Tag Archives | Aer Lingus

Top Tip when dealing with electronic boarding passes online

It’s a few months now since a discussion on Twitter with a few people about how to best manage your tickets and boarding passes online.

A popular suggestion was to print the tickets and boarding passes a few times when they first become available on the airlines websites.

The consensus, however, seemed to be to print your boarding to a PDF file to save on your computer and then to reprint as required.

To be fair, this might be more for the more techie persons amongst us, but there are two simple things that you could use/install on your computer to help you with this.

The first is to install the excellent (and free) PrimoPDF on your computer. It basically adds a new printer to your listing of printers, to which you can print your documents.

Alternatively, there is the Web2PDF application which you can install on your web browser. This will put a button on the browser that you click when your boarding pass or ticket is onscreen, and it’ll create a PDF file of the document.

A final tip for handling these PDF files is to e-mail them to yourself to an e-mail account that you can access remotely just in case you need it after you’ve left home.

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Ireland’s Departure Tax – which came first, the tax or the drop in passengers

The topic of this blog post has been going around in my head for some time now, never quite making the light of day until now – so here goes. Actually, this will be the start of a bit of a tourism theme for the week.

It’s said that the €10 departure tax brought in by the government in one of their many recent budgetary attempts brings in something between €10m and €15m per month. It was expected to net €9m in 2009 and €150m in a full year.

While this tax is undoubtedly a regressive measure, we’re being told that it is because of this tax that airlines are flying less passengers to Ireland – Aer Lingus and Ryanair shouting the loudest on this one.

Yet, back in 2008, Tourism Ireland revealed that the number of tourists visiting Ireland in that year had fallen 3.3%.

Had the rot already set in even before this departure tax was decided upon?

The number of tourists visiting Ireland for a holiday dropped 20% in 2009, but given the turmoil experienced around the world because of a world wide recession, is that not the primary reason for the fall rather than this new departure tax?

Look at this another way.

Let’s assume you’re planning a holiday later this year, 2010. You’re going to fly somewhere. What dictates where you go? When you search the internet researching destinations for your holiday, do you check out hotels, attractions, sights, entertainment and places to eat, or do you first check how much is the departure tax that you’re going to have to pay when you leave?

Do you even know which countries you might visit charge a departure tax? When the tax is included in your air fare (as it is here in Ireland) you’re most likely never even going to know you’re paying such a tax.

The overall price of your vacation will determine when and where you travel – and if you’re flying somewhere, staying in a hotel and eating out for a couple of nights over a weekend, then the €10 cost of the departure tax isn’t going to be the deciding factor.

Ireland was, and still is, a very expensive destination for tourists to visit – it was in the good times, and in general (despite the fall in hotel costs in many locations), it still is now.

When potential tourists are experiencing recession in their own country and counting the pennies, we can hardly expect that they’ll be arriving here by the plane load if they’re going to have to pay through the nose for the privilege of spending a few days in Ireland.

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Sterling to euro conversion ripoffs – other costs to be aware of

This e-mail came through from a reader recently – something to be careful of. Remember though, if you’re going to be subjected to such a charge, you need to be told about it up front. If it’s something that you’re credit card company is going to charge you, it should be in your terms and conditions.

                    There is another side to conversion problems i.e. euro to sterling conversion.

I had to book up a hotel in Cork for several people using the Aer Ligus hotel booking site.

First booking was made in the morning and the second in the evening both using the same Aer Lingus site, both with the same card, both for the same date and both for the same hotel.

    When I received my card statement it included a commission charge of £10 for conversion from euros to pounds sterling for the first booking but nothing for the second booking (sterling to sterling). 

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Don’t buy Aer Lingus vouchers this Christmas

The image below shows the contents of a recent Aer Lingus marketing e-mail. They’re advertising their vouchers as a perfect Christmas gift, but as per my advice last year, you should avoid buying vouchers at all, from anyone, this Christmas.

To refresh your memory, check out this post – Reasons Not to Buy Vouchers – to see the multitude of reasons to stay well away from vouchers this Christmas, or any other time.

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World Cup Play Off Flights Uproar – ignore the grandstanding!

