Australians returning from overseas at economic rates say airlines cancel their seats unless they rise to business class because international arrivals are reduced starting today.
- The number of international arrivals to Australia has decreased
- Australians who return say they can’t go home
- Economy passengers lose seats for business passengers
That The National Cabinet on Friday decided that weekly arrivals to Australia would be cut from around 6,500 people to around 4,000 to reduce the pressure on hotel quarantine.
Further restrictions have caused panic among returning Australians such as Jim Collins and his family, who have been trying to return to Tasmania from England since March.
“We have repeatedly tried to get flights … And every time we can do that, flights have been canceled,” he said.
Collins told 7.30 his family had been re-ordered to fly to Sydney last week but had their seats canceled because they held economic tickets.
“We were told that the flight had been canceled,” he said.
“But the flight is really running.
“As far as I know, all economy passengers are cleared of flights to make room, with a 50 people limit [for flights arriving at] Sydney Airport, only for premium passengers – first class and business class. “
Collins traveled to England with his wife, Cathy and their children in early March to visit relatives.
“We have done everything we could financially to go home,” he said.
“Now it seems only if you are able to buy first class tickets or business class upgrades that are allowed.”
‘I was unable to improve so I bumped into that flight’
Rebecca Halligan is a doctor from Adelaide who has lived in England and worked in a hospital there for the past two years.
He told 7.30 he could not return to Australia earlier because at the height of the pandemic he was rehired to treat COVID-19 patients in the ICU.
“Initially I had booked a trip to Melbourne … but it was canceled with increasing cases there.
“So I was re-ordered to Sydney and then the hat was introduced with only 50 passengers allowed per flight.
“I was called by the airline and was told that … they prioritize business class passengers.
“I was unable to upgrade to business class so I bumped into the flight.”
The airline ordered it back on a flight to Perth.
“I have an offer to increase to business class seats,” he said.
“And I thought, I would only put this on my credit card so I could guarantee a place … that I knew not everyone could do.”
Dr Halligan arrived in Perth on Friday and is now in the hotel quarantine.
‘Pray that our flights will not be canceled again’
Australian filmmaker Katy-May Hudson said if her flight this weekend from the US to Australia was canceled, her only chance of getting another flight might be by ordering business class.
“The last time we checked that [business class] “$ 24,000 ($ 34,500) flights,” he said.
Ms. Hudson has lived and worked in New York for nine years. Her husband, Sean, is also Australian and they have a young daughter and another child on the way – Ms. Hudson is five months pregnant.
They booked flights in May but were canceled. Hudson said complications with her pregnancy meant she could only travel in the second trimester.
“It’s important for me to go home as soon as possible. For one, I’m pregnant and if I’m not traveling the following month, I have to have a baby here. And it’s not safe to have children – I already have one child here and I never want to have more children here. God bless America but … the health system is a big problem. “
On Monday, the family flew from New York to San Francisco, where they faced anxious waiting to see if they made scheduled flights to Sydney on Wednesday.
“We only hope and pray that our flights will not be canceled again and we are not trapped in this limbo where we are stuck in San Francisco where COVID-19 cases are increasing,” Hudson said.
“If I can’t get that flight to Sydney, I will be stranded in an unknown place with a high-risk pregnancy and no medical team and my little toddler.”
“This thing is dangerous and this is real ‘
Adding to the list of COVID-19 Australian cases was Melbourne’s Hassan Gudal, who tested positive last weekend.
The windshield technician has been vigilant throughout the pandemic, washing his hands several times a day, not touching his face and carrying hand sanitizers in his work van and at home.
“If I get a virus, I think many people will get it, because I always realize this is dangerous,” the 35-year-old man from Carlton told 7.30.
Mr Gudal suspects he contracted the virus while working in a suburban hotspot. The main symptom he experienced was loss of sense of smell.
“My scent is zero, I can’t smell anything. It’s very, very strange,” Gudal said.
Watch this story tonight at 7:30.