Aer Lingus has received its first Airbus A321neo. The Airbus A321LR will help Aer Lingus expand their crucial transatlantic market while also upgrading some of their services on intra-European routes. This aircraft was delivered to the carrier on July 26th, 2019.
The first A321LR delivery
Aer Lingus is leasing this aircraft from Air Lease Corporation, who announced the delivery. This is the first of eight Airbus A321LRs that will join Aer Lingus’ fleet from Air Lease Corporation. These new A321LRs are expected to replace older Boeing 757 aircraft in the fleet.
The interior of the A321LR
Because the primary intention for the A321LRs is to serve transatlantic destinations, Aer Lingus has configured the aircraft with that in mind. A key product on transatlantic business class routes are flatbed seats with direct aisle access. Although Aer Lingus doesn’t offer direct aisle access from all seats, the product is still a staggered lie-flat configuration. Compared to other narrowbodies, however, most aircraft do not allow for all-aisle access on narrowbodies configured with lie-flat business class.
Ten out of sixteen seats in business class feature direct aisle access. This staggered configuration also creates throne seats that generally offer more privacy, additional storage, and yet still gives customers access to a window seat without sacrificing aisle access.
These A321LRs will also include an economy class in a 3-3 configuration, which is standard for most narrowbody aircraft including the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320. Onboard their Boeing 757s, Aer Lingus offers 31″ of seat pitch at the tightest. It is likely that Aer Lingus will keep 31″-32″ of seat pitch on their A321LRs.
Aer Lingus plans on flying the A321LR to destinations like Minneapolis, Hartford, and Montreal, among others. In addition, the aircraft will have time between flights after arriving in Dublin in the morning to facilitate connections. So, the A321LR will also service short-haul, intra-European routes.
This means that some passengers will have one of the best seating options for a short-haul flight in business class. Most European airlines operate narrowbody business class as economy class seating with a blocked middle seat. Not anymore with the A321LR’s flatbed seats on select short-haul routes.
This is the next step forward for Aer Lingus in expanding their transatlantic network. Once the A321XLR enters Aer Lingus’ fleet, Aer Lingus will operate a significant number of narrowbody long-haul flights. However, the A321LR will offer significantly more connections. Whether or not passengers would prefer a narrowbody to a widebody is a different story.
Will you fly on an Aer Lingus A321LR? Let us know in the comments!