Fighting a losing battle with Aer Lingus over terms of vouchers

Pricewatch: Reader is ‘disgusted’ after being told she cannot use vouchers for flight home to Ireland

A reader   expressed her ‘disgust’ at her recent dealings with Aer Lingus. Photograph: Getty Images

A reader expressed her ‘disgust’ at her recent dealings with Aer Lingus. Photograph: Getty Images

 

A reader called Ruby wrote to us to express her “disgust” at her recent dealings with Aer Lingus. Specifically she was disgusted with how the vouchers she had were being treated.

Ruby lives in Toronto and tries to come home to Ireland as much as possible to visit family. “Unfortunately this year at Christmas the prices were extortionate so I stayed in Toronto,” she says.

As a result, her family bought her a total of three Aer Lingus vouchers as Christmas and birthday presents which they hoped she would use to fly home for family weddings this summer.

She then found out that the terms and conditions of the airline’s vouchers say that people can only use one voucher per transaction. She said this was “unfair but it’s nonetheless there in the fine print”.

Her real problem – and the thing that renders her presents very hard to use – is that because the vouchers were bought in euro she only has the option to buy a ticket home in euro.

“After hours of dealing with Aer Lingus contact centre agents who have not the slightest idea of voucher terms and conditions I have come to realise that I cannot use this voucher unless I am departing from Ireland. Yes even people in other European countries must depart from Dublin,” she writes.

She says nowhere in the terms and conditions could she find a reference to this. “You are sent in circles, promised call backs, promised things that are not even possible within the Ts&Cs in the hope that you will give up. It appears from research that this happens constantly and eventually people give up. The first flight home this summer I have now booked with Air Canada, and I am fighting a losing battle with Aer Lingus trying to book a second flight for August using their vouchers. I dread the time I tell my family members that all the money spent on presents have been handed over to Aer Lingus for no reason.”

She says she is shocked that “the marketing everywhere is ‘let’s bring families together’ when in this situation you are told its your own fault and the vouchers are obsolete. They expire within 12 months, you incur large fees to change the name and are offered no alternative. It is by no means anyone’s fault as I am willing to pay in euros, with an Irish credit card if they want. Since this has happened the flights have doubled [in price], I am ending up spending more than I ever planned to and I have heard from friends who have also had Aer Lingus vouchers go to waste for numerous different reasons.”

Predicament

She sent a subsequent email in which she said that her partner had agreed to issue flight credit in place of the vouchers “and that we can then call in order to book, but previously we were advised that over the phone they cannot book ‘saver fares’ and instead will charge us a much higher rate making the voucher useless”.

We got the following statement from the airline:

“We appreciate the reader’s predicament however, as outlined on our website, gift vouchers can only be redeemed against bookings made in the same currency the voucher is issued in,” a spokeswoman said.

“As this guest was booking from Canada they were unable to use their euro voucher. At present our vouchers are available in euro, US dollars and pound sterling. Flights originating from Ireland and euro zones are priced in euro (EUR), flights originating from the UK are priced in sterling (GBP) and flights originating from the United States are priced in US dollars (USD). Unfortunately we do not issue vouchers in Canadian dollars at this time.

“Both the guest in question and their partner have been in touch with our guest relations team on this matter. Our team advised we can issue the guest with flight credit for the value of the voucher and our reservations team can assist with issuing the booking over the phone. This is still the case should the guest wish to make contact with our reservations team and complete the booking.”