'Jammy' Ireland fans blag business-class tickets to Bosnia after missing flight
Published 12/11/2015 | 13:21
Two Ireland fans who were left stranded in Dublin because of the Lufthansa air strike have secured business class tickets to Bosnia - 24 hours after predicting that it would happen.
The German airline caused chaos with Irish supporters' travel plans to get to Bosnia for the crucial first leg of the play-off for Euro 2016 when they announced the cancellation of 290 flights this week.
While the airline did help fans to rearrange flights so they could get to Zenica to support Martin O'Neill's men against Bosnia, it was far from straight forward for Dubliners John O'Neill and Fergal O'Connell.
The long-time Ireland fans, who travel all over the world to see the Boys In Green, booked this trip through eBookers and due to terms and conditions they were told there was no way that alternative plans could be arranged.
The duo would not take no for an answer, however.
Yesterday, Fergal posted the following on popular fans foum YouBoysInGreen.ie: "From what I can see Lufthansa have been very cooperative as loads of others have been accommodated on other airlines. Knowing how jammy John is we may still end up getting some savage flight over direct in first class or something."
Hours later, Fergal confirmed that John had indeed persuaded Lufthansa to arrange business class seats for the pair to Istanbul so they could catch a connecting flight to Sarajevo.
"It was a mad few days," O'Connell told Independent.ie.
"I spent hours on the phone to Lufthansa all week but they kept insisting there was nothing they could do because we booked through eBookers.
"But I always knew John would pull it out of the bag somehow. He has the ability to talk people into anything really and he never does things the easy way when it comes to travelling with Ireland. He has missed plenty of flights in his day."
O'Neill added: "What a nightmare experience with Lufthansa with the perfect result. It's luck of the draw on the phones.
"Spoke to a ridiculous amount of people and the same approach hadn't worked around eight or nine times since Sunday.
"So I rang up and before she could request the booking reference I started going on about how I'm a union man and although I support their stance I think a bit of customer service needs to come in to play.
"She started to laugh so I knew there'd be a better chance than the others who sound like machines reading out policies. I didn't actually believe it when she said she'd put us on the Turkish flight until I saw the email come through, especially when it said business class."
Hopefully, the Boys In Green have as much luck on the pitch tomorrow night.