With the current reduction in passenger volumes, many airlines have grounded or significantly reduced flights. A number of routes continue to operate, however, and Aer Lingus has just launched an innovative way to keep flying to New York using two crews and turning the aircraft around straight away.
Carrying on flying to the US
Airlines all over the world are cutting flights, but along with this, many are looking for ways to overcome restrictions and keep routes open where there is still demand.
Aer Lingus continues to see demand on some transatlantic routes. It still operates flights (with reduced frequency) between Dublin and New York JFK, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Toronto. Although there are entry restrictions for non-residents, there are still residents returning home, and a certain level of other essential travel.
Aer Lingus is not alone in continuing some transatlantic service. British Airways still flies to a few destinations (including New York, Boston, and Los Angeles) as part of only 15 routes in total it is left serving. In the US, Delta has suspended all European routes except London, whilst United Airlines has suspended all transatlantic flights.
Flying outbound with two crews
Flying at the moment is anything but normal, and we are seeing many changes in how airlines operate. As reported on One Mile At A Time, Aer Lingus is taking a new approach to operating its daily A330 New York JFK flight.
It is carrying two full crews on the flight outbound from Dublin. One crew will operate the outbound flights, whilst the other crew rests. The crews will then swap during a short turnaround at JFK.
The resting crew will use the business class cabin, and all passengers will be seated in the economy cabin. One Mile At A Time explains how business class inventory has been blocked out and passengers booked into business have been downgraded to economy.
This approach will hopefully help Aer Lingus to get around some of the restrictions and difficulties with US entry. It will also lower costs by removing overnight crew stops, but of course, it will also remove business class revenue. It also makes for a long day for the crew, but in the current climate, this may be preferable to being away from home overnight.
Operating until the end of April so far
Aer Lingus appears to be planning to operate this way until the end of April at least. Business cabin availability is blocked out until then. At the moment, it is just for New York flights (perhaps as the COVID-19 situation is worst there at present).
This is not the only change in Aer Lingus operations at the moment. We recently reported how it has started A330 flights to China to collect medical goods. These will be similarly long operations for the crew, with pilots not leaving the aircraft in China and staying on board for over 24 hours.
Simple Flying reached out to Aer Lingus for comment on this innovative way of operating but it declined to respond.
Have you flown with Aer Lingus recently, or do you have travel to the US planned? Let us know your experience in the comments.