AerLingus disgraceful Customer Service

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May 9, 2019
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#1
Last week my Fiancé and I had an unacceptable, and horrible experience traveling with Aer Lingus. I travel a lot but have never encountered this! Someone had vomited in one of our seats and we only realized after the plane doors were shut and the plane had pushed back. They had failed to clean the seat belt, monitor and seats properly and apparently had failed to notify ground crew on the turnaround.

Once in flight a flight attendant and I put on gloves to clean and sanitize seat, armrests and surrounding area. I had paid for upgraded seats in Econ plus and bulkhead. We asked to be moved but they offered seats in the back of the plane with no leg room. I suggested business class which was open and they said no! Disgraceful and shame on you and customer service. What kind of company offers you a worse seat for their mistake when business class had open seats.
We covered open seat between us with multiple spare blankets and sanitized, but still bad flight for 9 hours with the smell of sour vomit.

Incidentally only the flight attendant that helped me clean apologized. The purser never came back to apologize. I wrote to Aerlingus customer service and asked for my money back. They only refunded the choice seat upgrade cost. That is unconscionable. I wrote to the CEO Sean Doyle and no response. This is a flight from Dublin to O’Hare and a United airlines co share flight ( I fly about 90k miles a year on United.

I hope that you post this for other travellers to see. Todate they have only refunded the cost of the choice seat upgrades ..about $150. The actual tickets for 2p one way were $1900. I am asking for a full refund.
 

Neil Maley

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#3
You aren’t due a full refund because they got you from point a to point b but it’s my opinion you are due some type of credit just as goodwill for what you went through.

Have you used our company contacts to try writing one at a time to the Executives?
 
May 9, 2019
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#4
Thanks Neil. That is their position, but had we known about the state of the seats before the plane doors shut, we would have disembarked. They had us captive on the plane. And while we went from point A-B, we would have liked to disembark and taken another flight. The tickets were expensive and they should provide a better credit given the disgusting situation.
 
Feb 16, 2018
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#5
They actually provided a refund for the seat upgrades, which is what you would have gotten had you moved to the other seats offered on the same flight. You may not have been able to fly on another flight the same day, and if you did, there would have been no guarantee for the upgraded seats. Your best option may be a politely worded email to the contacts on the list, asking for miles or credit towards a future flight. If you continue to ask for a full refund I am afraid you will fail.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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First of all this is just disgusting and I feel nauseating just reading about it.

This is not the first time I have read of this happening -- with another person it was a BA flight and they also only noticed after doors were closed -- (this situation was a filled air sick bag in the seat pocket).

This is an absolute failing of the company hired to clean -- unfortunately the cleaning company is usually outsourced and the airlines go with the lowest bidder.

And unfortunately the airlines rarely allow for movement into business class --

This is how airlines think: they offered you another seat in the same class -- economy to economy -- the extra legroom seats are not an upgraded class -- whether bulkhead or exit row -- it is still economy, same meals, etc. And the airline may think that since you remained there after the clean up it could not be that bad.

And by asking for a full refund you asked for too much -- and that tends to shut down the conversation.

As you already have an open advocacy case you may want to hear from them. But you should think about what you would accept. If you never want to fly the airline again a voucher would be useless, but what about points/miles? What would be acceptable that is reasonable?
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Aug 30, 2015
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#7
Although Aer Lingus might only be legally required to refund the price difference for the upgraded seat, morally it is inexcusable, given the fact that there was vomit on the seat, that they didn't move the passenger up to the next higher class, even if it is business class. Unless they are in the habit of giving people vomit seats frequently, this shouldn't cost them much, and if it does happen a lot, they need to do some serious thinking about their cleaning. They should have been very apologetic and willing to make amends. It is a sad state of affairs.
 
