Aer Lingus : Come Fly With Us Home For The Gathering 2013

Come Fly With Aer Lingus by Annette J Dunlea
With the Gathering 2013 coming I thought it would be good to look at our national airline Aer Lingus to see what they have on offer.It operates a fleet of Airbus aircraft serving Europe, North America, North Africa and Asia. It is Ireland’s oldest extant airline, and its second largest, after its  rival Ryan Air. The airline’s head office is located on the grounds of  Dublin Airport. The company employs 4,000 people and in 2011 had revenues of €1.3 billion. Aer Lingus flew 9.5 million passengers in 2011.It has a hybrid business model, operating a mixed fare service on its European and North African routes and full service, two-class flights on transatlantic routes.Aer Lingus celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2011.Aer Lingus has a franchise agreement with Irish regional airline Aer Arann under which Aer Arann operates a number of routes under the Aer Lingus Regional brand, livery and flight code. Since April 2012, Aer Arann no longer operates any flights under its own RE code, and all its former routes have been transferred to Aer Lingus with flight numbers in the EI3XXX range.It operates from Dublin, Shannon, Cork, Belfast and many foreign terminals.In Cork Aer Lingus operates from Terminal 1 at Cork Airport. The Check-in area at Cork Airport is located in the Departures area on Level 1 of the new Terminal building.

The recommended check in time for all Aer Lingus flights departing Cork Airport is 2 hours 30 minutes before departure. Check-in for all flights closes 45 minutes prior to departure.Aer Lingus Gold Circle Club members are eligible to use the Jack Lynch Departure Lounge located opposite Gate 8 in the Departures Area.Aer Lingus fly direct to and from nearly 70 destinations across Ireland, the UK, Continental Europe and the United States.Aer Lingus Regional operate many services between Ireland and the UK provincial airports.Aer Lingus also partners with JetBlue and United Airlines to offer easy connections to/from over 40 additional United States cities.

They are now three easy ways to check-in in the airports.Don’t forget Aer Lingus do not charge any check-in fees.As well as checking in at the aiport you can also check-in online or from your mobile phone. Three easy ways to check-in free of charge.Save time at the airport by checking-in at one of our FastPass kiosks. The FastPass service has been designed to speed up the check-in process, meaning you save valuable time at the airport. Using touch screen technology FastPass is efficient and very easy to use.Passengers travelling with hand baggage only can check-in:Online FastPass or  Lingus Self Service Check-in or at the Designated Check-in Desks.Check-in for all short-haul flights closes 45 minutes prior to departure with the exception of Belfast City Airport which closes 30 minutes prior to departure.Name changes are permitted for €100 per person, and may be changed up to 2 hours prior to commencement of the journey.Check-in for all Long-haul flights closes 60 minutes prior to departure.Cork direct Aer Lingus flights are Britain- Birmingham, London – Heathrow,  Gatwick, Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Jersey.They also fly direct to the Canary Islands -Lanzarote, Tenerife, Gran Canaria,France – Paris & Nice, Rennes, Germany-Munich, The Netherlands-Amsterdam,Italy-Rome,Portugal-Faro & Lisbon,Spain – Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga, Palma Majorca and in Switzerland-Geneva.Checked baggage fees between Rep. of Ireland & the rest of Europe is €15.On longhaul flights second and subsequent bags carry a €50 fee.On longhaul flights excess baggage fee is €50 for bags over 23kg-32kgs.Seat selection fes are €5-€25 for shorthaul flights but rise to €20-€40 for longhaul flights.A €25 fee is charged for lounge access.€30 fee is charged for carrying sporting equipement.The standard allowance per person on a shorthaul flight is one single piece of cabin baggage.All carry-on must be within the size dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 24cm.You can also carry a handbag or a duty free bag.Business Class, Gold Circle cardholders and Flex Fare customers are permitted one additional personal item e.g. slimline laptop bag.Pets ,cats & dogs only, can be booked as excess baggage by contacting Aer Lingus reservations. There is a €160 per flight sector per crate payable at the airport on the day of departure.

Portable gaming and media playback devices are permitted to be played inflight except during taxi, take-off, initial climb, approach and landing.Cameras are permitted to be used inflight except during taxi, take-off, initial climb, approach and landing.

