Sunday, 19 July 2015

AER LINGUS JOINING ONE WORLD

My Thoughts Hopes And Concerns


IAG has now gotten everyone onboard for their take-over of Irish airline, Aer Lingus (EI), so it is now only a matter of time before they complete the purchase and begin to integrate EI with the rest of their portfolio of airlines.

I live in Northern Ireland. I don't fly extensively, but I am lucky enough to gather up significant airmiles from one year to the next. Not flying much means I'm not terribly interested in how the change of ownership will effect the accrual of airmiles and tier points. What I am interested in, is how the new group of companies, and the integration into One World, will effect the availability, cost and accessibility of EI redemption flights and the new options and connections that it will possibly bring.



Before looking at what will happen in the future, let's recap on the current EI situation.

  1. Due to an existing arrangement, EI transatlantic flights can be booked using Avios.
  2. Availability of EI redemption seats bookable by BA, can not be checked online. You need to speak to BA customer services.  
  3. As the transatlantic flights depart from Ireland, UK Air Passenger Duty is not payable. Also, BA does not charge a fuel or carrier surcharge on these bookings. The result of these two things combined means that the total charges for business seat is typically £70-80. 
  4. EI short haul flights are generally not available to be booked using BA Avios, except in some instances to and from the UK. I've never heard of an EI short haul European flight being booked using BA Avios.

The likely dis-advantages of joining One World.


As EI redemption seats will become both checkable and bookable online,  the seats will be more readily available, and hence much more likely to be booked. This will result in seats being snapped up quicker.

It will likely be only be a matter of time before BA starts charging a carrier surcharge on these redemption seats, which will put those £70-£80 charges up to £200+.

The likely and/or possible advantages of joining One World.


It will be possible to check availability online. This will make it much easier to plan ahead. Having them integrated into the BA booking system will mean that the BA engine will also be able to provide options that include connecting EI flights. It will be interesting to see if BA provides flight options that consist solely of EI/AA flights.

EI's extensive European short haul network will be bookable using Avios. This opens up a whole swath of new flights that currently can not be booked using Avios.

As part of the agreement with the Irish goverment, BA is committed to keeping EI a separate identity. This might well result in EI have its own Avios system, with potentially less charges than if booked on BA.com. This is currently the situation with another IAG member, Iberia. It is often the case that the taxes and fees when booking Iberia redemption flights on Iberia.com are less than booking them on BA.com.

EI flights will also appear on AA.com. For those will AA miles, not only does this mean that EI flights will be bookable with AA miles, it'll also mean that complicated EI / AA flight schedules will be offered for booking using AA miles, something that is currently not possible.


Summary


Although most things are up for grabs at the moment, there is potential that the purchase of EI by IAG, and it's integration into One-World, will provide many new redemptions options orginiating out of Ireland. I'm very keen to see how it all pans out.

4 comments:

  1. The other downside will be the end of the UA/EI link up

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  2. Quite right. However the eventual integration with One World will IMO give a far better set of US connections via AA.

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  3. I'm in NI too. Having availed of the wonderful new EI business class last month for less that a hundred quid, I'll really mourn the added fuel surcharges. It would be great if there is a version of Reward Flight Saver on Aer Lingus though, especially since we now get stiffed with the removal of the free connecting flight bhd-lhr after the devaluation in April. RFS out of Dublin would make short haul Avios worthwhile again for us!

    BTW, glad of the blog update, was beginning to think you'd gone away! Did you do your SFO trip?

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  4. Two years ago we did Miami / Cancun.
    Last Nov, our holiday pretty much worked out as per the case study I did here:-
    http://www.goingonrewards.com/2014/03/booking-holiday-on-rewards-case-study-ii.html
    The only difference is that 7 weeks out, Los Cabos got hit with a massive hurricane, so I re-arranged the redemption flights and visited Puerto Vallarta instead

    This year it is Maldives and Dubai, I'll be doing a article on that shortly.

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