Air Travel in Dublin yesterday – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Good: Yes, it was time for our annual golfing holiday with our friends. We have been taking this week in Spain for the last five years and no hiccups with our travel until this year. It was great to see all the friends rolling up at the airport; some of whom we hadn’t seen in 12 months. Discussions started immediately as to who might be playing together in the various foursomes and hopefully we might be playing ‘champagne’ golf (only golfers know what type of golf that is). Everybody was in great form heading to the sun knowing full well that winter would have arrived by the time we came back in a week’s time.
The Bad: Ryanair flight FR 7318 to Almeria was cancelled. Firstly it was supposedly delayed by 3 hours and then after 90 minutes we were informed that it was cancelled. There was a French air traffic controllers strike yesterday which meant that loads of flights to and from France were cancelled (well over 260 according to one media source). However, we did notice that there was an empty plane at our gate which wasn’t going anywhere. Also other flights to Spain (Madrid, Malaga and Barcelona) did get away so they were able to avoid French air space. It was my first time having this experience. Chaos would be an accurate description. Some of our party were informed to go and retrieve luggage. Others wandered back to the ticket desk and then had to backtrack through security for a second time to go to arrivals to retrieve luggage. There was nobody making any proper announcements as to what to do. As other flights had been cancelled there was a massive queue at the ticket desk. After 80 minutes standing the first of our group to get to the desk was informed that they had no alternative as flights to Malaga were full and the next one to Almeria was four days later and it too was full. The only option was apply for a refund or go to the Aer Lingus ticket desk to see if they had an alternative.
The Ugly: Good news when we got to the Aer Lingus ticket desk in Terminal 2. After all, this was our national carrier and of course they would look after us. There were 28 seats on a flight to Malaga on Thursday 12th and the cost would be €167 per person. As a group we said yes let’s do it. Great news indeed! Ryanair would be reimbursing us (eventually) for this extra cost so no worries. There were other stranded passengers not in our group also in line. Suddenly there were 24 seats left as other passengers were booking alternatives as well. We were then informed of the following: We can only book three at a time and each time three book the price of the seats for the next three goes up by €30 per seat. That meant that by the time our last three would be booking they would be paying a whopping €377 per person for a one way flight. We all collectively drew the line at this appalling price hike by Aer Lingus. They knew full well what they were doing and what was going on. Where will we be this Thursday – here at home; having missed our holiday.
Conclusion: Not impressed with either Ryanair or Aer Lingus. Message to Michael O’Leary: Our principled behaviour at not being gouged means that you won’t be at a huge loss. Do you even care?