herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Supporter's trip is ruined by Air France pilots' strike

Martin Whelan
Martin Whelan

Strike action by Air France pilots has thrown the plans of supporters at Euro 2016 into chaos.

Hundreds of stranded Irish fans who were due to return to Dublin today have been left to make alternative arrangements.

One supporter had a surprise trip to Ireland's game with Sweden last night ruined by the strike.

Martin Whelan, from Navan, Co Meath, was due to fly into Paris yesterday morning to surprise his dad Denis (73) so they could go to the game together.

He checked in for his flight early on Sunday morning only to receive a text from Air France a short time later saying the flight had been cancelled.

"The text was in French so I couldn't even understand it. I had to go online so I could figure out what it meant. I'm devastated. It was supposed to be a surprise for my dad ahead for Fathers' Day.

Notification

"We always went to all the games, so I was really looking forward to this," he told the Herald.

The notification from the airline came so late that Martin was unable to cancel his hotel booking and get his accommodation costs refunded.

Air France pilots are taking action because of planned pay cuts and changes to their working conditions.

It is one of the numerous industrial disputes causing huge issues in France as bodies want the government to scrap new labour laws that will make it easier to hire and fire people.

Martin booked his flights in January and had tickets for the match arranged through the Believe Supporters Club in Navan.

"That's a ticket gone to waste now. Thousands of people are out looking for tickets and I have one at home now that nobody can use. These things affect people's lives. I don't think they realise that."

The strike will continue today.

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