Jetstar gets rocket from passengers
By ZOE SATHERLEY
JENNY LONDON is adamant.
"I will never, ever, ever, fly Jetstar again," the Lismore woman said tearfully at Ballina airport yesterday.
Jenny and her daughters, Natasha and Mischa, were among 18 passengers who were refused permission to board their Jetstar flight to Sydney yesterday.
One woman missed attending her grandfather's funeral, while her parents, who had arrived a few minutes earlier, had been allowed to board.
Another woman feared missing her connecting flight to the US.
Others had to pay hundreds of dollars for Rex or Virgin Blue flights.
Several passengers claim Jetstar closed the check-in about five minutes early, before the midday flight had even boarded.
A spokesman for Jetstar said they kept the check-out open three minutes longer than required, adding it is important to be strict about check-in closing 30 minutes before flight departure.
However, Jenny, manager of the Lismore RED Inc disability service, who was on her way to a government-sponsored disability and ageing conference, said she argued with the check-out staff about closing early.
"I have a Telstra mobile phone which is automatically calibrated to National Standard Time," she said.
"I pointed out their computerbased clock was four minutes fast, but they couldn't care less.
"When I arrived people were still disembarking from the flight from Sydney which had just arrived, and no-one for the return flight to Sydney had even left the departure lounge.
"I was told the check-in computer was automatically closed from Sydney headquarters and there was nothing that could be done by Jetstar airport staff.
"I counted 18 passengers who had been refused permission to board, but others said there were 33, including whole families.
"I found the staff aggressive, rude and unhelpful. One female staff member was even laughing and I asked her to stop. Staff refused to call a supervisor, despite a crowd of us begging them to do so. Many of us were crying."
Jenny said those stranded included a deaf man who became upset because he would miss a connecting service.
Jetstar staff called airport security, which further distressed him.
Like the other passengers, Jenny and her daughters forfeited their fare, paying $537 to Virgin to get flights to Sydney. Natasha had saved her disability pension to pay for her flight