Young family left stranded in Bali airport
A YOUNG Australian family has been left stranded at Bali airport for more than 24 hours after they claimed their airline refused to let their two-year-old board on an infant ticket.
Melbourne father Xavier Edwards was holidaying with his partner and two daughters, aged four and two, in Bali when he decided to extend the trip to celebrate Zyanna's second birthday on January 24th.
When the 49-year-old father tried to change his booking with Jetstar during the holiday to extend the return date from the 23rd to the 25th, he claimed the online system did not allow him to buy a seat ticket for Zyanna.
Mr Edwards, of St Albans, said he was prepared to pay the difference for a ticket but instead had to pay an infant fee, which was required for passengers two years and under.
When he tried to check in at Bali airport on Thursday night, the airline's ground staff denied boarding for the youngest child, who had turned two years old 24 hours earlier.
Mr Edwards claimed Jetstar staff "demanded" he buy a $900 ticket for Zyanna from Bali to Adelaide, where the family had intended to continue their holiday visiting Glenelg and Adelaide Zoo.
"The original tickets were bought in good faith and correct in all aspects," he said.
"Jetstar has seized on the opportunity to make an extortionist demand of $900 - we could not fly leaving the two-year-old by herself at the airport."
The Jetstar website states: "If your infant is less than two years old on your outbound flight, they won't need an allocated seat on the return flight, even if they turn two during your trip. "This won't apply if your infant was booked on separate bookings for the outbound and return flight."
To make matters worse, check-in closed while the anxious father made phone calls to Australia to resolve the issue with English-speaking staff.
"Being at the Bali airport is very stressful - their (Jetstar) own staff here wanted to let us board and were so apologetic when head office said no," he said.
"We have two small children still on bottled milk - they are lactose intolerant - and we are down to our last 20 scoops of formula, enough for six more bottles."
Mr Edwards' daughter Michigan, who flew back from Bali several days earlier, had tried to contact Jetstar in Australia, only to be told the family had to buy new tickets.
Mr Edwards said he could not afford the return tickets.
"Their excuse 'ground staff can use their discretion as to who boards', this is a tired refrain one they use to avoid responsibility," he said.
"End of the day Jetstar should at very least honour our tickets and reschedule - however their Aussie staff seem to all trained to be terse, bordering on rude and simply repeat the same old story, complicity in their predatory internal policies.
"We can't even get in contact with a person in a position of authority - this is by design.
"I think Jetstar as an Australian company and with majority Australian customers you think they would be a bit more flexible - leaving a family and two young children stranded in a foreign airport as their preferred method of remedy displays very poor morality towards their duty of care to clients."
Mr Edwards said as a last resort, he is trying to put money together to buy new tickets.
He is planning to visit the Australian consulate at Bali in hopes they could liaise with Jetstar.
A spokeswoman for Jetstar told The Advertiser the airline would investigate the family's situation.