France worker strikes cause chaos for Ireland rugby fans as flights cancelled

Thousands of spectators traveling to today’s Ireland vs. New Zealand match have been stranded due to widespread strikes in France that have inconvenienced two Ireland rugby supporters.

Due to the air traffic controllers’ strike, dozens of flights into and out of Paris and other parts of France have been canceled in recent days, along with hundreds of other flights around Europe.

Chris Elliott, 36, from Co Tyrone, and his cousin Shane, 37, from Co Donegal, are two supporters who had to change their travel arrangements at the last minute in order to arrive in Paris in time for kickoff.

Initially, the two had booked a flight from Belfast to Gatwick with the intention of continuing on to Paris.

The men described the situation as a “nightmare” as they were forced to travel across France early in the morning due to a mix of cancelled flights, completely booked trains, and ferries.

The Belfast Telegraph quoted Shane as saying, “It hasn’t been fantastic, we have been up since 4am and it has been a bit of a nightmare.

“It was quite last-minute because we just recently acquired the tickets on Wednesday. All of the boats and the Eurostar were completely booked.

Chris, my cousin, and I were to meet at Gatwick. As we boarded the train to travel to Gatwick, we unexpectedly received a phone call advising us that our flight had been canceled due to air strikes.

“After that, we were able to secure a reservation on a different trip to Rennes on the other side of France, but that flight was also canceled.

“We ran out of places to go.

We searched for directions to France for three to four hours in the airport. We are currently in Nantes because it was the only flight that was available, and we must now take the train to Paris.

In the hotel where we were staying, there were 60 to 70 Irish supporters alone, many of whom had experienced similar disruptions.

There are also a ton of Welsh supporters present. Their game is at 5, and I seriously doubt they’ll make it.

Shane said there was “chaos” at the airport and that the two are now “down a couple of hundred quid” because of additional lodging and travel costs.

“We got a hotel at Gatwick last night,” he continued.

“With other Irish individuals affected there, we had a few beers. To be honest, everyone was simply making the best of it last night in the bar.

The two have had a crazy 48 hours of travel, but they’re not going to let that get them down.

“There are a lot of Irish people on board; the train will be lively all the way to Paris.

“By a quarter to one, we ought to be in Paris. We’re going to look for an Irish bar to check out the scene.

Ireland has never prevailed in a Rugby World Cup quarterfinal.

The squad had previously made it to the tournament’s final eight seven times but lost each time.

The All Blacks defeated the most recent of those early exits four years ago.


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