Flights Cancelled on Christmas Eve Disrupt Aussie Travel

By Nina Nguyen
Nina Nguyen
Nina Nguyen
Nina Nguyen is a Vietnamese reporter based in Sydney and focuses on Australian news. Contact her at nina.nguyen@epochtimes.com.au.
December 23, 2021 Updated: December 24, 2021

Hundreds of Australians preparing to reunite with their families for Christmas have experienced disruptions after three major airlines cancelled and rescheduled dozens of flights on Christmas Eve.

Australia’s busiest route between Sydney and Melbourne was the most affected as Jetstar and Virgin Australia cancelled 22 flights between the two cities on Dec. 24.

Both airlines have also cancelled or rescheduled more than 20 flights between the major cities and Gold Coast, Adelaide, and Brisbane.

Meanwhile, a small number of Qantas services were cancelled just due to demand, with all passengers reaccommodated on flights within a short time frame.

A Virgin Australia spokesman said the airline had cancelled the flights earlier in the week but all customers had been moved onto alternative flights with no one being left behind.

Meanwhile, passengers of Jetstar, a Qantas subsidiary, were only notified as late as 9 p.m. on Dec. 23, when many customers would have been in bed to wake up for an early flight, with the airline’s customer service line closing at 10 p.m.

A Jetstar spokesperson apologised for the late flight cancellations, saying the problems were caused by crew availability.

“Unfortunately like many people in Sydney and Melbourne, a large number of our frontline team members are being required to test and isolate as close contacts given the increasing number of cases in the general community, and as a result we have had to make some late adjustments to our schedule,” the spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email.

“We appreciate the frustration this causes, especially as customers are travelling for Christmas, and sincerely apologise for the impact these changes are having on travel plans.

“We are working to minimise any delays and reaccommodating passengers on flights as close as possible to their original departure times across both Jetstar and Qantas services.”

Customers took their frustration to social media, with one Jetstar’s passenger saying: “Went to book Jetstar out of Goldie 3 weeks ago. All flights disappeared before my eyes. I rang them only to be told they’d cancelled all flights for 5 days. No PAX.”

Nina Nguyen
Nina Nguyen is a Vietnamese reporter based in Sydney and focuses on Australian news. Contact her at nina.nguyen@epochtimes.com.au.