Aer Lingus will offer fully-flat business class seats on its forthcoming Airbus A321 jets, with the popular Vantage seats from Thompson Aero taking pride of place at the pointy end of the long-range fleet slated for both trans-Atlantic and key European routes.
An internal Aer Lingus presentation sighted by Australian Business Traveller reveals the A321LRs will sport 16 Vantage seats produced by Irish seat maker Thompson and customised by London’s FactoryDesign to include more personal stowage and space around the seat.
And that choice is no coincidence: these are the same seats which Aer Lingus already uses on its Airbus A330 and Boeing 757 fleet.
A seatmap for the A321LR shows a staggered layout which will see three rows of paired seats on either side of the aisle, alternating with two rows of solo ‘throne’ seats.
The Irish carrier expects to take delivery of the first of 14 Airbus A321LR aircraft in June, with three more due by year’s end. The internal presentation describes the factory-fresh jets as being part of the airline’s ‘brand evolution’ which has most recently been marked by a new logo, livery and uniforms.
Aer Lingus aims to have 50% of its passengers use Dublin as a connecting gateway between North America and Europe, and to this end, over half of the A321LR fleet will also fly to the likes of London, Paris, Amsterdam and Barcelona.
This will provide a full business class experience for passengers flying between the North America and Europe via Dublin, compared to the current all-economy European fleet.
Any business class seats not sold to trans-Atlantic passengers will be available for purchase by local customers flying between Dublin and those European cities, delivering international-grade business class in what’s more typically a ‘Euro-business’ market.
However, this won’t be a full business class experience with upgraded catering – passengers will choose complimentary meals from the same ‘buy on board’ menu as their economy counterparts.
Aer Lingus was approached by Australian Business Traveller for comment but had not replied by the time this story was published.