Aerlingus review. Our review about flying Aerlingus with children. Find out what to expect, family policies and our overall experience of the Irish carrier for long haul and short haul flights.
We are a Dublin based family so it comes as no surprise that we often travel with Aerlingus, our home carrier. We flew with them before we had kids, on their many short haul European routes and now we regularly choose them for long haul flights too.
In the last few years Aerlingus has extended their long haul options and new routes get added frequently. Our last long haul flights were Dublin to San Francisco and Dublin to Los Angeles (return tickets both times, 4 flights) with our 2 kids: this is how we got on.
Please note: this Aerlingus review is unsolicited and unbiased and we received no compensation or special treatment for it. All opinions are our own and reflect our own experience with this carrier. The only source of official information about Aerlingus is the airline website: please make sure you refer to it for anything related to the practical planning of your flight.
Aerlingus review: overview and our family verdict
We are happy Aerlingus passengers and we find ourselves booking with them over and over again for the good balance they strike between cost and standard of service.
They are not a luxury carrier by any stretch of the imagination but we find them better than the competition in their price bracket and a good mid-range option.
We always book our tickets directly with them and pay for seats next to each other.
We have learned this lesson on our first transatlantic flight to Toronto: we had taken for granted that families would sit together but when we got on board, we realised it was simply not the case. The seats left, after people booked their preferred ones, were scattered all over the plane and we faced the option of having out 2 year old travelling alone 10 rows ahead of me!
That was a bad outcome for everyone but Aerlingus helped: they said kids are not allowed to sit alone so a kind crew member asked around and got people to swap seats to facilitate us.
I thought at the time this was standard but after hearing horror stories about other carriers, I can say with confidence it is not: they didn’t only help but did it with a smile, which went a massive way to get everyone much more relaxed about the whole thing!
Despite this positive experience, I would not recommend to chance it: child seats are half price on Aerlingus and booking them in advance saves everyone hassle and time.
Aerlingus short haul: what to expect
Fort short haul, Aerlingus operates as as budget airline: you have to pay for your own food and there are no welcome packs for kids or anything of the sort.
Kids snacks are available for purchasing within the main bar service and the ‘nibbler snack pack’ includes a colouring sheet and crayons.
The leg room and seat size is good and in my experience significantly bigger than what you get on some cheaper airlines. Something very useful I have always noticed on Aerlingus carriers is the baby changing facilities: changing tables are available on all non regional flights.
Aerlingus long haul with children: what to expect
As I mentioned, Aerlingus is not a luxury carrier but we found our transatlantic flights comfortable and pleasant.
For long haul, complimentary meals are served and there is a good selection of TV channels and movies including kids programmes, films and games. Blanket, headphones and eye mask are provided.
Baby changing facilities are available and so are baby basinettes (see below). Kids meals can be ordered in advance.
Important note. If you are travelling to the USA from Dublin you will clear customs in Dublin. This means that ll security procedures are carried out in Dublin and the flight then lands in the US as domestic. Make sure you factor in extra time for this!
This is exceptionally handy especially for families since it means you don’t have to wait for hours on arrival with a jet lagged kids!
For transatlantic flies it is also worth noticing you are not allowed to carry fruits or vegetables on board (no, not even if chopped up for the kids): this is not airline specific but it’s important to know if you are considering flying from/through Ireland.
Aerlingus check in experience
On Aerlingus you can check in 3 different ways:
Aerlingus online check in
Online: checking in online is easy and straight forward. The Aerlingus site has been entirely redesigned and checking in adults and kids is a breeze (honest truth? I preferred the previous design but this one is ok too!).
You can check in online within 30 days of your departure date on all routes within Europe but seat fees apply until 30 hours before your scheduled departure time.
Closing time depends on the specific route you are travelling: at present, 2h for flights between Ireland, UK and Amsterdam, 4.5h flights to the rest of Europe, 6.5h flights from Rome and 8.5 h flights from Malaga
For transatlantic Aerlingus flights, you can check in online within 24 hours of your scheduled departure time on all routes to and from North America and check in closes 2 hours before departure.
Check in via aerlingus app
Mobile boarding passes are currently accepted in European airports with the exception of Faro, Bourgas and Donegal.
On all other routes, check in opens 30h before flight departure and closes between 8.5 and 2 hours before flight departure time depending on the exact route.
Check in at the aiport
Check in kiosks in airports are open until 75 mins before departure for flights to/from North America and 45 mins before departure within Europe.
Some airports, such as Dublin, are equipped with self service kiosks and bag drop counters for a speedier check in process.
A very handy service for families is also the evening before check in. If you are travelling with a family group one member of the family can check in and drop bags in the airport the night before. You can find info here. This is very handy if you have big luggage as it makes for easier movement on the day of departure
Aerlingus strollers policy
Strollers must be tagged at check in as hand luggage and can be kept until the boarding gate. They get usually returned right outside the carrier on arrival but depending on the airport we once had to retrieve it from the main baggage belt.
We usually checked in out stroller but some models are allowed in the overhead bins: you can find our selection of best strollers for travel here.
Kids meals on Aerlingus
On short haul flights, the bar menu has a some kid friendly options and a kids ‘nibbler’ snack pack with included colouring sheets and small crayons. As I already mentioned, bar food is available for purchase.
On long haul flights complimentary meals are served and you can pre-book a complimentary kids meal contacting costumer service in advance. Additional snacks and drinks are available for purchase throughout the flight.
Flying Aerlingus with baby
Our son had his first flight with Aerlingus when he was 6 weeks old. At the time, he travelled as a lap infant and we secured him with the baby seat belt provided: the cabin crew helps you operate it should you not be familiar with it.
On transatlantic flights you can purchase a seat for your baby half price or opt for the bassinet Seats.
Bassinet seats are offered for Aerlingus transatlantic flights, however they’re subject to availability and require pre-booking. Bassinet seats are unfortunately not available for infants with confirmed seating nor on Boeing 757 aircraft so it is important to check the specs of your plane and decide in advance whether a bassinet or a seat is most comfortable for your child.
Baby changing facilities are available on all Aerlingus flights except regional ones.
Flying Aerlingus while pregnant
Rules about flying while pregnant depends on the route chosen and stage of pregnancy.
Currently, the Aerlingus website reports:
- Up to 27 weeks pregnancy: no special rules apply
- European flights: 28-35 weeks pregnant A doctors’s note is necessary on European flights. You can download the form here . 36 weeks and over: you cannot fly Aerlingus
- Transatlantic flights: 28-33 weeks pregnant. A doctors’s note is necessary on Transatlantic flights. You can download the form here North America originating passengers also need to contact special assistance in advance. 34 week pregnant and over: you cannot travel on Aerlingus transatlantic flights.
My personal experience flying Aerlingus while pregnant was a positive one. I only flew short haul and noticed a distinct difference between the comfort of Aerlingus seats and the ones of a low cost competitor that shall remain unnamed…. Aerlingus seats were much more comfortable and equipped with better reclining systems, which was a huge relief on my back!
I hope this review was useful!
Disclaimer: As mentioned above, the rules reported here are taken from the Aerlingus website and the opinions expressed are based on our own experience of the carrier. Please make sure you double check rules and regulations that may apply to your trip on the official Aerlingus website directly, which is the only source of official information.