Leinster fans stranded in Dublin after being forced to give up seats on oversold flight to Bilbao
Two Leinster fans have been denied a dream trip to watch their team in the Champions Cup final in Bilbao after being forced to give up their seats on an oversold Aer Lingus flight.
The Aer Lingus flight to the Spanish city was due to take off at 7.10am this morning and was jam packed with Leinster fans travelling to watch their team bid to secure a fourth European title against Racing 92.
7.10am Aer Lingus flight to Bilbao overbooked and no solution in sight yet.... pic.twitter.com/QPqCOkDQ9s— Pat Farrell (@farrellpatm) May 12, 2018
So the 7:10 flight to Bilbao is overbooked, and they're looking for volunteers to give up their seats... pic.twitter.com/oF4Dz21sxo— Off The Ball Rugby (@OffTheBallRugby) May 12, 2018
But it soon became apparent that there was an issue with the airline and it was announced that six people needed to give up their seats before the flight could take off.
An initial offer of €250 was made for anyone who wished to volunteer to take a later flight which would arrive in Bilbao at 8.15pm - over three hours after the Champions Cup is due to start.
It is understood that offer was eventually raised to €400 and some accepted, two were picked at random and left behind.
"How on earth can they oversell a flight to a European Cup final?" one fan told Independent.ie.
"I couldn't look the fans that were left behind in the eye, it was devastating. At least one of them was a season ticket holder and this was a dream trip."
Aer Lingus released a statement apologising for the fiasco.
A spokesperson for the airline said: "Following disruption to take-offs and landings at Dublin Airport on Friday, a number of our aircraft were out of position on Saturday morning. As a result, the seat capacity of one of our Bilbao flights was slightly lower than required.
"It is unacceptable to Aer Lingus that even two guests were affected and we sincerely apologise for the disruption caused."
The airline confirmed that the flight has since departed and they have been able to accommodate all but two of the 2,700 passengers they're transporting to the Champions Cup final.