Family’s holiday boost after airline’s ‘atrocious’ service

David Kernoghan with wife Susan and children Joshua and Chloe
David Kernoghan with wife Susan and children Joshua and Chloe

A Northern Ireland family about to jet off on a dream holiday to Disney World in Florida is celebrating after an airline agreed to refund them a substantial deposit, following intervention from the News Letter.

David Kernoghan, from Ballyclare, had booked transatlantic flights for his family worth nearly €3,000 and paid a hefty deposit towards the full amount back in March, but lost the money after what he described as “atrocious” customer service from Dublin-based airline Aer Lingus.

David said he had assumed the remaining balance would be taken by the airline from the bank card he had used to pay his deposit, as had been the case for his accommodation in Orlando, his rental car, and even his tickets to Disney World.

He said he wasn’t contacted by Aer Lingus when the date passed and he had assumed there were no problems.

Instead, the airline had cancelled his flights when the outstanding balance wasn’t paid.

David said he didn’t find out until he phoned them up on July 24 to finalise details ahead of the holiday.

“They just said your flights have been cancelled because you haven’t paid, we’re keeping your deposit and that’s that. I had to book a whole new set of flights and they had gone way up in price since then.”

He added: “I haven’t had so much as a phone call from them. Their customer service has been atrocious.”

At his wits’ end, David contacted the News Letter after making multiple attempts to have the situation resolved with Aer Lingus.

The News Letter asked the airline on Wednesday to respond to what David had said. Within hours he had been offered a full refund for his deposit.

A spokesperson for Aer Lingus said: “Aer Lingus offers a fare deposit option on transatlantic flights whereby a deposit of 50% of the total fare is charged in order to hold the fares.

“This enables our guests to spread the cost of their flight. Up to 24 hours after booking, you may cancel the reservation without penalty and receive a full refund of the deposit.

“A confirmation email is sent confirming the deposit received and advising the customer when the full balance is due in order to complete the booking.

“A subsequent email is also sent a few days ahead of the specified expiry date as a final reminder.

“In the case of Mr Kernoghan, the final balance was not paid so the booking was not completed.

“As a gesture of goodwill we have refunded Mr Kernoghan the original deposit.”