They now offer a number of new services:Seat Selection.Whether you would like leg room, a seat with a view or to sit with your family, for a low fee the choice is yours!The Gold Circle Club is the Aer Lingus Frequent Flyer Programme. It entitles members to earn and spend frequent flyer points on Aer lingus flights and partner member airline flights. Members can also use their points earned on a range of quality services provided by our programme partners. Flight vouchers are the perfect gift for any occasion. You can now purchase gift vouchers online at The lucky recipient can then use the vouchers to purchase flights or contribute to the value of flights on can purchase vouchers in Euro, U.S. Dollars or Pounds Sterling in denominations from 25 to 1000! They are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase and can only be redeemed on travel insurance from them before you travel! Whether you are flying around the world or across the country, give yourself piece of mind before you go.While abroad they can assist with your car hire.They offer discounted Car hire rates. Hit the road and explore on your trip with great rates from Hertz.Great value with hotels deals are on offer.Whether it is shopping, sightseeing or a relaxing beach break their hotel partner will have a room to suit you and your budget!Take the hassle out of planning and let their Holiday Partner organise your dream holiday for you!Save time and money by booking discounted rail travel with Heathrow Express, the fastest way between central London and Heathrow Airport.Get there quicker with Gatwick Express. From Gatwick airport to central London every 15 minutes.

Passengers requiring assistance or who have special requests must inform them at the time of booking and no later than 48 hours before departure.They will do what we can to help. Please note that if you change a booking online that already contained your special request, this information is not automatically transferred to your new booking and should be re-requested through our helpdesk.Highlighted below are some of the Special Request services provided by Aer Lingus.Aer Lingus will notify your departure and arrival airports of your request for a wheelchair and assistance from check-in to the boarding gate and a carry on service for passengers completely immobile who cannot make their own way to their seat. Passengers must be able to sit upright in the seat.Passengers travelling with their own wheelchairs are permitted to do so free of charge but Aer Lingus must be informed if they are battery operated. All passengers who are wheelchair bound must contact Aer Lingus Special Assistance department to request appropriate support from the departure and arrival airports. Passengers are not permitted to check-in or carry on-board any wet-cell batteries either in wheelchairs or as stand-alone batteries. Assistance dogs accompanying blind passengers are carried free of charge and may travel in the cabin on all short-haul and long-haul flights with the passenger when they are suitably harnessed. There is no requirement for a muzzle. The dog must sit on the floor at the passengers feet and not at an emergency exit or first row. All government and quarantine regulations must be complied with.Passengers are required to provide minimum 48 hours notice of their intention to travel.They now offer a vacation packages: golf, tours etc where you can get a package deal.Its well worth researching their deals before you book a flight home.

Yet again they are in the media for negative press in relation to its dispute with its staff over their pensions.I located Aer Lingus statement regarding pension discussions. The Group strongly believes that the current funding position of the IASS is unsustainable and must now be addressed by the IASS Trustees. Aer Lingus understands that the IASS funding shortfall as at 31 May 2012 was approximately €748 million on the current statutory Minimum Funding Standard basis. Irish pension legislation mandates priority over IASS assets for pensions in payment. As such, had the IASS been wound up on 31 May 2012, current employees and their beneficiaries not yet in receipt of a pension would have received approximately 4% of their expected IASS pension benefits. Aer Lingus believes that such an outcome would be extremely damaging for the Group, its employees and shareholders. The key elements of the Aer Lingus proposal are: firstly, the IASS would be closed to new members and benefit accrual for current members would cease. The IASS investment policy would be changed by the Trustees to reduce risk by investing in bonds whose cash flows broadly match the IASS obligations. This approach would result in higher pensions than on a wind-up of the IASS, but is at the sole discretion of the IASS Trustees. Aer Lingus would make no financial contribution to the IASS (beyond its regular contributions, which in any event would be discontinued when the IASS closes to future contributions). Secondly, Aer Lingus would establish new Defined Contribution (“DC”) arrangements on competitive terms in respect of future service of its own employees. Subject to the uptake of Aer Lingus employees, the overall increase in employment costs attributable to the new DC scheme is not expected to be significant. Thirdly, Aer Lingus is prepared to put in place arrangements to improve the likely future pensions of affected IASS members provided the balance between costs and benefits is in the interests of all parties including shareholders. In particular, Aer Lingus is seeking employment cost stability over the coming years. If put in place, any such arrangements are likely to include a once-off initial contribution to the DC funds of those affected IASS members. Such contributions would favour those closer to retirement. The extent of the arrangements, including any contribution by Aer Lingus, will be linked to the strength of the commitment to stabilise employment costs. In combination, these three elements have the potential to provide fair and sustainable pension benefits for affected IASS members significantly beyond the level of coverage which the IASS current funding status can sustain. Industrial action for workers seems inevitable.AER LINGUS passengers could face disruption in coming weeks after talks aimed at finding a solution to the €748 million hole in an aviation workers’ pension plan were suspended.The airline met trade union representatives at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) in the latest bid to find a way of plugging the €748 million shortfall in the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme (IASS), operated jointly by Aer Lingus, Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) and SR Technics but talks collapsed.The DAA is due to meet unions next week.Aer Lingus said that it remained available to resume talks and added that the LRC was the appropriate forum for this.

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About Author Annette J Dunlea Irish Writer

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