A Welsh rugby club have finally arrived home after being stranded in France on a rugby tour after their flight was cancelled.
Clwb Rygbi Cymri Caerdydd had been stuck in Bordeaux after their return flights from their tour of Toulouse were canceled by EasyJet. However, the help of Cardiff-based coach holiday firm Ferris Holidays helped them get back to Wales with a gruelling 19-hour journey.
And now, having been in France for a week and taken nearly 72 hours longer than expected, the players are finally back home. Despite previously joking to WalesOnline about extra days putting “the last of the spending money on red wine”, relief was the overriding emotion for members of the club who have missed work as a result of the delays.
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“Seeing the bus actually turn up was the first seed of actual hope we were going home, as the last 3 days had been a constant dose of doubt,” said one of CRCC’s players, Dan Davies. “We then had nine hours to wait to leave as the two drivers had their legal and well-deserved break.
“Thankfully Bordeaux is a beautiful city so we dragged our exhausted bodies around the place to kill time. Finally then it was time to get on the bus. Both excitement and dread set in equal measure for the 19 hour journey ahead, in clothes we had worn for two days straight in sweltering heat, having gone, at that starting point of the journey, without a shower for 12 hours.
“As the journey began, there was a great range of energy – those with complete exhaustion immediately asleep, those just fed up and knackered attempting to sleep but not being able to achieve more than 20 minutes here and there due to the circumstances.
“And then thankfully we had the last group, those generally in the younger lot who, despite the conditions, were able to keep morale high. Mostly in part to our gratitude that Ferris Holidays were able to help where EasyJet hadn’t even attempted, and then reminiscing over the various memories we had created before the canceled flight, and even those that were made later to that.
“Naturally then as the 19 hour journey commenced, only stopping twice for 5-10 minutes in that time, more and more of us truly began to feel the effects of the experience as the bus got quieter and quieter. How a company such as EasyJet are allowed to cancel such a large flight with such short notice without any planning in place is truly criminal.
“Thankfully for every company like EasyJet, there are also companies such as Mercure Hotel and more importantly Ferris Holidays that actually take pride in their customer service, and for that Clwb Rygbi Cymry Caerdydd as a whole will be forever grateful.”
The club’s troubles had begun on Sunday, after their return flights with EasyJet for their tour of Toulouse were canceled, with the club saying no alternative flights have been offered. With no appropriate train services available or local buses or cars for hire, the 46-strong party were forced to find another way home.
Previous travel plans had already been disrupted due to a previous flight cancellation, leading to them rearranging to fly home from Bordeaux instead of their original destination of Toulouse – 150 miles away. That was complicated further following Sunday’s cancellation.
Thankfully, the Mercure in Bordeaux was able to offer them accommodation and they managed to find a hotel to put them up at short notice. And then good relations with Ferris Holidays back home ensured they were able to find a way of getting back from Bordeaux – albeit by a gruelling 800 mile drive.