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On September 29th, 2022 Aer Lingus announced it will begin servicing Cleveland Hopkins Airport. Aer Lingus is an Irish-based airline, with a hub in Dublin, Ireland. Aer Lingus will fly directly between Cleveland and Dublin 4 days weekly, starting May 29th, 2023. Cleveland was able to attract the airline through $12 million in incentives — essentially minimum traveler guarantees & marketing funds — over 3 years.
The flights are scheduled for Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and will take off out of Cleveland at 8:20pm with a duration of 7 hours and 30 minutes. Returning to Cleveland, from Dublin will take 8 hours and 30 minutes, and will depart from Dublin at 3:30pm.
Both flights are longer than the WOW airlines flights to Keflavik, Iceland — the last time Cleveland had “transatlantic” service. However if you’re connecting to a mainland European location, the overall in-air travel time will end up being shorter with Aer Lingus.
Who is Aer Lingus?
Aer Lingus is an Irish based airline, based out of Dublin, Ireland. Collectively Aer Lingus flies to 90+ destinations, including the United States, Europe, Middle East and Caribbean. For those leaving from Cleveland there’s likely to be much better options for traveling to other US locations, as well as Caribbean destinations as layovers through Dublin would add far more travel time than it’d be worth.
Aer Lingus uses an all Airbus fleet. The flight to and from Cleveland will specifically use an Airbus A321LR – the LR standing for long range. Like all planes that fly to a USA location, they’re certified by the Federal Aviation Association. The FAA requires specific maintenance to be performed by the airline, as well as training for each pilot and flight attendant. Any airline that flies to a USA location is going to be incredibly safe, and any accident would simply require numerous personnel and mechanical failures for something to occur. So rest assured: air travel and Aer Lingus are both very safe.
What are the fees on Aer Lingus out of Cleveland?
Aer Lingus operates on a hybrid model, similar to most US airlines now-a-days. It has a low cost option, which guarantees just a seat. While it also has more costly all-inclusive options. Depending on what type of traveler you are, you can choose which option you want to take advantage of.
One thing worth pointing out, Aer Lingus lists the cost of each flight separately. It then combines the cost of both flights into a summary cost. This can be somewhat confusing as it initially appears the cost of the flight is much cheaper than competitors.
They have 3 economy options to choose from: Saver, Smart and Flex. Aer Lingus will allow you to add luggage to the Saver fare, but as you get closer to departure the fee will increase.
|Carry on bag|
|No change fee|
Aer Lingus also has a business class, with two options. Note, business class at the type of this writing is about 4x the cost of economy.
|Carry on bag|
|Lie flat seat|
|No change fee|
|Free flight change|
Where can you go from Dublin?
Many of the larger European cities are already well serviced by the American based airlines. Aer Lingus isn’t any more cost-effective or shorter than American, Delta, United to fly to London. However, what Aer Lingus adds — in addition to the direct flight to Dublin — is it flies to many of the smaller European cities that don’t have service.
For example, both Salzburg and Vienna, Austria are now available with a single layover rather than two layovers as Cleveland fliers would experience today. Aer Lingus adds an incredible amount of smaller cities that are now available through a single layover. It serves 11 cities in France, of which only Paris would be flown to with a single layover out of Cleveland. As well, 6 cities in Germany, 4 cities in Greece, 10 cities in Italy, 3 in Portugal, 11 in Spain, and 20 in the UK. As well, there’s numerous other cities, such as Budapest and Stockholm that can be reached in a single layover.
How does this compare to WOW & IcelandAir?
At the time of this writing, it doesn’t appear that Aer Lingus will cater to the discount flyer like WOW Air did. IcelandAir, who was more expensive than WOW, is a closer comparison to Aer Lingus. Whereas with WOW, you could potentially find a flight to London from Cleveland for $400-500 round trip, Aer Lingus looks to be closer to cost of the existing airlines at $800-1,200.
With that said, Aer Lingus does fly to many more destinations than WOW Air did. WOW peaked at 32 European destinations while Aer Lingus flies to 70+ European destinations. For those who enjoyed WOW for being cheap, it doesn’t look like Aer Lingus will provide that. However it does mean you can get to many small European destinations with just a single-layover now.
Flying from Cleveland to Dublin on Aer Lingus takes 7 hours and 30 minutes. To fly from Dublin to Cleveland takes 8 hours and 30 minutes due to the headwind.
Aer Lingus flies a Airbus A321neo from Cleveland to Dublin. The A321neo is a single aisle jet that seats about 200 passengers, making it one of the smaller jets to fly transatlantic flights.