Almost 200 Tottenham fans face a race against time to make the Champions League final after their flight was delayed by more than seven-and-a-half hours.
One of the charter flights laid on by Thomas Cook to make sure supporters made it to tonight’s showdown against Liverpool in Madrid was grounded after a bird strike.
In a bid to get them to Spain, Thomas Cook flew one of its own planes from Manchester to Stansted on Saturday afternoon, but the flight only left just before 5.30pm UK time.
The 180 passengers will have just one hour before kick off to disembark, get through security and make it to the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium which is about 3km (1.8 miles) from Madrid-Barajas airport.
One fan whose blood pressure was sent through the roof by the delay was Rob White.
He tweeted this morning: “So @Freebird 09:50 Stansted to Madrid, still not taken off…’operational issues’…at least another hour. Anyone got a spare stadium ticket?”
It was not until mid-afternoon that desperate fans boarded the replacement plane.
Mr White posted: “The ‘Stansted Airport 190’ are now sitting on an actual plane after a 6.5 hour omnishambles!
Thomas Cook said in a statement: “One of our six chartered aircraft taking Tottenham Hotspur supporters to Madrid suffered a bird strike on its way to Stansted Airport and was deemed not safe to operate.
“We have sourced an alternative aircraft to take the remaining fans to the match in time. The other five aircraft with supporters on have all landed in Madrid.”
It remains to be seen whether the fans end up watching the match from the pavement rather than from the stands.