‘Feral’: Jetstar passengers airport ordeal

Jetstar passengers flying to Cairns were left stranded and confused overnight in a Japanese airport after a snowstorm grounded flights.

At least 250 passengers were forced to set up camp at a gate in Kansai Airport in Osaka for 18 hours after the boarding time of their flight was pushed back repeatedly.

Travellers said they were left in the dark for hours after their 9pm flight was delayed on Wednesday night.

They boarded the plane at 2pm local time on Thursday, a passenger told NCA NewsWire.

Passenger Kellie Banko, who has been trying to return to Melbourne for three days amid the delays, says those waiting weren’t told when the plane would leave until right before boarding.

“When we were supposed to board for 12pm take off (which was already a delay from the 10am original time), they started handing out apple juice and muesli bars again,” she said.

Ms Banko told NCA Newswire she hadn’t had a proper meal in two days as the airport’s restaurant is closed, and there are concerns for the “many elderly, children, pregnant women” waiting for the plane to take off.

“Many people are feeling sick and all we have to eat around us is food from Family Mart which ran out on the first day,” she said.

“Family Mart have some sandwiches etc but not a proper meal. Jetstar have only given us muesli bars.”

Local reports suggest a snowstorm had buried the bridge connecting mainland Osaka to Kansai Airport.

A Jetstar spokesperson said their crew were unable to reach the airport and customers were also unable to leave the airport.

“The flight was initially delayed as a result of heavy snowfall which closed the only bridge connecting Kansai International Airport to mainland Osaka, preventing our crew getting to the airport,” they said.

The passengers took to social media to vent their outrage as the hours ticked on without answers.

“Stuck at Kansai airport overnight cause Jetstar,” one Twitter user posted.

“Was actually so feral, and it’s left us trapped in Kansai Airport cause we were delayed so long.”

“24 hours at #Osaka airport and counting,” another passenger posted to Instagram alongside a photo of hundreds of people strewn over the terminal gate furniture.

Passengers slept on the floor and on the uncomfortable airport chairs and were left starving after the airport restaurants had closed for the night.

Finally at 4am the following morning, muesli bars, food vouchers and blankets were handed out to the passengers.

“All we have been given is a blanket, one ten dollar voucher and some water,” the Twitter user wrote.

“No meals, convenience store completely sold out.

“We’re cold, tired and starving. We cannot leave and we need help.”

The bridge to the airport has since reopened however a problem with the aircraft’s PA system caused a further delay.

Ms Banko said the passengers hadn’t been told about that issue.

“Nothing about the PA. All updates have been through whispers between passengers, only had one update from Jetstar last night,” she said.

“Today we have been told it’s mechanical and then preparing the cabin.”

“We will always put safety before schedule,” the Jetstar spokesperson said.

Passengers have been given the option to stay in a hotel as well as cover the cost of meals and transport to and from the airport.

“We’re very sorry for the delays to this flight,” the spokesperson said.

“We appreciate it’s been a frustrating experience while we worked to get customers on their way as quickly as possible.”

The flight is due to board at 10am local time and will land in Cairns later this evening.


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