Leinster fan Claire King from Churchtown at the Aviva Stadium. ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy
No Fare

Number crunch: Leinster fans face flight fares of €550 for semi-final clash

While the four remaining clubs in the Heineken Cup will reap cash bonuses, fans may have to break some piggy-banks.

LEINSTER RUGBY SUPPORTERS who were not hovering their digits over a flight-booking website on Sunday now face an airline bill of at least €550 if they want to watch their team play Clermont Auvergne in France.

Aer Lingus offers a direct service from Dublin Airport to Bordeaux, the city that will host the Heineken Cup semi-final clash, but return flights from France on Sunday, 29 April have sold out already.

The Irish Independent reported this morning that flights arriving on the day of the game and returning on the Monday were around €394 but the cost has risen along with the demand.

As of Monday afternoon, Air France is offering flights to Bordeaux via Paris for €450 but the unsuitability of departure and arrival times make a two-night stay in Bordeaux (Saturday to Monday) the only option.

Trains, planes, buses or automobiles

Ulster fans will have the simpler task of heading to Dublin for their semi-final clash with Edinburgh at the Aviva Stadium.

A same-day return ticket by train from Belfast to Dublin for Saturday, 28 April is €10. Fans looking to get the bus from Monaghan to Dublin, for example, can find tickets for the same day from €17.10.

A spokesperson for Ulster says the province has “ring-fenced” an allocation of 20,000 tickets that is available to season ticket holders until midnight on Wednesday.

The holders will have an opportunity to purchase up to eight tickets and those that do not have access to Ticketmaster can buy tickets over the counter at Ravenhill from 10am to 5pm on Wednesday. The spokesperson added:

“It is understood that Edinburgh Rugby have taken a relatively small allocation of tickets for the match. Tournament organiser ERC will put all unallocated tickets on general sale via Ticketmaster from 12 noon on Tuesday, 10 April.”

Edinburgh fans looking to book a flight, through Ryanair, to Dublin from that city for 28 April, and returning home the following day, are looking at fares from £234.55 (€284 approximately).

Money boost for last four

The eight teams that made the knock-out stages were guaranteed €440,000 from the ERC and that total will now double for the four semi-finalists. The financial boost will go a long-way at cash-strapped Edinburgh, who had been forced to promote untried players such as Greig Laidlaw and David Denton into starting positions this season.

It should also aid Ulster in paying the wages of returning star Tommy Bowe and Leinster in negotiating a new contract for Luke Fitzgerald. It is believed that Leinster will also be laying on its own travel packages, including same-day return packages through its travel partner CityJet. Details of the packages are expected to be released in the coming days.

Analysis: Who has the right to call themselves Heineken Cup favourites?

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