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'This is unacceptable': Passengers left stranded after Aer Lingus flight cancellations

One passenger told The Journal that the airline has offered to reschedule them to a flight four days after their original departure date.

People queueing at the Aer Lingus ticket assistance desk this afternoon.
People queueing at the Aer Lingus ticket assistance desk this afternoon.
Image: Jane Moore/TheJournal.ie

PASSENGERS AT DUBLIN Airport have been left wondering how they will get home after Aer Lingus cancelled multiple flights due to strike action and a spike of Covid-19 cases among staff.

The airline has cancelled nine return flights and one direct flight today and four return flights tomorrow, impacting flights carrying passengers to France, Switzerland, Brussels, the Netherlands and the UK.

Aer Lingus said the cancellations were down to Covid-19 cases among staff, with industrial action by ground-handling staff at airports in Bordeaux and Lyon adding to the disruption.

It comes after multiple flights in and out of Dublin Airport were cancelled by the airline yesterday, including flights in and out of Heathrow, where 30 flights were cancelled by the airport operator.

The Journal spoke to some passengers in Dublin Airport today. Warren from Sydney had been due to fly to London this afternoon to see family, but he received an email from Aer Lingus this morning that his flight had been put back to Tuesday, 5 July. 

“I cannot stay in Ireland. I have no accommodation, nowhere else to go,” he told The Journal.

“I just hope they can get me on a flight. If not, well then they’ll be paying for accommodation. Absolutely. I’ll make sure they pay.”

He said he will now miss out on seeing family, as well as lose money for expenses that have been paid for in London.

“Cars have been booked and other accommodation has been booked. That’s been paid for, so I won’t get that back. This is why Aer Lingus have got to come to the ballgame and get me on a flight tomorrow with any other airline and if they have to pay for it, then they will pay for it. And I will speak to the CEO right here and now if I have to.”

‘A nightmare’

Having been in Ireland for a week, he said that this experience hasn’t put him off returning, but that it would deter him from travelling with Aer Lingus again.

“They messed me around coming from London to Dublin a week or so ago. They cancelled the flight overnight without telling anyone, and when  I tried to get on the plane, it didn’t exist. So British Airways, as it was, had to find another flight for me,” he said.

It’s just been a nightmare. This is unacceptable. This is absolutely unacceptable.

Conny Grootveld told The Journal that she and her friends were due to fly home tomorrow after spending a week in Ireland, but received an email this morning to say that their EI610 flight to Amsterdam was cancelled.

Aer Lingus has told them they can reschedule to a flight on Wednesday, 6 July.

“This is to get home. Where do we stay? What do we do? Who’s gonna pay? Who’s gonna tell the boss?” she said.

The group are now trying to see if they can get an earlier flight back, but aren’t sure if it will be possible. According to the Aer Lingus website, there are no direct flights to Amsterdam until Tuesday.

“We will try and see if maybe we can go earlier with somebody else, and if they will pay for it, but I don’t know,” she said.

“The only thing they said is that they make a new flight, but nothing else.”

Jason Schreurs and Els Vankolfschooten were due to be on the same flight to Amsterdam tomorrow after spending two weeks in Ireland. They told The Journal that they have paid almost €800 for a flight home.

“Normally it’s about €50 or €60. It cost a lot of money, and now we are trying to ask them if we can get compensation for the hotel for Saturday,” Schreurs said.

IMG_4244 Aer Lingus has cancelled multiple flights that were due to depart both today and tomorrow. Source: Jane Moore

After seeing that the flight had been cancelled on Dublin Airport’s website last night, they said it was difficult getting in touch with someone from Aer Lingus.

“I immediately called Aer Lingus but it took one-and-a-half hours to get someone on the phone, and they said to me: ‘No, we don’t know if it’s cancelled already.’ But I said it’s on the website of Dublin Airport, so it should be cancelled,” Schreurs said.

“They said: ‘Yeah, you will get the confirmation of the cancellation if we hear from Dublin Airport, if it’s cancelled, and this morning, we got a text message that the flight was cancelled.”

Vankolfschooten said her Aer Lingus flight from Amsterdam to Cork was also cancelled before they arrived.

Both said the experience has put them off travelling by plane, but that they would return to Ireland.

“Ireland is really nice. People are really nice, really helpful. But the flying is now terrible,” Schreurs added.

Flights ‘sold out’

Sabrina and Phil Baffert had travelled from California and were set to go and watch the British Grand Prix at Silverstone for the weekend, but they found out last night that their 3.30pm flight to London today was cancelled.

The Aer Lingus website says there are no direct flights to London available until Sunday, the last day of the Grand Prix.

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“We’ll try to get there, but it’s got to be pretty quick,” Phil said.

“We are not able to rebook online, everything is sold out as far as we know, for this airline as well as others, so we’re just trying to see our options,” Sabrina said.

They said that one option is to fly to Madrid and then to London, something they said will cost around $1,000.

They also said that their time in Ireland has been “wonderful” and that this experience wouldn’t deter them from visiting again.

“This is all Covid related so it’s nobody’s fault, it’s out of everybody’s control,” Phil said.

Alan Degonde was part of a group of people due to fly to Paris on flight EI526 yesterday, and he is still unsure if he will get a flight home today.

“We are waiting for a new flight. Perhaps it will not be to Charles De Gaulle airport, perhaps to Bordeaux or Lyon, we don’t know,” he told The Journal.

The group received compensation for accommodation and meals for the night, he said, but the airline could not be reached to arrange for an alternative flight,

“We tried to contact Aer Lingus by phone. Many people tried with a number we were given and it’s impossible. You couldn’t get them. During the night, in the morning, in the evening. Impossible.”

He said his experience in Dublin Airport was “not very easy”, but that the problem is outside of their control because “plenty of flights are cancelled”.

People working here are very sympathetic, but we are stressed because we don’t know if we leave today, or the day after that. We don’t know.

Aer Lingus has apologised to passengers who have been impacted by the cancelled flights.

In a statement, the airline said: “Aer Lingus wishes to apologise to those impacted and teams at the airline are working to re-accommodate impacted passengers on the next available services as efficiently as possible,” said a spokesperson for Aer Lingus.

“Aer Lingus anticipated the return of demand for travel once Covid restrictions were removed and built appropriate buffers into our plans in order to deal with a reasonable level of additional disruption.

“System pressures and ongoing issues at some airports and among third party suppliers have created considerable operational challenges which have been compounded by a significant spike in Covid cases in recent days.”

The airline has said that just over 1% of all Aer Lingus flights in June were impacted by cancellations.

About the author:

Jane Moore

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