October 23, 2017
Review: Aer Lingus Business Class A330-300 Dublin-Boston
After taking a free Lufthansa Business Class flight to Europe and spending a long weekend in Florence, it was time to fly back to the States. I booked a connecting Business Class flight on Swiss Air from Florence to Zurich, another connecting Aer Lingus flight from Zurich to Dublin, and the final Aer Lingus Business flight from Dublin to Boston with 70,000 United miles and $86.46 in taxes and fees. I know, that’s a lot of connecting flights-but it was basically free and I wanted to try Aer Lingus.
The Business Class seat configuration on this aircraft is fairly unique. It switches every other row between 1-2-2 and 1-2-1. Some of the one person seats come with one console and some of them come with two giant consoles (one on each side of the seat). The best Business seats are 3K and 5K as these come with the two consoles and give you the most space. Unfortunately, these were taken when I booked my ticket so I picked one of the standard one person seats. I had 4A.
The seat was wide, comfortable, and offered plenty of legroom. Each seat came with a pillow, blanket and a pair of Aer Lingus branded headphones. The sound quality of the headphones wasn’t very good. The console next to the seat was great for holding my laptop during the flight.
The top part of the console concealed a massive storage area. I easily fit my 13” laptop, iPad, book, and headphones in there. Right next to the seat you’ll find a power adapter, USB outlet, and the seat controls. These controls offered a neat massage option which you don’t see in a lot of Business Class cabins.
The seats are fully lie flat and turn into a comfortable bed for sleeping. One thing that annoyed me was that the flight attendants took the extra unused pillows from the empty seats. I usually grab a second unused pillow on these flights. Aside from that, it was a perfectly comfortable sleeping arrangement.
In Flight Entertainment
Consistent with this being a new aircraft, the IFE display was sharp and very responsive to both touch commands and remote control commands. There were lots of movies and shows to keep me entertained on the six-hour flight. I ended up watching a few episodes of Big Bang Theory. There’s a small pouch under the display which is useful for storing small items.
Amenities & Wi-Fi
The flight attendants passed out this amenity kit shortly after boarding was completed. It had socks, an eye mask, moisturizer, lip balm, mouthwash, ear plugs, toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash.
Business Class passengers also received these free Wi-Fi cards. So Wi-Fi is theoretically free. That said, it was so slow that I just gave up on using Wi-Fi. Pages would load at a glacial pace. To the point where it wasn’t worth my time to just sit there and hope something would load. I couldn’t run a speed test because that particular page would not finish loading. In addition to being slow, internet usage was capped at 400mb (I hate being told how much internet I can use).
Meal service started over an hour after takeoff and it felt like a long wait to start getting food. The first course was “A Selection of Canapés” pictured above.
For the appetizer, we had a choice of Prawn Cocktail or St. Tola Goat’s Cheese. My Prawn Cocktail tasted great! It came with the “Feta and yellow tomato salad” above, which was also tasty.
There were three options for the main course-Fishcakes with sweet chili noodles and vegetables, Roast Parmesan chicken with spinach and potatoes, or Medallions of beef fillet with potatoes. I went with the beef. The serving size was larger than what I’m used to getting in Business Class-so that was great. The sauce and vegetables also worked well together. My only complaint is that the meat was overcooked.
The dessert options were a Raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake or a Cheeseboard. The cheesecake was excellent, though I didn’t taste any raspberries.
Finally, Aer Lingus has an ‘Afternoon Tea’ service about an hour and a half before landing. It comes with a Chicken Caesar wrap, Egg and Rocket on brown bread, scones, jam, and clotted cream. The Caesar wrap was excellent. The Egg sandwich, not so much. I had no idea what clotted cream was. It ended up tasting just what it sounds like-thickened cream. Turns out I don’t really like clotted cream.
Service on the flight was good overall, but I wouldn’t say it was great. The flight attendants were very friendly and polite and were clearly trying to do their jobs well. There were some subtle misses though. The food service started off slow, there wasn’t really a great welcome and farewell from the flight, and there was nothing particularly excellent about the service that makes you think ‘wow’, as happens on top airlines. I know I’m nitpicking here. The service was fine, but it wasn’t anything special.
In Flight Entertainment: 9/10
Departure/Arrival Timeliness: 3/5
Cumulative Ranking: 7.6/10
It was a great flight overall. I’d have no problem flying Aer Lingus again. They operate a brand new fleet of transatlantic aircraft and I love the seating configuration and comfort.