have my problem . What can I do?

    • Pranas

      I have the same problem,never gote refund ,flight was cancelled on 09/01/2010 because of snow .Was told to fill the formm on site wich was wery fany to do is well, fill the form oll details and when you whont to submit it going true outlook expres6 so you have to be a god on it and now you amail PPO3 and shet like this,finaly filled with windows7 ,tried in internet coffes and up to frends 10 diferent computers and workt only with windows7! after to days reng them to mike shore thay got it as newer got any confirmation.And after 15min got the person on phoune, ya you have filled and it will be refunded in 2weeks or 30days time .Its 6weeks and nothing refunded and cant get them on the phoun anymore what to do?

  12. Ian

    Aer Lingus cancelled our flight from Malage to Gatwick 09/01/2010, due to snow at Gatwick, funny Easyjet flew their passengers back in a similar flight slot.
    Sent 3 letters and 2 emails and not a reply. I am just about to start court action for compensation.

  13. Caroline

    Had the misfortune to travel with Aer Lingus yesterday on the 6.45pm (scheduled) flight from Gatwick to Cork. Due to arrive at 8.05pm, I was at the end of a holiday and had been travelling since 6 that morning. I was going to go straight to bed so that I could be in for work at 8.30 the next morning.

    Arrived in the Departures Lounge to discover that the departure time was delayed to 8.20pm. Had something to eat, waited. Some time later they bumped the departure time to 10.20pm and offered us 5 pound vouchers. (Which the girl at the desk told me couldn’t be used in WH Smith or somewhere else she muttered but I didn’t catch.)


    Departure time bumped to 10.50pm.

    Then we got texts from Aer Lingus, apologising for the delay, telling us it was due to technical issues and the plane was now on its way to Gatwick, they estimated we would depart at 11pm.

    Finally, we were herded to the gate. Where we waited again. No news, no plane.

    Eventually, someone asked one of the staff when they expected we would be leaving. Shortly afterwards, she announced, over a very faulty pa, that on the way to Gatwick a passenger had been violently sick and they were trying to clean it. Nobody could tell us how long that would take. One of the passengers shouted that if it wasn’t cleaned within 15 mins, she would go onboard and clean it herself. Funnily enough, we were let on shortly afterwards.

    Happy to report there was no sign of someone having been sick. Passengers later accused staff of lying.

    We eventually flew at 11.20pm. We were offered a free soft drink each. SOFT DRINK, it was emphasised. Insulting – what are we, 12? – that this is supposed to be compensation for a 4.5hr delay.

    As were were waiting to disembark in Cork, I had to endure cabin staff at the back of the plane making their night easier by making fun of my appearance – my hair (got to be a wig!), bag (Chanel, of course!), glasses. (Personally, I don’t think they’re that hilarious. But then I don’t think much of these people’s opinion either.) I was a handy target, I was in the back row.

    We entered the terminal building at 12.35am. The killer is that there were still people waiting to fly back on that plane to London immediately afterwards.

    Don’t count on customer service from this shambolic company.

  14. Dennis

    Thank you for all of your reviews. I am planning a family trip as a graduation present for two of my children and was considering Aer Lingus. I do not want to take a chance and spoil a once in a lifetime trip. Does anyone have a suggestion for an alternative carrier from the Northwest U.S. to Dublin?

    • NomadicMatt

      American flies from Chicago to Dublin.

      There’s nothing really wrong with Aer Lingus but it’s not that great. If you are going from Seattle to Dublin it might be a loooooong flight on Aer Lingus.

  15. Donovan

    Back in April they were advertising November flights from New Orleans to Paris for $922 at Cheapoair. Didn’t grab one because they were two-stop (additional layover in Dublin), and I thought it was still early enough to hold out for a one-stop via a U.S. airline close to the same price. And I also thought their cheap fare would stay current a bit longer. It didn’t; they moved back up into the $1100 range weeks ago. Moral: Aer Lingus (and U.S. Airways) advertise cheap seats well in advance of the 5-to-4-month window that online travel “experts” talk about, and you’d better grab one while you can. Ended up paying $981 for a United ticket last week that I found on a Canadian consolidator.

  16. Joey

    tl;dr I am surprised that Aer Lingus is still operating with their poor organisation and near-empty planes

    In Jan 2008, I was taking my return trip from Shannon to Heathrow. Like a good traveller, I called ahead a day ahead and they said that my ticket number was invalid. And that was it.

    I called Qantas (the carrier taking me from Heathrow to Sydney) and they said that everything was fine on their end.

    So I decided to go to the airport a few hours early so I could sort out any trouble. The flight was at 7am so I got there at 4 (I think, all I remember was that it was a long time because of what happens next). When I got to Shannon airport, the Aer Lingus counter was deserted.

    There was a sign that said “The desk will open at 6am.” So I got to sit around for 2-3 hours (again, I can’t remember exactly, just that it was a looong time). On the bright side, at least I was at the front of the queue.

    When the guy at the desk saw my e-ticket he said I need to speak to the reservations desk.

    Th girl at the reservations desk she said that my ticket had already been used. And without any more words went back to her terminal.

    “What do you mean its already been used?” I asked as politely as I could.

    This will still be a mystery as without any eye contact, told me to lineup again and to my relief, I got a seat on the near-empty flight to Heathrow.

  17. Aer Lingus sold our seats and charged us big time to fly home the next day!

    The service and food was adequate considering we got a good deal on round trip flights between SLC and Dublin. Rather it would have been a good deal if Aer Lingus didn’t end up charging my $521 for two more tickets to return home.

    After getting a little lost in Dublin, we arrived at the airport with a little over an hour before our departure time. When we tried to check in at the kiosk, it said check-in was closed. The attendant directed us to the check-in desk. They told us check-in had closed 15 minutes ago. When I pointed out that there were no lines at security and that an hour would still be plenty of time to get to our flight, they still refused to let me check in and sent me to another desk to find another flight. The frustrating thing was, I presumably would have been allowed to check in on the kiosk if I had been there 15 minutes earlier, but I still could have had to wait in line to check my bags. That was not the case. I was able to walk Right up to the desk because the airport was not very busy.

    When I went to the customer service desk, we still had 55 minutes before our departure. I asked the rep if there was any way she could get us on the flight and she said “Oh God no!”. The only thing she could do was charge us an extra $521 per ticket to get us home the next day. She said she could get us to the U.S. that night, but we’d have to find our own connections, but she was not willing to quote the price of those other options.

    As it turns out, it looks like Aer Lingus sold our seats out from under us. I’m sure that’s the real reason they didn’t let us check in. We met two ladies on the hotel shuttle bus who were traveling standby, who also missed that flight. It was very frustrating to be turned away and charged over $1000 more when Aer Lingus still filled our seats. Not only did they make more money by selling our seats, but they doubled down and charged us again for our return flight. Yes, I suppose I should have arrived earlier, but I’ve made long haul flights before with less time to spare. Not a good ending to our honeymoon.