Aer Lingus now flies direct from SFO to Dublin


This can save you time and money and if all goes really well, the other airlines will have to compete.

With flags flying, Aer Lingus made its inaugural nonstop flight between Dublin and San Francisco. Starting Wednesday, the airline is offering five flights per week between the two cities.

Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller told ABC7 News, "We dropped it unfortunately, five years ago in the wake of the financial crisis, but now we are back."

And they're back in a big way, greeted by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and lines of passengers waiting to take the first flight back to Ireland.

"It is a long way to go and stopping with two young kids in New York or Heathrow or wherever is pretty hard so I'm thrilled and that's why I am here on the first day. I couldn't wait," said Valarie Flahiv of San Francisco.

Wednesday's flight took just over 10 hours and the fare changed could change vacation plans.

Mimi Cassidy from Moraga Travel told ABC7 News, "I think this is going to be a game changer for Ireland and this is really going to give people the option to travel into Ireland that they want to do."

Cassidy says most European fares are going for $1,500 to $1,700.

Aer Lingus is charging less than $1,000.

"Nearly 20 percent of the population of the Bay Area has Irish heritage in some form or another, depending on how far back. So, hopefully they're not all going to travel at the same time, but certainly over the next few years, we're going to be trying to get as many as possible to come back and visit Ireland," said Philip Grant, Consul General of Ireland to the Western U.S.

But for Aer Lingus, Ireland is just the beginning.

"We have very similar pricing to bring you to places like Bristol in the United Kingdom, London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam. So all of these are very viable connections through Dublin and it is a much easier airport to navigate than connecting through one of the bigger hubs," said Declan Kearney from Aer Lingus.

Now these prices are great, but they are introductory, so expect them to go up. Wednesday's flight took just more than 10 hours. Our travel agent says to play it safe with connections most other offerings will take you 15 hours.

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