Aer Lingus, the national carrier of Ireland, is known for its green planes and that shamrock tail, making it easily recognizable among all the other aircraft at Bradley International Airport, as it operates non-stop flights between Hartford and Dublin.
“It’s just so convenient to fly here out of Bradley to Europe really,” said John Tibor, North Haven.
“Very convenient. And I must say one thing, Aer Lingus is a nice airline. The people are very friendly,” said Barbara Young-Maats, Germany.
Connecticut officially became a destination on the Aer Lingus route map in September of 2016. The inaugural flight was a pretty big deal. Since then, it’s become quite popular with travelers.
“Once we heard Aer Lingus came into Bradley, it was immediate. We just knew we had to go,” said Sue Kirsch-Wilds, Hamden.
The Wilds family of Hamden always wanted to go to Ireland. Since the flight landed at Bradley, they’ve taken it twice. Even bringing their children on one of those trips.
“We’ve flown out of New York before to go to Europe. It was OK. A lot of work, long drive, some anxiety about whether you are going to be late for your flight. We had none of that out of Bradley,” said Kirsch-Wilds.
News 8 also took flight with Aer Lingus. Photographer Tim and Brian Spyros boarded the plane at Bradley, making the trip across the Atlantic. Quick and easy was the best way to describe it.
Of course, once you arrive in the Emerald Isle there’s plenty to see and do. Dublin is full of history and remarkable sites, much of it within walking distance. There’s also the rolling hills of the country side with hidden gems along the way. The stories you’ll find scattered throughout the country are fascinating. The people and places made a great first impression.
“What our customers in North America tell us is that when you get on board the aircraft, your trip to Ireland has already begun,” said Declan Kearney.
Declan Kearney is the director of communications for Aer Lingus. We met him at the Dublin Airport. He says the airline chose Connecticut based on the number of Irish-Americans in our region, as well as those who travel for business.
“The success of Hartford as a route for us is not just that we are bringing people between Hartford and Dublin, but the fact that Dublin is now a gateway to Europe,” said Kearney.
Which means Ireland doesn’t have to be your final destination. Through Dublin you’re able to connect to 28 other cities in Europe. The size and convenience of this airport makes it the ideal layover location. Adding new routes like Bradley has given Aer Lingus a boost in tourism from the U.S. A 19-percent increase to be exact, as the airline continues to grow its transatlantic service.
“So we’re experiencing a boom and Connecticut is certainly contributing to that so we have a lot of people from Connecticut to Dublin. Equally we have a lot of people discovering Connecticut,” said Kearney.
People coming here to visit are encouraged to visit the Capital City, New Haven, the shoreline, even the casinos. The hope is that Aer Lingus will have a long-term presence at Bradley. Some customers are already planning their next trip.
“I really want to just fly Aer Lingus and then just connect. We went on the website and it showed every single city it connected to,” said Kirsch-Wilds.
“If I were traveling anywhere in Europe, I would use this as the first leg of the flight,” said Tibor.
Passengers like these are the flying force behind this flight as it connects Connecticut and Ireland more than any other airline has done before.