Sunday, August 14, 2011

Multiple bungles by Jetstar see bride miss her wedding

IT IS customary for brides to run late to their weddings but one couple missed theirs entirely yesterday after a series of mishaps on their Jetstar flight.

The couple, who were flying to Bali with some of their guests, were due to leave Melbourne at 6.30pm on Friday, before their nuptials at midday yesterday. The bride, who wished to remain anonymous, was even wearing a white swimsuit in anticipation of the balmy weather, according to a fellow passenger.

The first sign that things were amiss came on Friday afternoon, when the airline texted passengers that flight JQ35 would be delayed.

When passengers seated in the business lounge made inquiries, they were told the pilot was sick and flying in a replacement would result in a two-hour delay.

Vivienne Golabek, 54, who was travelling with her husband, Danny, said: "At 8pm we finally got a call saying that we were boarding. As we were sitting on the flight there was an announcement about the substitute pilot that we were getting from Sydney to say that his luggage was lost and in his luggage was his passport."

Some time after 8.30pm, the passengers were told to disembark, given meal vouchers and told to return at 9.50pm. But when the passengers arrived at the gate, there were no staff. After 20 minutes, some staff arrived and at 10.30pm, four federal police officers were on the scene. "They were probably worried in case someone caused a scene," Mrs Golabek said.

A quiet voice then came over the intercom to say the flight would be cancelled due to road works on the tarmac at Denpasar Airport.

Passengers who lived more than 100 kilometres from the airport were given hotel vouchers, but others, including the Golabeks, had to fend for themselves.

Mrs Golabek, of Melbourne, had no connection to the wedding couple but said the bride was "very, very quiet, very subdued and very emotional. Her partner is also very quiet. "There are a lot of people with young children who would not have got to their hotels before 12.30am. There was a total lack of communication and everyone feels they were lied to and some hope Jetstar goes under."

The flight left Melbourne at 9.30am yesterday. Passengers were offered a $100 Jetstar voucher in a letter which apologised for "unforseen mechanical issues".

A Jetstar spokesman said: "There might have been some confused messages in what was a complicated situation. The captain was sick and the replacement from Sydney had to fly to Melbourne and realised his passport had been misplaced.

"There was a delay getting the passport by which stage there was work going on at the airport. We are sorry for the inconvenience and sympathise with everyone on the flight."


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