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★★☆☆☆

“After having to continually chase a refund for a...”

Written on: 20/04/2011

After having to continually chase a refund for a cancelled business flight in Dec 2010 (snow) and being unable to contact them by email, waiting twice the indicated time to receive my refund and being told different stories by their call centre staff about the progress of my claim you would think I would have had the sense to give them a miss but like a fool I chose to travel with them to Rome recently.

I turned up with approved cabin luggage but an extremely unfriendly member of Aer Lingus staff was waiting at departures and said that unless my bag went into the metal cage completely I would need to go back and check it in. I totally understand the need for rules but the problem was it bulged by about an inch at the side and only in one part, which was almost laughable as we could both clearly see that it was a minor issue. However, fair play to him, he stuck to his task like the worst schoolteacher you can remember and made me go and spend 5 minutes repacking it on the floor. His cheerful parting words when it did then go in were that they would be charging euro50 in a few weeks if it didn't go "in the cage", and to "remember that"!. What wonderful customer service. Funnily enough it wouldn't have mattered if my bag bulged by 5 inches when I put it in the overhead locker and an Aer Lingus employee on the return flight had a bag you could hide an elephant in, but then again I'm only the paying customer. Add to this the farce whereby you can only check in without paying for seats up to 30 hours before each leg your flight (thus forcing me to cough up rather than spend an hour in Rome in an internet cafe checking in, just as Aer Lingus intended) and my wife and I have decided we'll be holidaying in Ireland this summer. I wish Aer Lingus well with their new strategy or trying to outdo Ryanair as idiots of the air and presumably they just don't see the irony when they keep making announcements on the plane as to how much they appreciate your business.