“Hungry, annoyed and let down” is how Margaret Linehan feels after being delayed over 20 hours in Lisbon, waiting for an Aer Lingus flight to Cork that was meant to depart Saturday night.
Ms Linehan, a professor at Cork Institute of Technology was amongst approximately 200 passengers who boarded the 10.45pm flight on Saturday only to be taken off at 1am due to "an issue with a tyre".
She was travelling home from a four-day conference with her her husband, Dr John Mullins a retired librarian. She said they were then given no assistance from Aer Lingus or ground staff at the airport after the passengers were taken off the flight.
“There were six air hostesses who were waiting in a taxi rank, I asked them what we should do and they told us ground staff would help us, then ground staff said they had nothing to do with it,” Margaret told The Echo.
The CIT professor said she asked staff if the passengers were going to be booked into accommodation after the flight was cancelled but was told that all hotels were full due to a religious conference that was ongoing. The couple then booked into a nearby hotel themselves at 3am.
Margaret said that there were two people in wheelchairs left to sleep in the airport, as well as sick people and many young children.
At 8.30am Sunday morning, Margaret received a text from Aer Lingus saying there was a flight going at 2pm. They arrived at the airport at 12pm and only for there to be no flight leaving at that time.
Ms Linehan said she felt very let down by the airline, which she had once thought was reliable.
In a statement, Aer Lingus apologised to impacted passengers. "The Aer Lingus Operations team did all they could to reinstate the flight for as early as possible today – however due to airport slot restrictions at Lisbon this was not possible until this evening.[Sunday]"
"We sincerely apologise to guests for the inconvenience caused but we wish to assure them that our teams did all they could to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.”