From bags of annoyance to a feel-good factor in Galway’s Snoozles

In October 2018, Gerard Bennet booked two return flights to the US going out April 1st this year as a birthday gift for his wife. "I went through the whole process, was prompted for seat choice and baggage and completed the reservation," he writes.

"This week, I was again on the Aer Lingus site, booking a transatlantic flight for a meeting I have to attend in Boston at the beginning of next month. In checking to see what the fare included, I noticed that it listed a 23kg bag. I completed this booking and then checked back on my booking for April that I'd made four months ago to see that indeed, we were allocated a free 23kg bag each and to this was added, for each of us, another bag at €39 per bag, per flight segment for a total of €156!! We don't need this."

He says that with about six weeks to go, he decided to access the reservation “with the intention of removing these unnecessary bags and getting a refund of my money [less, possibly a small admin fee]”.

‘Unable to do’

He wasn’t able to do this online so he sent an email to Aer Lingus “guest” services. “You can imagine my surprise to receive an email today to say that: ‘We would be unable to offer the requested refunds, as fees paid for services on your reservation are non-refundable.’ I would debate the ‘unable to’ as they are ‘able’ to do whatever they please.”


He accepts that the error is his. However, like most of us, most of the flights he books are within Europe and he is used to adding the bags as usual. "There is no prompting on the Aer Lingus screen, when it gets to the 'add bags' section, to remind the passenger that a 23kg bag is included. It is not that many years ago that other airlines had to modify their booking system because people were inadvertently falling in to the trap of buying unwanted services."

He says for him it is “not a change of mind; it is a mistake, pure and simple, and most well-intentioned organisations recognise when a customer has made a mistake and correct it. Two of us travelling for nine days don’t require a total of 86kg of baggage on each flight!”

Response We got in touch with the airline and received the following statement. “Aer Lingus offers a range of fares to suit guests’ specific needs and budgets. For transatlantic travel we offer three fare types

– Saver, Smart and Flexible. In terms of baggage allowance, Saver fares include complimentary 10kg hand baggage only while Smart fares are an all-in price which includes 23kg checked baggage plus 10kg hand baggage. When selecting the fare type on the guest will be informed of what’s included as they go through the booking process. We appreciate in the case of your reader they unintentionally added additional baggage and in this instance we are happy to refund this cost as a gesture of goodwill.”