Travel disaster has struck hundreds of holidaymakers heading to Bali from Melbourne. On 28th December, a Jetstar plane carrying passengers from Australia to the holiday resort island had to turn back 4.5 hours into the flight after the crew was informed that they did not have permission to land in Bali.
The news was made even harder to hear for travelers on board the plane as the flight had already been delayed by over four hours. The Jetstar Melbourne-Denpasar flight was scheduled for takeoff at 6:15 pm, but following delays on the Australian side, the flight did not depart until 11 pm.
Both passengers and crew were left confused by the situation, with many crew claiming to have never heard of such a situation happening in their careers before. Speaking to the press after landing back in Melbourne, distraught and frustrated passengers described the ordeal as a ‘holiday nightmare’.
The flight had nearly made it to Denpasar when the Jetstar pilot announced to passengers that the plane did not have clearance to land and therefore had to return to Melbourne. As a result of the delayed takeoff, the flight would have touched down at 2 am. Jetstar has since confirmed the reason the aircraft was not permitted to land. The airline had swapped the flight service onto a bigger plane without seeking permission from the Indonesian authorities.
Thank you @JetstarAirways for the worst travel experience of my life. After cancelling our original flight, delaying the 2nd and then returning back to Melb only an hour to landing, the staff was unresponsive and unhelpful. Genuinely shocking service. Never again pic.twitter.com/RGAJMfYZAc— bk_1905 (@Bennji_95) December 27, 2022
Passengers have shared their fury at Jetstar via social media. One passenger tweeted, “Thank you Jetstar for the worst travel experience of my life. After canceling our original flight, delaying the second and then returning back to Melb only an hour before landing, the staff was unresponsive and unhelpful. Genuinely shocking service. Never again.”
He followed up with a tweet that explained, “They had to switch to a bigger aircraft but forgot to let the Indonesian authorities know. Therefore they revoked permission to land. A gigantic f***up that we have to pay for.” The whole saga has impacted over 600 Jetstar passengers, not only those who could not land in Bali on Tuesday as planned but also those due to fly back to Melbourne on Wednesday.
Hi @Bennji_95, we’re very sorry for what happened and know this has been extremely frustrating. Affected customers have been rebooked on a flight later today and while they wait, we’re providing hotel rooms, meal vouchers and covering additional airport transport costs. 1/2— Jetstar Airways (@JetstarAirways) December 28, 2022
One passenger on board the JQ35 service told reporters, “He [the pilot] advised they had investigated Darwin and Perth but chose Melbourne because we had enough fuel and it would be better for staffing, and therefore a new flight.” So, the flight landed back in Melbourne 8 hours after the delayed take off.
The regular traveler to Bali, who wished to remain anonymous, explained the general feeling amongst passengers on board. They said the flight was made up of “Mostly holiday goers who had already been majorly disrupted several times were annoyed and perplexed how a flight could make it 80 percent and be denied landing…This confusion was shared by staff, with many saying they had never heard of this ever occurring”.
The traveler described how many travelers on board could not hold back their frustration and began swearing at the crew, and at one point, groups started chanting abuse. The passenger concluded, “I was sitting next to a pilot who was crewing to Bali [to captain a flight back to Perth], and he said he had never heard of this before.”
Jetstar has issued a statement explaining their side of the story, noting a ‘miscommunication’ between the relevant authorities. The Jetstar spokesperson explained, “We swapped yesterday’s Melbourne to Bali service to a larger Boeing 787 aircraft to carry more customers during the holidays…Unfortunately, due to a miscommunication, the aircraft swap was not approved by the local regulator in Indonesia.”
“As soon as we became aware, the flight returned to Melbourne, and we have rebooked passengers on a flight later today. We know this has been an extremely frustrating experience for customers and sincerely apologize for what happened… We’ve begun a review to understand how the miscommunication happened so we can prevent it from occurring again”.
Jetstar has confirmed that the company will be helping stranded passengers with accommodation, food vouchers, and travel vouchers by way of compensation.
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