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Review: Aer Lingus A320neo AerSpace (LHR-ORK)

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Review Overview

It's fun that Aer Lingus offers this intra-European business class experience on high-yield routes, but they're pretty no-frills, with non-reclining seats, broken power ports, subpar catering, and no WiFi


In late January 2024 I flew Aer Lingus on the short one-hour hop from London to Cork. Aer Lingus offers a cabin of service called AerSpace on its more high-yield routes, such as from London to Dublin, Cork and Shannon, as well as Dublin to Amsterdam, Munich, Lisbon, and other major European destinations (full list here). This is Aer Lingus’ hybrid version of an intra-Europe business class product, where you get a first row seat and the middle seat is kept free (the soft product is closer to economy than it is to business class onboard, though you do get lounge access). If you’re connecting from a longhaul flight in business class on the same itinerary, you’ll also automatically be booked into AerSpace if the cabin is offered.

It’s worth noting that Aer Lingus does operate “true” business class seats once a day between London Heathrow and Dublin. These are staggered, fully flat business class seats on the airline’s A321neos, which they also operate across transatlantically to secondary U.S. destinations. While I technically could’ve positioned to Dublin, I decided it was more valuable to review Aer Lingus’ “normal” AerSpace product, given how many routes it’s available on across Europe (it was Cork, not Dublin where I needed to be anyway).

This review will detail the ground service, seat, and amenities that come with a ticket on Aer Lingus’ AerSpace class.

Booking Aer Lingus’ AerSpace Class

Aer Lingus’ AerSpace pricing runs quite similar to intra-Europe business class, particularly when comparing with British Airways between London and Dublin. In this case I originally wasn’t even seeking to review the AerSpace cabin, and instead got myself a one-way Advantage ticket for £127.74 (HK$1254). Not only was I unsure if timings, but I also wasn’t sure if I’d be flying from London in the first place, and liked the fact that this fare came with lounge access at Heathrow Airport. (I also incorrectly read that fast track security was available at Heathrow with the Advantage and AerSpace fares…stay tuned.)

For some reason, when looking at change options for my ticket, the change fee to AerSpace was showing as £0. As a result, I jumped at the opportunity to switch to the AerSpace cabin, where I knew I’d be able to get an empty middle seat if nothing else.

My final flight was as follows (I was glad I booked in AerSpace, as halfway I changed to this flight from my original flight departing at 19:35):

26/01 Aer Lingus 725 London Heathrow – Cork dep. 22:05 arr. 23:20 [AerSpace]

As with Economy Advantage tickets, all AerSpace tickets not only come with lounge access, priority boarding, and a 10 kg carry-on, but also full flexibility (with fare differences), so you can change your flight and/or refund your ticket if needed.

Aer Lingus’ AerSpace Ground Experience

My Aer Lingus experience started off on an interesting foot. Specifically, I headed straight to Fast Track security with my mobile boarding pass, confident that I’d read on the airline’s website that Fast Track security was included. The agent said “your boarding pass doesn’t say Fast Track on it”, and I replied with “well, this is AerSpace, Aer Lingus’ version of business class”.

She let me through, and I got past. Only when writing this report did I realise that the website states Fast Track security is available at Dublin Airport only…oops. So no, you won’t get priority security when flying with AerSpace.

You do get lounge access at Aer Lingus’ snazzy-looking, though basic lounge. I’ll review this lounge in a separate post, though there is a single hot food option at dinnertime – soup. On the plus side, the lounge does feature showers.

a room with a round blue couch and chairs a room with chairs and tables
Aer Lingus Lounge Heathrow

I hung out at this lounge for a while, and decided it was time to head to gate A21, where my flight would be boarding. The southern Heathrow T2 A-gates seem to be dominated by Aer Lingus aircraft, as similarly timed Dublin and Shannon departures were departing from the adjacent gates to my aircraft. Below you can see my aircraft on the right, whereas the aircraft in the foreground was heading to Dublin.

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Aer Lingus A320neos at Heathrow

There was a priority queue for those on a Plus or Advantage fare, as well as those in AerSpace – those on a Saver fare (without priority boarding) had up to 10 kgs of complimentary baggage allowance that they could drop off at check-in, though if they were still holding it at the gate there was a 35 EUR (£29.88/HK$293) fee to gate-check the bag.

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Aer Lingus Boarding Gate at Heathrow

Boarding began just short of 9:30 PM ahead of our 10:05 PM departure, though we were held outside the plane for a further five minutes. As I was first in the queue, I had the opportunity to snap a couple of pictures of our brand new plane, which was less than two months old at the time of flying.

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Boarding the Aer Lingus A320neo at Heathrow

We were let onto the plane at 9:35 PM, and I was welcomed by a flight attendant and pointed to my seat.

Aer Lingus Flight EI725
Friday, January 26, 2024
Origin: London Heathrow (LHR) Gate: A21 Dep: 22:05 (21:55)
Destination: Cork (ORK) Gate: 2 Arr: 23:20 (23:15)
Duration: 1 h 15 min (1 h 20 min)
Aircraft: Airbus A320neo Reg: EI-NSD
Seat: 1A (AerSpace)

Aer Lingus AerSpace Cabin and Seat

Aer Lingus’ seats are fairly no-frills – they don’t feature headrests, and they don’t recline. Seat pitch runs from 30″ to 32″ (feeling closer to 30″), though obviously that was a moot point for the AerSpace seats, since they’re all positioned in the first row.

