Friday 18 November 2022

Jetstar boots unaccompanied child from flight


Jetstar Airways has once again hit the headlines here in Australia. This time it is for removing an unaccompanied 11-year-old child from a flight. The child was traveling with his 13-year-old sister from Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD/YSSY) to the Gold Coast (OOL/YBCG) when the incident took place.

The original flight booking was made with the low-cost carrier’s parent company, Qantas. The original booking included the children’s father, who was later unable to travel and was taken off the ticket prior to the departure date. The children’s mother, Ms Garland, subsequently contacted Qantas to confirm that the children would still be able to travel, and she was advised that there would not be a problem.

However, once seated, the younger of the two children was removed from the Airbus A320 by Jetstar staff while his sister remained onboard, and the flight departed.

A spokesperson for Jetstar apologised for the miscommunication and explained the airline’s policy for unaccompanied minors, saying,

“We sincerely apologise to Ms Garland and her family for the extremely distressing situation. While we enjoy welcoming young passengers on board our flights, Jetstar does not offer an unaccompanied minor service and young passengers must meet certain requirements in order to travel independently with us, including being of secondary school age. A secondary school passenger can travel independently but must be at least 15 years old to accompany a child under secondary school age.”

Jetstar’s policy is confirmed on the airline’s website, which states that “an accompanying passenger for children and infants aged 2-11 must be at least 15 years old (except where the parent of the child or infant is less than 15 years old).”

Qantas, on the other hand, does allow passengers under 12 years old to travel alone when using the airline’s supervision service. For a fee of $50 AUD ($34) on domestic flights and $90 AUD ($61) on international flights, the unaccompanied minor is escorted through the airport by a Qantas customer service agent. Additional fees apply if this service is not pre-booked.

Following the incident, Jetstar has confirmed that a full refund has now been processed,

“We also apologise to Ms Garland for the delay and frustration she has experienced in obtaining a refund and can confirm that refunds are being processed for her family’s entire booking.”

While this case appears to have now been resolved, this is not the first time the Jetstar group has made the news for its mishandling of a passenger. Earlier this month, the carrier’s sister airline, Jetstar Asia Airways, came under fire when a passenger was denied an aisle wheelchair. The incident took place on a flight from Singapore (SIN) to Bangkok (BKK), leading to the passenger having to crawl off the aircraft.

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