Single mum has dream holiday to Oz ruined following 'error' by online travel agent - 'It was the worst day of my life'
A single mum who spent years saving for a €4,000 holiday to Australia with her family was left in shock on Friday after she was told her daughter could not fly due to an error on the booking.
Meadhbh Ní Eidhin had booked a flight to Melbourne with her daughter Aimee (12) and mother Maire (75) through travel agency Opodo last year.
However, when she arrived at the check-in desk at Dublin Airport on Friday she was told that there was a problem as part of Aimee's name was missing on the ticket.
Her full name is Aimee Jude Irwin Ní Eidhin, but 'Irwin' wasn't included on the boarding pass.
Ms Ní Eidhin claims that she entered Aimee's full name when she made the booking with Opodo.
When she went to check-in online on Wednesday, she received a notification telling her to check-in at the airport instead.
She was then informed by Etihad on the day they were due to fly about the error.
Etihad said they could not change the name as they didn't book directly with them and subsequently, her daughter Aimee could not board the flight as her boarding pass did not match her passport and visa.
"When I reached the check-in desk at the airport I was told that there was a problem and that part of Aimee's family name was missing off the ticket. Her name is Aimee Jude Irwin Ni Eidhin and the ticket read Aimee Jude Ni Eidhin. I typed this in when booking online and I remember running my fingers under each name as I typed; the site was glitchy I remember," Meadhbh told Independent.ie.
"I am a single mother and work hard for every penny for my daughters classes etc. We were hoping to go last year but I did not have enough money as there were always bills to pay. Every week I would put aside an amount to get to Australia and see my brother and his baby. So finally I had enough to pay for the trip for both of us. It worked out €1302.81 per flight total flight cost for the 3 of us €3908.44."
The airline they were due to travel with was Eithad, but the flight was sold by Virgin Airlines.
Due to all the different connections, Meadbhbh said she was being passed from one company to the next but none helped to resolve the problem.
"I was hyperventilating at the counter, everything started spinning, I couldn't breathe. My daughter was crying, as was my poor elderly mother."
Her mother ended up having to fly alone, leaving Meadhbh and Aimee behind.
"My mum had to go by herself to Abu Dhabi and then Melbourne. It was the worst day of my life. I sat upstairs in the airport in shock which seemed like an eternity and then spent hours on the phone between the airlines," she said.
The Galway woman claims she was told that a refund would not be provided and she would have to book another flight to travel.
Her brother, who lives in Melbourne, borrowed money off his friends and other relatives and booked another flight for Meadhbh and Aimee, who will now fly on Sunday instead.
"The whole good has been taken out of the holiday, now I'm just going to be worrying about paying my brother back and I'm going to be another €4,000 out of pocket."
The Guardian previously reported cases of people who had to pay thousands to amend bookings made through Opodo after incorrect names appeared on the site, despite being entered correctly.
Some other people who used the agency claimed that their surname was entered twice on the confirmation and that they were asked to pay a hefty sum to amend it.
Independent.ie has contacted Opodo and Virgin Airlines for comment.