My mother flew to Honolulu with Jetstar on 25 April. Because she is 86, we tried to make it a comfortable journey for her by booking Business Class. She was unaccompanied, but at check in a family member requested that she be give assistance. A young woman from Jetstar was assigned to help her. That person helped her with security but did not ask if she needed a wheelchair nor offer one. She was supposed to take her around to the lounge but headed off at a brisk pace with my mother trying to keep up. My mother was unable to keep up and fell in the airport shopping area, bruising her elbow and was now lying on the floor. A crowd gathered and paramedics were called. My mother was not allowed up and screens were erected around her. Small children were asking their parents what was happening and my mother was lying on the floor for quite a while. The lady at the lolly shop was extremely helpful, as were passers-by. Eventually she was put in a wheelchair and taken straight to the boarding gate to wait in the wheelchair now provided. So much for business class!
On the plane there was no assistance or attention at all. She was not given the complimentary toiletries and eye mask. Nobody showed her how to use plug in the headphones, find the corded remote control or use the various controls on it. As a result, it stayed locked in the seat front out of sight, and she could not watch movies or even turn on a reading light much less request an attendant. As a consequence she sat in the dark for the full flight. She received the business class meals, but otherwise nobody stopped by to ask if she needed even a glass of water.
She arrived in Honolulu and we lodged a complaint online with Jetstar. We received an acknowledgement from them and a promise of further contact. To date, the contact has not occurred.
I am very concerned, as my mother is returning to Australia on Jetstar on 2 May. Based on her recent experience, I am worried that she will not receive the assistance that she should.
The kinds of assistance my mother requires are not extraordinary and would hardly be demanding for the flight attendants. They include such simple things as:
- helping her with stowing things in the overhead locker,
- checking that she received a toiletry kit, blanket, pillow and headphones
- showing her how to plug in the headphones
- checking occasionally to see if she needs anything, including getting anything from the locker
- showing her how to use the media controls, the light switch and the attendant call button
- checking whether she needs water or food from time to time.
- checking whether she needs assistance to get to her feet if she gets up to go to the bathroom
- at the end of the flight, helping to get things down from her locker
I would have thought that all of the above are things that any attentive flight attendant would do for most older passengers, and its disappointing that none of the above occurred in this case, especially when we paid so much for her to have a business class ticket.
So far (29 April, Hawaii time) we have had no assurances from Jetstar that things will be any better. As her return flight is Economy and we could not get her a seat in Business class, we are bracing for the worst....