Tottenham fans facing race against time to make Champions League final due to flight chaos as Thomas Cook reveals one plane is due to land less than FOUR HOURS before kick-off
- Tottenham fans risk missing start of the Champions League final due to flights
- Thomas Cook revealed one of their chartered flights will not land until 4:30pm
- That would give fans less than four hours in Madrid to make it to the stadium
- Around 400 Spurs fans paid £559 for what was marketed as a ‘morning flight’
Hundreds of Spurs fans may face a race to make the Champions League final, after Thomas Cook revealed one of their chartered flights will not land in Madrid until 4:30pm on Saturday.
The travel company – which is the club’s ‘official supporter travel supplier’ – had already had to apologise over a lack of communication surrounding flight times.
And they faced yet more criticism when it emerged on Thursday night that over 400 fans, who have paid £559 each for what was advertised as a ‘morning flight’, would not be leaving Stansted Airport until 1:30pm and could then face a rush to get to the Wanda Metropolitano in time for kick-off at 9pm.
Hundreds of Tottenham fans risk arriving far later than expected in Madrid this weekend
A large number of supporters booked their flights through Thomas Cook to the Spanish capital
THOMAS COOK FINANCIAL PRESSURE
Thomas Cook reported a £1.5bn loss for the first half of 2019.
The firm is looking to sell the airline and has received ‘multiple’ bids for its planes.
The company has closed 21 of its stores and Thomas Cook Money is under review.
More of its 566 stores could close and 150 roles will be cut from its Peterborough head office.
Around 2,500 Spurs fans have booked onto chartered flights through Thomas Cook Sport, which were booked at the request of the club and were only available to supporters with tickets.
Thomas Cook is in touch with UEFA, Tottenham and Madrid airport to try to move the latest flight to an earlier time, but the complications are said to have arisen from Madrid airport.
Sportsmail understands Thomas Cook is furious with Madrid airport for failing to hold slots for the official carriers.
A statement from Thomas Cook on Thursday night said: ‘We’ve been working closely with Stansted and Madrid Airports, air traffic control and government transport authorities to finalise flight times during an exceptionally busy day for Madrid airport.
‘Five of our six flights will land at least six hours before kick-off so supporters will have plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere and head to the stadium. We’re working to bring forward the 6th flight and we’ll update fans as soon as we can.’
A similar number of Liverpool fans will also fly with the company, but their flights were confirmed much earlier.
The frustrating delays have been attributed to the huge surge in flights this weekend to cope with the numbers of fans travelling out to the all-English final.
A number of Liverpool fans are already out in Madrid but other fans are still awaiting flights
The travel company tried to ease the fears of Tottenham fans on their social media accounts
Indeed, the Department for Transport said that Friday could see the ‘busiest-ever day for the UK’s airspace with more than 9,000 flights’.
There are expected to be around 800 extra flights in UK airspace between Friday and Sunday because of the final.
Thomas Cook had never guaranteed take-off and landing times, and the flights were instead advertised as ‘morning’ flights and the trip was classed as a ‘day trip’.
However, there will now be little lee-way for any delays and fans will have little time to soak up the atmosphere.
In response to several queries from frustrated fans, the Thomas Cook Sport account on Twitter wrote: ‘Hi, we’re sorry about the delay in getting the confirmed flight times for you. I understand how frustrating this is.
‘We’re working on getting everything finalised and will be sending itineraries today. We appreciate your patience while we finalise our operation.’
The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust acknowledged that the situation was ‘hugely stressful’.
Fans look set to have little time to soak up the atmosphere before the Champions League final