Saturday 24 March 2018

US war veteran takesdisruption in his stride


HAVING fought in the Korean war, 81-year-old John Allen is used to being in tight spots.

The elderly former US marine was supposed to fly on an Aer Lingus flight to London and then on to his home in Baltimore yesterday afternoon but instead, like hundreds of others, was left wandering Dublin airport looking for help.

"One of my options is taking the boat back to England. I am going to see what they can do for me at Aer Lingus," he said.

However, at the end of his holiday and having seen a few more pressing things in his life, Mr Allen was philosophical. "I don't let stuff bother me," he said.

Queues snaked from airline helpdesks yesterday morning after it emerged there were no flights taking off from the airport for the day.

While the Dublin Airport Authority said there had been no "massive deluge" of passengers who did not get word the airspace was shut, there were those who made their way to the terminal in the hope of flying.

"This morning I thought I would get out. I got here at 10.30am and the flight was supposed to be at 1pm. I didn't hear that all of the flights were cancelled," Quentin Dupuy (20) from Agen in south-west France said. It was the third time he tried to return home from a short visit to his friend Mathieu Ermacora, who is working in Dublin for three months.

"Thursday is the next available time. We will see about a boat," Mr Ermacora said. "We will go to the city centre and have a party at this stage."

For Joe and Michele McNaughton from Florida, there was much more of an urgency to get out of Dublin at the end of their honeymoon.

"I was supposed to test for the fire department on Thursday. I have recently finished the fire academy," Mr McNaughton said. "We don't want to book a hotel for three or four days and then get going tomorrow. That is the real frustration, the not knowing is the worst part."

His wife said that because of the economy, Mr McNaughton hasn't been able to find a job. "They are sympathetic but it doesn't look very good that I am trying to reschedule a test when all of the others who are trying to get jobs are going to be there," she said.

Another couple with financial concerns are Dubliner Stephen Cronin who lives in southern Finland with his wife Marika Cronin and their daughter Selina (12).

The pair own a guesthouse, restaurant and bar in Heinola but have had to cancel a number of bookings due to the disruption.

Irish Independent

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