Hundreds of Aussies stranded in Bali as Jetstar grounds half its long-haul fleet

Little boy brings his own suitcase alone to departure terminal in Ngurah Rai Bali International Airport

Hundreds of Aussies have been left stranded in Bali following multiple Jetstar cancellations with some forced to wait more than a week before returning home.

Since the beginning of September, eight services between Melbourne or Sydney and Denpasar have been cancelled, affecting 4,000 travellers according to ABC News

Jetstar has ruled the cancellations up to “engineering” issues with the airline’s Boeing 787 fleet plagued by all manner of problems from lightning and bird strikes to global supply chain issues.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, half of Jetstar’s long-haul fleet has been grounded as a result of these issues.

The airline’s chief pilot Jeremy Schmidt said five special services would be deployed to being people home.

“The majority of impacted passengers have now been re-accommodated and our teams are working hard to find the remaining 200 or so impacted passengers an alternative option,” Schmidt told ABC News. 

“We have also offered a flight credit or refund to passengers who no longer wish to travel and accommodation and meal vouchers for those who require it.”

Some passengers have had to wait for more than a week to be rebooked on another Jetstar flight while others have forked out thousands to get home with other airlines.

Melbourne woman Meagan Mulder, who has been holidaying in Bali with her family and friends told News.com.au that one of her travel companions paid more than $10,000 to get home via Kuala Lumpur.

Another holidaymaker, Sydneysider Sonia Myers, was travelling with her 85-year-old father and his 70-year-old friend when her flight was cancelled last week.

The airline rebooked Myers’ flights for 12 September, eight days after their original flight.

“Literally at the buffet breakfast this morning, everyone’s talking about it, everyone’s stuck here,” she told ABC News.

“People are really upset. Some people are going to lose their jobs, some people have children, some people have work commitments that are really quite important, and some people just don’t have the money to stay here.”

Myers said she struggled to find accommodation that would meet the accessibility needs of her travel companions who both live with disabilities after their flights were cancelled and she was worried they would run out of medication if they are delayed again.

However, Myers said Jetstar’s customer service had been fantastic.

“I don’t see Jetstar staff as a problem, I think Jetstar management needs to take a good hard look at themselves,” she said.

“If they are unable to put planes in the air that can make a trip back to Sydney, they shouldn’t be selling them in the first place.”

This isn’t the first time Jetstar cancellation has left Aussies stranded overseas recently, with a group of travellers left stranded overnight in Tokyo’s Narita Airport on 28 August after the airline cancelled a connecting flight from Finland to Australia.

To make the situation worse, the passengers were not allowed to leave the airport to enter hotels due to COVID travel restrictions, leaving them stranded in a cordoned-off section of the mostly shutdown airport terminal without food or water.


Image: iStock/Pande Putu Hadi Wiguna

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