'Shattered' newlyweds slam Jetstar policy after $1400 holiday wasted

A newlywed couple who were looking forward to a little getaway together after weeks of planning say they had their holiday completely ruined after their Jetstar flight was delayed for over seven hours.

Lisa Hines and her husband of two months, Trevor, were booked on a 1.15pm flight on December 17 from Canberra to Melbourne when the saga began. The couple had been living apart as Ms Hines was in New South Wales taking care of her mother-in-law full-time while her new spouse worked in Tasmania.

Ms Hines shared that the pair was set to attend a Keith Urban concert at Rod Laver Arena on the night they arrived in Melbourne, but at 1.45pm Jetstar announced their flight would be delayed "although the boards were all still saying now boarding".

Jetstar customers Trevor and Lisa Hines
Trevor and Lisa Hines, who had been forced to live apart since they were married in October, were looking forward to a weekend getaway together before Jetstar delays foiled their plans. Source: Supplied

Ms Hines said that a second announcement was made at 2.30pm, with Jetstar informing passengers that the flight would be boarding at 4.30pm. Then at 5.15pm, it was announced that the flight would not be leaving before 8.30pm, which meant the couple would miss the concert they'd paid $1,000 to attend, along with $400 spent on accommodation. Because the flight was delayed rather than cancelled, Ms Hines was advised that Jetstar would not provide any compensation, as per the airline's policy.

"Absolutely shattered, I have been looking forward to this for two years, I am a full-time live-in carer for my mother-in-law and am lucky to leave the premises once a month. Really needed this break, thanks Jetstar, you are an absolute joke. It literally took me six weeks to organise care for Mum just for this trip," Ms Hines posted on Facebook.

'We could have been on another flight'

Ms Hines told Yahoo News Australia it was only after the third delay that Jetstar informed passengers there was an engineering problem. "If they had have said so straight away, we could have been on another flight," she said.

While some Facebook users told Ms Hines her experience is "a lesson learned" and that she should have booked the flight a day ahead to avoid delays, many others were sympathetic to her plight. "I can't believe they're allowed to get away with this nonsense. I had a 12-hour delay with them last week," a fellow Jetstar customer related.

Jetstar plane
Budget carrier Jetstar was the worst-performing airline in terms of on-time performance in October, according to data from the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE). Source: AP

"Last time our flight was delayed we were told as it was longer than a 3-hour delay we could either choose to get a refund or accept the flight change. Fight them for a refund. Sorry you missed the concert and your chance at some respite," one person suggested.

Ms Hines, however, addressed the issue about not flying a day earlier, explaining that it would cost a minimum amount of $700 a day to get another carer to take her place.

Jetstar's policy

A spokesperson for Jetstar told Yahoo News Australia the airline is "really sorry that Mr and Mrs Hines missed their concert". "We tried everything to get them to Melbourne earlier. Unfortunately, the delay was caused by an issue with one of the toilets on the aircraft and Engineers had to be flown up from Melbourne to fix it.

"We know delays are really frustrating and given what happened to the Hines', we're reaching out to apologise and offer them a travel voucher."

Jetstar, on their website, have a customer guarantee for delays and cancellations on the day of departure, stating that if they "have confirmed a delay of more than 45 minutes" and if they are "aware of the delay or cancellation more than two hours before the scheduled departure time", they will advise travellers or their agents via SMS. If the flight is cancelled, Jetstar is committed to "offering alternative transport arrangements to get you to your destination at no additional cost to you, usually on the next available Jetstar flight before or after your booked flight."

The airline adds that if they fail to meet this commitment, they would provide passengers with a $50 Jetstar voucher. The guarantee, however, does not commit to providing compensation or vouchers for delayed flights.

New data has revealed Aussie travellers have experienced some of the worst rates of delays and cancellations in almost 20 years. In October, Jetstar was the worst performing in terms of on-time performance, with only 61.6 per cent of its flights leaving on time, and 64.4 per cent landing on time, according to data from the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE).

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