A family of four smiles while posing for a photo with another man.

From happy place to travel nightmare as Jetstar cancels flights from Perth to Bali for four days in a row

Perth residents yearning for a holiday – or a break from mental health – have been devastated this week by a cluster of flight cancellations to Bali and other destinations.

Jetstar has canceled one flight per day between Perth and Bali since Monday, leaving dozens of Western Australian residents – many of whom would be traveling for the first time since the COVID-19 border closures were lifted – unable to depart as planned.

The airline usually operates three flights a day on that route.

“We understand this is extremely frustrating for customers, especially during the school holiday period, and we sincerely apologize for the disruption these delays have caused,” said a Jetstar spokesperson.

The exchange of messages between Aaron Trousselot and a Jetstar employee after his flight was cancelled. Delivered: Aaron Trousselot

The airline said “ongoing resource challenges” were to blame and also apologized for a massive disruption to flights to Darwin on Wednesday.

All flights to Wednesday night’s airport were cancelled, affecting passengers from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane.

A spokesperson said those cancellations were due to “operational challenges”.

Lucy Summers and her family were scheduled to fly from Perth to Bali early Monday morning, but their excitement turned to disappointment when they received a text around midnight that their flight had been cancelled.

Two children are sitting with a couple smiling and posing for a photo in a restaurant.
Brother and sister Ben and Abi Summers (second from left and far right) on a previous vacation in Bali, sitting with family friends Vivi Gouw (left) and Hidayat Hamli (second from right). Delivered: Lucy Summers

The next available flight wasn’t until July 11, the day after they planned to return, and not an option for Mrs. Summers.

She said it was devastating news for the family, who were looking forward to a much-anticipated return to Bali, which they call their “happy place”.

“The last couple of years with COVID and all that has really hit mental health,” Ms Summers told ABC Radio Perth.

“This wasn’t just a vacation for us… it was as much a mental health break as a vacation.”

Knowing that would no longer be possible was a blow to the family, who decided to book a few nights at a hotel in Perth to give themselves a little break.

A selfie shot of a smiling mother and daughter in Crown Perth.
Lucy Summers with daughter Abi Summers in Crown Perth, where their family went on vacation after their flights to Bali were cancelled.Delivered: Lucy Summers

“Just to get away from the house, to try [to] getting a bit of a holiday feeling, but you know, it’s not the warm weather,” she said.

Aaron Trousselot got stuck in Melbourne trying to reach his 13-year-old son, who had traveled for them to reach a baseball tournament on the Gold Coast.

He said the next available flight offered by Jetstar would be more than a week later, much too late to attend the tournament.

“I had to go buy [another] a ticket for my wife and my three other children for $7,000 one way,” Trousselot said.

People sleep on chairs and the floor in an airport terminal.
Aaron Trousselot’s wife and children sleep on the ground at Melbourne airport after their Jetstar flight to the Gold Coast was cancelled. Delivered: Aaron Trousselot

Consumer Protection Western Australia has issued a warning advising passengers to be entitled to a refund if the replacement flight is “not acceptable”.

Consumer Protection Commissioner Gary Newcombe said the law requires airlines to provide travel services within a reasonable time.

Posted updated

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