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Aer Lingus has made significant changes that promise to offer their customers new experiences in the air. Just coming off a rejection of a buy-out offer from IAG, the owners of British Airways, the Irish airline displays vast confidence that it can go it alone on its own turbo-power.
Its new “Family First” promise is geared to making air-travel as comfortable and convenient in every way for those traveling with young families. This new initiative offers numerous discounts and privileges.
On short-haul Aer Lingus flights, passengers will pay 50 percent on checked baggage and enjoy advance seat selection for children aged two to 11 years. A generous cabin baggage allowance and necessary equipment for infants will be permitted onboard. Priority boarding for families is still in place.
This move follows on the heels of Ryanair launching their ‘Family Extra’ service earlier in the year. It also offers half off on baggage fees and allocated seating as well as insurance for children. Ryanair includes a free 5 kg baggage allowance for infants, along with two free pieces of equipment such as a car seat or stroller.
Chief Revenue Officer Mike Rutter said the airline is “Ireland’s most searched transport brand.” He indicated that Aer Lingus in offering these new experiences, was acknowledging the trust of Irish families over the last 80 years.
The news comes as a precursor to Aer Lingus’ plans to launch new Business Class cabins on most transatlantic routes early in the New Year. The announcement was made amongst much fanfare complete with dry ice, champagne and revolving displays at the Kilmainham Royal Hospital on Dec. 18. The new seats were demoed and full details were unveiled.
Planned for a rollout on A-330 aircraft, the new Business Class boasts features, services and conveniences that are projected to put it ahead of its competition. The airline vowed that “the new business class experience” would be unlike any other on direct flights from Dublin to New York, Boston, Chicago, Orlando and San Francisco.
Dedicated check-in desks and fast-track security will be available at all airports. Most significantly, US Customs and Border pre-clearance will take place at Dublin Airport.
The business class cabins will sport new “Vantage” seats that convert fully into flat beds, six feet six inches in length and 22 inches wide. 90 percent will have access directly onto the aisle. They are among the longest in the industry, the airline says. There is a new massage feature and increased storage space. Built in power points, universal sockets and USB power outlets will be available, along with high-speed Wi-Fi.
Botany Weaving of Dublin have been contracted to furnish fabrics for the upholstery, carpets and curtains. The designs reflect Ireland’s rich heritage of weaving.
A 16-inch high-definition television screen with multi-touch features is available for in-flight entertainment. Offerings will include 50 percent more new movies, and 100 percent more TV content, according to a press release. Classical movies, documentaries, comedies, music and box sets will all be available. The entertainment system will operate “gate to gate,” so customers can get started watching as soon as they are onboard.
The menu is collaboration between Aer Lingus’ Executive Chef James Keaveney and Hugo Arnold, an Irish food consultant. Famous Irish restaurants across all four provinces will be represented through their signature dishes. Changing four times in the year, it will use seasonal Irish ingredients in a fusion of the best of modern Irish cuisine.
Travelers on Aer Lingus’s upgraded business class will enjoy a new business lounge at JFK Airport. On arrival in Dublin, they can avail of an exclusive arrivals lounge with facilities for showering and steaming clothes.
New pre-dine services are available at JFK and Boston airports. Fares will start from €899 per sector, the airline announced.
Chief Executive Christoph Mueller stated that the airline’s long haul business has seen record growth and an expanded destination network in just a couple of years. The additional upgrades to business class are Aer Lingus’ offer of a complete, new experience to their patrons. They will be assured the perfect environment and comfort in which to do what they wish – relax, dine, work or sleep.
By Bina Joseph