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.
Most important points:
- Jetstar has canceled flights between Perth and Bali every day since Monday
- The airline also canceled all flights to Darwin on Wednesday evening
- Passengers are entitled to a refund, consumer lawyers say
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 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.
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.
“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.
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.
“The consumer guarantees that apply will depend on the length of the delay, the reason for the cancellation/delay or whether the airline is able to reschedule within a reasonable time,” said Mr Newcombe.
“The airline’s obligations may not apply if the reasons are beyond their control, such as weather conditions and other factors.”
Travelers can file a complaint with Consumer Protection if the airline only offers flight credit and no refunds.
The organization suggested that airline customers purchase travel insurance that protects them against these types of cancellations, adding that the advice was specific to recent cancellations and may not apply to other situations, such as issues related to COVID-19.
Posted † updated
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