Leeds Rhinos fans caught in travel chaos trying to get home from France

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Rhinos fans were caught in travel chaos after flights were cancelled as they tried to get home from France following Saturday’s game against Catalans Dragons.

Some frustrated supporters only landed back in the UK yesterday, after several Ryanair flights were called off on Sunday, when a lightning strike caused a fuelling system failure at London Stansted Airport.

Phil Woodhouse, from Rothwell, was among those caught in the disruption. The 51-year-old and four of his friends had flown out to watch the game to celebrate one of the group’s 70th birthday – and were due to fly back from Carcassone to Stansted at 6pm on Sunday.

Mr Woodhouse said: “At 11.30am we got a text to say the flight had been cancelled. It didn’t say why.”

The men booked onto another Stansted flight from Beziers, but that was later cancelled too. They instead hired a car, drove to Paris and flew from there to Manchester on Monday.

Mr Woodhouse said: “There was a lack of communication [from Ryanair], and no one really there to help in terms of staff. Overall, it has cost us about £350 each extra.”

Andy Horne and six of his friends were due to fly from Perpignan to Stansted on Sunday afternoon, but their flight was also cancelled. The group, from Garforth and Kippax, re-booked to fly from Toulouse that evening but, after that was cancelled too, they flew back to Stansted on Tuesday morning.

Mr Horne said many Rhinos fans were affected. He said: “I know there were children with their dads in the same situation.” He added: “It all seemed a bit chaotic.”

A Ryanair spokeswoman said: “All affected customers were contacted and advised of their options of a full refund, a free transfer on to the next available flight or a free transfer on to an alternative routing. We apologise to all customers affected by these disruptions, which are entirely beyond our control.”