'Absolute disaster' | 

Fair City star says Aer Lingus flight chaos means Spanish holiday now costing him €1k a day

Fair City star Maclean Burke has said the situation faced by Aer Lingus passengers on Saturday was a "disaster"

Maclean Burke. Picture: Beta Bajgart

Seoirse MulgrewIndependent.ie

Fair City star Maclean Burke has said the situation faced by Aer Lingus passengers on Saturday was a "disaster" after a major technical failure meant people faced huge delays and cancellations all day.

Around 9,000 Aer Lingus passengers are understood to have been impacted by flight cancellations on Saturday after a systems outage resulted in 51 flights being cancelled to and from Dublin Airport.

Mr Burke was due to fly to Malaga on Saturday with his family but was told by airport staff to leave the boarding area as the flight was cancelled.

“There was talk of what was happening, but our stuff was still up on the board, so we decided we’d sit down at the gate; it gave the gate number. We spent about an hour down there and then at about 1pm security came around and said all flights are gone,” he told RTÉ’s Liveline programme.

“They announced it a couple of times from 2pm onwards that all flights to Europe and England were gone. We were then ushered out gate 408 and sent back out the arrivals gate.

“It was a disaster, the whole place was upside down. There were queues out the door. The queue for the taxis on the other side was about half a mile long. We tried to get online to them to find out what was happening.

“I was then told that I didn’t qualify for a flight because the flight eventually did fly out to Malaga at 5.30pm. However, there was no one on that flight but they were trying to fob us off. Eventually they came out and said, ‘we can offer you a flight on the 14th', which would have left us with three days of a holiday.”

Mr Burke decided to book a new flight with Aer Lingus from Cork Airport to Malaga, which departs at 6.50pm this evening.

The RTÉ star has decided to travel to Cork via taxi, which he said will cost around €200 or €300. As their return flight lands in Dublin on September 17 Mr Burke and his partner have decided to leave their car parked up in Dublin Airport for convenience.

“I booked more flights and we’re currently travelling down to Cork via taxi to try and get out because we’re flying back into Dublin,” he said.

“It’s an absolute disaster, there are so many people out there that are entitled to claim back this money and I think you’re looking at a really long road here.

“We’re going out now for four days, but those four days have now cost myself and my partner €1,000 a day to just go to Malaga. It’s just a shame and there’s no one to speak to.

“Look things happen and stuff goes down and IT, but you need someone that you can actually call that understands what’s happening.”

In a statement released today, Aer Lingus said: "Aer Lingus is operating a normal schedule today. Latest flight information is available on our website and travel app.

“Aer Lingus sincerely apologise for the severe disruption on Saturday. Customers impacted can apply for a refund or change their travel plans, free of charge through our manage booking facility, our call centres and our social media channels.

“We have made additional customer service agents available to deal with high call volumes – please bear with us as we try to service all customer queries. Customers' rights and airlines' obligations under Regulation (EC) 261/2004, can be found here: www.aerlingus.com/support/legal/regulation."

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