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Chaos at Perth Airport as eight flights were canceled, ruining a family’s first holiday since the pandemic began

Eight more flights from Perth were canceled on Saturday, with a Perth family having to cancel their trip to the Gold Coast as chaos at the airport continues to disrupt school holiday plans.

Saveria Bontempo arrived at Perth Airport on Tuesday morning with her husband and 15-year-old daughter, all looking forward to their first family holiday since the COVID-19 pandemic.

But their holiday joy was short-lived after Virgin canceled their flight more than an hour after passengers boarded the plane.

“We were stuck on the plane for ages, wondering why we weren’t taking off,” Ms. Bontempo said.

“We could still see our bags on the tarmac, they hadn’t been loaded onto the plane, and then an announcement came that the flight was canceled and we had to get off.

“People were really mad and the staff didn’t seem to know anything.”

Virgin Australia 737 takes off from Perth
camera icon A Virgin Australia 737 takes off from Perth. Recognition: Credit Geoffrey Thomas/The West

Ms Bontempo was told the flight had been canceled because the turnaround time was taking too long and the pilots and crew were unable to fly due to strict shift times.

The Trigg family had planned to spend a few days in Sydney before heading to the Gold Coast to explore the theme parks and Australia Zoo.

The chaos at the airport continued as disembarked passengers waited hours for their luggage to be collected.

At 5:15 p.m., more than two hours after disembarking from the plane that never took off, Ms Bontempo said the family was fed up and went home with no luggage.

She said they spent hours on the phone trying to rebook, only to be told the next available flight was five days away.

“Honestly, it was a shit show. There was no customer service,” she said.

A Jetstar flight to Bali was canceled ten minutes before boarding on June 27, 2022, disrupting the plans of many passengers.
camera icon A Jetstar flight to Bali was canceled ten minutes before boarding on June 27, 2022, disrupting the plans of many passengers. Recognition: Kelsey Reid/The Western Australian

The family then found out that their Virgin flight from Sydney to Brisbane had also been canceled and decided to call off the holiday.

“We are absolutely devastated. Our first family holiday in three years has been ruined,” Ms Bontempo said.

“I’ve lost my faith in the airlines. You don’t want to travel there.”

Ms Bontempo hoped Virgin would provide a formal explanation for the cancellation and compensate passengers.

Widespread airport disruptions show no sign of easing after eight domestic flights out of Perth were canceled on Saturday.

Perth Airport said there could be more on Sunday, but with most flights canceled due to operational and crew issues that day, the extent of Sunday’s cancellations was still unknown.

It comes as parking at Perth Airport ran out earlier this week, creating yet another annoyance for travellers.

The airport has reopened online bookings for parking spaces after shutting down the system this week when parking spaces reached full capacity.

Miners at Perth Airport ready to fly to site.
camera icon Miners at Perth Airport ready to fly to site. Recognition: Sharon Smith/The Western Australian

But Perth Airport warned demand was still very high, exacerbated by an influx of fly-in, fly-out workers.