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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: 1°C
Eamonn Farrell
Turbulent Times

Passengers who missed flights due to Dublin Airport chaos have 'no automatic right to redress'

Dublin Airport Authority may also face financial penalties, according to regulators.

PASSENGERS WHO MISSED a flight on Sunday due to long queues for security at Dublin Airport do not have “an automatic right to redress” for any costs incurred,  Ireland’s consumer watchdog has warned.

Over 1,000 people missed flights at the weekend, which airport management said was due to a number of security staff absences that had led to lengthy queues. Customers are being encouraged to contact their airline or travel agent about rebooking as soon as possible.

Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), the semi-state company that operates both Dublin and Cork airports, has committed to compensating affected passengers. The company may also face financial penalties as a consequence of the chaotic scenes witnessed over the weekend, regulators have confirmed.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1 yesterday, Kevin Cullinane, Head of Communications at DAA, apologised for the lengthy delays at security.

He said the company would “recompense anyone who is out of pocket” because of the delays, urging them to get in contact by emailing DAA at

But details of the compensation scheme are yet to be revealed.

Aer Lingus, meanwhile, confirmed that it will waive rebooking fees for anyone who missed a flight on Sunday due to the delays.

But in a post on its website last night, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) said passengers who changed their flights may still have to pay higher prices for a rebooked ticket.

“If you booked your flight directly with an airline, you do not have an automatic right to redress from your airline if you do not make it to your flight departure gate on time, even where this was due to security delays within the airport,” the watchdog said.

If you plan to go ahead with your trip, you should contact the airline as soon as possible to discuss which rebooking options may be available to you. Some airlines have agreed to honour tickets and waive fees for booking changes, but you may still have to pay any increase in the cost of the ticket.

While passengers await more details from DAA on the level of compensation it will offer, the CCPC urged anyone affected by the delays to keep copies of any receipts for expenses related to the delays including meals, rebooking fees or hotels.

“It may also be a good idea to keep copies of taxi receipts, bus tickets or airport parking tickets, in the event that you are asked for additional proof that you were at the airport within the recommended timeframe for your flight,” the Commission said.

Anyone who missed a flight booked as part of a package deal, meanwhile, will have “a number of strong rights and protections”, according to the CCPC.

It said, “This includes the right to cancel your package holiday as a result of unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances that significantly affect your ability to travel to your holiday destination. In these circumstances, you are entitled to a full refund of your package holiday price, without paying any cancellation fee.”

The next step for anyone in this situation is to contact their travel organiser as soon as possible to explain their circumstances, the Commission urged. 

“If you don’t want your holiday to be rebooked for a later date, you can instead exercise your right to a full refund, without paying a cancellation fee,” it added.

Anyone who bought travel insurance for their trip should check the terms and conditions to find out if it covers airport delays.

Separately, the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) has confirmed that DAA could be financially penalised over last Sunday’s delays. 

In a statement, the CAR said it has “a comprehensive set of service quality metrics” and “targets”, which apply to Dublin Airport. If those targets are not met, “associated financial penalties may be applied,” the regulator said.

While the penalties were paused throughout the pandemic — due to staff shortages and the disruption caused by public health restrictions — the CAR said it informed DAA that the regulator is “less likely to waive penalties unless extraordinary circumstances exist” this summer.

“We have yet to consider possible extenuating circumstances in relation to events since the start of the summer season,” the CAR added.

Outgoing DAA chief executive Dalton Philips will appear before the Oireachtas Transport Committee tomorrow to discuss the airport crisis. 

In a statement this afternoon, DAA said Philips and members of his management team met with Minister Ryan and Minister for State for International Transport Hildegarde Naughton earlier today.

“At the meeting, DAA outlined plans to manage the passenger experience this June Bank Holiday weekend and into the extremely busy summer holiday period ahead,” the company said in the statement.

DAA also said it had updated the ministers on how Dublin Airport intends to compensate passengers who missed flights last weekend although no details have yet been given.

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