An Aer Lingus flight from New York to Dublin was cancelled following a “technical issue” with the aircraft, with most passengers now having to spend much of Christmas Day in the United States until they can get another flight home.
In a statement, the airline confirmed that flight EI106 from JFK airport to Dublin on Friday evening was cancelled due to a “technical issue with the aircraft”.
“The safety of all customers is the first priority at Aer Lingus and the cancellation had to be implemented for that reason,” the statement said.
“Aer Lingus teams are currently working to reaccommodate all passengers with alternative flight arrangements and are endeavouring to ensure all customers depart New York by the evening of December 25th.”
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Aer Lingus said “the majority of passengers” have had their alternative flight arrangements confirmed to them and they are “working through the remainder to ensure everyone has certainty on re-accommodation arrangements”.
“We are also working to book hotel accommodation for those customers who need to stay overnight before they depart,” the statement said.
“We sincerely apologise for this disruption to customers’ Christmas travel plans and we aim to have them arrive at their destination as soon as possible.”
Affected passengers on social media spoke about conflicting information about whether there would be a rescue flight to get them home in time for Christmas, before it later emerged that the airline confirmed they would instead be accommodated on alternative flights.
Billy Morris said his sister and her boyfriend were on the flight, before it had to make an emergency landing.
“After making calls early this morning I managed to get them booked on a flight tomorrow afternoon to arrive home early in the 26th,” he said, adding that other passengers have not been so lucky.
“It took hours to get bags back. Passengers stranded in a freezing baggage claim hall. They have given in and returned to hotel they were staying in for the week to fly home tomorrow.”
Large parts of the US and Canada are currently experiencing sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall, with officials in New York issuing a driving ban for Erie, Genesee, Niagara, and Orleans counties due to severe weather.
A spokesman for Dublin Airport said there have been some delays to a few flights from North America due to weather issues in the States, but there’s been no cancellations.
Around 40,000 passengers are arriving back into Dublin Airport on Christmas Eve in total, the spokesman said, adding that “it’s another busy day, but all going smoothly”.