Its first flight, on May 27, 1936, was to the exotic destination of Bristol. Now Ireland's national carrier, Aer Lingus flies to nearly 70 destinations in the UK, Europe, the United States and north Africa - and has been named Best Airline at the HolidayExtras.com Customers' Awards 2010.
Aer Lingus was founded by the Irish government to provide flights to and from Ireland. Its first transatlantic flight took place in 1958. Most of its flights go from Dublin airport, where the airline is based, but it also flies from Gatwick, Belfast, Cork and Shannon. In 2010, it began operating a route from Madrid to Washington DC. It also works with Jet Blue and United Airlines to provide easy connections to more than 40 cities in the US.
"Excellent. Very comfortable, very roomy. Staff very friendly. Would recommend."
Aer Lingus carried 10 million passengers in 2008 and had a turnover of 1.4 billion. Ryanair is now the main shareholder, with a 29.4 per cent stake, followed by the government, which holds a 25.4 per cent share.
The airline was rated second out of 18 European airlines in a customer satisfaction survey by Which.co.uk. It has also won the best airline to Europe title two years running at the Irish Travel Trade News Awards.