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I liked AerLingus not only for the price, but because it had the layover in Dublin. Normally I would like directs. But this broke the flight up into relatively short segments of 4h35m & 2h35m (+/-). Gave my mom time to stretch her legs in Dublin. She is somewhat mobility-impaired. I thought the 7-8 hour flights of directs would be harder on her.

Just to poke a small hole in your logic - the flight from JFK to Dublin is 6 hours and 30 mins, while the flight from JFK to Barcelona on Air Europa is 6 hours and 50 mins, so there isn't that much difference in time. Personally, I'd pay the extra $101 and take the direct Continental flight out of EWR for a flight time of 7 hours rather than having the long layovers and added travel time and hassle.

I haven't flown Air Europa. They used to be exclusively a charter service here in Europe, but a couple of years ago they started offering scheduled service and are a member of the Sky Team Alliance. It looks like they have a very limited long haul aircraft capacity (4 A330) and a pretty aggressive long haul schedule, so there isn't a lot of room for technical issues.
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