Being invited to Aer Lingus’ media event in Dublin, we were treated to the unveiling of the airlines new business class cabin concept. We originally covered the initial design concept back in August, when the airline revealed them, but today marked the physical realization of the designs into fully working seats.
Overseen by Factorydesign and Thompson Aero, the UK based design studio and Irish based seat manufacturer has embraced the very best of the Emerald Isle, utilizing fabrics from Botany Weavers in Dublin, and delivered the true character of Ireland to its premium passengers.
The seats, the original Vantage design, have been customized to offer Aer Lingus’ passengers extra storage, and finish and trim that harmonises with the current passenger experience. The familiar experience concepts of Sleep, Work, Rest and Dine are at the core of the passenger experience, and this isn’t a groundbreaking mantra to work from, as the airline admits.
Aer Lingus isn’t trying to innovate here, but offer what passengers truly want, and at a lower price than their competitors. For this, we can’t but salute them – as the new product, which improves on the previous angled lie-flat incarnation – will be seen by most as an industry standard seat, offering [almost] everything a business class passenger currently wants. (We can’t help but feel they could have offered all passengers aisle access, but maybe that will come with their wider A350s – allowing for an upgrade to the Thomson Vantage XL seats.)
If you want to find out more about the seat in particular, visit our initial article here.
Being rolled out from January, and completed in March, the new A330 cabins will offer not only a refreshed seat and cabin design, but also a change in the service offering too. Launching at the same time, a new lounge in JFK will be rolled out, along with pre-dining service for passengers wanting to fully sleep through their flight.
A new business class service offering onboard will be introduced, and whilst being finalized, a more attentive service, dine on demand, faster WiFi and increased inflight entertainment options are all on the menu.
The whole TransAtlantic product is being revisited later on too, and anything from uniforms to economy class is up for discussion, there was even a hint at new routes, and possibly a new cabin class – all logical steps for expanding the product to compete on the increasingly lucrative market it already serves.
On the ground from March, passengers in Dublin will benefit from a premium check in zone, with multi-trained check in staff, and the airline is starting to really promote something they have been offering for many years, which is Pre-US immigration clearance, meaning you have already cleared customs before you board, making your arrival into a domestic terminal a smarter and quicker way to fly.
For those returning to Dublin, on arrival there will be a new arrivals lounge, featuring 6 shower rooms, allowing passengers to change, refresh and have their clothes steamed ready for the day ahead.
We are excited to see the developments ahead at Aer Lingus over the next 12 months, and especially when they are offering one way fares at only €899 including taxes, the product isn’t going to be any more expensive, yet offer a whole lot more.
The Big Picture