02 September, 2017

No blankets or ear phones for Aer Lingus transatlantic passengers

Aer Lingus, The Irish airline now part of IAG will remove in-flight comfort items such as blankets and earphones from its cheapest ticket purchasers travelling across the Atlantic from or via Dublin.

As the airline, upon instruction from Willy Walsh, cuts costs and moves to a more streamlined and budget 'conscious' airline, passengers who opt for the cheapest “Saver“ tickets will also find they lose some of the basics of air travel to North American destinations.  They won't automatically get blankets, earphones, checked luggage and the ability to pre-book a seat.  The only bags they will be allowed to take with be a cabin bag of no more than 10kgs.

The airline claims the changes are because of the intense competition between an emergence of low-cost carriers across the Atlantic, such as Norwegian and Thomas Cook. According to a spokesperson the reduction in service is “Designed to meet the diverse needs of today’s traveller, Saver is here to offer more choice and flexibility.”

Saver fare passengers won't be able to pre-book seats, instead, the airline says “We’ll allocate you one of the remaining seats at check-in, free of charge.” like that's is some sort of bonus they are getting. Passengers will also still receive an in-flight meal, although according to an airline employee - Aer Lingus is looking to introduce a lower quality and cost base product for those saver passengers. If you get cold on the flight, which is not an unusual occurrence, especially as cabin crew have been told to turn the temperature down and you want a blanket, it'll cost you €3 per use, per flight.  If you want you can buy earphones which will be on sale for €5 and unlike the blankets- you'll be able to keep them!  

As Aer Lingus cut creature comforts on their North American offerings, the competition keeps on increasing on the lucrative trans-Atlantic routes.   In addition to the traditional airlines, or legacy carriers such as United, American, British Airways, Delta/Virgin there are also a large number of newer airlines taking up the mantle of long haul flight specialists.

Aer Lingus A330 aircraft catching fire in Orlando in Oct 2016
Icelandair and Wow via Iceland offer some great fares, there is Thomas Cook from Manchester, who is establishing quite a reasonable American network, becoming far more than just a holiday charter airline. Norwegian offers a range of destinations over the other side of the pond and it seems like they introduce a new route every other month - sometimes two at a time.  On top of this, little known Primera Air is all set to launch flights from Birmingham to the US - Boston and New York first, with the promise of more to come. 

It would seem then, there has never been a better time or more choice for passengers from the UK and Ireland to get over the Atlantic and whilst Dublin has the benefit of being able to pre-clear US customs and immigration there, however, it becomes a less attractive offering if you get better service at lower costs with more inclusions on mostly newer aircraft flying from a more local airport.


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