Ted is pictured here in one of the ‘throne seats’ on an Aer Lingus flight from Manchester to JFK Airport A private jet from the UK to New York is a financially unobtainable luxury for most
Ted is pictured here in one of the ‘throne seats’ on an Aer Lingus flight from Manchester to JFK Airport
A private jet from the UK to New York is a financially unobtainable luxury for most.But there is a much more affordable alternative – business class on an Aer Lingus single-aisle Airbus A321neo.
The aircraft recently made its debut on the Irish flag carrier’s new route between Manchester and New York and I was lucky enough to bag a seat on it in business class, discovering that it has a definite private jet vibe – as long as you don’t look behind the curtain into economy.
Snare, as I did, one of the coveted single ‘throne’ berths – they alternate with rows of paired seats – and the experience is elevated to feeling like royalty.
I didn’t feel so princely earlier in the day, though, when my pre-booked ‘executive’ Uber to London Euston (for a train to Manchester) from my flat in the south of the capital arrived at 4.45am for a 5am pick-up, then drove off at 5.01am as I descended the stairs to head out of the door, forcing me to catch a night bus (see boxout for more on this Uber drama).
Still, I arrived at Euston with enough time for a selfie by the concourse Christmas tree before catching the rapid 6.16am Avanti West Coast Pendolino to Manchester Piccadilly.
Fast forward to 9am and I was on an almost-empty train from Piccadilly to Manchester Airport.Fifteen minutes later, I was striding through the hub on the hunt for Terminal 2, where the transatlantic Aer Lingus flights depart.
I found the Aer Lingus check-in desks at the shinier end of the terminal, by rows of self-service screens.
The seats in the single-aisle Aer Lingus A321 business-class cabin are arranged in a 4-2-4 formation
Ted’s Aer Lingus A321neo at Manchester Airport
Here mild panic ensued when the chirpy check-in official asked me for my PCR test certificate.I’d taken an (accepted) antigen test.
He then admitted that he thought they were the same thing.
(I suggest some training on this matter.)
After enduring a tortuous hour-long queue at security (though staff thoughtfully fast-tracked passengers with imminent flights), I made my way to the new 1903 Lounge, which my business-class ticket granted me access to.
It impressed.It’s spacious with plenty of comfy seating, there’s a nicely presented buffet of hot and cold food – including cooked breakfast items and 1833 vintage reserve cheddar from Somerset-based Barber’s, the world’s oldest cheddar-makers – and various alcoholic libations are proffered via eye-catching circular self-service counters.
The long-range Airbus A321neo has a 15 per cent reduction in fuel burn compared to a regular A321 and 16 fully lie-flat business-class seats (stock image)
The new 1903 Lounge at Manchester Airport, pictured, has floor-to-ceiling windows that afford glorious views of the Terminal 2 taxiway
The 1903 Lounge is named after the most important year in aviation history, when the Wright brothers cracked powered flight
“activeClass” : “wocc”,
“pageCount” : “3.0”,
“pageSize” : 1,
is named in honour of the first-ever sustained powered flight on December 17, 1903, achieved by pioneering brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright.
Aviation technology has moved on a wee bit since then, as can be seen through the lounge’s floor-to-ceiling windows, which afford glorious views of the Terminal 2 taxiway and, to the far left, the runway.
I ensconced myself in one of the chic chairs arranged to face them and watched hi-tech A350s, A380s and Dreamliners trundling around – but my Aer Lingus A321neo remained tantalisingly hidden from view at an out-of-sight gate.
A plate of sausage, scrambled egg and beans later and I was gazing upon my ride to JFK – a brand-new state-of-the-art long-range Airbus A321neo, which has a 15 per cent reduction in fuel burn compared to a regular A321 and 16 fully lie-flat business-class seats.
I settled into my soothingly green aisle-access throne seat, narrowed my eyes and scanned for niggles.
Barely a blip.
There’s no in-vogue privacy screen, but no matter – the ergonomically designed seat wraps around and cocoons you very nicely indeed.I immediately felt snug and ready for a transatlantic trip to see how New York has been holding up.
Ted declares that his ‘ergonomically designed seat [above] wraps around and cocoons you very nicely indeed’
The seat’s plug points and USB slot
It’s not the widest seat on the market but the dimensions were just fine for my 5ft 10in frame – and the legroom was ample.For even the loftiest of travellers.
There are bountiful options, meanwhile, for bespoke adjustments.
A panel to my left by my elbow that needed a slight twist to access from the upright position had one-touch buttons for three modes – ‘upright’, ‘relax’ and ‘sleep’ – as well as lumber control, pressable up and down arrows for leg-rest manoeuvering, a massage button and an option for turning Book A Private Jet Cost mood light on and off.
For minimal hassle while reclined, the seat position can be altered using a separate panel further along the pod wall.
Being uncomfortable was never going to be on the agenda.
A picture taken as Ted’s flight passes over Long Island on the descent into JFK Airport
LEFT: Ted’s starter for lunch – ‘flavoursome prawns, Marie Rose sauce and sun-dried tomato’.RIGHT: The main – ‘succulent roast Parmesan chicken breast with steamed spinach, carrots, baby potatoes and wild mushroom sauce’
These images show the control panels for adjusting the seat, with the panel on the left at elbow height when in the upright position and the panel on the right handy for when the seat is reclined
It’s not the widest seat on the market, says Ted, but the dimensions were fine for his 5ft 10in frame – and the legroom ample
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox floatRHS travel" data-version="2" id="mol-6bfdc7d0-584e-11ec-a3a8-71a0d9ffb254" website majesty of the Aer Lingus A321neo business-class 'throne' seat