Aer Lingus now outsources lost property – and it costs

A reader who left a Kindle behind was charged €37 by a third party to return it

Aer Lingus: “We cannot accept liability for any items left on board our aircraft nor in any of our lounges.” Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

Aer Lingus: “We cannot accept liability for any items left on board our aircraft nor in any of our lounges.” Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

 

A reader who lost his Kindle on two Aer Lingus flights in two years is not happy with the airline. “I flew with Aer Lingus yesterday and left my ereader in the pocket of my seat,” his mail starts.” I will say straight up that it was entirely my own fault and unfortunately not the first time I have done it! As it happens the same thing happened to me last year, which incidentally is what makes this case so interesting.”

When he lost his Kindle in February 2017 he contacted Aer Lingus via Twitter and says, “They were fantastic. They had put it in lost property, got me to come in to arrivals and pick it up and at no charge.”

When he made the same mistake recently he got straight on to them, “and they informed me that their lost property was now handled by a company called We Return It. I logged on to their site and it was extremely simple to enter the details of what I’d lost. Fast-forward a few hours and I received a picture of my ereader from WeReturnIt, along with a quote of €37 to get it sent back to me. I honestly thought this was astonishing for a number of reasons,” he says and goes on to list those reasons.

1) The price is extortionate. For context, a brand new Kindle costs €109.

2) I’ve never even heard of WeReturnIt, and for Aer Lingus to be passing on my property to another company to generate revenue seems extraordinarily shady.

3) There was no option for me to collect my property for free.

4) The difference of one year in terms of the service provided. (Free pick-up in 2017 and a €37 charge in 2018)

5) Morally it’s repugnant – if I found someone’s wallet on the street, I would hand it in to a Garda station, not charge them €37 for the privilege of having it returned.

He says he fully appreciates the mistake “was entirely mine in leaving the Kindle behind but I felt this was appalling carry-on by Aer Lingus, which is why I don’t want to let it lie.”

We contacted the company and a spokeswoman told us that earlier this year Aer Lingus partnered with WeReturnIt, a company specialising in the processing of lost property “in order to offer a more efficient system of retrieving any lost property items left behind. Aer Lingus makes no money from this service, nor is it saving any cost.

She said it was “simply a means of increasing the quality of our service, and it has worked – we have experienced up to 75 per cent uplift in guests being reunited with their lost items. Charges for this service start from €20. The majority of items left behind are electronic devices requiring specialist packaging and shipping. While Aer Lingus endeavours to reunite guests with lost property, we cannot accept liability for any items left on board our aircraft nor in any of our lounges.”