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Dublin-New York in Business (Premier). In short: Aer Lingus provides for a very easy transit from Check-in to boarding and onwards – as you clear US Immigration and Customs in Dublin’s new Terminal 2 Airport and arrive as a domestic passenger in the US. This also means you no longer have to collect and re-check your baggage in the US – it will transfer directly to your destination.
Check-in for Business Class is easy and quick, especially as passenger numbers are down at the moment. Heading through Terminal 2 is also seamless: security is speedy (through a dedicated lane) and the ambience is up there with any world-class airport. Think a small Terminal 5 in LHR – in fact it was designed by the same architectural practice.
The Gold Circle Lounge is only just opened, and so not reviewed here, but all reports and pictures suggest something very special – certianly a vast improvement over the older GC Lounges.
The queue through US Immigration is not running smoothly as yet at certain times of the day, with up to an hour’s waiting time: this is clearly not acceptable, and I imagine more agents are to be involved shortly.
Boarding is immediate for Biz and CG members, and once on board, everything normally movesd smoothly with Aer Lingus. Unlike some of the bigger airlines, with better hard product, you somehow feel more special with EI, the staff really do treat you like family, without being over-friendly. Apart from one or two grumps, in the years I have flown EI Biz, they’re usually fantastic.
Upsides: Staff, wine (not as good as it used to be but still not at all bad), desserts, tea selection, immediacy of service (given usually about half a full 24-seat cabin filled)
Downsides: Seat is not hugely comfortable, for either sitting or sleeping – but still fine once you get the hang of it, main course food is very poor compared with very acceptable appetizers (no peanuts here, there are a delicious selection of cold canapés and hot little samosas etc.)
Arrival is quick – again Biz customers are deplaned first and it’s straight through as a domestic passenger.
Overall: the upsides are greater than the downsides, and the price tends to be managable.
Great if you are travellling directly from Ireland, but if I were to originate elsewhere, the hard product would just have to be better. BA’s Club World, for instance, or even AF’s lie-flats are in a different world.