Jetstar has apologised after it removed an elderly couple from wheelchairs and abandoned them to fend for themselves in an international airport with no means to contact their family. Wtf!
Paul Markoski, 78, and Georgina Markoski, 81, were flying from Skopje to Istanbul, then onto Bangkok and then to Melbourne with Jetstar — as priority passengers in wheelchairs — when their flight to Melbourne was cancelled.
The couple had their flights refunded along with 22 other passengers — and then Jetstar staff said there was nothing else they could do to help.
“At this point [the elderly couple] were removed from the wheelchairs and escorted to two chairs in the waiting area of Bangkok airport,” Melbourne man Elijah told NCA Newswire.
He said the couple didn’t speak English and had no way of contacting their families back home. They were scared, confused and completely alone.
“It wasn’t until nine hours later that I went to check on the elderly couple to find them in tears not knowing what to do, severely distressed,” he continued.
“Like myself, they were given no alternatives, re-booking a later flight was not an option and hotel accommodation was not provided.
“Effectively they were stranded in Bangkok indefinitely.”
Elijah ended up helping the elderly couple himself by tracking their daughter down on Facebook.
“The daughter, also hysterical, had been on the phone all evening and morning trying to get in touch with Jetstar and Bangkok Airport to get an understanding of where her parents were,” he said.
The couple’s daughter told NCA Newswire she was worried for her parents because she wasn’t sure they had enough medication to last them.
“I was frustrated, angry, concerned, worried that I didn’t know their whereabouts for hours,” she said.
Jetstar/Qantas cancelling the same international flight 3 days in a row. No warning. No apologies. No compensation. What a fucking joke. Annual leave wasted. Pre-paid accommodation wasted. How are they even allowed to legally operate like this?
— Harry Tucker (@harrytuckerr) September 1, 2022
As if the entire situation couldn’t get worse, Elijah then ended up forking out his own money to book the elderly couple accommodation in a hotel because they were left with nowhere to stay. Their daughter called him her “guardian angel”.
“The level of care for anyone was non-existent,” he said of Jetstar.
“How an elderly couple in their 80s could be left unattended and uninformed, stranded in an airport without a means of communicating to the outside world is beyond negligent,” he said.
Jetstar since publicly apologised for the debacle.
“We sincerely apologise to Mr and Mrs Markoski for the disruption to their journey as a result of unexpected engineering issues,” the spokesman said, per News.com.au.
“We are reaching out to them to apologise directly and get a better understanding of their specific experiences so we can improve our communications during disruptions.”
However, it doesn’t look like they’ve gotten in touch with the family. According to News.com.au, the couple’s daughter said she still hasn’t heard back from Jetstar since she began contacting them last Friday.
This story is just one of many after roughly 4,000 passengers were left stranded overseas due to last-minute flight cancellations and delays.
Jetstar said the chaos was due to engineering and maintenance issues with certain planes.