Irish carrier Aer Lingus plans a big increase in transatlantic service next year, adding:
- New five-weekly flights between San Francisco and Dublin, year-round, in A330s, starting in April.
- New flights between Toronto and Dublin—daily in the summer, up to four weekly in the winter—in 757s, also starting in April.
- Increased frequencies on existing routes from Boston and New York.
- Expanded connections from other U.S. and Canadian cities through the new gateways.
Aer Lingus generally undercuts fares on the larger airlines on flights to main European cities through connections at Dublin or Shannon. On eastbound itineraries, the extra stop/connection is a hassle: It adds two to four hours of flight time, compared with nonstops, and intra-European flights on Aer Lingus fall well short of standard transatlantic service. On westbound flights to the U.S., however, Aer Lingus can offer the convenience of pre-clearance at Dublin and Shannon, meaning no long immigration/customs lines on arrival back in the U.S.
I suspect that the increased schedule is, at least in part, an attempt by Aer Lingus to discourage potential transatlantic flights by Ryanair. But Aer Lingus wouldn't proceed without expectation of doing good business. All in all, it's a gain for U.S. and Canadian travelers.
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