May Aer Lingus keep Ryanair off the Atlantic

Posted by Kelly Fincham at 6/8/2009 6:49 AM EDT

There are many many reasons why I dislike Ryanair. From the friend of mine whose image was used without her consent in their PR campaign to the way they treat their passengers and crew.

And yes, I would pay to avoid them. For example, I flew home (Aer Lingus) a few years ago and traveled on to a conference in Glasgow a few days later.

The flight to Glasgow was more expensive on Aer Lingus but I just couldn't stomach the idea of flying with Ryanair. So I paid the extra 20 or 30 euro and went with Aer Lingus. On the way home there were three of us (journalists) waiting on the Aer Lingus flight. Turned out that all three of us had paid extra to avoid Ryanair.

In the event they ever set up shop on the Atlantic, I will pay to avoid that too.

Aer Lingus is way way superior to Ryanair. Full stop.

Just last Friday I had cause to appreciate the outstanding customer service at Aer Lingus.

"Outstanding customer service" - are they words ever associated with Ryanair?

Anyway, landing in Dublin on Aer Lingus E1 108 Friday morning I was in a haze of jet-lagged bliss; I floated in to the baggage claim where I spied my vivid blue hard-top Samsonite tumbling on to the carousel. Giddy with delight; I grabbed my bag and headed for Dan Dooley car rental.

I had bought that suitcase deliberately so it would stand out from the wall of black on the average bag carousel.

Equipped with a matching blue Fiat Punto 30 minutes later I headed north on the motorway.

With the wrong suitcase.

A mistake I did not notice until noon.

Three hours after the flight had landed.

With a sinking heart I dialled airport information expecting to spend the next several hours in phone hell.

I mean, who answers the bloody phone these days?

The Dublin Airport Authority it turns out.

They gave me the number for Aer Lingus baggage claim.

And THEY answered the phone too.

Both calls resulted in living actual people who couldn't do enough to help. No automated "your call is so important to us that we are going to put you on hold for 22 minutes just to drive you screaming over the edge."

I could have wept with relief.

The man in Aer Lingus said to come back to the airport and they'd sort it all out for me.
And no, I wasn't to worry. They'd get the case back to the rightful owner.

All I needed was the "wrong suitcase" and ID. That was it.

I left Drogheda at 12.50 pm and was home by 2.10 pm. (And no, no speed laws were broken apart from the speedy exchange in baggage claim.)

I'd say I was in the aiport for about 15 minutes in total.

Best of all, Aer Lingus was heading off with the "wrong suitcase" to the right recipient.

I don't know how Ryanair would have handled any of this but experience tells me it wouldn't have been pleasant.

Long may Aer Lingus keep Ryanair off the Atlantic.

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