Thousands of passengers again lined the corridors of Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport yesterday morning, desperate to board a flight without further delay.
Around 9,000 Aer Lingus passengers were reportedly affected by flight cancellations on Saturday after a systems failure led to the cancellation of 51 flights to and from Dublin Airport.
Several transatlantic travelers told the Irish Independent nor did they expect to board a flight yesterday.
Adrienne Khiat (45) from Boston was forced to sleep overnight at Dublin Airport with her three young children, Kamilla (12), Taj (9) and Kader (4) after their trip was canceled return flight.
Speaking at 9am yesterday, Ms Khiat had been awake for more than 24 hours as her children managed to ‘get some sleep’ in makeshift beds they made from cardboard they had managed to find.
Her son Taj said: “I was cold all night.”
The young family had decided to stop in Dublin on their way home from France, where they were on holiday and Ms Khiat said they arrived at the airport on Saturday afternoon not knowing “what was going on”.
After several hours of anxious queuing, they boarded a plane shortly before 9 p.m. However, just as the cabin crew were performing a safety demonstration, “the bells started ringing” and the crew then told passengers the flight could not proceed.
Ms Khiat said they were told the crew had “run out of hours”, which she said meant they could only “work a certain number of hours per shift”.
According to the Irish Aviation Authority, the “total flying time and duty periods” a crew member is assigned cannot exceed “14 hours on duty in any one day”.
“By the time they got us off (the plane), it was around 10 p.m. The kids found boxes to sleep in and I started searching the internet and calling all the hotels in Dublin. Everything was either booked or oversold,” she said.
“The kids slept a bit, but not me because I just wanted to watch them. It was awful, I will definitely write a letter to Aer Lingus, hope to get my hotels back and get another flight.
“I’ve been calling Aer Lingus on the phone for about four hours, and they haven’t picked up, so we’ll see how it goes. Someone told me I could book a new flight online, but the site Web had been down for a long time and no one was answering the phone.”
Not wanting to keep her children waiting at the airport any longer, Ms Khiat finally secured a hotel room in Dublin last night and said they would ‘try again’ today.
The Khiat family were not the only passengers forced to spend the night at Dublin Airport. Yesterday morning, all along the hall of Terminal 2, people were sleeping on the floor and against the walls with makeshift pillows.
An Aer Lingus spokesperson said: ‘Earlier (Saturday) transatlantic flights had significantly reduced passenger numbers as many passengers were unable to complete all safety requirements due to the breakdown of systems.
“While many transfer passengers had met security requirements before the systems went down, many customers starting their journey in Dublin were unable to do so. When the systems came back online, transatlantic flights that operated later (Saturday) evening carried significantly more passengers…. All Aer Lingus (Saturday) evening cancellations were a result of the (Saturday) disruption.
“Unfortunately, due to the limited number of hotels in Dublin this weekend, some customers had to stay overnight at the airport. Water, food and blankets were offered to customers in Terminal 2 last night.