Stalled flights affect 4,000 fans trying to reach Heineken Cup
SNOW will dampen the roar of the Leinster contingent in the crowd as the team take on Exeter in a crucial Heineken Cup clash today.
Anxious air passengers stranded at Dublin Airport included many rugby fans who had planned to fly to Bristol yesterday.
But almost 4,000 passengers in total were affected by the cancellation of nine outbound and 10 inbound flights. Thousands more had to endure lengthy delays in the airport, as UK airports including Bristol and Heathrow were carpeted in snow.
The Leinster squad themselves were lucky to depart unscathed, with their City Jet flight to Exeter – where today's match takes place – unaffected by weather.
But prop Cian Healy admitted on Twitter he was concerned about many fans getting stuck in transit. And many hardcore supporters were at their wits' ends as they weighed up their options and made alternative arrangements – or just cancelled altogether.
Tony Fagan, his wife Bernadette and their son Shane (pictured) from Marino in Dublin spent an anxious time at the airport, with the cancellation of their flight to Bristol.
They were then transferred to a Bournemouth flight, paying £50 (€60) to rearrange their car hire plans.
But with the cancellation of the Bournemouth flight, they were plunged into fresh turmoil and the intrepid travellers made new arrangements to fly into London Heathrow.
Depending on weather conditions in Britain today, they said they might just decide to forget about the match and fly home again if they can't drive or get a train to Exeter.
A group of friends they were supposed to travel with had decided to cancel their flights completely, said Tony.
Mark Fitzgerald from Sandyford, Graham Milne from Knocklyon, David Duffy from Clontarf and Macdara Wrynne from Terenure, all Dublin, were facing a wearisome day.
Having been originally booked on the 6.40am flight to Bristol, they were moved to a Bristol flight at 10am, then to Bournemouth and finally ending up on an Exeter-bound flight at 9pm.
"We've been up since 4am and we'll be 16 hours at the airport," said Graham.