Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 20 April, 2021

A mix-up involving an Irish family's flight home for Christmas was solved with a lovely gesture on Liveline

A brilliant moment of radio.

90437084_90437084 Source: RollingNews.ie

LISA AND GERARD from Limerick have been living in San Francisco for the last 20 years.

They were planning to come home for Christmas next week so their three young children could see their grandparents, and booked flights with Aer Lingus back in the summer. Disaster struck this week though, as Lisa discovered that she’d booked the flights the wrong way around.

So the family had flights from Dublin to San Francisco on December 18th, and the reverse in early January.

Her mother-in-law Bridget in Limerick was desperate to see them all, and had been looking forward to it for months.

There was only one solution: Talk to Joe. And what resulted on air yesterday was a genuinely touching piece of Irish radio

Source: RTÉ Radio 1/SoundCloud

If you can’t listen on Soundcloud, click here.

Bridget explained:

They have some problem with their flights – they’ve booked it wrong or something. And we’re awfully disappointed, because my husband is 84 and he’s suffering from Alzheimer’s and he’s all geared up because the little lad is four, and he’s coming to see grandad.

Joe had been speaking to Lisa, and explained the details to the listeners:

She wanted to come home from San Francisco on the 18th of December just before Christmas and go back on the 9th of January, and she booked them in July as people do as they want to get the best available fare. She only discovered this very recently but she booked to go to San Francisco on the 18th of December and come back to Dublin on the 9th of January.

90393235_90393235 Source: Sam Boal

Aer Lingus originally said they will refund the €3500 paid for the five tickets but there are no replacement seats available. Lisa then looked up the available seats and realised it will cost the family €10,000 to book again at the last minute.

Bridget said there was no way they could go out to them in San Francisco:

We can’t go out there, my husband wouldn’t be able to fly.

Lisa then came on the phone from the west coast, telling Joe the moment she discovered that she’d made the mistake:

I didn’t realise until I printed out the tickets and then I saw what I did and have been on the phone since.

Suddenly, Joe had got some instructions in his ear:

Aer Lingus have just told us that they want you to open your email. I don’t know if it’s good news or bad news.

Lisa hung up because she had to check her email. Soon, she was back on air:

I don’t know what you did but they’re after changing it around for me! We’re coming home on the 18th.


The whole lot of you?


The whole lot of us. I don’t know what he did but we’re coming home!

Aer Lingus had stepped in and saved the day.

90365667_90365667 Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

An emotional Bridget thanked them for helping:

Oh look, I don’t know what you did but I will say a prayer for the person on the line.
I really appreciate that, my husband would have been devastated. We’d be very disappointed if we didn’t see them.

Just as you thought the conversation couldn’t get any better, there was a lovely moment of unintentional comedy when Bridget realised that she wasn’t on the phone to Aer Lingus – she was on Liveline

livelien3 Source: RTÉ

She inquired after the helpful man’s name:

Can you tell me your name?


This is Joe Duffy in the middle.




This is Joe Duffy Bridget.


I hope I’m not online, am I?


You are, yeah. Did you not know? Sorry I thought that was explained to you, that’s our mistake.


Don’t worry! I listen to you every day sure. Tell Lisa to ring me back.

It was quintessential Irish radio, and had everyone listening sobbing and laughing simultaneously

It’s going to be a particularly special Christmas in one Limerick home this year.

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About the author:

David Elkin

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