Monday 19 February 2018

'I have friends who won’t travel with me' - Is this man Ireland's unluckiest flyer?

Travel talk

Paul McKane (32)
Paul McKane (32)
Jason Kennedy

Jason Kennedy

Meet Laois native Paul McKane, who has been hit by numerous flight control strikes, suffered from severe travel sickness, has been on planes where the brakes fail and even one that was struck by lightning.

For 32-year-old Paul, his "travel curse" kicked off in 2010 when Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull caused travel chaos across Europe.

"I was stuck in Switzerland for 10 days. I went mad, basically. It was the not knowing when I was going home that was worst thing about it.

The curse has been with me ever since then, like a familiar friend," he joked.

The lawyer, who now lives in London, is no stranger to flying. His work sends him across the globe on business, having flown around 45 times so far this year.

"I’ve managed five flights in a row without trouble. That’s my record. Usually every third flight has a problem for me.

"I have friends who won’t travel with me," he said.

"My mother won’t collect me from the airport anymore because she doesn’t know if I’ll actually get there."

The worst experience the Trinity College graduate had to deal with was facing a monsoon in the middle of a work trip in the Philippines. Another time, his return flight from South Africa was hit by lightning, but he says that was "grand actually".

Despite his poor aeronautical experiences, Paul says there are some benefits to his frequent flying woes.

"The other side of the coin is I get upgraded a lot. There is a silver lining.

"I’m also very familiar with my rights under the EU regulation on air travel. Through that, I know which airlines to avoid. I've had to deal with some brutal customer service."

Paul's final flight of the year is just around the corner as he's set to fly back to England after spending Christmas at home. He's not overly concerned about dealing with his curse this time around.

"I checked the weather forecast and it seems there'll be high winds. I suppose the worst I'll have to deal with will be a delayed flight.

"That'd be grand."

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