A Christmas miracle: Aer Lingus saves the day to get an Irish family home for the holidays

A Christmas miracle: Aer Lingus saves the day to get an Irish family home for the holidays

AER LINGUS stepped in to save the day to get an Irish family based in the US home for Christmas. 

Lisa Tinkler - who has lived in the US for 20 years with her husband - was due to fly home to Ireland from San Francisco with her husband and three sons to see their family for the holidays and booked in July for the best available fare.

However instead of booking San Francisco to Dublin on December 18 and return to the US on January 9, she accidentally booked the flights in reverse, flying from Dublin to San Francisco and back to Dublin.

Ms Tinkler said she only realised the mistake last Saturday when she printed the boarding passes, and said she's 'been on the phone since.'

For help in trying to get home for Christmas, she contacted Liveline with Joe Duffy on RTÉ.

Speaking to Joe Duffy, her mother-in-law Bridget Madigan from Limerick said: "They have some problem with their flights, she booked the flights wrong.

"We're awful disappointed, my husband is 84 and has Alzheimers, and he's all geared up because the little lad is four and coming to see grandad."

Aer Lingus told Ms Tinkler that while they would refund the €3,500 she paid for the flights, there were no economy seats left at the fare price as it is so close to their departure date, and when she looked up flights, she discovered they would cost €10,000.

Suddenly Joe Duffy says: "Lisa, Aer Lingus just told us they want you to open your email, can you do that?

“You have my nerves gone here, Lisa. Will you open the email? Is it good news or bad news?” he said.

Turning to Bridget, Joe Duffy asks if she has a special devotion to the Sacred Heart.

"Move the photo of John F Kennedy and Michael Flatley aside and let’s get praying to the Sacred Heart!" he said.

Coming back on the line from San Francisco Ms Tinkler says: "I don't know what you did but they're after changing it, we're coming home."

Overcome with emotion, Bridget said: "I don't know if any other airline would do it, we'd be so disappointed if we didn't see them."

However, not realising she's on the line to Joe Duffy on Liveline, Bridget says: "I appreciate it and I'll say a prayer for the person on the line... What's your name?

"This is Joe Duffy here in the middle," Duffy says.

"What?! Oh I hope I'm not online."

"Sorry Bridget I thought that was explained to you," Duffy said. "You're on Liveline."

In classic comic style of every Irish mother, Bridget says: "Oh for God's sake. I listen to you everyday sure.

"We'll be delighted to see them anyway. Will you ask Lisa there to ring me back?"

You can listen to the full clip here.