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Aer Lingus A320neo Cabin

The AerSpace cabin is the first row of the plane – the only sign of a blocked middle seat is the fact that nobody is sitting in it. I’d chosen seat 1A, the left window seat.

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Aer Lingus A320neo AerSpace Seat 1A

I was initially delighted to see that USB-A and USB-C ports were both available. I couldn’t test out the USB-A ports, though unfortunately the USB-C ones were broken, which was disappointing considering this was a brand new plane.

a seat with a power button and a green light
Aer Lingus A320neo Broken USB-C Port

As you’d expect for the first row, the tray table folded out of the side armrest (you’ll see the seat pocket in the below photo, which was enough to store my laptop).

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Aer Lingus A320neo AerSpace Tray Table

As with most narrowbody planes, this aircraft featured air nozzles. Note the swanky call button “bar” that now exists on Airbus’ newest aircraft.

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Aer Lingus A320neo AerSpace Overhead Panel and Air Nozzles

As an AerSpace passenger, you have dedicated overhead bin space (which is clearly marked by an AerSpace-branded strip), so you’ll definitely have easy access to your carry-on.

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Aer Lingus A320neo AerSpace Reserved Overhead Bin Space

Perhaps the biggest perk of AerSpace is the fact that it isn’t particularly popular, so you’ll most likely have more than an empty middle seat. In this case, I had the entire row to myself, meaning that I was the only passenger in AerSpace.

Aer Lingus A320neo Regular Seats

Come to think of it, Aer Lingus’ A320neo seats are basically the exact same seats offered by easyJet, including puny fold-out tray tables. The entire A320neo features 186 seats.

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Aer Lingus A320neo Regular Economy Class

As aforementioned, there’s 30″ of pitch (you probably don’t want to select row 31, where there isn’t a window – most airlines don’t put an extra row here).

a row of seats in an airplane
Aer Lingus A320neo Seats 31A, 31B and 31C

Much like on easyJet, the tray tables are small and stubby – they really feel like “trays” more than “tables”.

a seat in a plane
Aer Lingus A320neo Tray Table and Legroom

These seats offered by Aer Lingus are as bare-bones as seats get, though I don’t blame them – they’re trying to compete with low-cost airlines (particularly Ryanair) on shorthaul routes, and their prices tend to match. There’s no recline whatsoever at any seat, though at least there are seat pockets (much like easyJet, but not Ryanair).

Despite the increased legroom and the empty middle seat, the AerSpace cabin doesn’t feel any more pimped out. It’s probably one of the worst intra-European business class seats there is out there, though they’re not strictly marketing AerSpace as business class.

Taking Off from Heathrow Airport

Boarding was wrapped up really quickly, and we pushed back at 9:55 PM, 10 minutes ahead of our schedule departure time. During this time, the captain came onto the PA to announce similar weather conditions in Cork, as well as our flight time (I didn’t catch it, unfortunately).

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View of Aer Lingus A320neo

You’ll have seen from above that snazzy mood lighting was kept on throughout the majority of the flight, though they were initially turned on after the door was closed.

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Aer Lingus A320neo Mood Lighting

We pushed back out of Terminal 2, where we had a view of other Star Alliance narrowbodies parked at the terminal, such as this Brussels Airlines A320.

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Taxiing past Terminal 2 Aircraft at Heathrow

By 10:05 PM, our scheduled departure time, we were already set to rocket off runway 27L, heading directly west towards Cork.

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Takeoff from Heathrow Airport

Aer Lingus A320neo Lavatory

Unlike “classic” intra-European business class, Aer Lingus doesn’t reserve any lavatories for AerSpace passengers. That being said, I still could easily access a lavatory located right in front of the AerSpace cabin. It wasn’t anything special, though I could see Airbus had made a couple of latest updates to the lavatory.

a bathroom with a sink and toilet
Aer Lingus A320neo Lavatory

Aer Lingus AerSpace “Bia” Food Service

One of the differences between AerSpace and the rest of the cabin is that food is complimentary from the Bia menu.

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Aer Lingus Bia Menu

That sounds great in theory, and sometimes it is – Aer Lingus offers a full Irish breakfast on some of their morning flights on this route. Unfortunately on this route departing at 10 PM, the extent of my free meal consisted of beer and a shortbread cookie. I was also asked if I wanted a second drink, and went with sparkling water.

a table with plastic cups and plastic cups on it
Aer Lingus Bia Food Service

For those interested, the rest of the Bia menu read as follows. I believe as an AerSpace passenger you do have universally free access to all food items available:

a magazine with images of food and drinks a hand holding a book with food in it a magazine with a picture of food a book with a picture of coffee cups and drinks a book with a picture of bottles a book with a picture of candy bars and bottles
Aer Lingus Bia Buy-On-Board Food Menu

On my flight this was a little disappointing, though I could see hot meals being a value-add to an earlier AerSpace flight.

