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Flight Review: Aer Lingus Dublin To Washington In Economy On An Airbus A321LR


  • Aer Lingus has been expanding its transatlantic offerings, with over 2 million passengers flying across the pond this year.
  • Dublin and Shannon airports offer US Preclearance facilities, allowing passengers to pass through customs in Ireland and arrive in the US as domestic arrivals.
  • The flight on the narrowbody Airbus A321LR was pleasant, with comfortable seats, a variety of entertainment options, and tasty meal choices.

Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus has been doubling down on its transatlantic offerings. The airline has already carried over 2 million passengers across the pond this year and even flies four transatlantic routes from Manchester in the North of England.

For my recent flight back to the United States, I decided to try the Aer Lingus transatlantic product, this time on a narrowbody Airbus A321LR in economy class for the final leg to Washington DC.

Check-in and Preclearance

I booked the ticket via British Airways, which codeshares on the route. My first connection was from London Heathrow (LHR), and I was offered an earlier flight to Dublin so at least I would “be at the airport” for my long flight in case of any delay. An offer I gladly accepted.

Upon landing at Dublin Airport (DUB), I proceeded to the flight connections area, remaining inside security. All the gates for flights departing to the United States were in the same section of the terminal. This is because Dublin and Shannon airports are one of a select few airports outside North America that offer US Preclearance facilities. Conveniently, this service allows passengers to pass through customs in Ireland and land in the US as domestic arrivals.

The US Customs and Border Protection Pre Clearance area at Dublin Airport.

Photo: Jonathan E. Hendry | Simple Flying

The passport control process was relatively quick and seamless. The customs and border agent asked how long my connection was, and upon hearing it was more than two hours, suggested I complete my Global Entry interview. There is a small desk off to the side where passengers can complete the Global Entry Enrollment on Arrival process, saving time over waiting for an interview at a larger US airport. The entire process took less than 20 minutes, and I was back on the way to my gate.

Aircraft and flight experience

Taking us across the Atlantic was an Airbus A321LR registered EI-LRE bearing the name Lasair after Saint Lassara and the old Irish word for flame. The aircraft first took to the skies in December 2020 and has flown for Aer Lingus ever since, seating 16 passengers in business class and 168 in economy.

A couple of Aer Lingus A321 seats.

Photo: Jonathan E. Hendry | Simple Flying

The seats were quite sturdy, and the woven fabric felt durable and comfortable. On each seat was a small pillow and toiletries bag containing a few key essentials like a toothbrush and earplugs. The overhead bins had plenty of room, and everyone was seated relatively efficiently.

Power and entertainment

The seats were slightly offset from the window, but the legroom was more than adequate. The back of each chair featured a large display and a USB-A-type power socket. The film selection was varied but contained some pleasant surprises like BBC Concert Specials and several franchises, including all ten Fast and Furious films.

An Aer Lingus Airbus A321LR In-flight entertainment system.

Photo: Jonathan E. Hendry | Simple Flying

Beneath the seats were two universal power plugs attached to the row in front.

Food and snacks

Shortly after takeoff, the cabin crew came through with the snack service, which consisted of a small pack of sour cream pretzels and soft drinks. Alcoholic drinks were available for an extra charge.

Discover more about the History of Aer LingusThe main meal was served around two hours into the flight. The options were Beef pasta, Chicken curry, and vegetarian penne.

An Aer Lingus Economy Class Meal featuring Beef Ragu.

Photo: Jonathan E. Hendry | Simple Flying

I opted for the beef and was not disappointed. The ragu was hearty and meaty, with an excellent sauce-to-pasta ratio. I found the chickpea and pea salad to be quite flavourful, and the chocolate raspberry mouse was as expected. Food was served with wooden cutlery, but other guests commented on the amount of plastic products with the meal and subsequent tea and coffee service.

Fight experience

There did not seem to be any apparent drawbacks due to the smaller aircraft during the flight. While another guest expressed surprise that the flight was operated by a single-aisle plane, she did not have any complaints at the end of the trip. Naps were taken, and shortly before landing, the crew came around with another snack service consisting of a chicken salad wrap and packaged brownie.

Several United Airlines aircraft parked at Washington Dulles Airport.

Photo: Jonathan E. Hendry | Simple Flying

The aircraft touched down at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) at 15:15, pulling into the gate nine minutes ahead of schedule. Overall, it was a pleasant flight and flew by rather quickly. The staff was lovely and courteous, and our baggage was delivered within a reasonable window.

Have you ever flown Aer Lingus across the pond? Let us know in the comments.

  • Aer Lingus Tile

    Aer Lingus

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Dublin Airport

    Year Founded:

    Airline Group:

    Lynne Embleton




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