“I wasn’t even originally supposed to be on this flight!” I exclaimed, as I was getting adjusted in my seat, in Aer Lingus business class going from San Francisco to Dublin.
So what had happened was I was originally booked SFO-JFK-DUB in American Airlines business class, leaving San Francisco Sunday at 8:50am and getting into Dublin at around 7:00am Monday. I got to the airport nice and early for my 8:50am departure, got to the gate… and the 8:50am departure slipped to 9:30am due to some mechanical issues. Nearing departure time again, I got called to the counter by the gate agent.
She explained that even though the departure time said 9:30am, she wasn’t sure the mechanical issues would be resolved that soon, and was worried that I would miss my connection in JFK. She proactively suggested rebooking me on Aer Lingus direct, SFO-DUB later in the afternoon. I stated my preference for oneworld carriers as I was worried about the mileage credit, but quickly checked all the oneworld options and realized they would all get into Dublin late at night Monday or the morning after, meaning I would have no time in Dublin at all as I was supposed to leave Dublin Monday morning. So after some funny business to force availability on Aer Lingus business class, I was the proud owner of a full fare J ticket on Aer Lingus! The gate agent wasn’t entirely sure about the ticket so she told me to check in as soon as possible, as well as show photo identification to an Aer Lingus agent.
The Aer Lingus check-in counter wasn’t even open yet, so I used my original AA boarding pass to enter the international terminal, then take an airside connection to the Centurion Lounge at Terminal 3 to kill time while waiting. I was able to check in online though, so clearly my ticket was valid. Fortunately I didn’t have any checked bags, so wouldn’t have to go back outside security to the check-in counter, although I did need to present photo id to the Aer Lingus gate agents (not the check-in counter fortunately!)
I asked the gate agents if there were any lounges available for business class passengers on Aer Lingus. I was hoping for Cathay or something. Apparently the only option was United, but fortunately Terminal G at SFO is connected to Terminal 3, so I just walked straight back to the Centurion lounge instead.
Finally, it was time for boarding! The boarding process was pretty painless. My neighbor was a United Global Services member, to who I made the exclamation that I wasn’t even supposed to be on this flight originally. SFO-DUB features the new business class on an Airbus A330-200. The new business class cabin has strange configuration, where some rows will be 1-2-2, and the next will be 1-2-1. I was put in one of the window seats with 2 seats in it.
The seat itself is pretty decent. It has an older style cloth covering which I don’t like as much as I find it slightly more rough but it wasn’t a big deal. The seat does go fully flat though! I got some preflight champagne. I’m no champagne connoisseur but it was good. I received a small but practical amenity kit. It had an eyemask and earplugs, which is all that matters to me!
Departure was at 5:30pm, and we were served dinner around 6:30pm. First came out the appetizers, a cold cut of duck on bread, a slice of beetroot on cheese, and olives.
Then the salad.
I picked the seafood mac & cheese and wasn’t disappointed! Perhaps not the best mac & cheese I’ve ever had, but pretty acceptable for airplane food. I added a ton of extra butter because I’m an addict.
Again, I’m no wine connoisseur, but there was a okay selection of 2 reds, 2 whites, and a sparkling wine, which seems standard for US-Europe carriers. I had a chardonnay that paired pretty well with my mac & cheese.
The in flight entertainment used a fairly modern system. It had a good selection of western media as well as Irish media. The “world” selection seems to forget that Asia exists though. We were also given codes to access the in-flight WiFi for free, although not that fast, I used it for a little bit to catch up with the internet before going to sleep.
Service was fairly attentive and friendly. The flight attendants all wore very, very green uniforms (and as my colleague in Dublin put it, not a very good green.) I soon went to sleep, expecting that I would be woken up for breakfast. Except for I wasn’t, I woke up naturally about 30 minutes before landing, and was told it was too late for breakfast, though they could offer me a piece of fruit and some juice. 🙁
Landing in Dublin, I noticed that I was given a brochure for the Aer Lingus arrival lounge, the Revival lounge, offering pastries, juice, and showers after a long flight. Since I was hungry from missing breakfast, I went to go check it out. The Revival lounge is in the baggage claim area to the right. And as the brochure says, it is literally pastries, juice, and showers, and not much else. The decor is fairly nice, but the lounge is very small. If you’re in need of a shower or a (very small) snack, stop by! Otherwise, you can probably skip it.
Overall, Aer Lingus business class was a perfectly fine experience, and I wouldn’t mind flying them against, except for their lack of frequent flyer program partners.
Now time to get miles for my trip, as I wouldn’t automatically getting miles on AA due to not actually flying oneworld partners. The whole purpose of this trip was to rack up EQM, so not getting credit would be less than ideal.
First, could I get miles for my Aer Lingus flight? A quick check told me that Aer Lingus J class (although it’s always hard to tell what class you are actually booked on just from your ticket, so I just guessed J as that’s what it said) credits to British Airways and Cathay Pacific at 125% , and United at 100% for 5,098 miles. Well I don’t particularly need more Avios, don’t want Cathay Pacific miles, so I did a retroactive claim on United that is still processing. I submitted a claim to British Airways too just for the heck of it.
Now to get my EQM! I called up American Airlines and they were happy to give me original mileage credit, including all the bonus miles. I had heard that agents would mention that they were doing so as a one time exception, but I didn’t get that at all. The agent did comment that I’m insane for planning to gett Executive Platinum by July though! It’s good to know that getting rebooked onto non-AAdvantage partners isn’t an obstacle to getting mileage credit!