Wednesday 7 December 2016

Wife of Ireland star Glenn Whelan left 'fuming' after family flight to Euro 2016 was cancelled at last minute

Cathal McMahon and Amy Mulvaney

Published 11/06/2016 | 16:05

Glen Whelan leaves St Philomenas Church Palmerstown with his Bride Karen Byrne.Wedding of Irish Soccer Player Glen Whelan to Karen Byrne at St Philomenas Church Palmerstown Dublin 19-05-12 Photographer: Doug O'Connor
Glen Whelan leaves St Philomenas Church Palmerstown with his Bride Karen Byrne.Wedding of Irish Soccer Player Glen Whelan to Karen Byrne at St Philomenas Church Palmerstown Dublin 19-05-12 Photographer: Doug O'Connor

The wife and children of Ireland midfield star Glenn Whelan almost missed out on seeing him in action at Euro 2016 after their flight to Paris was cancelled.

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Karen Whelan said she was "fuming" after her Air France flight from Manchester was cancelled, just two days before she was due to jet out.

The devastated mum wrote: “Flights cancelled on Sunday to see my husband in the Euros. Fuming and two very upset kids who haven't seen their dad in three weeks.”

Earlier today Ms Whelan posted a picture of the text message she received from the airline on twitter.

Air France is currently embroiled in an industrial dispute with pilots. As a result a number of flights, including Ms Whelan's from Manchester on Sunday, was cancelled.

But luckily for Ms Whelan a local travel agent came to the rescue and she tweeted this afternoon that she and the couple's two children will make it to Stade de France in time for Ireland's crunch clash with Sweden.

Glenn and Karen Whelan. Picture @karen3403
Glenn and Karen Whelan. Picture @karen3403

She wrote: "Thanks @cltravelsoluti1 for sorting out the Euro flight @AirFranceUK absolutely rubbish least my kids get to see their dad play for Ireland #coybig."

Glenn Whelan, from Clondalkin in West Dublin, is almost certain to start in midfield on Monday evening. The Stoke player has over 70 caps for Ireland and will be a crucial player if Martin O'Neill's side are to progress to the final 16 in the tournament.

Glenn married childhood sweetheart Karen in a lavish ceremony at the five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel in Powerscourt, Co Wicklow shortly before Euro 2012.

Meanwhile, hundreds of fans preparing to travel to Euro 2016 were left without a flight to France this morning from Dublin Airport after a flight to Charles de Gaulle was cancelled.

Air France pilots went on a four-day strike on Saturday, threatening supporters’ plans to travel to France as the second day of the European Championship kicks off.

Flight AF1617 was due to leave at 9:10 this morning but was cancelled as part of the strike, leaving countless fans without a method of travel.

Darren Burke was supposed to fly with Air France this morning but had to quickly arrange an alternate route.

He found out yesterday morning that his flight was cancelled, giving him less than 24 hours to find another way to get to France when the majority of flights were already sold out.

“I was absolutely gutted,” Burke told independent.ie

“They told us yesterday morning it was cancelled due to the strike. They eventually offered us some different lay overs to get to France, but I booked a new flight myself. Flights to Charles De Gaulle were selling out fast.”

“In fairness to Air France, they tried to offer solutions, but that wasn’t till about 3 o’clock. It was too big a gap, we panicked and booked what we could.”

Burke and his friend Liam Mangan managed to nab flights from Shannon to Charles De Gaulle, setting them back €180 each.

They had originally booked their flights in January for €260, “the best priced flights at the time,” Mangan said.

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“I’m down an extra €180 now till I can try sort a refund,” Burke said.

The two men are heading to the Ireland vs Sweden match on Monday, while Mangan is staying in France to attend all three Ireland games that are lined up.

Air France estimates that one quarter of its pilots will strike over pay cuts on Saturday and 27 percent on Sunday.

The airline expects to operate 83 percent of flights on Saturday and almost 80 percent on Sunday.

An Air France spokesperson told Reuters than a similar pattern is expected for Monday.

The four-day strike will cost the airline an estimated €5 million each day, Chief Executive Fredric Gagey told RTL radio.

The airline said it would try to ensure minimum disruption to flights to cities hosting Euro 2016 match.

No other flights have yet been cancelled, however it is advised to check your flight status on the Air France website.

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