Dublin Grandad has flight cancelled twice and is stranded for days in Lanzarote
Pat Kane, a 62 year-old Irishman from North Dublin, was stranded in Lanzarote for two whole days due to a technical fault with the Aer Lingus plane he was due to board. On Sunday 29th January, the 6.20pm flight from Arrecife airport to Dublin had to be cancelled at the last minute as it was deemed unsafe to fly.
A representative for Aer Lingus’ Spanish partner company was elected to impart news of the delay, and the lack of direct contact from Aer Lingus staff has enraged Pat. He explained that he was not instructed properly on what action to take due to the delay. Pat and hundreds of other spurned travellers, including a pregnant woman and a young person with special needs, were given airport vouchers and then sent back to hotels in the resort.
Vehicles were sent to collect the customers the next day, Monday 30th January, as replacement flights had been arranged for them at 6.20pm and 10pm. Pat and his classmates were assigned to the 10pm flight. The 6pm flight took off without a hitch but Pat and others watched on as engineers, who had flown to Lanzarote specially to work on the plane, shuttled back and forth in vans apparently fitting spare parts in an effort to mend the aircraft. The engineers, who were only seen to arrive at 6pm that day (approximately 21 hours after Pat’s original flight had been delayed) could not fix the plane’s malfunctions. So, fifteen minutes before his rearranged flight was due to take off, Pat and his fellow travellers were advised that, once again, returning to Ireland would be impossible.
This announcement was yet again made by a representative of a sister company of Aer Lingus, and not an actual employee. Pat added that no-one from Aer Lingus was on hand to offer either advice or consolation. Pat, who was on a Geography field trip as part of his degree course, said that his two young classmates were in tears, with other customers looking decidedly angry and stressed out. Pat stressed that Aer Lingus could have sent out another plane to collect the passengers and take them home, sparing them any further inconvenience.
Instead, even though the passengers were assured that the costs of their stays in hotels over their two nights stranded would be covered by the airline, Pat had to pay a total of €230 on his own credit card for the accommodation, as well as €30 for a hotel dinner which turned out to be cold and wholly inadequate. Both of these unforeseen costs left Pat furious, although they were later reimbursed.
Now safely back in Raheny, North Dublin, Pat explained that he is not seeking any compensation from Aer Lingus, but he has applied for other expenses he accrued (€80 worth of taxi rides and other small costs) to be covered by the airline.
An Aer Lingus spokesman has since commented, advising that technical difficulties are an unfortunate circumstance experienced by all airlines and that their passengers’ safety is their first concern.