Review: Fly direct from Dublin, Ireland to USA with Aer Lingus


DIS Veteran
Mar 13, 2015
I know this is mainly for people who go to Walt Disney World in Orlando, but the information will be of use to you.

This is my review of my 2018 flights from Dublin to California.

In January 2018 I booked online direct with Aer Lingus for flights in June.

Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland. It was founded by the Irish Government in 1936 and was privatised between 2016 and 2015 and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of International Airlines Group (IAG). The name Aer Lingus means Air Fleet in the Irish Language. Aer Lingus is code share partner with a number of other airlines.

I booked a Multi City return flight. Aer Lingus have this option which means you can fly out of one airport and return from a different airport and it is counted as a round trip, not 2 one way flights. I have previously used this function when travelling to the UK on short haul flights.

I choose to fly Dublin to San Francisco, LAX to Dublin standard economy. The flight time is approx 10 hours direct, no layovers.

The basic fare was €708 , then taxes and charges were added and the total I paid was €825.34

At the booking stage I was able to choose my seats at no extra charge. Also at the booking stage, anyone with dietary requirements who need a special meal such as vegetation, diabetic etc can pre book their meals.

As it was a transatlantic long haul flight, 1 checked bag max weight 23 kg, food and non alcohol drinks were included in the price.

Online check in opened 24 hours before flight departure time.

I checked in online and printed out my boarding pass.

I arrived at Dublin airport approx 3 hours before my flight departure time.

At Dublin airport,as it is the main Aer Lingus hub, all Aer Lingus flights depart from Terminal 2.

There is a large area at one end of the check in area just for Aer Lingus. This area is divided into 2 sections.

Section 1 is the normal regular check in, with the long "snake" like roped off area.

Section 2 is the self service check in and bag drop area with self service kiosks.

Since I had checked in online and had my boarding pass I just went direct to the self service kiosk. There are plenty available and one was free so I didnt have to wait in line.

I just followed the instructions on the screen and put my checked bag on the scale. The machine printed out the big sticky tag which I then attached to my bag.

I then just walked over to the bag drop desk, placed my bag on the conveyor belt, the tag was scanned and off my bag went.

I then just took the escalator up to the security check area. As I was going up the escalator , I looked down and there was a huge amount of people stuck in the regular check in area, while the self service area was very fast moving.

Once through security, I went shopping and had some breakfast.

About 2 hours before my flight departure time, an announcement was made for my flight , that passengers should proceed to the USA Pre Clearance Area.

This is a special arrangement that airports in Ireland have with USA Homeland Security. It means that USA Homeland security have a station in Irish airports and non USA Passport Holders get their stamps in their passport IN IRELAND BEFORE BOARDING THE PLANE.

To go to this special security area, you leave the general shopping concourse and go down to the departure gates. You then follow the signs to the lower level and to the security check.

At this second security check, you need to show your passport and Boarding pass. You then go through another bag check, where you remove your shoes and electronic items.

Once through the bag check, USA passport holders go to the self service machines, and non USA passport holders go to the USA Homelands Security Agents. This is where they ask you the questions about your travel plans, and put the stamp in your passport.

Once through this security check you are technically in America, even though you have not boarded the plane.

After this security check is where the USA boarding gates are. In this area there are limited shops, and food options, so you need to make sure you do your main shopping before going through the USA Security.

Aer Lingus boards their planes according to seat rows. They start boarding about an hour before flight departure. They board priority first, this means first class, business class, frequent flyer card holders and those who need extra time, such as families and those with mobility issues. They then board the choice seats / premium economy, then the section at the back of the plane, then the middle sections of the plane. If you have a seat at the departure gate, there is no need to leave it and stand at the boarding line up until your row / section is announced.

I always book general economy and an aisle seat. On the transatlantic Aer Lingus flights, the seat configuration in economy is 2 4 2.

On the seat are a pillow, blanket and ear buds for the inflight entertainment.

