Aer Lingus customers face charges of up to €60 to get lost property back

Airline says 75% ‘more guests reunited’ with property after service outsourced

Aer Lingus customers will have to pay up to €60 to get their lost property back after the airline outsourced the process to a third party. The firm, We Return It, charges €20 to find and return a key, watch, passport, wallet or purse, €30 for a bag, headphones, mobile phone or MP3 player, €40 for a tablet computer or camera and €60 for a laptop.

The airline told The Irish Times that most of the items its customers lose are electronic devices, which require specialist packaging and shipping; these are at the upper end of the return-fee scale. "Working with a specialist partner in this area is designed to enhance the guest experience," it said.

“Aer Lingus endeavours to reunite guests with lost property, including items left by guests on board our aircraft or in our airport lounges, but does not accept liability for such items . . .

“Aer Lingus lost property is managed by a partner company, which specialises in the processing of lost property, managing and storing the ‘left items’ as well as identifying ownership and ensuring the safe delivery of the item to its rightful owner.


“We are pleased to report that in the first two weeks of engaging this service we have reunited 75 per cent more guests with their property than in the same two weeks last year.”

“Increasing service quality”

Aer Lingus said it is neither making nor saving money by outsourcing its lost-property service. “It is simply a means of increasing the quality of our service.”

We Return It said it returns lost property using an “industry-leading logistics provider” and has shipped items to every continent.

Aer Lingus increased its profits by 15.5 per cent last year, to €269 million, according to figures published last week by its parent, International Consolidated Airlines Group. Revenue rose 5.3 per cent, to €1.86 billion.

Most other airlines operating at Dublin Airport, including Ryanair, British Airways and Emirates, refer customers to airport lost-property facilities. Dublin Airport charges a €6 handling fee for each item it returns. Airport police dispose of any property not claimed within two months.

Users of other modes of transport often face no charges for retrieving lost property. Irish Rail, which advises users to contact the terminus of the service they travelled on, has no fee; nor does the Luas, whose passengers can collect lost property from the Dublin tram system’s Clondalkin depot. Bus Éireann, which has a lost-property office on Store Street in Dublin, also said it had no fee. Dublin Bus charges €2 for each item claimed from its lost-property department.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter