Breaking Up With Aer Lingus



A disgruntled Anon writes:

I thought in light of twitter battles, airline battles, and weather in recent days, the below letter might be of interest to your audience!

Dear Aer Lingus,

It is fitting that I am writing this letter of complaint to you on the same day when you gloated on Twitter that “Everyone knows we do Business better” in a feeble attempt to belittle your opponent Ryanair. I should preface the rest of this exchange by saying that by your definition, I am a business person- and travel from Dublin to Edinburgh and back every week.

This is only my second week of what is destined to be a 60+ week placement in Edinburgh. Last week I flew with Ryanair in what was a relatively pleasing experience, not withstanding the obnoxious trumpet when we landed on time.  This week however, I switched to Aer Lingus for a smoother, greener, customer experience- and after all you apparently “do business better” right?

I arrived at Edinburgh airport at 18.20 for my flight (EI3259) and was told “your flight’s not going until 10.40” and was given a £3 voucher for food. Perhaps your customer agent was charging by the word. A few things on this aspect- firstly, the agent who gave me this information at the check in desk made Storm Rachel herself look welcoming and additionally, offered no explanation or apology. Before I am fobbed off with the fact that this was not an Aer Lingus employee, I should remind you the agent was sitting under your logo and representing your company, your values, and your commitment to “do business better. Secondly, not since the days when Charles Haughey told us we were living “way beyond our means” has £3 been able to sustain somebody at an airport.

Following a three hour wait (we are now at 21.30), the departure screen changed once more. We glanced up at the screen sign a glint in our eyes and hope in our hearts only to  see the screen say that departure would now be at 23.50. No announcement, no staff in sight, and certainly no apology. It is also worth adding that in that in this space of time,  a certain inferior airline by the name of Ryanair successfully waved off 5 flights  and significantly, one of those was to Dublin’s fair city. My experience thus far however-not so pretty!

My £3 got me a delightful 200ml of overpriced and diluted orange juice and for that I am very grateful. However you can imagine that as time elapsed, I was becoming more hungry and indeed frustrated with the communication and customer service shortcomings of your airline. But not so frustrated that I could take flight, because that wouldn’t be feasible now would it? My two hours of Free Wi-Fi had run out so and I can’t blame the supplier because who really spends more than 2 hours in Edinburgh Airport? And besides connectivity wasn’t exactly a prevailing theme of the day!

But I digress, at 22.30, the church bell rang, the wolf howled, and the last 23 disgruntled people in Edinburgh airport made their way to Gate 14 as instructed by the departure sign. The end was in sight.  Like Andy Dufrain in the last scene of The Shawshank Redemption, we trudged towards freedom with by now, more emotional baggage from our experience than Ross and Rachel after 10 Seasons of Friends.

Having arrived and waited for another 35 minutes at Gate 14, a delightful lady told us that in fact we should board at Gate 1H. From comparing the two numbers above, it does not take Carol Volderman to know that those gates are at different ends of the airport. “Are they nay havin’a laugh?”, said a tartan decked Scottish man with incredulity. Alas, no laugh, just a walk to our Mecca, Gate 1H.

At 23.50 we began boarding the plane. Time flies aye? This process took longer however because our seats had all been switched because you were concerned with, and I quote “balancing the plane out”. Perhaps you were worried that we had splashed out with those £3 you gave us and had accumulated some “excess carry on” in those 6 hours.

Alas, we boarded the plane, with not a single mention of our delay-only a small reference to “inclement weather” where the flight attendant may as well have said “Looks like rain, Ted”. I expect a pragmatic response about how you were only thinking about my safety and that I really am your priority but that’s as meaningful as the line “it’s not you it’s me” in a break up. But Aer Lingus I fear this may be our break up and that it is not me, it’s you: The fact is, you don’t do business better. What’s more, I can conclude from my experience that you don’t do business at all unless my job is as a budding anthropologist wishing to study airport behaviour.

The patriot, the optimist, and the guy who loathes yellow signage, trumpets and blue seats in me wants to believe that this is an isolated incident but I have yet to be convinced. They say it’s “An ill wind that blows some good”. Well I can safely say that pending a significant redress from your airline, that ill wind will be blowing my custom in the way of Mr O’ Leary, his band of merry scratch-card selling men, and his way of “doing business better”.

Breaking up is hard to do.

I await your reply with anticipation.

(Pic: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)

100 thoughts on “Breaking Up With Aer Lingus

  1. Spartacus


    Your flight was delayed by weather. The staff might have made more effort to accomodate your first world problems, but I imagine they were overcome with the sheer effort of resisting the entirely understandable urge to throw you overboard somewhere over the Irish sea.

  2. Derek Mooney

    I wish Ben well in his attempt to get a response from Aer Lingus customer service.

    I am still awaitiing an explanation (and apology) for being charged three times for the same seat on the same flight with the same credit card (only one receipt, mind you). I copped the error the day gefore flying and got two of the charges refunded, but still awaiting an explanation of how the other two unauthorised charges were processed.

  3. aerosexual

    Those aircraft that EI use on their regional routes are ATR’s. They aren’t that great when it comes to heavy wind. They are also really light in comparison to the Boeings that Ryanair use, hence Ryanair getting 5 flights out in the same weather conditions. Also, with a light aircraft such as the ATRs, if you have very few passengers and very little luggage checked into the hold, weight distribution of passengers is vital for aircraft to take off.

    1. Ann

      All true but none of this was explained to the passengers which is what this frustrated man is explaining. He seems quite reasonable to me in his complaint. However, this behaviour is not limited to A.L. We have experienced a 17 hours delay with a Ryanair flight with no explanation, refreshment, money or anything else and also on another occasion a cancelled flight with much the same result which cost us overnight accommodation and no subsequent refund from Ryanair despite it being authorised by the Aviation Authority – they simply ignored all correspondence. All I am saying at the end of the day is that all airlines have their shortcomings and extra prices do not protect you from these shortcomings. Therefore, much and all as I hate the Ryanair attitude and their “I do not want insurance” buried in the middle of an unrelated scrolldown, I will still use them because on average they are cheaper, have good reliable aircraft and do usually leave and land on time with some exceptions as do all other airlines. Its all about the money.

      1. Denis Murphy

        I can assure you I feel far safer flying aer lingus, I can put up with delays as long as I get there.
        Aer lingus for me are the best, Had an experience with Ryanair some years ago & I will never again fly with them, just a bunch of greedy people charging for absolutely every thing

      2. Someone

        I’ve had some poor experience with both, but one experience of Ryanair at Gatwick finished it for me with them.
        That and Michael O’Leary’s smug c**t face.

        Anyway, I’m States side now, and the Ryanair equivalent here is Spirit Airlines, Ryanair’s sh**tyness is by no means unique.

  4. delta V

    Would he have rathered the flight be cancelled altogether at an earlier stage (with no compensation due to weather circumstance), instead of absorbing the disruption due to severe weather, in order to get people to their destination eventually?

    TL;DR: Better late than never…

    1. Shayna

      The guy is clearly anal – he mentions 60 weeks rather than @ a year? Clearly a move to Edinburgh would involve his mammy not being able to tuck him into bed at night. Sorry – he pretty much alienated me when he described himself as a businessman. However, I do wish him the best in protracting an apology (is this what he wants?) from Aer Lingus, who were clearly at fault for producing inclement weather conditions in which it was unsafe to fly an aircraft which facilitates low-cost air travel. He watched 5 Ryanair flights take off for ‘The Fair City’ (his words), didn’t he ponder buying a Ryanair ticket and sort out the expenses issue with the accounts dept on Monday? As for the comedy references, Jesus (whether or not he exists) wept.

  5. shitferbrains

    Dear Ben,

    At cost of appearing to invoke the Four Yorkshiremen sketch : that’s nothing. Some years ago Aer Lingus dumped my children – who they had tagged and labelled in Dublin – in the middle of the apron at Edinburgh Airport and left them there to fend for themselves. If it hadn’t been for an Irish grannie ( hooray for irish grannies ) they might very well be there still. Can I mention the name of the agents , Joe ? Servis Air.

  6. dhaughton99

    A man of your importance, could you not get Edinburgh to come to you?

    Only kidding. I’d say you’ll be waiting a longer time for an explanation.

    1. Niamh

      Not if the delay is due to bad weather. I checked the rules myself a few days ago as I had a flight to Dublin on Thursday.
      It’s the 3rd rule in the link you’ve provided.

    2. mwmcelligott

      Sat in LHR for 4 hours waiting for an EI to DUB “because there was a delay this morning on an earlier sector” – no apology, just a statement of fact. Really appreciate that link!

  7. munkifisht

    Wow, that’s an awful letter. Don’t try and be “funny” and cut the length of it by half. Keep your individual complaints to a single paragraph, like the voucher. Most of your complaints here should also be directed to Edinburgh airport not the carrier.

  8. Soundings

    Doesn’t Tesco do a meal deal – decent sandwich (chicken salad on granary bread is my fav), small bag of apple slices with grapes and a 500 ml Tropicana orange juice with bits – for £3. It’s not a feast, around 700 calories, but should certainly tide you over for five hours.

    Beyond that, looks like you were the victim of the weather and airport information which was probably under pressure as a result of the weather – frustrating and sympathy deserving maybe, but come on, what more could they realistically do?

    Ryan Air is a slicker operation, and if it weren’t for their out of town airports (London particularly) would beat AL into a hat. AL have more pleasant staff though in my experience – RA’s are well-trained but come across as severe, AL is like a comforting cup of tea after turbulence.

    1. :O/

      Is there aTesco at the airport now? Excellent! Does the airport Tesco adjust its prices upward like other airport outlets or keep them the same?

      1. Charlie

        Not sure about Edinburgh but there’s a Tesco at Glasgow airport, the prices are regular which is absolutely fantastic.
        Combined with a wetherspoons next to it and you got yourself a surprisingly cheap wait in comparison to the majority of airports around the world.

    2. j.k

      If I was him I would have bought a sandwich with the 3 quid and asked for a glass of water at the bar, I doubt he was so hard up as he’s a business man with a fertile imagination about the slings and arrows of life that assail him.

  9. Corvo

    Shawshank Redemption, Friends and Father Ted; with pop culture references that snappy and relevant how could they not take you seriously?

    1. The Old Boy

      “Jocular” letters of complaint aren’t to be taken seriously. Presumably they’re for submitting to Broadsheet so the writer can get an erection.

  10. Bacchus

    anyone who thinks Friends is an appropriate cultural reference for anything ever should be beaten soundly about the head and face.

  11. Llareggub

    ‘They say it’s “An ill wind that blows some good”.’

    No they don’t. They don’t say that at all. Ever. They do however say, ‘it’s an ill wind that blows NO good’.

  12. Mike Baldwin

    I hope you hear from AL. I hope what you hear is “It’s over here,still intact, the outer casing is badly scorched but it’s definitely the CVR…”.

  13. Continuity Jay-Z

    Ben English is one high maintenance princess. This is the result of having an overly attentive mammy.

  14. Tony2

    I kept reading waiting to see what the hubbub was about… Bit of a drama queen me thinks – weather sucked and delays happen. Not Aerlingus fault and is there any law making them give you more money for food? Or any money at all?

    Letter could be summed up as: weather came, wather delayed flight, I got pi**y, they didn’t give me enough free money to eat, they changed the gate and didn’t apologise for the weather causing a delay. So I’m gonna write an attempted funny complaint letter. Jesus.

  15. Lilly

    I’d prefer to be delayed due to bad weather rather than scared witless flying through a storm. In general, I like Aer Lingus and avoid Ryanair like the plague notwithstanding their nice guy makeover.

  16. 21secondstogo

    Flights are delayed all the time – you’ll be more than aware of this after your 60 weeks. And I promise you’ll have far, far, FAR worse experiences with Ryanair. They’re great on price, and (generally) great on punctuality, but as soon as something goes wrong, you can forget it. For example, will Ryanair give you the 3 quid when it happens with them? They absolutely will not. Stick with Aer Lingus. You got unlucky. I fly with them every 3 or 4 weeks and they’re 99% of the time excellent.

  17. Dongle

    Ben, are you travelling there so often to help prepare the comedy festival?
    Storm Rachel, haughey, shawshank- Ben fringe 2015 is coming.

  18. Ermanno Di Murro

    Im sorry but I have to disagree with this person. In my 35 years of flying I have found Aer Lingus to be a great airline and the staff very pleasant. An isolated but unfortunate experience im sure.

  19. jon french

    Would this have occurred on the night that there were 20 flights stacked over Dublin all unable to land per chance? Let’s just be grateful he didn’t find himself diverted to Birmingham like many passengers that night – could you imagine the letter he would have wrote if THAT happened.

  20. jon french

    Would this have occurred on the night that there were 20 flights stacked over Dublin all unable to land per chance? Let’s just be grateful he didn’t find himself diverted to Birmingham like many passengers that night – could you imagine the letter he would have wrote if THAT happened.

  21. Anon

    Maybe you would have preferred to die in storm Rachel?

    Safety first. I would like to see your letter had the plane crashed but then you probably would not have had the chance to write such a grumpy letter.


  22. Butnae

    Use ‘macshift’ to change your WiFi card mac address every 2 hours. Free WiFi for as long as you want it.

  23. Phinny

    Yeah, I’m over and back from Edinburgh to Dublin seven or eight times a year and I will only use Aer Lingus as a last resort. Constant lateness, woeful customer service and tiny wee propellor driven planes with awkward baggage allowances. Ryanair have yet to let me down.

  24. Je Suis Frilly Keane

    OK. Now which one’ah ye was it?

    Who told Disgruntlement Anon to CC this place?

    “For the craic” wasss’it

  25. stealingthemichael

    I’d like to sympathise with this man, but I’ve had Ryanair cancel my flight home from Leeds on a Friday night more than once, and each time it resulted in me paying GBP£66 for a taxi to Manchester so I could get an Aer Lingus flight. The great thing about Aer Lingus though is you can actually take a nap during the flight. Trying to take a nap on a Ryaniar plane is like trying to sleep in Jervis Street Shopping centre at christmas time. If you want a real horror story though, I have a friend from Poland who once took 5 days off to go home and visit her family. She spent the first 2 days of that in Dublin airport waiting for her Ryanair flight

  26. Boba Fettucine

    It was very unaccommodating of Aer Lingus to schedule a storm that prevented their turboprop plane from travelling to Dublin until it was safe to do so. Ben has a bad case of sand in his vagina.

  27. grizzly

    I couldn’t get passed the first half of this letter. TL:DR; bad weather forced your flight to be delayed and you didn’t get a rub on the back and kiss for it?

  28. spork

    “business person” drinks diluted orange drama.

    if you had brought your own money, you could have satisfied yourself with champagne and caviar at that little stall thing halfway between the two gates you mentioned.

    when you’re too tight to pay for internet after two free hours (i think it’s max 20 cent per MB) , read some important documents from your briefcase.

    use the 24 hour clock, or don’t. but don’t use both systems to explain a single situation.

    your flight was delayed 4 hours due to a storm – watch some aircrash investigators and be be thankful for it.

    when in edinburgh, try eating at “gardener’s cottage”. i’ve had two interesting meals there.

  29. David Benson

    I am a regular Traveller. Lat 3 times I use Aer Lingus. Amsterdam-Dublin flight delayed 2 plus hours. London- Dublin cancelled, really mad scramble at check in desk for next available flight, they saud we would be transferred, but it was whoever shoved hardest to get to the desk that got on board. Disgraceful.
    Malaga- Dublin delayed 3 hours. Only screen showing continous delay, of a Sunday night,no staff around.Staff
    Still no reply from Aer Lingus to my Polite enquiry as to why??
    Ryanair Staff much more polite, and nearly always on time

  30. Bryan

    Andy Dufrain did not do any trudging in the last scene of ‘The Shawshank Redemption” What film were you watching? My recollection is that he was sanding or doing other such boat maintenance.

  31. Merfa

    I miss the days when people wrote complaint letters solely for the attention of the company in question, and not with the deliberate intention of having them go viral.


  32. RORY

    Don’t expect any better from Ryanair, my friend. I’m sure everyone’s got their tale of woe, but mine succeeded in getting me a Decree Nisi from O’Leary some six years ago. I don’t intend to outmisery anyone, you can imagine it all yourselves without the hyperbole. 6.20 am take off out of Madrid to Paris. Arrive at airport on last metro at 2 am. Doss down on stone floor. Flight called 5.30am. Only it suddenly morphs into Eindhoven flight. No mention of Paris. Sit on seat, doze, ask for official complaints form. 9.30 news from Ryanair, plane taking off at 12! No food vouchers or anything. 12 o clock, no one. 1 pm Ryanair rep turns up and announces boarding. 2pm, plane finally takes to the air. 3.30, arrive Beauvais. Never, never, never again. My stomach still churns when I see that name on the fuselage, the sick navy blue livery and their poxy harp. Be careful what you wish for, Ben.

  33. Debby

    Dear Ben,

    You obviously have a low tolerance to perceived frustration and feel the need to tell everyone about your “problems”. Perhaps for a moment you might give some consideration to the people in the world who have “real” difficulties such as those who are being slaughtered by terrorist groups and also those who could not afford to “travel from Dublin to Edinburgh and back every week”. I wonder how a “business-person” of self-imposed nobel status such as yourself would cope under such circumstances. Ben, everyone in the world has problems. However, everyone in the world does not feel the need to publically voice their difficulties. Take a break from your weekly travelling to grow up. Hopefully you will realise one day that the only person who thinks so highly of you, is yourself. The remainer of us humble foke have our own lives and our own problems, and we are not thinking about you.

  34. Nobodylikesawhinger.

    Hey princess,you not happy with airlines? Get a boat to Scotland.God imagine being stuck beside this drama queen on a flight.

  35. Nobodylikesawhinger.

    I bet the front door got slammed that night,and the dog kicked.These drama queens like to make an entrance.

  36. Anne

    Inches of column space are wasted on trivial matters like homelessness, water charges, civil war in Iraq, bank debt, paris shootings, child suicide bombings in Nigeria etc. etc. etc.
    I like to see a discussion on the issues that matter – delayed flights and not being compensated enough and ego caressed sufficiently by customer service.

  37. Caroline

    Flights get delayed now?

    Can they even do that?

    Is it legal? Broadsheet could we get Legal Coffee Drinker to give an opinion here because something just doesn’t add up.

  38. pete

    Welcome to Aer Lingus……….This has been fairly norm for the airline for years and years. When we had no option but to fly Aer Lingus we had to grin and bare. Remember Dublin to Birmingham £ 400 return. !!!
    I don’t use them these days but I cannot remember a completed return that was ever on time. I use Ryanair 100% and have rarely had an issue or a delay……can plan onward travel with confidence nowadays.
    Some of the old cliches still good…Best thing since the slice pan. Will be traveling again next week and week after and will arrive on time…..blow the bugle, always better than arriving late

    1. RORY

      Hi |Pete!
      Ryanair must love illiterates like you , Here we go….
      “to be fairly norm”…..forget it, I know what you what you want to say.
      Moving on…
      You say you had to “grin and bare” ….FFS? Did they make you pull down your pants and show your arse at Checkin?
      I always thought the shit that passed for bread in Ireland was “sliced pan” as opposed to Slice Pan but there you go. Do they give you a knife to slice it nowadays?
      blow it out your arse you yahoo and get an education

      1. Mick Flavin

        As a professional in the proofreading line (according to your hyperlink), you might appreciate my input on your own mistakes, Rory.

        “Hi |Pete!”
        That’s probably just a typo, we’ll ignore that.

        “Ryanair must love illiterates like you , Here we go…”
        Annoying space before the comma.

        Should be hyphenated, and I’m not sure about the random capitalisation.

        “blow it out your arse you yahoo and get an education”
        Where is the capitalisation, man? The phrase “you yahoo” should really be placed between commas to enhance the elegance of a truly beautiful sentence.

        While I was at it, I took a look at your website.

        “Academics, students, Researchers and Business people increasingly need to publish in English.” Again, I’m not sure about your approach to capitalisation.

        “This is where prooofreading comes in. ”
        This is the line that made me question whether or not your website is a marvellous piece of performance art.

        The euro sign usually goes before the number.

        1. rory

          Touché. Thank you for taking the time to “proofread” the copy of my website, although I really would like to question why you even bothered in the first place, having found a few typos that could be set right with formatting. I certainly wouldn’t have, (if it were yours) and your attack on me comes across more as a defence of the illiterate. Ok, maybe the red mist rose but personally I feel we Irish come “bundled” with hyperbole and every now and then it does no harm to offer a reality check.

