Saturday 26 May 2018

Lourdes volunteers 'abandoned' as flight home is cancelled

Members of the Oblate Youth Service in Lourdes before their return flight from Biarritz with Ryanair was cancelled.
Members of the Oblate Youth Service in Lourdes before their return flight from Biarritz with Ryanair was cancelled.

Rebecca Lumley

A group of 80 Irish people were stranded in France at the weekend when their flight back to Dublin was unexpectedly cancelled by Ryanair.

The group had been on a volunteering trip to Lourdes with Oblate Youth Service when their return flight to Dublin at 3.15pm on Saturday was cancelled.

Fidelma Roe, whose son is a member of the group, said they were "pretty much abandoned" by Ryanair.

She said the group had contacted the media because they were "desperate" to get home, and they believed the coverage they received was the reason they were accommodated on a flight back to Dublin yesterday.

According to Oblate Youth Service's Facebook page, the group was told to make their own travel arrangements back to Ireland.

They said: "After a very challenging yet rewarding week caring for the sick and elderly in Lourdes, we were making our way home when our flight was cancelled by Ryanair.

"They have been extremely unhelpful and have only offered us 30 seats on a flight from Carcassonne on Tuesday and have told us to make our own travel arrangements which is next to impossible with 79 people which includes 45 17 and 18-year-olds."

They said they were "extremely disappointed with the complete lack of assistance and dismissiveness shown by Ryanair".

Some of the group said they had no access to food or water apart from a "single vending machine".

Oblate Youth Service later posted that the group had been accommodated in hotels close to the airport and had been notified of a flight home yesterday morning.

In a statement, Ryanair said: "This flight from Biarritz to Dublin (23 Sep) was regrettably cancelled after the inbound aircraft was unable to land at Biarritz Airport due to the closure of the runway. Customers were provided with refreshment vouchers and overnight accommodation and boarded a replacement flight this morning.

"Ryanair sincerely apologised to all customers affected by this cancellation, which was entirely beyond our control."

It comes as hundreds of thousands of passengers are being affected by Ryanair's decision to cancel up to 40 flights a day until the end of October.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News