Chaos erupts at Australian airports as Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin cancel flights

Kellie BalaamThe West Australian
Letitia WallaceThe West Australian
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There has been continued chaos at airports around the country, with queues snaking outside, huge delays and cancellations continuing to rack up as people express their anger at Qantas and the major airlines.
Camera IconThere has been continued chaos at airports around the country, with queues snaking outside, huge delays and cancellations continuing to rack up as people express their anger at Qantas and the major airlines. Credit: The West Australian

There has been continued chaos at airports around the country, with queues snaking outside, huge delays and cancellations continuing to rack up as people express their anger at Qantas and the major airlines.

In Sydney staff shortages, school holidays and the wet weather combined to create a nightmare for passengers.

Queues up to 100m long formed, with the airport inundated with people looking to get away for a few days.

“Absolutely mental at Sydney Airport, the queue for Qantas flight is going outside the terminal,” one passenger said.

Another said: “Domestic is insane! Arrived at 5.40am, took an hour to get to the bag drop, despite having already checked in and printed a bag tag.”

More than 100 Jetstar passengers were left stranded and forced to sleep curled up on exercise mats, above, on the floor of a PCYC after their flight from Hamilton Island to Sydney was cancelled on Monday.

They were put on a ferry to Airlie Beach in Queensland despite the stormy waters and when they arrived at the terminal passengers said there was no one from the airline to meet them.

“We were explicitly told not to stay on the island and get on the boat as they had a plane sorted to take us all back to Sydney last night,” one said.

“They shuffle us on a ferry in a storm and then we get to Airlie Beach. No one is here, no communication and nowhere to stay. I wish I was joking.”

The passengers feared they were going to have to sleep on the floor of the terminal because the town’s accommodation was booked out. But the local council stepped in to open the PCYC. “Jetstar was just MIA,” a passenger said.

“Local families have been offering spare bedrooms and couches ... we stayed in a stranger’s spare bedroom. Other businesses dropped off food for people ... the generosity was unbelievable.”

Meanwhile, a Perth family’s holiday to Adelaide was ended before it even began after their flight was cancelled just hours before it was due to leave, with the airline blaming “unscheduled maintenance”.

Jeremy Darvall who planned on boarding a Virgin Australia flight, had his flight cancelled via text message moments beforehand he was due to board.
Camera IconJeremy Darvall who planned on boarding a Virgin Australia flight, had his flight cancelled via text message moments beforehand he was due to board. Credit: 7NEWS/7NEWS

Jeremy Darvall was on his way to the airport with his family on Tuesday morning, when he received a text message from Virgin about 5.30am.

“We thought it was a scam saying our flight had been temporarily postponed,” he told 7NEWS.

He received this text message from Virgin about 5.30am. 
Camera IconHe received this text message from Virgin about 5.30am.  Credit: 7NEWS/7NEWS

But when they arrived with ample time to spare before the scheduled 7.20am departure, the Darvalls were told their flight was cancelled.

“They said the only flights to Adelaide were on the 8th and that was when we were coming back,” Mr Darvall said. “So our holiday’s gone and spending time with our friends, no we’re not doing that.”

Mr Darvall, left, faces a 40-day wait for a refund and said he was shocked at the customer service: “We are quite appalled,” he said.

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