Aer Lingus cancelled booking - what to do?

Discussion in 'Overseas Travel,Holidays,Hotels & Airlines' started by Chim, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. Chim

    Chim Frequent Poster

    We have just been informed by Aer Lingus that they are cancelling our booking (flights to the US in their Summer sale) as they made a mistake putting the prices up on their website.

    They are offering a refund but that won't cover the cost of rebooking the flights as they've upped all the prices now. The difference will be around €600!

    The ODCA won't give us a clear answer on whether we're entitled to insist on a replacement ticket rather than the refund.

    Anyone have any advice? Is there anything we can do?
  2. ShaneMc

    ShaneMc Frequent Poster

    I'd would kick up a fuss.

    Their website says all fare's are non refundable so how they they choose to refund you. It is a disgrace, if they put them up in error its their fault not yours.

    I'm sure they have somethign hidden in the T&C's to cover this but sounds disgraceful to me.
  3. z105

    z105 Guest

    We had booked flights to the USA last Sept for March of this year, about 3 weeks beforehand AL e-mailed us to tell us that the flight times had changed and it would have meant an additional stop for us on the way out, which is what we were seeking to avoid in the first place.

    When I called them they said we could have a full refund so I told them (!) there was a direct flight 2 days later and to move us to that, it was dearer online for those flights but they mentioned nothing of the extra cost (they could have tried !!). Incidentally, even thought they changed the routing/flight times they also had the audacity to change our seat numbers to much more ridiculous ones down the back of the plane without asking us !!

    OP - Have you not got a contract with AL and are they not honoring it ? Offer/Acceptance, Consideration being payment, I'm not sure if they are legally able to just tell you they are cancelling their contract with you (i.e. cancelling the booking) and then expect you to re-book at the higher rates ?? Worth reading the T&C though.
  4. divadsnilloc

    divadsnilloc Frequent Poster

    I would say you are entitled to travel at the original price quoted. All retailers (Aer Lingus is essentially a retailer as well as an airline, they sell flights) price and advertise their goods and by doing this they are inviting you to buy their product at the advertised price.

    In view of the amount of money involved, a trip to the small claims court may be appropriate.
  5. bacchus

    bacchus Frequent Poster

    Could it simply be that the flight was already almost full, hence not much choice?
  6. Chim

    Chim Frequent Poster

    Thanks Shane. There's nothing in the T&C's about contracts being terminated by them. Only about if you need to cancel etc. And of course there are loads of protections if your flight is cancelled, but that hasn't happened here. They are still running the flight, they just don't want to let us have the seats for the price they sold them to us at.

    We are kicking up a fuss - been ringing them and the ODCA over and over. Still haven't gotten it in writing yet that the booking is cancelled. We've asked them to provide their authority for cancelling it, and for refusing to provide anything other than a refund.

    So frustrating... :mad:
  7. Chim

    Chim Frequent Poster

    Thanks everyone!

    The flights are not full. The line they have spun us is that they made a mistake offering the flights for such a cheap fare, and they are now cancelling the contract.

    Yes there was a perfectly valid contract. Credit card was debited and all. Got the confirmation email with booking reference.

    They are perfectly entitled to refuse to honour the contract I believe, but they have to provide a remedy. They are insisting on a refund being provided, but we want them to provide a replacement flight.
  8. z105

    z105 Guest

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2008
    Not our problem, we had booked last Sept, they should have e-mailed others to tell them they were being moved, as it turned out there were 128, yes 128, seats available !:)

    OP - how about a quick call to a Solicitor (or is that possible :)) to get opinion ?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2008
  9. Chim

    Chim Frequent Poster

    Havealaugh - already done (well, a barrister pal!) ;) Will hear back tonight or in a few days. Pal was on the fence but edging towards optimistic for us. Was hoping someone might have some more advice in the meantime...
  10. MugsGame

    MugsGame Frequent Poser

    How long did it take them to realise their "mistake"? If days or weeks had elapsed, your case is stronger.

    Air lines normally honour mistake fares, to avoid bad publicity if nothing else.

    If they can cancel the contract, what's to stop an airline adopting this business model - sell out the flight with cheap seats, cancel the cheapest seats on high demand flights and bump up the price, repeat untlil you've maximised the profit per seat.
  11. Chim

    Chim Frequent Poster

    About five hours had elapsed between the booking, and when we checked the 'manage your booking' page and it said 'booking cancelled'. We then rang them and they said they had made a mistake putting up the prices and were going to send us an email. No email as yet.

    I agree with you that it would set an appalling precedent!
  12. jhegarty

    jhegarty Frequent Poster

    How cheap were the flights you booked ?

    was it something silly like €10
  13. Chim

    Chim Frequent Poster

    This is from the confirmation email:

    Fare details:
    Category Fare Taxes,Fees,Charges Subtotal
    02 ADULTS EUR200.00 EUR154.42 EUR354.42

    Total Fees EUR12.00


    So they were €100 each plus the charges. They were advertising flights to Orlando for €270 in the promotional email we got, so it didn't seem silly that New York might be on special offer.
  14. jhegarty

    jhegarty Frequent Poster

    seems like a fair price , so they could never argue it was an obvious mistake...