Following a close second in the pointless and non-newsworthy headlines stakes, we saw this beauty last Tuesday “Shameless rip-off as airlines hike Paris football flights to €300”.

If you remember, I wrote yesterday about the number one most pointless and non-newsworthy headline here. The particular headline above is from the website of Mayo TD, John O’Mahony – the Fine Gael spokesperson on Sport.

There were others though: From the Irish Examiner, there was Angry soccer fans set to hit back over air fare hikes, while the Irish Times had Airlines accused of World Cup ‘rip-off’. The Irish Independent, meanwhile, went with Fans fleeced as airlines shift goalposts.

Rolled out once again for the cheap and easy oneliner, the Chief Executive of the Consumers Association of Ireland had this to say:

The surge in prices was yet another indication of the way consumers were being treated by airlines. “The airlines have a policy of watching where there will be a guaranteed demand and then increasing their prices,” he said.

“They are unapologetic about it. Whatever about supply and demand, once this happens any fairness in pricing policy goes out the window. It’s a case of – if you want to go you’ll pay dearly for it.”

Get over it

Look folks. Here’s the thing. The world and their granny knew that Ireland were going to be playing in one of 4 destinations next month, and that the precise location would be known about lunch time yesterday.

Based on past performance of the airlines when it comes to applying “supply and demand” when it comes to pricing flights for Irish sporting occasions, the world and their granny also knew that once the particular destination was finalised, that the price of flights would shoot up.

Forewarned isn’t, apparently, forearmed

So, what did football fans do to prepare for the situation that was blatantly obvious was going to happen? Nothing it seems – they wait for the draw to happen, they then look for flights, and then proceed to bleat their usual complaints to whomever will listen – and becuase it’s such a soft easy story, there’s always people who will jump on the bandwagon and publish the story.

Was there any way around this?

I heard a story yesterday of someone who’d logged on just before the draw was made and had proceeded as far as possible to booking flights for each of the four potential destinations. As soon as the draw was made, he clicked buy and bought his flight literally seconds later – thereby getting his flight at the normal price rather than at the higher price charged minutes later.

What about booking flights to all 4 destinations at the very cheap prices beforehand and then only using the flight you need? Theoretically (as I can’t retrospectively check the prices now) 4 flights could have been significantly cheaper than the higher prices that people are bleating about at the moment.

How about not buying these flights at the higher prices? Despite the protestations of Mr. Jewell, the airlines are acutally engaging in a perfectly legal and fair practice of charging a price for a service based on the demand for that service – something which any business should never have any reason to be “apologetic” about. If football fans don’t like the prices charged, then don’t pay them – simple as that. Either find an alternative way to Paris (rugby fans did during the 2007 Rugby World Cup), or just don’t go. If the airlines can’t sell their seats, then supply and demand will kick in again and prices will fall if there’s no demand.

How about finding an alternative way to the game? Maybe there are cheap flights into London from where you can get the train to Paris. Isn’t London Waterloo about the same train journey time from central Paris as wherever it is that Ryanair land “in” Paris anyway?

Not Fair

I appreciate that people will feel hard done by though the actions of Ryanair and Aer Lingus, but lets not get carried away here. Buying flights to go to Paris for a game of football is a discretionary spend – you don’t have to go.

If you can’t afford to go becuase of the prices charged, then suck it up. You wouldn’t have gotten your cheap holiday to Spain earlier this year, or your free flights to London for your Christmas shopping in the coming months if we threw out the concept of allowing airlines charge based on supply and demand.

The alternative here would be that we pay consistently the same (artificially fixed higher prices) all the time, rather than paying less sometimes and paying more at other times.

That’s a scenario, I think, that wouldn’t be fair.

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Pop Quiz: Why do you fly Ryanair?

Ryanair describes itself as “the worlds favourite airline” in its press releases. It frequently provides the cheapest fares on its routes compared to its competition.

Yet many people seem to feel that the customer service at Ryanair is pretty bad. There are definitely more e-mails to ValueIreland.com about Ryanair than any other company in Ireland.

If this is the case, why do nearly 6 times more of us fly with Ryanair than flies with Aer Lingus for example?

