Qantas says it is sorry after a Melbourne family found themselves stranded in Sydney because domestic flight delays caused them to miss an international trip.
Javiera Martinez, her partner Daniel Capurro and their three children aged 14, 7 and 8 were to fly to Chile on Friday to visit relatives they had not seen for three years.
But after their 8 a.m. Qantas flight from Melbourne was delayed by half an hour, baggage handling and transfer delays from the airport to Sydney prevented their 11.30 a.m. LATAM Airlines flight towards Santiago.
Ms Martinez said airline procedures at the airport were chaotic.
“We believe Qantas did not behave appropriately, I was reprimanded by the person at the counter, they never apologized, they never took any responsibility,” she said to AAP.
“It was a rude conversation, we were mistreated, I would say.”
The PCR tests they need to travel have now expired and they will have to take them again while waiting for seats on the next flight to Santiago departing on Sunday.
The airline paid for one night’s accommodation in Sydney.
“We sincerely apologize that the family missed their connecting flight on another airline due to delays at Sydney Airport on Friday,” a Qantas spokesperson told AAP.
The family are among many affected by hold-ups amid the busiest travel period in two years, with airports in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane warning passengers to arrive two hours before domestic flights.
On Friday, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce clarified that passengers were “out of shape”, saying the delays were not their fault.
The airline has laid off thousands of employees during the pandemic and outsourced ground crews in a decision challenged in court.
About 78,000 domestic passengers passed through Melbourne Airport on Friday, with construction work at the terminals adding to congestion and queues.
In Sydney, the number of domestic passengers has almost doubled in the past six months.
Sydney Airport’s general manager of operations, Greg Hay, has warned travelers to be prepared to go through security when they arrive at the terminal.
“We also noticed that people are not used to security protocols, such as not taking laptops and aerosols out of their bags at checkpoints, which contributes to queues,” he said. he said in a statement.
Amid rising passenger numbers, the company providing security services at the airport, Certis Security Australia, is also trying to replenish its workforce, Mr Hay said.
More than 51,800 travelers passed through Brisbane Airport on Friday, making it the busiest day in more than two years.
Australian Associated Press