Long-awaited exodus as stranded passengers take flight
THE long-awaited exodus of passengers stranded at Dublin Airport finally got under way yesterday as airlines began clearing the backlog.
But many passengers spent the day queueing to re-book cancelled flights.
Some airlines were still experiencing delays yesterday due to problems with de-icing. And transatlantic passengers faced more headaches last night after a blizzard hit the eastern seaboard of the US, closing airports in New York and Boston.
Air France passenger Paulo De Barros (26) has spent the better part of a week making a daily trek to the Dublin Airport in order to spent two weeks with his family in Paris.
He was due to fly out last Tuesday night but has been forced to return to his Dublin home each night after his flight kept getting cancelled.
"I was waiting sometimes six, seven hours, 10 hours, even getting on the plane and after half an hour getting an announcement saying my flight had been cancelled," he said. He also estimates he has wasted about €300 going back and forth each day.
Meanwhile, Aer Lingus was forced to cancel its Dublin to Boston flight yesterday -- this time due to snow on the other side of the Atlantic. And two of its flights from Dublin to New York were cancelled as was a flight from Shannon to New York.
Aer Lingus passengers hoping to return to Ireland from the US were stranded there overnight.
Meanwhile, the airline is still trying to clear the backlog from Christmas Eve when it cancelled 16 flights.
The airline put up several hundred stranded passengers in hotels on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. Others whose flights were cancelled or delayed for more than five hours are eligible to claim their food and accommodation costs back, said Aer Lingus spokesman Declan Kearney.
The few remaining staff on duty on Christmas Eve after the closure of check-in desks were deployed to help stranded passengers find accommodation, he added.
About a dozen weary passengers who hoped to get out first thing yesterday morning spent Christmas Day at the deserted airport, according to Dublin Airport Authority spokeswoman Siobhan Moore.
Staff provided them with blankets and some food.