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Aer Lingus Gold Circle Club – their game, their rules

This e-mail came through to ValueIreland.com recently.

I wish to bring to your attention the Aer Lingus Gold Circle Club. Aer Lingus does not state on it’s fare before purchase wether the fare qualifies for Gold |circle points. At one stage points were only given for trips with checked in baggage( I found out because I only checked in baggage one-way on a U.K. return trip and only got half points.

I think Aer Lingus does not award points or is giving a wrong booking class for earning points on flights that are not promotional, therefore one should be earning points. It seems points are not given now at all on flights to from U.K. and Ireland, expect on the expensive Flexi-fares option.

Are there many people who are still members of these kind of reward programmes? I guess anyone still lucky to be getting business flights paid for by their company would be.

Bearing in mind that the Gold Circle Club is a benefit that Aer Lingus provides that costs them money to maintain, they’re entitled to assign points and benefits as they so chose – we can’t have any complaints about that.

However, checking out the Aer Lingus Gold Circle Club web pages, it seems pretty unclear as to when people can earn points, and when they can’t. This is the information provided:

Gold Circle Points are awarded as per the table below when travelling on any valid Aer Lingus scheduled flight in the following eligible booking classes J, C, D, Y, B, L, H, K, M, V, N, X, S and R. Flights not qualifying for points do not appear on your statement. These classes are identified as “W” “Z” and “A” class.

Yet, as you’re booking a flight online, it’s well hidden as to what  “booking class” you’re flight that you’re paying for actually is.

For future reference, when you’re asked to check the box to confirm your agreement to the Terms & Conditions, there’s a link there that brings you to a page in a new window. At the bottom of that page is the booking class for the flights you’re trying to buy.

In short, from what I can see, any LOW FARE fare class doesn’t give you any entitlement to points.

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More unclear advertising from Aer Lingus

I wrote here before about how Aer Lingus and Ryanair were resorting to advertising their flights as “% off” rather than with specific prices so they don’t fall foul of advertising complaints.

By being sufficiently hazy enough to advertise flights as 20% off instead of €40 or whatever, whenever anyone logs on to their websites they won’t know how much to expect to pay for their flights – despite the advertising saying that there’s a sale on.

Here’s another version of this dodgy advertising tactic from Aer Lingus that arrived in my inbox today:

€20 off? €20 off what? Off a €200 flight or a €50 flight? It’s all a bit shit really, and not very friendly for the consumer. Let the outrage begin 🙂

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Where is the Aer Lingus target market?

Lest you have any doubt that Aer Lingus can no longer be seen as our “national flag carrier”, have you seen the AerLingus.ie website recently?


It’s completely focused on their Gatwick hub with every price shown in £ sterling – exactly the same as Ryanair (but then again, I’ve said that before too).

The “national Irish airline” doesn’t even try to cater for it’s own Irish based customers.

Sell it off!!! We could pay for a few junior ministers or a few trips for ministers in their helicopters if we did!

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How are airlines getting around unfair advertising complaints?

I don’t hold much faith in the self-regulating Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI), and I don’t believe that our 2 major airlines pay much attention to their decisions, but I suppose if the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC) ever got any teeth, they might be more concerned with providing accurate advertising.

The last findings from the ASAI contain two complaints that were upheld against Aer Lingus and Ryanair where people went to search for sites on the basis of advertising, but found no flights at the prices advertised.

And how are airlines getting around the potential issue raised by these complaints – they’re now changing their advertising to showing “% off” rather than giving an actual price.

Do you know what the standard price of a flight to London is with Ryanair or Aer Lingus – particularly given the huge variety of prices offered given previous special offers, demand and the times of departure.

With that in mind, how could you ever expect to know what to pay if Ryanair are offering 66% off, or Aer Lingus are offering 20% off flights to the US, or Aer Arann are offering 25% off all flights.

This is just one more way in which airlines are muddying the waters when it comes to pricing flights and subverting guidelines instituted to try to make this pricing clearer for consumers.

By moving away from showing absolute prices to these “% off”, these companies have once more found their way around those useless organisations (national and EU) that are supposed to be looking after our interests.

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