Friday 15 December 2017

Rugby referee Nigel Owens praises Aer Lingus after passport 'debacle' resulted in missed Ryanair flight to Ireland

Referee Nigel Owens
Referee Nigel Owens
Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

Leinster take on Zebre in the RDS tonight and match referee Nigel Owens is having an eventful start to his workday.

The Welsh whistler will take charge of the Guinness PRO12 encounter that takes place on the Six Nations rest weekend and he missed his flight out of Bristol Airport this morning after he realised he left his passport behind him.

"Help @Ryanair didn't now I had to have passport to travel with u to Ireland. Stuck in Bristol Airport. refin Leinster v Zebre tonite," he posted on his Twitter account at half six this morning.

Owens was forced to return home to retrieve the passport, with the airline contacting the referee in response to his complaint.

"Sorry to hear about this, you can get all the relevant info regarding travels docs here," they tweeted and sent a relevant link with travel information.

Owens complemented competitors Aer Lingus on a situation that wouldn't arise on their airline he argued.

"Nightmare. Have to drive home from Bristol Airport to get my passport cos @Ryanair won't take ID like @AerLingus. Hold koff for me Leinster," he added.

The whistler later went on to thank Aer Lingus for sorting out the "debacle" and allowing him to concentrate on his duties at the RDS tonight.

"By the way i don't expect nor want to be treated any different & respect the RyanAir policy. But a bit of common sense is all that is needed," he tweeted.

"You're more than welcome, love your work," the official Aer Lingus account responded.

It was a role reversal from last November when Owens took to social media to vent his frustration at Aer Lingus.

Owens was due to referee the final Ireland match against Australia for the Autumn international and was flying in early to appear at a questions and answers session at Blackrock College. However, his Aer Lingus flight was delayed from Bristol  airport and Mr Owens took to Twitter to express his disappointment.

“Due to do a Q&A at Blackrock College Dublin this morning for some of the kids project work, Flight delayed for 2hours. Sorry I won’t make it,” he tweeted.

A short time later, the ref took to Twitter again to complain directly to Aer Lingus about his lack of movement.

 “Flight delayed again now till at least 12.15pm. Been sat in Bristol airport since 7am now. @AerLingus whats going on? AR1 Ire v Aus tomo”

Quick as a flash, Ryanair nipped in to tweet Owens, with a bit of free advertising to his 101,000 followers: “We’ll get you to the Aviva on time Nigel, on the lowest fares & you can pack extra whistles in your 2 free bags!”

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