Passengers ‘worried’ by industrial action at Aer Lingus

The thrill of taking off on holiday has been overshadowed for many Aer Lingus passengers by the threat of flight cancellations over the coming weeks.

It comes as the Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA) served notice of an indefinite work-to-rule, which is due to commence at 00:01hrs next Wednesday 26 June.

Pilots who are members of IALPA in Aer Lingus will also take part in an eight-hour strike on 29 June.

Aer Lingus said that 124 flights have been cancelled during the first five days of the industrial action by pilots, impacting 20,000 customers.

The large numbers departing Dublin Airport with Aer Lingus today were aware of the risk of disruption to their return flights and had mixed emotions about this possibility.

Barry and Emma Doyle from Glasnevin in Dublin said they were looking forward to their two-week holiday in Gran Canaria but acknowledged that they may have to book alternative flights home, if their flight is cancelled.

“I am worried about coming home,” Ms Doyle said while her husband also explained how he will have to check out flight options while they are away.

Another couple, who are retired, said they understand the worry for those who have work to return to and who do not have the same flexibility as them to stay abroad while a flight is rescheduled.

The uncertainty around who will be impacted is also causing immense worry for couples who are due to marry abroad in the coming weeks.

Debbie Morone has spent two years planning her wedding in Italy with huge amounts of savings invested into the special occasion – a villa booked and a week of activities planned for her 75 guests.

Ms Morone said: “We know that some of our guests are not going to make it.

“They are not going to be in a financial position to pay double or triple the price of another airline because the prices last night skyrocketed once they knew Aer Lingus were doing this.”

She said they do not have a Plan B as she spoke of her despair about the amount of planning and money that has gone into this event.

She also feels a sense of responsibility for her guests and said they do not expect their friends to pay extortionate amounts with another airline if their flight is cancelled next weekend.

Ms Morone said she had called Aer Lingus on Tuesday to ask about the flight disruption and was assured they would be re-routed through a partner airline.

“Yesterday, we all got emails to say if you would like to avail of a refund or reschedule,” she said.

She added that when she then asked about rescheduling for the day before her booked flight, she was informed that this flight could also be cancelled.

Laura Erskine said her customers are in a ‘complete panic’ over whether their weddings abroad can go ahead

Laura Erskine, the owner of Spellbound Bridal said eight of her customers, who are travelling abroad in the coming weeks, are facing the same predicament.

She said they are travelling to destinations like Croatia, Spain and France and that all are going with large groups of family and friends.

“There are huge amounts that have gone down and now they are in a complete panic as to whether their destination wedding can go ahead,” Ms Erskine said.

She said while most couples can make contingency plans, the bigger issue is ensuring their “100 plus guests” can make it.

“It is the not knowing, really, is the biggest problem,” she added.

Aoife O’Neill and Martin Gallagher said they are worried about how the dispute might affect their wedding

Aoife O’Neill and her soon-to-be husband Martin Gallagher have their wedding booked two weeks from now in Dubrovnik.

Ms O’ Neill said they should be enjoying the build up to this “happily ever after”, but instead they are worrying about what is going to happen and how this might affect their wedding.

She said: “It is very stressful given all the preparations that have been made.

“Also, it is not just about flight cancellations.

“There will be a knock-on effect as accommodation has been booked, and in some cases non-refundable.”

Paula Bradley, an Aer Lingus passenger who has her family summer holiday booked in France since last December, said she sent a message to the Taoiseach Simon Harris to “intervene” in the dispute.

“It needs to speed up now,” she said as she outlined the frustration she is feeling over the possible disruption to her family holiday to France.

The mother of two is due to travel with her family on 1 July to Nantes and booked the flights six months ago.

“I had a budget and booked what I could,” she said.

“Even if we get out there, we have to be worried about coming back,” she added.

“I have to go back to work. We don’t have flexibility.”

She described the stress caused by this announcement of possible disruption with accommodation and car rental already paid for.

“I lose half of my costs,” she said.

Simon Brophy said he hopes the dispute gets resolved without Government intervention

Ms Bradley said she has already researched her alternative options but that she will have to pay about €1,000 to change to another airline.

She said a lot of her friends and family are also facing a nervous wait with flights booked throughout the summer with Aer Lingus.

Simon Brophy, who is moving to New York for one year and was travelling with his daughter Áine today from Dublin Airport, is due to come back next Friday to collect his son from the Gaeltacht and return to the United States.

He said: “It is going to be difficult.

“My wife and I are both working over in New York.

“If I get stuck one way or another and my son can’t come over to us.

“It is a family adventure of a lifetime that we won’t be able to take.”

Mr Brophy said he hopes this dispute gets resolved without Government intervention.

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