A Co Antrim couple who missed a £10,000 holiday due to the chaos at Dublin Airport are still awaiting compensation.
Udith McNeice, 47, and her partner Brendan Kavanagh, 51, were among thousands of travelers affected by major disruptions at the travel hub in May and June.
Excessive security queues resulted in passengers queuing outside both terminals and the couple missing their Aer Lingus flight from Dublin.
That meant they missed boarding a cruise ship that was waiting for them in Barcelona.
“On June 1, we sent our vacation records and proof that we were at the airport, but we haven’t heard anything,” Ms McNeice explained.
“We didn’t even get anything back to say they received them.
“But we have the document tracker because we paid for signed delivery.”
The car service’s driver, Brendan, previously recalled arriving at 2:30 a.m. to beat the check-in line.
“It took us forever to get to the front of the line, then it took the girl another 40 minutes to attend to us,” he said.
“We then went straight to security and the queues between check-in and security were excruciating.
“It took four hours. After that, we got stuck in an elevator for another 15 minutes when the doors would not open.”
The distraught couple made it to the departure gate just in time to see the plane back up and take off without them.
They spent hours in another queue to see if another flight was available but eventually had to return home “with four kids crying their eyes out”.
“The whole airport was a joke,” Mr Kavanagh said.
Ms McNeice said she and her partner had no choice but to take the time off from work.
Now the qualified childminder fears that she will have to wait another year before she can enjoy a break.
“I had to take time off: I’m self-employed and had planned my work around the planned vacation,” explained Ms. McNeice.
“I ended up coming home and sitting in the house for a week.
“We haven’t rebooked anything, we’re just waiting to see what happens next. There is no other choice.
“Until then, we’ll have to wait until next summer for better weather.”
Last month, passengers’ missing suitcases were discovered in a rubbish bin at Dublin Airport.
Airlines and ground handlers are dealing with more than 4,000 missing or misplaced bags as the industry grapples with post-Covid travel.
The airport said some items had to be destroyed for health and safety reasons and records were being kept so owners could make claims for damages.
“My partner emailed to get updates on our claim but got no response at all,” Ms. McNeice said.
“We still don’t know if we’ll get any of the money back. We are worried.
“When you see suitcases in dumpsters, you start thinking, ‘What’s going on?'”
Mr Kavanagh said he had sent numerous emails to the airport which had been ignored.
“If we had the proverbial crystal ball, we would have waited until next year to travel,” he said.
“Any future vacation depends on us getting our money back.”
Dublin Airport spokesman Alex McCabe confirmed to the Belfast Telegraph that the claim has been received and is being considered.
“Dublin Airport recognizes this family’s bad experiences and struggles and confirmed this in our first correspondence on May 31,” she said.
“In order for us to further investigate your specific experience, we have requested that an investigation report form be completed and returned to us along with receipts for expenses incurred. We have received details of this claim.”
Ms McCabe said it is subject to due process and must be reviewed and approved before any payment is made.
“Sometimes this requires additional information or clarification, which increases the time required to resolve the claim,” she explained.
“However, Dublin Airport has put significant effort into this process to be as efficient as possible for affected passengers and as a result we will have resolved and closed 75% of all claims by the middle of this month.
“Dublin Airport will be in touch again this week with the family concerned and will endeavor to complete the claim as soon as possible.”
Even if the couple manage to get their money back, they’ll be wary of using Dublin Airport for their next family vacation.
“If there was another option I wouldn’t fly from there,” Mr Kavanagh said.
“But it’s just bad at other airports.”
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/ni-couple-still-awaiting-10k-holiday-refund-following-dublin-airport-chaos-41890305.html NI couple still awaiting £10k holiday refund following Dublin Airport chaos