Aer Lingus flight cancellations: IT worker’s journey home becomes a trial as the flight back to London was canceled twice by Aer Lingus

An Irishman has told how his journey home to visit family after the pandemic turned into a ordeal after his Aer Lingus flight back to London was canceled not once, but twice, while his eventual flight home was plagued by delays.

Finally, Ronan Sweeney (25), from Galway, spent an extra week in Ireland working remotely and first returning to the UK yesterday.

He and his girlfriend, Sabrina Regan (24), from Roscommon, were to fly back to the UK on July 2.

“Two days before, Aer Lingus canceled our flight and moved me to a plane on Monday, July 4th,” Ronan said.

“Since I was unable to fly on a weekday (due to work commitments), I had to reschedule my flight to a week later on Saturday, July 9.”

Meanwhile, Sabrina took another flight later that week, when she was about to graduate in London, where the couple lives and works.

IT worker Ronan stayed in Ireland and worked externally last week. However, on Saturday, July 9, his flight from Knock Airport was canceled again, and he was moved to a plane that was to depart yesterday.

He arrived at the airport where he got through security without delay and was looking forward to finally getting home. But there were more problems.

“I boarded my plane as usual, but as we approached the runway, there was an abrupt stop on the plane and a flight attendant fell and injured herself,” Ronan said.

“After 30 or 40 minutes, we (the passengers) were told we had three options – to leave the plane and stay in a paid hotel and fly again tomorrow, to board a bus to Shannon and fly to Heathrow, instead of Gatwick. “later that night, or to stay on the plane and be flown to Dublin to refuel and get a replacement air hostess so we could continue to Gatwick.”

Ronan and about 50 other passengers chose to stay on the plane, he said.

However, he did not see what was coming next.

“We spent about an hour and 50 minutes cramming on the plane,” he said.

“The only thing we were offered was a glass of water from a one-liter bottle, poured into a plastic cup.”

Temperatures reached 20C-21C at Knock Airport yesterday.

Ronan claimed the passengers were offered the cup of water after “at least an hour”. And he claimed that this was “only after people asked for water and then the crew came and offered” the water “just before departure to Dublin”.

Ronan said passengers waited another 35 to 40 minutes on the tarmac at Dublin Airport for a new crew to board.

“It’s been a long week, having originally been scheduled to fly out last Saturday,” Ronan said.

“We tried to avoid flying home as much as possible (in the pandemic),” he added.
“We wanted to avoid endangering Covid’s family, so we limited our travel as much as possible.

“It has been a disaster how so many Irish people are finally given the opportunity to return home, but the airlines have not been able to facilitate their regular flights.”

When Ronan landed at 6pm yesterday in Gatwick, he spoke to Irish independent again and said: “Regular free delay snacks were not provided on board, as they apparently did not arrive on time and the (staff) did not want to delay further.”

He said that the passengers were offered a “casual bar / snack” and claimed that half the plane was offered tea or coffee, but “they did not have time for the rest, and we were once again given water – half a glass”.

A spokesman for Aer Lingus said: “Flight EI 912 from Knock to Gatwick today, Sunday 10 July, was scheduled to depart at 1pm, with 162 passengers.

“On departure, a minor incident occurred with a cabin crew member who was later unable to perform his duties.

“Two passengers were diverted via Shannon to London Heathrow, and 11 passengers chose a next free flight on Monday 11 July.

“The remaining 149 passengers remained on board the plane, which diverted to Dublin, departing from Knock at 14.36 and landing in Dublin at 15.16.

“A replacement crew operated the Dublin to Gatwick flight, which departed from Dublin at 17.02 and landed at Gatwick at 17.57.

“Aer Lingus will strongly apologize for the inconvenience to passengers.”