– It is not so easy to be responsible for so many – and not have any good answers to give to the young people or parents.
Chirsten Castberg tells NRK. She is one of three tour guides who are responsible for 40 young people between the ages of 13 and 16.
She is also a board member and tour guide in Nedre Romerike Cheerleaders, known as NRC Tigers, which after this weekend’s European Championships in Athens secured the title of Europe’s best cheer club.
– We have a bunch of new European champions who would like to go home to their parents with their medals, says Castberg.
– Minors can not travel alone
On Monday, it was announced that a total of around 900 pilots, from Norway, Sweden and Denmark, will be taken out on strike.
The head of SAS Norway, Kjetil Håbjørg, states that 30,000 passengers will be affected daily, and that approximately 15,000 will arrive.
The strike will lead to cancellations of around half of SAS’s flights.
The announcement of the strike was discouraging for the NRC Tigers.
A total of 130 people from the NRC Tigers traveled down to Athens. Most went home with Norwegian on Monday, while others went on holiday.
Again in Greece, there are now 43 people who had SAS tickets on Monday night.
– It is one thing to book about a family. It is much worse with such a large group, especially when virtually everyone is a minor. We can not send them alone through Munich or Amsterdam. We have a responsibility to ensure that everyone gets home safely.
They have booked the trip through a travel agency, which now assists them in the job of getting home.
They have received signals that they may get on an Air Baltic flight to Stockholm on Tuesday, but this is far from confirmed yet.
– If that solution does not work out, I do not know how to get the young people home, Castberg says.
The club has fortunately arranged with the hotel in Athens that they can stay there for the next few days.
– Then we will see what happens if we have to stay here longer.
For now, they stay calm. They do not want young people to experience the situation as stressful.
– But we adults know the responsibility. It’s a strain to sit with it, even if we try to be positive.
Castberg was to travel on to the Aegean Sea just outside Athens after the championship. That plan is currently on hold.
– Only the rest of the family has traveled there so far. I can not do anything until I know what the decision will be here. For example, we may have to split into three groups, since we are three tour guides.
She admits that a holiday is now long awaited.
– We have run around here since Wednesday with 130 athletes. In addition, I had to travel two days before the others due to the aircraft technician strike. I have been looking forward to sending them home and taking a vacation, she says with a smile.
– There will be a solution
Ombudsman Mats Wilhelm Ruland admits that he thinks it is very sad that there has now been a labor dispute in SAS.
– A lot of time and resources have been invested here, and we have worked intensively for a long period without being able to reach our goal. Obviously it’s disappointing. Everyone has had a genuine goal to solve this. It is a difficult day for everyone involved, says Ruland to NRK.
However, the parties will not give up for that reason.
– Now we have to turn the pile over, and try to find a solution. No conflict lasts forever, and neither will this one. It will be a solution at some point – the question is only when, says Ruland.
SAS’s head of communications, Tonje Sund, says that they deeply and sincerely regret that these young people are affected by the pilot strike.
– A strike now in the middle of the high season hits travelers very hard. The rebooking process started immediately, and we will return with information as soon as possible, she says to NRK.
– The colleagues work really hard to assist the customers where possible, and we have increased the staff on customer service to be able to help more people, she continues.