    Are you sure they charged your credit card , the problem you have it they may have canceled the transaction before it completed, which means a contract did not exist...

    if the charge did make it to your card I think you have a good case...
  15. Chim

    Chim Frequent Poster

    The transaction won't show up on the credit card statement for a couple of days so we don't know if it was debited.

    Finally got something in writing from Aer Lingus:

    Due to a technical error in our reservation system for a brief period today, a small number of bookings were priced incorrectly.

    Unfortunately, yours was one of the bookings affected and this email is to notify you of cancellation of your booking and to advise no funds will be deducted from your account. We are pleased to advise you that this problem has now been rectified.

    Will have to wait to see if the card was debited and refunded, or never debited at all. Sounds like the former and I guess that puts us in a weaker position?

    ETA: Got SO to check the credit card on banking online (hadn't done so before as had assumed would take a couple of days to show up). The credit available has been reduced, so looks like the money came off the card all right. Hmmmm - I think that helps our position?
  16. jhegarty

    jhegarty Frequent Poster


    No , this only means they reserved an amount on your card, they can do that without processing the charge... so you need to wait till it appears on the statement to know for sure....
  17. busylizzy

    busylizzy Guest

    I have had the exact same problem today, booked flights, payment went through, recieved confirmation and then 7 hours later recieve an email to say it was a mistake. The consumers helpdesk said they have had many phone calls about this, not sure about todays thing, but they said think they can break the contract, and offer a refund. Going to fight on though, passengers cant break their contract, why should they be able to? I know other companies carry through their "mistakes", and want to avoid bad press.
  18. Hylus83

    Hylus83 Guest

    I too booked flights this morning & being suspicious of the price, i called Aer Lingus straight after I purchased the tickets (and after they had found the "bug" in their system)
    The telephone operator said that while it was a glitch in their system, they would be honouring the flights. I also had my colleagues call Aer Lingus to confirm the reservations that they had made. They all got the same reply - they would honour the flights.

    Later this afternoon I noticed that when I went to view my booking on the Aer Lingus website, it said my booking reference was invalid. So I called Aer Lingus again, this time I was informed that the booking was cancelled due to the technical glitch in their system.

    I asked for the manager on duty in the call centre & was told that they would just tell me the same thing. About 10 minutes later I got a call informing me that the manager on duty would call me in about 15 minutes. When I heard nothing, i called them up again.

    This time i got through to the manager. She said that because Aer Lingus did not intend to sell the flights at those fares, there was no "intent to sell" therefore the contract between Aer Lingus & I was void.

    The fact that Aer Lingus displayed the fares at the €5 price tag, i would have thought, constituted their intention to sell. And, by sending a confirmation e-mail to me represents their entry into contract. (If they had waited to send the confirmation e-mail & cancelled it before I actually received it, then they would have a better argument)

    Nowhere in the T&C's does it say that Aer Lingus has to right to cancel the booking or alter the price of the fare after it has been confirmed. If that is not part of the T&C on the contract that you & Aer Lingus are bound into when you place the booking with them, then they surely can't cancel your booking/change the price, can they?? If it's not in the contract, it can't be part of the contract right?

    However, what is listed in the T&C's is....
    "No agent, servant or representative of carrier has authority to alter, modify or waive any provision of this contract."
    The citizens advice told me that Aer Lingus have entered into contract with you & that they have to honour the flights otherwise they are in breach of contract. I too told Aer Lingus this & said that i didn't want the refund of money, i wanted the flight. But of course the telephone operator is not empowered to do this.

    So do we have any options here? I e-mailed Matt Cooper on TodayFM about this - i suggest that everyone else do the same.
    At the end of the day, they could easily turn around & pull the "sorry, this fare was a glitch in our system" line, whenever they like & get away with it.
  19. Guest120

    Guest120 Guest

    If you made a mistake yourself would you expect to be crucified for it? Someone loaded the incorrect prices into a database no doubt and now people are shouting their rights left right and center.

    A bit of common sense is needed here, especially where it is clear the prices were large savings.
  20. jerjer

    jerjer Guest

    I too am one of the affected people. I was on to Newstalk and they are going to feature me on the Brenda Power programme, if not tomorrow morning at 10.30, then on Friday morning. If you can, listen out and try and ring in. I eventually got through to Aer Lingus at 9.15 this evening and told them, to be fair to them, that I was going to go to the radio about this issue, and I got no response whatsoever.

    What really annoys me about the whole situation is that I have been checking EVERY flight operator to the states for the past 2 months for specific dates in June that I want to travel on, in hope of finding a cheap flight, so it's not as if (which I am sure Aer Lingus will say) I jumped on a bandwagon of knowing there was an error with their system.

    I intend to take this issue as far as I can and would encourage everyone else to do the same. I reckon we would have a shot at the Small Claims Court if all else was to fail.
    If we were to arrive with our printed e-ticket, they would have to honour it, as is stated in their terms and conditions. The fact that they emailed and texted people about their error, I don't imagine would standup in any court.