“Partial climbdown” from Aer Lingus on €5 flights

That’s according to the News at One just now on RTE and their website. In accepting that they’d handled the situation very badly, Enda Corneile has confirmed that those who booked the cheap flights will be offered the flights that they thought they were buying – a standard ticket to the US.
Though, it now seems that some people still aren’t happy and are going to be demanding their business class seats. Mentioned on the askaboutmoney.com website, as well as a lady currently speaking on Joe Duffy on RTE.
The fall-out from this (if there is any at all) could be interesting. It is of great interest that a company felt that they could unilaterially break a contract like this in the first place, and that in doing so, there was only confusion as to what should or could happen next.
Shouldn’t we really have a consumer rights and legislative position in this country where if a company tries this in the future that it’s immediately known who the consumers impacted should go to for help (rather than just getting verbal platitudes and committments to publishing a press release)?

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3 Responses to “Partial climbdown” from Aer Lingus on €5 flights

  1. Des April 19, 2008 at 23:56 #

    Was there a contract ?

    Did money leave people’s accounts ?

    Is it beyond the possibility that people knew (heart and soul) that it was an error ?

    Apple had a similar issue with 1Tb hard drives – they just cancelled the orders but because it was computer heads the media didn’t give a fiddlers..

    Aer Lingus has bowed to public pressure…it hasn’t been proved that they legally had to give in.

    A few years ago Kodak were selling digicams dirtcheap (by the standards of the time) on their website and it propagated across the web at lightning speed. It was also just after Christmas so it took a while for Kodak to catch on.

    But they did catch on and said that the orders were invalid. After much humming and hawing the UK Trading Standards Crowd (who are much more effective and proactive than the Irish crew) accepted that it was an error and that folk would have realised that such cameras could not be sold at that price.

    However shortly after Kodak decided to honour the offer at 1 camera per customer (a lot of people had order ed multiple cameras). I received my camera and sold it one and paid the “profit” to the Simon Community.

  2. Value Ireland April 20, 2008 at 22:53 #

    Hi Des,

    Many thanks for your comment. As I said in my original post, I’m no expert, but my reading of the original situation has only been further strengthened by what I’ve read since.

    That is that Aer Lingus would have had absolutely no choice but to provide these passengers with their tickets – only standard class mind you.

    With regards to your comment about money, without knowing the actual legal term, I believe that something called “the postal rule” would apply here – basically that through sending credit card details the would be passengers had as good as paid – and in the eyes of the law would have been seen to have paid.

    And finally, a confirmation was provided by Aer Lingus – the most crucial aspect to indicate that a contract had been formed.

    While your examples may be relevant with regards to the current situation, they have no relevance as they did not happen under Irish law – and as we know from many other situations, our laws can work far differently.

  3. Des April 23, 2008 at 09:46 #

    The Apple situation was in Ireland.

    Unfortunately the Aer Lingus case didn’t go to the courts.

    They backed down through public pressre and “goodwill” but it hasn’t been _proved_ that they were right or wrong.

    The longterm efect for the consumer is that if this happens to a harder-necked company (eg Ryanair or Tesco – who have proved that they ignore the NCA ) then the consumer will have a much harder battle and _may_ have unfounded expectations.

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