Belfast Telegraph

Friday 21 November 2014

Ulster rugby fans fuming after Ryanair cancels flight to match

Ulster rugby fans were up in arms last night after a no-frills airline cancelled their France-bound flight without any warning.

The supporters had booked return flights from Dublin to Grenoble with Ryanair for Ulster's Heineken Cup encounter with Bourgoin next month.

But now they have been told by the airline that the only alternative flight is to the coastal city of Nice - some 250 miles away, and across the Alps.

One fan, Iain Thompson, from Jordanstown, said he had been sent an e-mail yesterday informing him of the dramatic change in his travel plans.

The 40-year-old dentist denounced Ryanair's offer to the fans as simply not good enough.

"This has blown a complete hole in our itinerary," he said.

"By the end of August, myself and a friend had organised our own package holiday - and as things stand all we can really do is cancel it."

He added: "The most frustrating thing is that we spent four or five hours booking it in the first place.

"It's just not good enough. We're back to basics - and we weren't even after cheap flights."

Mr Thompson slammed as ludicrous the offer of Nice as an alternative destination.

"We were told we could have our money back or be transferred to Nice," he explained.

"But it is 250 miles away from Bourgoin, so it would take around five hours to get there by car.

"The match is on the Friday night (November 16). The flight back from Nice to Dublin is around 8.30am the next day, so we would have to leave Bourgoin around 2am to get to the airport. It's just ridiculous."

With his hopes of seeing the Heineken Cup clash in France dashed, Mr Thompson said he would be wary of travelling with Ryanair in future.

" Michael O'Leary was in Belfast a couple of weeks ago to promote Ryanair and he had a banner that read 'Ulster says yes'," added Mr Thompson.

"Well, my attitude would be that Ulster rugby supporters say no to Ryanair."

He added: "We put a bit of effort into following Ulster. We always like to travel to a few away games and this year we wanted to go to Bourgoin. After this, though, I can't see myself trusting Ryanair again."

No-one from Ryanair was available for comment last night.

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