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Dublin: 4°C Sunday 28 November 2021

Passengers claim Aer Lingus 'abandoned' them after flight diversion in Spain

The plane was diverted due to a medical emergency at midnight Friday and passengers did not get back to Dublin until 11am yesterday.

Image: Peter Morrison/AP

PASSENGERS ON AN Aer Lingus flight claim they were “abandoned” by the airline in a small airport in Spain after a passenger took ill and had to be taken off the plane.

The flight from Lanzarote to Dublin was diverted to Santiago at around midnight Friday night due to the medical emergency and a female passenger was taken off the plane. The remaining passengers were left on the plane for a further two hours before being brought into the airport.

Ann Barrett, her husband and her three children were among the passengers and she told TheJournal.ie that it was at this point that interaction with Aer Lingus ended as the crew remained on the aircraft.

An Iberian Airlines representative told passengers attempts were being made to get them hotel rooms for the night but at 4am they were told this would not be possible. After another hour or so they were were informed another plane was en route to bring them home but it was not until 9am that they were provided with food vouchers.

“You could only get a doughnut or croissant and a coffee with them, “she said. “The whole time we were there overnight they had no food or water for us, we all had to go buy our own.”

Barrett said she could completely understand that the plane had to be diverted to provide medical care for the sick passenger and that it would be hard to get last minute hotel spaces after landing at a small airport. What most angered her was that the passengers “felt pretty much abandoned” by the airline, she said.

They eventually boarded a plane with a new crew at 11am yesterday and the exhausted passengers arrived back in Dublin at 12.30pm.

A number of irate customers took to social media to voice their anger, One said she had “never received such appalling treatment”. Another said:

Left in a terminal with NO communication and NOT A DROP OF WATER. Kids and elderly people. Captain n crew wont come in off plane to speak with us. Absolutly disgraceful Aer Lingus.

In a response to one customer, the the airline said it apologised for the inconvenience caused.

“The onward departure of the flight was delayed due to non availability of fuel trucks needed to refuel the aircraft. Our team tried every avenue to source hotel accommodation for guests without success. A replacement crew was flown to Santiago at the earliest opportunity.”

“We do apologise for any lack of communication, however we don’t have permanent staff available in SCQ and this diversion was completely unanticipated,” it added.

However it rejection any suggestion that customers were “abandoned”:

Passengers were met by Aer Lingus representatives who took their details so they can be compensated with a €150 travel voucher.

Read: Aer Lingus plane makes touch-and-go landing due to dangerous wind conditions>

Read: Cork-bound flight diverted to Dublin over lack of tall stairs>

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