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Travelers Shocked As Plane Headed For Bali Forced To U-Turn Mid-Flight

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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.

Jetstar Plane In The Sky

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’.

Passengers and Travelers Board Jetstar Plane

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.

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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.

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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Friday 30th of December 2022

While it might seem harsh, it was something that needed to be done. Australia would have done the same. This is to deter airlines from taking unnecessary risks like switching to a bigger plane to accommodate more passengers for bigger profit with no respect to the rules of the destination country. Imagine if we, as individuals, travel without proper documentations to another country. We would have been sent home as well without a chance to correct our 'mistakes' when we arrive. Corporations need to adhere to similar rules and regulations. Let's hope the passengers are reimbursed fully and more for the inconvenience the airline has caused.

Wayan Bo

Friday 30th of December 2022

At least good news that they didn’t warn the pilot that they will send fighter jets to shut down JQ35 if plane will try to land without permission 🤣


Friday 30th of December 2022

Come on Air Traffic Control. Its not an alien spaceship from another galaxy.

Neil gill

Thursday 29th of December 2022

Jetstar over the past year, or so are trying extremely easy for customers to never book with them again....


Thursday 29th of December 2022

Hey ATC in Denpasar, let them land. Sort the paperwork out later.