Aer Lingus passengers seeking lost luggage complain of no human contact from airline

Almost 5,000 people have now joined the Aer Lingus Complaints Action Group on Facebook to share experiences

Large numbers of Aer Lingus customers, some of whom have been waiting for lost baggage for more than three weeks, have complained the airline has not answered their calls, replied to their emails or provided a human to address their concerns.

Almost 5,000 people have now joined the Aer Lingus Complaints Action Group on Facebook to share experiences and information about lost baggage and passenger service. A common theme in the complaints is the inability of passengers to get anything other than generic information from the airline, or a reply to emails.

Canadian Michael Theis said he travelled with his daughter from Hamburg via Dublin to Toronto on July 15th and then submitted an online claim for missing bags. “Since then, there’s absolutely no update in the claim. Aer Lingus is not available by phone or email, nor do they respond to Facebook or Twitter messages,” he said. “There are important things in the bags, I need them back.”

Lara Sullivan said her daughter travelled with Aer Lingus, arriving in Washington DC on June 26th without her three bags. “Since she had spent the entire school year at Cambridge University virtually all of her belongings were in those bags. Aer Lingus never provided any updates regarding the bags despite over 30 phone calls to their lost baggage services.” Ms Sullivan said.

Scott Salmon said he had not received anything other than a generic reply from emails to the airline, after weeks of waiting for lost baggage. However, his son’s luggage had then turned up at their address in the US. He accused the airline of incompetence and of being “an embarrassment to your proud nation”.

No human contact

A number of others said their missing luggage arrived at their home address, several weeks after it was lost, again without any contact from a human at the airline.

Australian choreographer Lewis Major said he was part of a touring dance company travelling from Dublin to Newcastle in the UK, after performances at Galway International Arts Festival. “Every bag arrived except one — the bag with all of the costumes and technical equipment in it. We have shows and I’ve had to go and buy all new equipment. Nearly equalling £10,000 [€12,000]. Can’t get through to a human at Aer Lingus, and their reporting system is completely screwed.” The bag turned up unannounced on Saturday, leaving the troupe with two sets of equipment, one set which Mr Major said he hopes to sell.

Last week, the Oireachtas committee on transport heard Aer Lingus had 1,200 “open files” relating to missing luggage. The airline’s chief executive, Lynne Embleton, told the committee that in a majority of cases, Aer Lingus did not handle the bags. She said most bags went missing when they were being transferred from another airline to Aer Lingus.

In response to questions from The Irish Times the airline issued a statement saying “regrettably, our airline is being impacted by widespread disruption and resource challenges across the sector”.

Aer Lingus said it has “increased our communication with customers to explain the steps they can take to log any delayed or misdirected baggage”.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist