- Aer Lingus surprised passengers on a flight to Paris with free Irish Rugby jerseys.
- Seat capacity was expanded to bring home advantage to France, with a more than 2,000% increase in flight reservations.
- Thousands of passengers have booked flights to Paris for the World Cup at Stade de France.
Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus surprised some passengers on a flight from Dublin to Paris with free Irish Rugby (IRFU) jerseys on Friday. The carrier, the official airline of the IRFU, is carrying thousands of fans this weekend to support the team during the World Cup Quarter Final.
Seat capacity from Dublin and other cities in Ireland was increased this weekend in an effort to bring the home advantage to France. The airline is also upgrading the equipment on some flights to accommodate the surplus of fans.
The ‘16th player’
Aer Lingus provided lucky passengers seated on row 16 on EI524 from its hub at Dublin Airport (DUB) to Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) in Paris with special jerseys featuring #16 on them. The flight was operated by an Airbus A321neo that has 184 seats onboard. Since dedicated fans of the team are affectionately known as the ’16th player’, the airline said the #16 jerseys symbolize the passenger’s role as a key player on the Irish team.
After the team’s victory over Scotland, Aer Lingus reportedly experienced a surge in demand for flights to Paris. The carrier said it saw a 2,222% increase in flight reservations to Paris within only 48 hours of the team’s win, compared to last year’s demand. As a result, the airline quickly expanded seat capacity, making an additional 1,381 seats available from Dublin, Cork, and Shannon. The increase brings nearly 6,000 seats offered this weekend for the World Cup.
“Pride for our team”
Aer Lingus’ Chief Customer Officer spoke about the airline being able to provide additional seat capacity.
“Ireland rugby fans are travelling in their tens of thousands to be part of this special sporting occasion and we are proud to play a part in their rugby world cup experience. The flights have been filled with joy, excited anticipation and immense pride for our team, and we look forward to flying thousands of Ireland supporters to Stade de France this weekend to bring #HomeAdvantage of the 16th Player to the Irish team.”
Photo: Aer Lingus
According to data from the carrier, thousands of passengers booked flights to Paris this weekend. Additionally, if the team makes it to the semi-final, the airline predicts even more devoted fans will book flights to France. The match takes place at the Stade de France, located just north of Paris. It will be the second time France has been chosen to host the competition this year.
Thousands of passengers
Aer Lingus said it would operate 30 flights to carry passengers to and from the match this weekend. Throughout this month and September, as many as 140 weekly flights have been reportedly scheduled across thirteen routes. Other destinations have also had more flights added in addition to larger aircraft being used to operate some routes.
“Additional flights have been added to destinations including Nantes, Bordeaux, and Paris and given the demand among Irish fans to travel to France, some flights will be operated by a larger A330 aircraft which would typically fly to North America,” the airline said.