Once in the air, the cabin crew start the in flight service about 90 minutes after take off.

The first part is a drinks service. Soft drinks / soda/ fruit juice/ water are free, alcohol is charged for. The prices are in the inflight magazine, for example, the small bottle of wine is €6 or $7. The flight attendants take Euro notes and coins, USA dollar notes or cards. There is no drink service with the food service so you need to get your drinks for your meal at this point.

About an hour after the drinks service is the food service. There is usually a choice of main course.
I had the beef pasta main course, and on the tray was also a slice of Irish brown soda bread, a small single portion Irish Kerygold butter, a small pasta and tomato salad, a cup of water and a strawberry mouse type dessert.

After the food service they come around with tea and coffee.

Once the cabin crew have cleared away all the trays after the food service, the cabin lights are dimmed and people settle down.

I usually watch multiple films as the flying time is approx 10 hours.

On this trip I watched
The Greatest Showman
Justice League
half of A Wrinkle In Time (didnt like it, got bored)
half of Hunger Games Mocking Jay Part 1 (didnt have time to finish it before the end of the flight)

About 2 hours before the end of the flight, the cabin lights are turned back on and the cabin crew come around with a snack service. The snack service was a hot chicken wrap in a box and tea or coffee.

Once landed and off the plane, everyone just goes direct to baggage claim to get their bags. There is no need to go through any further security check as all that was done in Dublin airport.

Click Here To Return To My Main June 2018 Trip Report
Last edited:


DIS Veteran
Dec 29, 2013
Correct on all points .

The same attention is given to flights to Orlando.

NOTE All flights to USA from Dublin or Shannon have this Pre Clearance .


Irish Princess because Cinderella said so!
May 18, 2010
We've used this before flying from Dublin to America and it is so handy to clear US customs in Dublin because when you land you can literally walk off the plane. grab your bags and head for taxis. Makes it so much quicker when you get there.
  • stephensmum

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 10, 2007
    Thank you for the details, we fly Aer Lingus from Newcastle to Orlando and return to Edinburgh as we missed the Newcastle connection.

    You mentioned buying food before going through US customs, are we allowed to take food on to the plane? I usually get some meal deals from Boots, just in case we need them but was unsure if we'd be allowed.


    DIS Veteran
    Dec 29, 2013
    After you go through security you have the huge Duty Free shops for non European destinations

    Then there are several food eating places ... sit down & order breakfast or lunch .

    Next go downstairs to Customs ...... meats WILL be taken from you ....

    Sweets & Choc Bars are O.K.

    Then to Immigration person & usual fingerprint & Eye scan AND you will be

    ASKED to identify Your Case as displayed on Screen .... ( No Idea what happens if it is NOT your Case )

    When through Immigration there is another chance to buy Duty Free ..... & REFILL your empty water bottle .

    & have a snack at the coffee dock. ( Really NO Need for this )

    Boarding is done in an Orderly Manner . and as you have assigned seats NO need to Rush.

    Seat Back Screens will be on & you are given headphones & a great choice of films & music is offered

    Shortly after take off ...... refreshments will be served ... Beer & Wine is NOT Free .... Food will be served


    DIS Veteran
    Mar 13, 2015
    You mentioned buying food before going through US customs, are we allowed to take food on to the plane? I usually get some meal deals from Boots, just in case we need them but was unsure if we'd be allowed.
    There is really no need to get the Boots Meal Deal for the transatlantic Aer Lingus flights. About 90 minutes into the flight you get a decent meal and then about 80 minutes before landing you get a snack / sandwich type meal. For the transatlantic flights I usually just buy water and snacks in the airport for the plane.


    DIS Veteran
    Nov 4, 2010
    In January we flew Dublin > Frankfurt > Calgary. On the Frankfurt>Calgary leg I watched 4 movies, 1 tv show and knit about 8" of a shrug while everyone around me slept. Great downtime for catching up on missed entertainment.

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