Aer Lingus Brings Forward A321LR London Debut

Irish carrier Aer Lingus has rescheduled their A321LR debut to London Heathrow from 1st November to 1st October 2019. This will see their shiny new aircraft complete with a true lie-flat business class product available for the short hop between the two cities.

Aer Lingus A321LR
Aer Lingus will start short-haul service with the A321LR from October. Photo: Airbus

What are the details?

According to Routes Online, the Dublin (DUB) to London (LHR) service from Aer Lingus using their new A321LR aircraft has been brought forward by one calendar month. Announced in a tweet today, they said the route will now launch on the 1st October 2019.

Previously, this route had been scheduled to launch from 1st November 2019. At this time, it seems that the previously published schedule still stands, just with an earlier launch date. It is,

  • EI154: Leaves Dublin at 07:30, arrives London Heathrow at 09:05
  • EI155: Leaves London Heathrow at 09:50, arriving at Dublin at 11:20

Bringing the route forward like this shows just how keen Aer Lingus are to get maximum value out of their newest aircraft.

What does this mean for passengers?

Aer Lingus is using the A321LR largely to serve its transatlantic routes. It will replace the carrier’s Boeing 757s which are leased for the summer market. The IAG owned carrier received the first A321LR on July 26th, supplied by Air Lease Corporation. Altogether, Aer Lingus is leasing a total of eight A321LRs.

Because these narrowbody aircraft are destined for longer-haul routes, Aer Lingus has outfitted them with that market in mind. As such, their business class features a staggered lie flat hard product which, although it doesn’t provide direct aisle access from every seat, is still a highly competitive offering in the narrowbody stakes.

Aer Lingus A321LR business
Aer Lingus will offer a staggered lie-flat configuration in business class. Photo: Aer Lingus

Most of the time, these small workhorses will be operating routes between Ireland and North America, with Dublin to Hartford already launched on August 2nd. From October 27th, the airline will begin operating Shannon to Boston, with other destinations planned including Montreal and Minneapolis.

Running transatlantic presents a unique problem for the airline. With flights arriving back to Dublin in the early hours of the morning, and not due to set off again until after lunch, their shiny new A321neos would have been sitting on the ground for many hours, not earning the airline any money.

To tackle this problem, Aer Lingus have opted to stick the dormant aircraft on one of its busiest short-haul routes; Dublin to London. As a result, passengers flying between the two cities can enjoy the comfort of a transatlantic equipped plane on a flight lasting just an hour and a half.  Although there might not be time for sleep, you can still relax in lie flat comfort on a short trip, something that European short-haulers will likely never have got to experience.

Bringing the flights forward in this way is undoubtedly a result of the airline’s confidence in the plane and crew, having operated the Dublin to Hartford route for a couple of days now. They know they can turn it around fast enough to squeeze in the additional short-haul flight, and as such are keen to make use of this comfortable and highly efficient aircraft as quickly as possible.

Once Shannon to Boston launches in October, passengers will be able to enjoy the same service on a short-haul London to Shannon flight as well.

Unacceptable delays

The A321LR’s entrance to the Aer Lingus schedule has previously been pushed back due to delays at the manufacturer’s end. Just this week, IAG’s chief executive Willie Walsh was reported by Flight Global to have described the situation as ‘unacceptable’.

Speaking during IAG’s second-quarter results briefing, Walsh cited delayed deliveries by Airbus’ Hamburg factory as the reason behind a major delay to their Dublin to Montreal route launch. Originally planned for August 2019, the route has now been delayed until summer 2020.

It seems IAG and Aer Lingus can’t get their hands on the new A321neos fast enough. This accelerated entry into the short-haul market is a testament to their enthusiasm for the plane and great news for business travelers too.

Will you be flying the A321LR between Dublin and London? Let us know in the comments!