Stranded Aer Lingus passengers due home on Saturday

Customers frustrated after airline pulls Lanzarote-Dublin flight

An Aer Lingus spokesman said 68 of the passengers affected by the cancellation were rebooked on to a later flight to Ireland on Thursday evening. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

An Aer Lingus spokesman said 68 of the passengers affected by the cancellation were rebooked on to a later flight to Ireland on Thursday evening. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Aer Lingus has said it will be able to fly all its passengers stranded in Lanzarote after their flight home was cancelled on Thursday back to Dublin on Saturday morning.

The anger and frustration of the passengers mounted through much of Friday with some saying they had been left in the dark despite claims from the airline that they had been rebooked on new flights.

The flight was abruptly cancelled leaving passengers stuck in the airport for hours with little or no information.

In a statement to The Irish Times on Thursday night, Aer Lingus said the flight was cancelled due to a technical fault with the plane.

A spokesman said 68 of the passengers affected by the cancellation were rebooked on to a later flight to Ireland on Thursday evening.

“The 100 guests who could not be accommodated on flights this evening have been provided with overnight hotel accommodation and are being rebooked on to flights with a range of other carriers tomorrow,” he said.

However, Brian Mohan who is travelling with a party of seven others, including four children, said on Friday afternoon that he was still unsure as to how he and his family were going to get home. He expressed frustration and anger at the manner in which passengers had been treated by the airline.

He said they had been left in the airport for more than eight hours on Thursday with little or no information and when it became clear there was no way home for at least 24 hours, hotel accommodation was arranged.

At midday on Friday the family had to leave that hotel and return to the airport despite the fact that they were told it would be Saturday at the earliest before they could be brought back to Ireland.

“They have offered us a flight to Cork on Saturday or a flight on Sunday to Dublin but they have no idea where we are going to stay tonight or how we would make it from Cork to Dublin,” he said.

“There are eight of us we don’t know what to do. The cost of a hotel for eight people could easily run to €500 and I don’t know many people who could afford that at the end of a summer holiday. Even the cost of a bus from Cork to Dublin to where our car is will cost around €200. We have been abandoned by Aer Lingus and yet we are reading statements in the paper saying everything is being sorted out for passengers. It is an absolute disgrace.”

‘Poor communication’

Liam Brennan was also still in limbo. “There has been no communication from Aer Lingus whatsoever on the status of our flight home to Dublin.

“We were given a contact number for the handling agent, Aviapartner, and advised to contact them this morning at 10am. Having phoned and texted this number at least 20 times there was no reply. We’ve contacted the Aer Lingus help desk twice and on both occasions have been advised that they have no idea what’s happening over here.

“It’s poor communication policy on the part of Aer Lingus considering there are families with young children and some senior citizens here with no consideration being shown.

Noel Hall was also set for the cancelled flight. He decided to book a seat on the first available flight to Dublin himself, which departs on Monday.

“Things can go wrong with aircraft and I understand that, it’s the lack of information that is annoying everybody. There are people who require medication whose medication has run out.” he said.

On Friday evening, the airline issued a new statement.

“We updated the guests at 6pm that it will not be possible to fly them back to Ireland tonight but that an extra flight has been schedule tomorrow morning to return them to Dublin,” a spokesman said.

“Everyone will be provided with hotel accommodation and will be flown back to Dublin at 10.50am, arriving in Dublin at 3pm. We apologise most sincerely for the inconvenience caused.”