and will either give me free Guinness?!
December 30, 2008 7:32 AM   Subscribe

Should I book a flight with Aer Lingus or American Airlines?

The price is the same (~$380). The flight is one way, transatlantic Dublin-Chicago. Probably no checked baggage (though a very slight possibility).

I don't have any experience with Aer Lingus and haven't flow on AA in a loooong time so I don't know which one would be better as far as comfort/food/etc.
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel to Travel & Transportation (22 answers total)
 
I flew Aer Lingus last summer with no complaints. For specific amenities, check your plane-type. Whether or not you have cool things like in-seat screens will depend as much on that as on anything else.
posted by valkyryn at 7:35 AM on December 30, 2008


If everything else is equal, go with the one whose frequent-flier points are more useful to you (that is, where you'll be most likely to accumulate more of those points)
posted by winston at 7:37 AM on December 30, 2008


I don't believe that Aer Lingus provides complimentary meals, so you should add that to the EI cost. On the other hand, AA charges for the first checked bag now unless you have elite status, so if you do check a bag you need to add that to the cost.

Seat pitch is approximately the same on both.

If things still cost the same, I'd second winston's advice.
posted by grouse at 7:45 AM on December 30, 2008


Oh, the answer to your title question is that neither will give you free alcohol in economy.
posted by grouse at 7:46 AM on December 30, 2008


I don't believe that Aer Lingus provides complimentary meals, so you should add that to the EI cost.

Aer Lingus doesn't provide free food on internal Irish or European flights; virtually no European carriers do. However, they all provide the normal and familiar transatlantic meal service in the ticket price on those flights. Aer Lingus will feed you exactly as badly as anyone else will.

The Aer Lingus flight is 2 + 4 + 2 configuration. I actually prefer the larger AA planes, so I agree with valkyryn's suggestion of looking up what works best for you.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:00 AM on December 30, 2008


For what it's worth, I flew Aer Lingus last NYE with no problems. Food wasn't bad. They were not enthusiastic about New Year's (They barely even acknowledged it), but they arrived and departed on time, so.
posted by GilloD at 8:04 AM on December 30, 2008


Having flown American and Air Lingus, I would lean on Air Lingus. However, I've only been on domestic flights for both (and for Air Lingus, that means within the EU). My main complaints on AA are the surprise fees they now levy on everything and the fact that their planes tend to be much older on average. Some airlines offer free booze in coach on international flights (Air Canada and British Airways), but they'd likely both be much more expensive.
posted by hylaride at 8:07 AM on December 30, 2008


AA charges for the first checked bag now unless you have elite status

Not true for international:

"Travel to/through/from Europe and Asia: One bag carry-on. No charge; Two bags checked. No charge"
posted by inigo2 at 8:09 AM on December 30, 2008


All other things being equal, I vastly prefer non-US carriers; I've never flown Aer Lingus, but if given a choice I'll go with the "foreign" carrier every time. The people are generally more pleasant, the service is not as grudgingly given, and while to a large extent, coach class is the same everywhere, I've just generally had better experiences with non-US airlines.
posted by pdb at 8:20 AM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


OK, just forget my whole comment. My bad.
posted by grouse at 8:41 AM on December 30, 2008


seconding pdb: non-US airlines tend to be vastly superior in service.

Once I was flying American to England, and there was a crying baby, and the flight attendants came and told the parents to please get their baby quiet. On the way back, I flew [I think] British Airways, and at the first wail of a baby, the flight attendants pulled a little rocking crib out of some compartment, and offered to rock the baby themselves so the parents could get some rest.
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:46 AM on December 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Thirding that, IMO, non-US airlines tend toward better service and I will almost always fly the non-US carrier. Of course this assumes the Aer Lingus flight is actually Aer Lingus staffed and not staffed by whichever US carrier they're code sharing with these days. (USAirways, I think.)
posted by weebil at 9:14 AM on December 30, 2008


I have a pretty small data set to work from (I've flown Aer Lingus from DUB-ORD three times and AA from DUB-ORD once) but I would choose Aer Lingus. Aer Lingus has many more planes in Dublin than American does so if something goes wrong with your plane, AL has more options. (American only has one flight daily if memory serves.)

I got hung up in Dublin last year when the AA plane that was supposed to take me from Dublin to Chicago couldn't get to Dublin because of mechanical problems. Our plane didn't arrive in Dublin until 12 hours after our flight was supposed to depart. I'm guessing that wouldn't have been as big of a problem on Aer Lingus because they would have been able to substitute another plane from their fleet.
posted by slmorri at 10:03 AM on December 30, 2008


I'd agree with others that non-US airlines do have better service.
posted by k8t at 11:28 AM on December 30, 2008


I've never flown Aer Lingus, but it has to be better than AA. This is coming from a former fan of American Airlines. AA's international service is better than its domestic, but it still doesn't compare to a non-US airline.
posted by birdherder at 11:50 AM on December 30, 2008


If you can find out what planes usually fly those routes in advance, bear this in mind: most American Airlines planes are fitted with individual TVs for each seat. Aer Lingus does not have this in any plane. On a transatlantic flight, this can make a huge difference.

Seat Guru is a related site which may be of some use to you in finding which airplanes have which amenities. Although apparently Aer Lingus partners with AA, so for all your work you might get the opposite of what you decide on.
posted by SamuelBowman at 3:12 PM on December 30, 2008


Incidentally, I have flown many times with both American Airlines and Aer Lingus. I have always found American to have impeccable service, and often found Aer Lingus to have pretty bad service, so don't take too much notice of people saying one way or the other – when it comes to flying, your milage will vary.
posted by SamuelBowman at 3:16 PM on December 30, 2008


I was going to suggest you check the SKYTRAX rating site but it looks like they've given both airlines the same scores, down to every detail. So now I wonder about the usefulness of all their ratings.
posted by PatoPata at 4:46 PM on December 30, 2008


nthing non-US, every time.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:35 PM on December 30, 2008


I've flown that exact route twice with Aer Lingus and they were some of the nicest flights I've ever taken. The crew sets a sort of Dublin atmosphere about the plane, very relaxed and friendly.
posted by luckypozzo at 9:48 PM on December 30, 2008


If you can find out what planes usually fly those routes in advance, bear this in mind: most American Airlines planes are fitted with individual TVs for each seat. Aer Lingus does not have this in any plane. On a transatlantic flight, this can make a huge difference.

Not sure why you think this is so. I flew Aer Lingus from Dublin to Chicago three days ago and all of the seats in economy had individual televisions installed in the seat backs. I watched a seven hour marathon of Mad Men on demand. Unfortunately, I don't know how to tell in advance whether you'll get one of these new spiffy planes or one of their older planes.
posted by slmorri at 5:28 AM on December 31, 2008


Sorry for the double post - just noticed something else.

Although apparently Aer Lingus partners with AA, so for all your work you might get the opposite of what you decide on.

Aer Lingus no longer partners with AA; as of November 1, 2008 they partner with United.
posted by slmorri at 5:31 AM on December 31, 2008


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