Jetstar cancellations leave thousands stranded in Bali

Jetstar chief pilot Jeremy Schmidt on the Bali delays

Source: Jetstar

Thousands of Australian holidaymakers are stranded in Bali after Jetstar cancelled multiple flights due to “engineering issues”.

It is believed up to 4000 people are stuck on the Indonesian island, with many travellers having to wait days and fork out hundreds of dollars to be rebooked on flights.

Frustrated customers have taken to social media to express their frustration with the budget airline.

“Thanks #jetstar, on the way back from Bali my 12.45 flight has been rescheduled twice and it I don’t get to Melbourne tonight, I’ll lose my job,” one person said on Twitter.

Another blamed the airline’s management: “Understand delays happen but QF had a flight at EXACT same time we could’ve gone on. Same Jetstar flight cancelled tonight. Some people waiting 3 days. Thousands stranded in Aus and Bali. Poor JQ staff cop flack but not their fault. Appalling management.”

Father of two Dominic Buick said he and his family had been stuck in Bali since August 31.

“I’ve got two young kids that need to get back to school, my wife needs to get back to work, we need to get back home again,” he told Melbourne radio 3AW.

Mr Buick has booked replacement flights home with Virgin Australia – at at cost of $900 a ticket. He has received no compensation from Jetstar.

Another traveller, Michelle Gill, was due to fly home to Australia on September 1, but has had multiple flights cancelled. She has a health condition and was worried she would not be able to get crucial medication in Bali.

“I did bring extra medication with us, but I wasn’t expecting five days extra medication,” she said.

“So by tomorrow … that’s getting a concern for me for medication.”

A Jetstar spokesperson said eight services between Australia and Denpasar had been cancelled since September 1 due to “engineering requirements”. Other flights had been delayed as much as 24 hours.

The airline said its Boeing 787 fleet had been hit by numerous issues requiring engineering work, including “a lightning strike, a bird strike, and delays sourcing a specific spare part for one of our aircraft due to global supply chain challenges”.

In a video statement, Jetstar Chief Pilot Jeremy Schmidt apologised to customers for the “inconvenience and frustration” caused by the disruption.

“The team is working hard putting on additional flights – there’s an additional five Jetstar flights and also booking seats with Qantas,” he said.

Mr Schmidt said that the majority of impacted passengers had been re-accommodated and that the airline was working hard to find the remaining 200 or so impacted passengers an alternative option.

Jetstar said compensation would be offered to passengers.

“For those no longer wishing to travel, we’re offering travel refunds and for those who require it accommodation or meal vouchers,” said Mr Schmidt.

Jetstar expects to operate 26 flights from Denpasar to Australian airports between Monday and Thursday.

Australian travellers face more delays

Jetstar’s issues came as other travellers on airlines such as Qantas, Emirates and Etihad also faced potential delays due to strike action by baggage handlers.

Ground handlers from Dnata, who are contracted to Qantas and more than a dozen other carriers, will walk off the job for 24 hours on Monday, September 12.

The industrial action was agreed to by Dnata workers on Friday with some 350 crew to strike.

Dnata, a ground crew and cargo company, hopes to stave off next Monday’s strike at a hearing at the Fair Work Commission on Tuesday.

The Transport Workers Union wants Dnata to lift pay and conditions, including minimum guaranteed work hours.

Qantas sacked its own ground crew staff at the height of the COVID pandemic and moved to outsourcing roles to companies such as Dnata.

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