Sep 12, 2018
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#8
This is how airlines think: they offered you another seat in the same class -- economy to economy -- the extra legroom seats are not an upgraded class -- whether bulkhead or exit row -- it is still economy, same meals, etc.
While I agree that asking for a full refund is probably too far and unlikely to succeed, isn’t premium economy actually a different fare class? And if the airlines think all seats are the same, why do they charge extra for these particular seats? Were I asking for consideration from the airline in this particular case, I think I’d ask for enough miles to upgrade a future international flight from economy to premium economy, or else a credit for the fare difference between economy and premium economy at the time of booking. Having never been in this situation, I can’t speak to the likelihood that such a request would succeed, but it seems fair.
 
Likes: NJB

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#9
While I agree that asking for a full refund is probably too far and unlikely to succeed, isn’t premium economy actually a different fare class? And if the airlines think all seats are the same, why do they charge extra for these particular seats? Were I asking for consideration from the airline in this particular case, I think I’d ask for enough miles to upgrade a future international flight from economy to premium economy, or else a credit for the fare difference between economy and premium economy at the time of booking. Having never been in this situation, I can’t speak to the likelihood that such a request would succeed, but it seems fair.
The airline refunded the OP the price difference between the premium seat and the economy seat but that really isn’t nearly enough for having to sit with that smell. She isn’t owed a full refund as the airline fulfilled their obligation but they could also give a credit towards a future flight as a goodwill gesture. It was really an awful experience.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#10
While I agree that asking for a full refund is probably too far and unlikely to succeed, isn’t premium economy actually a different fare class? And if the airlines think all seats are the same, why do they charge extra for these particular seats? Were I asking for consideration from the airline in this particular case, I think I’d ask for enough miles to upgrade a future international flight from economy to premium economy, or else a credit for the fare difference between economy and premium economy at the time of booking. Having never been in this situation, I can’t speak to the likelihood that such a request would succeed, but it seems fair.
No it is not an actual fare class difference — it is just monetizing the better seats, some which have better legroom than others. The better legroom often is necessary by design or law— ie bulkhead or exit row— so the airlines charge for it unless they have to give it (ie someone with service animal in the bulkhead).

Not all seats in economy are the same price— the airlines charge for aisle seats, window seats, further up in the cabin — make people pay to avoid the middle seat in the back next to the toilets.

It is like Economy plus on UA — not a different fare class — now UA does have Premium Plus which is a different fare class — a Premium Economy. Aer Lingus does not have a Premium Economy class — just business and economy.

There is no fare difference on Aer Lingus so if the OP asks for that there will be nothing — the only difference is the seat fee which was returned.

This is just monetizing everything like the ultra low cost airlines— or as they call it unbundling— which I dislike immensely.

As I would be hesitant to fly the airline again I would not want a voucher but instead miles on another program.

Just disgusting what happened to the OP.
 
Likes: Nancy
May 9, 2019
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#11
I would consider miles towards another flight or an upgrade on another flight.
No it is not an actual fare class difference — it is just monetizing the better seats, some which have better legroom than others. The better legroom often is necessary by design or law— ie bulkhead or exit row— so the airlines charge for it unless they have to give it (ie someone with service animal in the bulkhead).

Not all seats in economy are the same price— the airlines charge for aisle seats, window seats, further up in the cabin — make people pay to avoid the middle seat in the back next to the toilets.

It is like Economy plus on UA — not a different fare class — now UA does have Premium Plus which is a different fare class — a Premium Economy. Aer Lingus does not have a Premium Economy class — just business and economy.

There is no fare difference on Aer Lingus so if the OP asks for that there will be nothing — the only difference is the seat fee which was returned.

This is just monetizing everything like the ultra low cost airlines— or as they call it unbundling— which I dislike immensely.

As I would be hesitant to fly the airline again I would not want a voucher but instead miles on another program.

Just disgusting what happened to the OP.
I like the idea of miles on United as it was a coshare flight.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#12
I would consider miles towards another flight or an upgrade on another flight.

I like the idea of miles on United as it was a coshare flight.
Airlines are more likely to give miles than actual cash, and I think this is route that has more of a chance for success. And if the operating airline does not give miles, I would consider writing to the UA executive contacts so they know how bad one of their partners is.

I am really hoping for something better for the OP and fiance, as this is just so disgusting.
 