Aer Lingus A320neo WiFi

While a growing number of airlines are introducing WiFi intra-Europe, Aer Lingus is not one of these airlines. They do offer WiFi on their A321neo and A330 aircraft.

Aer Lingus A320neo AerSpace Service

The flight attendants on this flight appeared cheery, and while there weren’t any dedicated flight attendants serving AerSpace (which would’ve been ridiculously overboard, given I was the only passenger), I was served first. My meal was brought straight to my table before a trolley was rolled down the rest of the plane.

Very similarly to my flight on Wizz Air a few days prior, the galley space that Aer Lingus flight attendants have to work out of is tiny, so I can’t imagine these are particularly fun flights to work.

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Aer Lingus A320neo AerSpace Galley

Landing into Cork Airport

The flight time between Heathrow and Cork really isn’t very long, so we found ourselves descending into Cork quite soon after the meal service was completed. Seatbelt signs were turned on at around 11 PM, and we had great night views over Cork City as we made the approach.

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Landing into Cork Airport

Touchdown happened at 11:10 PM, 10 minutes before our scheduled arrival time. We landed at runway 17, and back-taxied along the runway before heading right towards Cork Airport’s small, but new terminal.

a runway at night
Landing into Cork Airport

I didn’t realise Cork Airport had a brand new terminal, so was surprised to see a tiny, mainly low-cost airport that looked so modern.

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Cork Airport Terminal

Cork Airport has a few airbridges, though we didn’t park at one of them. Fortunately no bus was involved to get to the terminal, so after we deplaned via stairs, I had a great view of the brand new A320neo that had taken us over from the UK.

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Aer Lingus A320neo at Cork Airport

You do have to pass through immigration when heading from UK to Ireland (not the other way round), though that took all of five minutes, as there wasn’t another plane landing at this time. I made it out landside, where my friend was giving me a lift to his, where I’d be staying the night.

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Cork Airport Arrivals/Departures Hall

Conclusion: Aer Lingus’ A320neo AerSpace

Aer Lingus’ A320neo AerSpace is an interesting product. On one hand, the seats themselves are as bare-bones as it gets – they’re slimline, and they don’t recline. On the other hand, most of what you’re paying for with AerSpace revolves around ticket flexibility and bringing a carry-on/priority boarding, and it’s nice that Aer Lingus also has a dedicated lounge at Heathrow.

On a good day this can be quite similar to intra-European business class, though on my flight this felt inferior, with disappointing catering and no priority security. Aer Lingus charges similar fares for AerSpace as British Airways does for intra-European business class between London and Dublin – while the former offers full ticket flexibility in the AerSpace cabin, the latter offers a better product in business class. In fact, I found my KLM intra-European economy flight to offer a better product when I flew it two weeks later.

That being said, the difference between an Advantage fare and AerSpace is typically marginal (it was £0 to “upgrade” in my case, and £13 at the time of booking), and I’d say £13 is well worth the guaranteed empty middle seat and catering – airlines can charge more than this just for seat selection. I’m wondering why the market capture for this product isn’t great, as I’ve heard reports that the first row often just goes out empty (as it would’ve on this flight if I wasn’t onboard). I’d guess the solution is to introduce an “unbundled” fare bucket for non-refundable AerSpace, which costs less than an Economy Advantage ticket otherwise would?

If you’re flying between London and Dublin, one of the morning flights continues to be operated by an A321neo with fully flat beds and WiFi, so I’d still seek out that product if I could.

Would you fly Aer Lingus’ AerSpace product?


  1. I think EI took delivery of some jets that were due to go to a Russian carrier, I’m not sure the no recline etc is a permanent feature of the new fleet, this they just kept the configuration as they were ready to deliver.

    1. @ Mos – Interesting! That might be it – this A320neo is the newest aircraft in Aer Lingus’ fleet, and these were the only four aircraft delivered after 2022. Planespotters doesn’t seem to indicate that this was meant to be for anyone else, though?

  2. This is indeed the new ‘IAG Standard’ short haul cabin for Aer Lingus, you’ll find the exact same seats on Vueling, and even on Iberia and BA, but with the latter featuring marginally nicer seats in the first few rows to cater for their business product.

    It’s a real pity the USB ports weren’t working, it’s one of the few advantages Aer Lingus will have over it nearest low cost competitor, particularly on longer European flights. Catering is poor for such a product, they always have limited stock so a late evening flight like yours regularly suffers from lack of choice.

    Believe it or not but Cork’s ‘new’ terminal opened 18 years ago! It’s been very well looked after.

    Thanks for the detailed report and excellent photos.

  3. I’m not sure the fast track agent in Heathrow was entirely right to make a fuss about the mobile BP – even as a non-status passenger, I’ve never had an issue with AerSpace fares getting through fast track in Heathrow. Perhaps they were unfamiliar with a mobile BP, but the printed one for sure says ‘J’ clearly on it and seems to scan through at the checkpoint no problem.

    Nice post – I’ve only ever done the A321’s over and back with the proper biz seats; row 1 looks very compact here!

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