'We’ve no idea when we’ll get home or where we’re staying’ - Irish people stranded abroad as blizzard conditions hit
A group of friends stranded in Prague fear they won't be able to return home until next week after their Aer Lingus flight was cancelled this morning due to adverse weather conditions.
The trio, all from Co Wexford, received a text this morning advising them their flight had been cancelled and were told to book a new flight free of charge.
However, when they arrived at the airport there was no representative from the airline and they weren’t able to get in contact with someone from Aer Lingus until six hours later.
“The earliest flight we could get was Friday, as tomorrow’s flights are booked up too, while Ryanair are booked out until Monday,” Ciara Molloy told Independent.ie.
- Read more: Storm Emma: Everything you need to know as Government warns of 'serious and life-threatening' blizzard conditions
“Conditions are meant to get worse so our flight on Friday will probably be cancelled too. Temperatures here have been dropping as low as -12C here and some Irish people have been stuck here since last night and they found it very difficult to get in touch with Aer Lingus too."
The three friends have been in the Czech Republic since Sunday and the airline has now organised accommodation for them.
“Stuff like this happens but they knew it was going to be bad so they should have staff in the airport and more people dealing with calls from customers,” Louise Redmond said.
“We kept ringing and ringing this morning but they kept hanging up the phone.
“Now we just don’t know when we’re going to get home.”
Michaela Bowden and her husband are currently stranded in Milan, Italy. Her sister is due to get married in Ireland on Saturday and they are worried they won't make it home.
Major weather disruption across our schedule today. While a number of European flights have operated, all remaining Dublin-Continental Europe flights today are cancelled. The majority of flights to/from USA/CAN remain planned to operate, along with some IRE-UK services— Aer Lingus (@AerLingus) February 28, 2018
“We tried all day to get through to Aer Lingus and when we did eight hours later, they told us we would not be able to get out of Milan for 4 days because of the snow. Apparently nobody wanted to break the bad news to customers that they could be stranded by up to a week.
“We are now looking at flight prices and everything was raised to extortionate levels online. It’s truly a disgrace.
“My husband and I live in Boston and we're on vacation in Italy before my sister’s wedding, which we are not sure we will make it in time for. There is really a lack of support for people at the airports.”
A group of first year Trinity College students have also been forced to reschedule flights due to adverse weather conditions. The six students were scheduled to return home from Munich, Germany on Thursday night but at 6pm today they received a text from Ryanair notifying them that their flight was cancelled.
"At lunchtime today we had actually decided to book another later flight back after seeing the weather forecast, and even then all flights on Friday were sold out," Kate Collins told Independent.ie
"The earliest flights we could get were at 9.30pm on Saturday. A ticket for that flight now costs over €250. We now also have to pay for an additional two nights accommodation. All we can do is keep our fingers crossed that conditions are alright in Dublin on Saturday."
"On top of this, my friend is diabetic and is running low on needles - she's worried she won't be able to get her prescribed ones in the pharmacies here, or how much they'll cost if she can find them."
Ms Collins said she is disappointed that Ryanair took longer than Aer Lingus to notify passengers about rescheduling flights.
Meanwhile, Dublin Airport was forced to suspend runway and taxiway operations after "blizzard conditions" and heavy snow overnight. Over 250 flights have been cancelled and there are knock-on delays. Ryanair has cancelled all flights to and from Dublin for the rest of the day.
A red alert snow-ice warning for Munster and Leinster has been issued by Met Eireann, with the forecaster warning that ‘blizzard-like’ conditions will develop over the next few days.
Have you had your travel plans disrupted by Storm Emma and wish to tell your story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org