Aug 30, 2015
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#13
One of the first lessons they learn as newlyweds is to not fly Aer Lingus. Problems can happen on any airline, but it is how they deal with them that makes a difference. I've flown to Europe a lot and will continue to go there. But stories like this do influence the decisions of whom I fly with. Although they do codeshare with airlines I fly with, I am always mindful of which metal the flights are on.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#14
One of the first lessons they learn as newlyweds is to not fly Aer Lingus. Problems can happen on any airline, but it is how they deal with them that makes a difference. I've flown to Europe a lot and will continue to go there. But stories like this do influence the decisions of whom I fly with. Although they do codeshare with airlines I fly with, I am always mindful of which metal the flights are on.
I have flown AerLingus many times and have never had a problem. This will most likely never happen again - in all my years of flying, I’ve never encountered anything like this. This was truly a freak thing. I wouldn’t discount AerLingus for something like this in the future. But she deserves more and I hope the advocates who are apparently working on this will get her what she deserves for this terrible incident.
 
Likes: NJB
Aug 30, 2015
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I have flown AerLingus many times and have never had a problem. This will most likely never happen again - in all my years of flying, I’ve never encountered anything like this. This was truly a freak thing. I wouldn’t discount AerLingus for something like this in the future. But she deserves more and I hope the advocates who are apparently working on this will get her what she deserves for this terrible incident.
Thank you for your reply. You've never seen an incident such as vomit on the seat, or you've never seen them handle a serious passenger problem poorly? I realize something like this is a rarity but how it is dealt with is really what's relevant in this case. I hope she gets what she deserves and I hope those who didn't upgrade her are away that's not the right answer.
 
Likes: NJB
Sep 27, 2017
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#16
Seriously, how difficult would it have been to give these two the empty, upgraded seats? The airline had these passengers sitting in vomit. You do the right thing from the word 'go'. It's not the unclean seats that offends me; It's the fact the customer could have been immediately taken care of but the airline refused.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,092
15,580
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#17
Thank you for your reply. You've never seen an incident such as vomit on the seat, or you've never seen them handle a serious passenger problem poorly? I realize something like this is a rarity but how it is dealt with is really what's relevant in this case. I hope she gets what she deserves and I hope those who didn't upgrade her are away that's not the right answer.
I’ve never seen an incident like this but we’ve seen hundreds of cases of people treated poorly right here. I still wouldn’t condemn AerLingus for one incident- we rarely get complaints about them.

We want to help the OP try to get more than they are offering her for this disgusting experience.

To our OP:

Follow this post and take this further up the AerLingus Executive chain using our company contacts.

https://forum.elliott.org/threads/resolving-consumer-complaints-and-developing-a-paper-trail.8903/
 
Likes: James AZ

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#18
Seriously, how difficult would it have been to give these two the empty, upgraded seats? The airline had these passengers sitting in vomit. You do the right thing from the word 'go'. It's not the unclean seats that offends me; It's the fact the customer could have been immediately taken care of but the airline refused.
Absolutely right, Riroon. Another great example of not giving your front-line employees the power to take care of the customers. There's no excuse for treating customers like this.
 
May 9, 2019
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#19
Seriously, how difficult would it have been to give these two the empty, upgraded seats? The airline had these passengers sitting in vomit. You do the right thing from the word 'go'. It's not the unclean seats that offends me; It's the fact the customer could have been immediately taken care of but the airline refused.
Thank you for your response. Any of us that work are often in a customer situation where we want the best for our clients. First response is to apologize and second response is how do I make this customer happier about the situation by giving them a better option. The seats in business class were empty and the flight had left, they had no way to sell those seats. It would have been a very easy solution. Lastly, after the fact if not a refund for the seats it is easy to offer an upgrade on subsequent flights or offer frequent flier miles. Galling that the purser never once came by and acknowledged the situation or offered profuse apologies.
 
Likes: Bill___A
May 9, 2019
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#20
Absolutely right, Riroon. Another great example of not giving your front-line employees the power to take care of the customers. There's no excuse for treating customers like this.
In a world of customer service at the center of most businesses, this is a shocking display of how not to behave.
 
Likes: jsn55