Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Don't Fly Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus Have a simple but cunning plan in place to deal with customer claims and complaints.

  • The 'Customer Care' department will only accept complaints in writing.
  • They will not accept telephone calls.
  • They do not answer any complaints or correspondence.
It was in March 2008 that my return flight with Aer Lingus from Amsterdam to Cork was cancelled at around 11pm due to bad weather. I was offered the next available flight back to Eire the following day which only went to Dublin rather than Cork. As the next Cork flight was an even longer wait of some 24 hrs I accepted the Dublin flight which was due to leave the next day at around 10am. We were refused any food or any overnight accommodation. "It's not our responsibility as the cancellation was due to the bad weather".

Being rather prudent when I booked on-line I took out Aer Lingus insurance and consequently kept all the receipts for the extra costs. (Elvia travel insurance) Of course they will not allow my claim to proceed without written confirmation from Aer Lingus that my flight was cancelled. Aer Lingus simply do not respond to any request, nor will the switch board put you through to the so called customer care centre. "Only in writing" they say. Meanwhile Aer Lingus travel claims refuse to process any claim without that magic letter from Aer Lingus.

No amount of searching will allow you to contact them other than by letter.

Meanwhile I'll e-mail the insurance company to see whether they will pay out for the hotel, food and travel from Dublin to Cork without that magic letter from the insurers. I'm not holding my breath.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Melting Ice Cream Van

This is what happens to Mr Whippy Ice cream vans when it gets hot on this Australian beach near Sydney in 2006. (OK so it didn't really melt but was a part of a rather interesting 'art' exhibition)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Driving In Ireland

If you're used to driving on roads in the UK or Europe there are some interesting differences between those countries and ours. Most people notice how little traffic there is on our roads and how the pace of driving is much more relaxed. This is true, you just don't seem to get the aggressive tailgating, mad overtaking and excessive speeding which occurs in many other european countries - but beware!!
  • 400,000 are driving without a full licence here!!
  • 20% of Irish drivers on full licences never took a test

Yes thats right. There is such a backlog of learning drivers wanting to take the test that the vast majority simply drive on the roads anyway. There is a requirement to have a qualified driver with you, - but not after your second provisional licence, regardless of how many times you have failed a test. Nor is common to see 'L' plates. An attempt this year to tighten up the regulations regarding unacompanied drivers and to stop people driving on provisional licences failed due to overwhelming complaints from our citizens. This is the only country in Europe, and possibly the world, where you can drive to a test centre unaccompanied, fail the test miserably, and then pop into the car and drive home, again unaccompanied.

And even more remarkable 20% of those people with full driver's licences never took a test because the government took the easy way out and overcame the backlog of people waiting to be tested by simply issueing full driver's licences to any applicants who had held two or more provisional licences in a row. These 'amnesties' happened twice. Yes, its true!

This is one of the few countries where you can set up as a driving instructor without any qualifications or training. I have no doubt that many of the driving instructors currently operating obtained their licences following the two goverment amnesties.

So if you're out and about watch out!!!

Here are some interesting observations on (bad) Irish driving habits with my own personal explanation as to why this happens:-

  • Do not indicate. This prevents people from knowing where your going. Its not of their business anyway.
  • When going across a roundabout indicate left when you join the round about. This will puzzle drivers who are used to people indicating only when they leave the round about. And if going right, indicate left when you join the round about because this indicates you are making a left turn at the start??................(no I don't understand why either)
  • Allows drive too close to the car in front. After all you've got your Paidrig Peo sticker in the window to keep you safe.
  • Drive with fog lights on. Especially in good visibility and for extra marks use fog lights only.
  • Park on double yellow lines. These indicate good parking places.
  • Try parking on junctions. It’ll save you time
  • Double park if the double yellow lines are occupied and the nearest junction is more than 10 yards away.
  • Drive with fog lights on. Especially in good visibility. Even better, try using only fog lights..
  • Never reverse into a parking space – always drive forwards into it. It provides others with lots of amusement when you discover you can't manage it.
  • Do not wear a seatbelt or allow others to do so. You know you’ll never have an accident and anyway your kids won't go through the windscreen and if they do you can always make a few more. After all your a good Catholic.
  • If you have to stop on the road always park on a bend or blind spot.
  • To avoid stopping always use a phone whilst moving.
  • Always drive much much slower than the traffic behind you. You didn’t go much faster on a donkey did you? And sure, what’s the hurry?
  • When wanting to make a right turn to the leave the road, indicate right, but then pull over to the left even though you are signalling to turn right. Wait until all the confused drivers have stopped crashing, then turn right.
  • As a varient to the above indicate left to turn right and right to turn left.

If you think any of these are exagerated then think again. I once saw someone use 14 forward and backwards manouvers to get into a normal sized parking space on our village street!