We were supposed to be returning from Denpasar to Melbourne on 11 Jan. I was travelling with my husband and 2 small children and we checked in at approx 6:15pm, where we were told that the flight had been delayed until 4:20am. Although this is never ideal we accepted that we would be waiting for quite a while in the airport.
At around midnight we decided to make our way to the gate lounge, where we were then told we couldn't enter and would have to go downstairs to the check-in counter again - no other explanation was offered. We attempted to go downstairs but were stopped by Immigration who wouldn't allow us to pass & we were sent back to gate lounge 4 where we then asked Jetstar why we couldn't enter. We were then told we would have to go downstairs again due to "delay cancellation" and escorted by a lady back to Immigration, where we were left waiting for almost an hour!
Eventually the Jetstar lady returned and we were passed through Immigration and lead downstairs to the check-in counter again. We were then told to find our bags amongst literally hundreds of bags dumped on the floor and come back to the counter. We finally were told that our flight had indeed been cancelled and we would be taken by a bus to a hotel for the night. We were paid our "exit tax" back and then ushered to the bus. Surely an announcement that the flight had actually been cancelled should have been made.
Upon arrival at the hotel we were given a room by Reception containing one bed for all 4 of us to share! The staff were most put out when we asked for at least 2 beds for the 4 of us and we were told that Jetstar had allocated one room and they did not have one room with two beds available. Surely this was not reasonable when 4 passengers had paid full fare! Eventually we were provided with a double and two single beds for our family.
At 5:00am (Bali time) I phoned my mother in Australia and asked her to contact Jetstar on my behalf to arrange alternative flight arrangements for us back to Melbourne. She called me back not long after and said that Jetstar had been very helpful and we would be on the same flight the next day. We were thrilled that everything had been sorted out so quickly. We were emailed a new flight itinerary with seats allocated to us by Jetstar.
At around 9am we got up and found a note on the front door handle from the hotel on behalf of Jetstar, detailing the costs Jetstar would be willing to reimburse. We went to Reception and were told that they had received NO communication from Jetstar and that we would have to leave our room by 12pm.
Most passengers had no idea what was happening, some passengers were apparently travelling via Singapore, some via Darwin and some via Sydney (aside from my mother contacting Jetstar we had heard absolutely nothing at all). My mother actually rang Jetstar twice and double checked our seats were booked and that we would be flying out on the direct flight later that night. (We had intentionally booked the more expensive direct flight
because we have two small children and didn't want them having to spend too long at airports!)
After chatting with other passengers we learned that there would be a bus leaving between 6:30 and 7:00pm for the airport from the Hotel, which was confirmed when we checked with Reception. Some passengers had received notes on their doors saying they were going to be travelling via Darwin etc. We received no such note but were confident that our flight had been sorted as we had written confirmation from Jetstar!
After spending the day wandering around Kuta until around 4pm, my poor little boys could have done with a sleep after such a long night from the cancelled flight, but since we didn't have a room we decided to wait at the hotel. We were then told by other passengers who had received notification that they were travelling home via Darwin, that we would now have to go to a different hotel. When we asked Reception what was happening we were told we would have to leave and there was no longer a bus leaving from where we were staying!
At this point we were given the name of the Jetstar representative, who we would need to speak to, along with his contact phone number. We repeatedly tried calling this gentleman but his phone was NEVER on!
We took a cab to the next hotel where we arrived just in time to catch a bus to the airport. I might add that the bus left at 6pm, quite a bit before the 6:30 - 7:00pm time we had been told!
Upon arrival at the airport we lined up ready to check in for the direct flight. We were second in line and waited quite a while until the counter opened. The group of four in front of us were also from the cancelled flight and only had verbal confirmation that they would be on the new flight. We then attempted to check in and were told to "wait here" by the gentlemen at the counter. We waited, and waited and waited ... meanwhile at least 5 more groups of passengers, all from the cancelled flight proceeded to check in to the new flight. Eventually the man returned and said that we would not be flying tonight and that we should "go back to the hotel and try again tomorrow".
Needless to say we were astounded! We showed him the written confirmation from Jetstar and he then took me (my husband and children remained at the counter) up to a lady who said she was attempting to call Jetstar in Melbourne. After waiting for around 45 minutes I was told that Jetstar has a policy of overbooking and that our seats had been given to other passengers, even though we had been second in line! I can't believe that after the cancelled flight we would be treated so appallingly - to have confirmed seats on the flight only to be turned away with two small distressed children is completely shocking! Finally the lady said that she would put us on flight via Sydney and I was sent back to the check-in counter where we finally received our boarding pass and told that this flight would actually be running late.
I might add that the passengers waiting behind us in line were beginning to become quite abusive to us as the man behind the counter motioned that we were being difficult customers! It was bad enough that my little boys had to have two outrageously long nights but to also be subjected to that treatment is appalling!
We proceeded through Immigration again and waited in the terminal again! Eventually we boarded the plane headed to Sydney. The original flight we had paid extra for had also had inflight entertainment (the small TVs in the seat in front) and we had actually paid the $96 extra for this luxury. The flight we ended up on to Sydney had no such thing - they had the use of iPads, which we were told were not available to us!
Upon arrival at Sydney we were told we had missed being able to check in to our connecting flight by 2 minutes and then had to wait an additional couple of hours in the terminal - something we had deliberately paid extra to avoid! My poor children had been lucky to have 6 hours sleep in total in two days! Since arriving at home yesterday they actually slept for 21 straight hours due to the exhaustion caused by Jetstar's cancellation and overbooking fiasco!
I understand that flights are cancelled and run late, I understand that flights are overbooked ... but the treatment we had by Jetstar goes beyond disgraceful. As I have stated, we have two small children and they were exhausted and distressed and to be told "go back to the hotel and try again tomorrow" after we had email confirmation saying we were on the flight is simply horrendous, particularly when several passengers were simply being put on as they came up to the counter!
Never in my life have I heard of a family being treated in such a way by an airline! I am truly shocked and outraged by the way Jetstar have handled this - the cancellation and the debacle that followed! There was never a representative who handled what was going on - no one ever contacted us in regards to anything!!! We were simply dismissed and told a meaningless, "sorry".