          1. Mick Flavin

            Ah here, don’t take it so seriously, Rory.
            I just found it hard to resist giving you a lash with your own sally rod.

      2. pete johans

        you should keep to the topic and not try to insult… the way I don’t need to check in at airports and sliced pan is what it is….do not know what slice pan is !

        1. Rory

          Yes I can see you have a few problems with the old English language there, Johan. However that does not excuse me from insulting you, and I apologise to you for that.

          1. Rory

            Yes I can see you have a few problems with the old English language there, PETE(!). However that does not excuse me from insulting you, and I apologise to you for that.

  39. Arasanalu

    Builders have sucked public now its Airlines.

    Our Irish Airline Industry is as always arrogant, A they know there is no way out from Dublin. They will never improve, especially EL as its designed to give more profits to Ryanair. Its all hand in gloves.

    More interesting stories are those who visit hospitals in Ireland. they are now a days becoming a one way route.

    The system has to change, the present govt has ability and capability but they are not pushing but working on next election. If this lazy behavior continues,soon we need may have to declare Ireland as underdeveloped country.

    God Bless Ireland,

  40. Goosey Lucy

    Blah blah de blah de blah,
    You DO digress- a bloody LOT!!
    Writing a (what you perceive to be) clever letter, and, worse still posting it on BS in a self- satisfied attempt to appear “right” makes you wrong.

    And interminably long.
    The end.

    1. Rois

      As a person who has to deal with this kinda crap on a daily basis, I cannot agree more with your comment.

      Trying to be funny in a complaint letter when you’re last relevance to popular culture was 1995 will not make some poor sucker in Aer Lingus sympathise with you. In fact they will prob look at your email, think “tdlr” and put it aside until they have the easier queries dealt with.

      Also Aer Lingus don’t control the weather! Airports are expensive, planes are quite complicated pieces of machinery, and moaning about it isn’t going to bring your miserable £3 back.

      Honestly get over it! Ohhhh God that felt good. Wish I could talk to my actual customers like that.

      Seriously everyone should do six months in retail/customer service to gain some flipping perspective!

  41. julian

    Just adding to the disgruntled comments about aer lingus – my daughter is waiting three years for a bag
    that aer lingus was responsible for and was paid for at dallas/fort worth in texas. an apalling attitude and the company obviously goes to great lengths to employ the most ignorant/basic people possible. i find the airline an embarassment – have had several other baggage problems with them – and has it ever had a flight on time??

  42. jusiph

    There is only one effective way to deal with delays. It’s a waste of time seeking an apology – you’ll probably get some kind of letter, but no-one really cares. They also know that the “I’ll never fly *insert airline name here* again” threat is empty.
    If the flight was weather-affected, then you’re out of luck (and the fact that another flight departed for Dublin is not a valid argument in the eyes of EU law).
    With any other type of delay over 3hrs – just go straight to an EU261 claims company and let them claim on your behalf for compensation under EU261/2004. Airlines usually ignore valid requests from individuals so don’t bother contacting the airline directly. Don’t waste your time writing complaints – no one cares.
    If you are a regular flyer, the best strategy is to choose an airline based on price and schedule, and nothing else.

  43. Someone

    Pre-internet checkin days, I arrived about an hour before departure time for a Ryanair flight from Gatwick to Cork, I queued for 20/25 minutes and with about 5 people in front of me, the vile b**ch closed the check in desk and said that it was policy to close the desk 40 minutes before dep time. We were there on time, only the stupid bag was too slow to check everyone in, and there wasn’t that many people to get through.

    I had to drop £100 for a flight to Dublin and €30 for a train to Cork and got home to me bed at 1am when I should have been home in time for afternoon pints. Now THAT was worthy of a complaint letter.

    1. Anne

      That’s terrible.. She should have requested help as the cut off time for check-in approached.
      I’d have written a complaint letter for a refund for that… or b*tched slapped the wagon.

      Heading out to Shannon one time for an early international flight, I kinda got delayed as the mother put on a fry up for me…they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day really.
      I called um to say I’d only be there a half hour before departure. They kept check in opened and U.S. immigration waited for me. They’re not all bad I suppose.

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