Aer Lingus vouchers fail to fly for honeymoon couple

Your consumer queries answered

Mon, May 13, 2013, 12:15

A reader called Kathy and her new husband got three Aer Lingus vouchers – one for €350 and two for €250 – as wedding presents last October.

“We decided we would book our honeymoon to America using these vouchers; without the vouchers the honeymoon isn’t a possibility,” she writes.

“When we went to book the flights, which came to €1,050 return, we were informed that only one voucher can be used per transaction. I thought this strange as vouchers are essentially cash. I thought perhaps it was to do with online booking that the system could only process one voucher at a time, so we tried ringing.

“So today we’ve eventually spoken to a human in Aer Lingus who said there is a one voucher per transaction policy and nothing would change that.”

Not to be defeated, the couple decided to book their flights one way at a time thereby using at least two of the vouchers. “When we tried this the price of the flights doubled. This seems totally outrageous. It looks like we have no options except to use one voucher and pay over €700.

“To make matters worse, the other two vouchers must be used before October and can only be used if my partner is travelling as they are not in my name.”

She adds: “Even if there is no way around this for us, we would like other people to be aware of this especially if they are good enough to purchase these vouchers as gifts, so at least they have the option to pool their resources and buy a single voucher. I’m sure Aer Lingus have covered themselves as the voucher states only one can be used per transaction, but I feel their tactics are cynical to say the least. I imagine a huge amount of vouchers are left unused as people simply can’t afford to book several trips in one year.”

We contacted the company and were told that only one voucher is allowed per booking. A spokeswoman said this was a systems issue.

We pointed out that what was necessary then was a change in the system and in response the company said “We are working towards creating greater flexibility for customers wishing to use our vouchers. The conditions of use are clearly stated on our website but as this customer was not aware of the restrictions, we will be contacting them to provide a satisfactory resolution.”

Fast ferry exit shows signs of slowing down

David McConnell travels regularly with Irish Ferries from Rosslare to France and, as he has a long onward journey at both ends, he books the “speedy exit” at an additional cost.

By doing this he can disembark, and clear police and customs within a few minutes.

In April last year and April again last month, instead of being placed on deck three at the exit doors, his family have been directed to deck four via the ramp. “This means deck three lorries, vans, camper vans and other high-sided vehicles may disembark before us. In 2012, when I complained I received an apology and compensation.

“The reply also stated: ‘There is a special parking space set aside on the lower deck for cars with ‘speedy exit’ status’.”

Last month he got a different response. “This time I have been told the speedy exit option only guarantees the customer will be one of the first 20 cars to exit. The explanation is that on the day we travelled the predicted cargo loads were high. This appears to happen only during the winter sailing schedule.

He has asked Irish Ferries if any other class of vehicle had to pay an additional amount to be one of the first 20 of its kind to disembark but has not received clarification on this.

“It would be informative to know how often this situation occurs and if it does so on both the journey to and from Ireland – as it has been at Cherbourg both times for us.

“Perhaps other readers might share their experiences. It would also be interesting to know whether people are generally aware of the exact nature of the speedy exit offer.”

He says it also seems “strange” that in summer there are many more high-sided vehicles which have to be placed on the lower deck, yet this seems to be a winter phenomenon.

“Perhaps, though, it would be somewhat more controversial in summer as there are more cars in the speedy exit category”.

Revenue? No thanks

Billy Wall was delighted to receive a cheque from Revenue for a couple of hundred euros as the result of an overpayment of income tax following a claim for medical expenses.

“I decided to lodge the cheque in an account with KBC bank. You can imagine my amazement when I was told in the bank’s Baggot Street branch that they could not accept a cheque for lodgement from Revenue! Do they know something we don’t know?”

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