The Irish carrier is this week standing back from using the much trumpeted double pre-clearance facility at the County Clare airport.
The result is that passengers flying with the airline to New York are having to line up for clearance at JFK.
“I spent two hours in line at Kennedy,” one irate passenger, who identified herself as just Mary, told the Echo this week.
“I was being picked up by a car service and it had to wait the two hours. What a waste of time,” said Mary.
She said that she and her fellow passengers had not been able to clear through U.S. immigration and customs facilities at Shannon despite the fact that both were operational.
“It was a seven hour flight followed by a two hour wait. Aer Lingus must be determined to drive their customers away,” said Mary.
Or contract them out to another airline. The carrier’s new chief executive, Christoph Mueller, has cast doubt not just on the continuing Aer Lingus service linking the U.S. with Shannon, but with the airline’s entire transatlantic operation.
Mueller, who came to the Irish airline from Lufthansa in his native Germany, has warned that Aer Lingus, which is facing huge operational losses this year, might have to face cost cutting that amounts not just to cosmetic surgery, but outright “amputation.”
“Aer Lingus’s long-haul flights to America will be in the line of fire, particularly from Shannon,” the Irish Times reported.
“Mueller says he appreciates the ‘national importance’ of the American routes, particularly to Shannon, but has stressed in briefings that Aer Lingus is ‘not a charity,'” the Times report added.
Mueller is expected to unveil a survival plan for Aer Lingus – he rates the carrier’s chances of actually surviving at just 50-50 – in the middle of, or late, October.
Aer Lingus has already moved to mothball some of its U.S. services over the winter months while U.S. carrier Delta is ending its Shannon service in early October.