This is music to my ears. The thing I hate most about USA is the lengthy immigrations queues from international arrivals.
From 27th October 2013, Aer Lingus have announced that all US-bound flights departing from Dublin or Shannon will go through pre-clearance before you board your flight. Previously a few had required arrival in the US as an international passenger.
Pre-clearance is an awesome concept. You are stamped as entering the USA before you've even taken off from Ireland! This also means you effectively step off the plane as a domestic passenger so you don't have to spend 3 hours of your life queuing for Immigrations and Customs.
Pre-clearance was granted to flights before 16:00 at Dublin, but it now looks to be extended to cover the few flights after this time. There's a Flyertalk thread about pre-clearance right here.
I'd call this move a genuine benefit for European travellers, given how far and wide EI flights to continental Europe go. Just take a look at their destinations!
Aer Lingus are an airline partner of British Airways, and offer some of the cheapest transatlantic flights when using redeeming your Avios points. You can fly between the USA and Ireland for around 50 000 to 80 000 Avios plus €90 in taxes for a business class round trip. Compare that to a British Airways operated flight between London to USA which can go beyond 80 000 Avios plus €700 if you're flying business class. Don't forget that you have to call up BAEC if you want to book your Aer Lingus reward flights.
Don't forget that intra-European flights on Aer Lingus are not eligible for Reward Flight Saver, so you will have to pay full taxes on these sectors too.
As a side note, British Airways' signature London City to New York all Club World also goes through US pre-clearance at Shannon during its technical fuel stop. The morning flight BA1 always got pre-clearance, but until recently the afternoon flight BA3 had it too. As a compromise now they offer passengers an escort through New York JFK airport to the front ofthe immigrations queue. It's not as pleasant as strolling through JFK as a ‘domestic' passenger though. Whether they bring back preclearance for BA3 remains to be seen.
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