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Customers advised to check their rights as Aer Lingus apologises for more cancelled routes

The company said it has been affected by strikes in France and Covid outbreak among staff.

Aer Lingus cancelled flights last night.
Aer Lingus cancelled flights last night.
Image: Sam Boal/Rolling News

AER LINGUS HAS advised its customers to check their rights after more of its flights were cancelled last night.

The company apologised for the latest cancellations, which it attributed to a combination of strikes by air traffic controllers in France to an outbreak of Covid-19 among its staff.

Disruptions have become a regular occurrence to air travel as pandemic measures have been removed in recent weeks, with the Defence Forces now being drafted in to assist at Dublin Airport to help with problems there.

Up to 30 scheduled flights also did not take place at the weekend.

Aer Lingus said it had “built appropriate buffers” in anticipation of the return of demand for travel once restrictions were removed, but added:

“Since the weekend, system pressures from ATC strikes, and ongoing issues at airports and among third party suppliers have regrettably necessitated the cancellation of some flights.

“This pressure on the system has been compounded by a spike in Covid cases among our own teams in the last number of days.”

It said that where cancellations have occurred, the company has sought to re-accommodate disrupted passengers on the next available alternative service.

In its statement, Aer Lungus said that customers may be eligible for a refund under EU regulations if customers have been denied boarding or their flight was cancelled or delayed more than three hours on arrival.

According to the Aer Lingus website, if your flight is cancelled, customers have the following options:

  •  - a new flight as soon as possible to your final destination;
  • - a flight at a later date, subject to availability of seats;
  • - full refund within seven days of the ticket price.

Refunds apply in situations where the cause of the delay or cancellation is “for reasons within control of the airline”, meaning that passengers may not be eligible in the cases of extreme weather events. 

Travel journalist Eoghan Corry told The Journal that customers who missed out in recent days should expect their problems to be dealt with relatively quickly. 

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“Rights are very clearly set out under EU rules,” Corry said.

“The joy of this is that there is clarity, in that there was ambiguity previously but almost everything has been well tested through the courts of Europe, right up to the European Court of Justice.

“So you’ve a very clear set of rights. If your flights have been cancelled, you’re entitled to refunds and you’re also entitled to out of pocket expenses. What you’re not entitled to is compensation if it’s outside of the airport’s control, say in exceptional circumstances.”

If the airline is contesting the claim, then the customer can apply to the government appointed arbitrator through Flight Rights

“The reality is that airlines are good at this,” Corry added.

“I’d be surprised that they don’t get a very quick resolution for this because they’re used to weather events, ice storms and strikes. They’re used to having big shutdowns.”

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