Airline profits off desperate travellers

An Australian tourist in Peru may not be able to return home because she can't afford a business-class ticket - and all the economy seats are booked out.

It means that potentially the plane could leave the country with empty business-class seats while Australians are still stranded in Peru.

Aussie tourists had to fork out $5160 per person for an economy ticket on the LATAM flight.

However, economy seats on the plane quickly sold out and only a limited number of business-class seats remain for people willing to pay a whopping $10,872.

Now there are fears the plane will take off with empty seats in business and first class, leaving Australians stranded.

Stephanie Boticki is one of those Australians.

 

"The first flight is full in economy and not many can afford business class if at all," Ms Boticki told news.com.au.

"(There's) talk of a second flight but no one knows for sure."

Since Peru announced its lockdown on March 19, grounding all international flights to halt the spread of coronavirus, hundreds of Australians have been left stranded.

Australian tour company Chimu Adventures worked with Chilean airline LATAM to organise an emergency flight that would pick up Australians at Lima and Cusco and deliver them safely home.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) helped with these negotiations.

Shoppers wearing protective face masks as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus wait their turn to enter a supermarket, in Lima, Peru on Saturday. Picture: Rodrigo Abd/AP
Shoppers wearing protective face masks as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus wait their turn to enter a supermarket, in Lima, Peru on Saturday. Picture: Rodrigo Abd/AP

The LATAM Airlines flight to Peru was expected to arrive between Monday and Wednesday before taking the travellers to Sydney.

However, LATAM told the Aussies who had purchased the exorbitant tickets that the flight had been delayed from its planned departure on Monday or Tuesday to later in the week.

Now the Australians are wondering whether it will come at all.

"I just want to go home," Ms Boticki said.

Originally published as Airline profits off desperate travellers