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Wednesday 21 August 2019

'I feel exhausted and mentally drained' - Aer Lingus passengers delayed for almost 50 hours in US

Airlines apologises to passengers for delays due to technical difficulties

Aer Lingus
Aer Lingus

Alan O'Keeffe

Aer Lingus passengers delayed for almost 50 hours in the US expressed frustration at what they claimed was an unsatisfactory level of care provided to the delayed passengers.

A mechanical problem resulted in passengers travelling from Orlando arriving at Dublin Airport this morning instead of Sunday morning. Aer Lingus has apologised to passengers.

“There was a lot of frustration among the passengers at how we were treated.  We were kept for hours and hours waiting for hotels and buses,” said mother-of-three Patricia Butt (43).

“A lot of people had small children who were screaming and crying during the long delays at the airport,” she said.

“I feel exhausted and mentally drained. The family had a great holiday but what happened ruined the whole thing,” said the Cavan-based mother who was accompanied by her husband and her children,  aged from four to 11 years old.

Some 266 passengers were booked to depart the airport in Florida around 8pm on Saturday evening on the Aer Lingus Airbus 330.  The passengers sat for two hours on board the aircraft without air conditioning as efforts were made to start one of the engines which kept cutting out, she said.

Eventually, the flight was cancelled and passengers were told to collect their baggage. They queued for more than three hours to get hotel vouchers until they decided to find a hotel independently, she said.

“We got to bed around 3am but some passengers weren’t able to get to  their beds until 5am,” she said.

Vouchers for hotels and meals were provided by the airline.

On Sunday, they had to check-in at 5pm for a flight scheduled to fly around 8 pm. The passengers were kept waiting until 2 a.m. before being told the flight was cancelled. Again, they endured queues and unacceptable waits for hotel vouchers and buses, she said.

“It was 4am before we got a bus from the airport,” she said.

“When my husband got eggs for breakfast at the hotel on Monday morning, he was informed that Aer Lingus passengers were not entitled to eggs, just croissants,” she said.

They finally departed Orlando on the flight to Dublin on Monday night at 9.50pm.

An Aer Lingus spokeswoman apologised for the long delays which, she said, were due to technical problems.

Aer Lingus said an engineer was sent to Orlando with replacement parts for the aircraft but was unable to fix the problem.

Aer Lingus say another aircraft was sent from Boston to Orlando to bring the passengers to Dublin.

She said passengers were entitled to seek compensation under regulations and claims for re-imbursement would be dealt with on a “case by case” basis.

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