Just a quick note highlighting the announcement that United Airlines will begin flying from Washington Dulles to Dublin next May. The carrier will utilize a two-cabin 757 aircraft from the Continental fleet with lie-flat seats in business class.
Dublin is a great airport to connect when flying into and out of Europe for a number reasons. First, you pre-clear into the United States when traveling from Dublin, arriving at your destination as if you were on a domestic flight. Anyone who has endured immigration at Dulles will appreciate that when flying out of Dublin you can bypass the dour border agents and hapless TSA clerks that make your life miserable. Second, unlike the UK next door, Ireland has much lower taxes on airfare and no outrageous £150+ air passenger duty (APD), leading to lower ticket prices and fees when buying a revenue ticket or purchasing an award. Finally, I really like Irish people–they are jovial, generous and loyal people.
The announcement that United will start service on their own metal brings into question the future of their joint-venture with Aer Lingus. Currently, Aer Lingus flies from Dulles to Madrid with a United flight number (not just a codeshare number) and an Aer Lingus aircraft/crew. With Continental serving Dublin and Madrid already, we may see an end to that partnership once the current contract expires.