I have just returned from a holiday in Ho Chi Minh City. I booked a return ticket on Jetstar last year. Flight over went without any issues apart from not being given a food service during the 8 hr trip. I had to ask the flight attendant for some food.
Anyway, daily border restrictions and flight cancellations which were increasing around the world, made me want to make sure I could get home on the flight I booked. I was due to fly out at 10.35pm on 26th March.
I checked the Jetstar website under flight status and five days were highlighted which included the current day as well as previous day and three upcoming days. My date was not highlighted but I thought it may be because it is too far away from the date. What made me a bit concerned was the fact that there was a short horizontal line through the square of my flight date on the calender.
I immediately called Jetstar Australia from Saigon and it wouldn't even connect. I tried live chatting but there was a message that due to the volume of demand from the coronavirus there will be long delays in contacting people. There was not one line of correspondence because it wouldn't work. I called again and the same thing. I tried chatting again and still nothing. So, I thought, maybe there is a Vietnamese call centre and I could get through to them. After a short-ish wait I got through to someone who could barely speak English. It was mainly her comprehension that was lacking. I had to repeat myself numerous times. I asked her about my flight and she says it is unavailable. I wanted to find out if it was because it had not come up on the computer yet or it was cancelled. Her response was a repeat of her previous answer. I had to ask her repeatedly to clarify what the computer was telling her. She kept saying it was unavailable. She did not have the grasp of English to explain the situation in more detail. So, I went step by step to ask her about other flights if I need to change it. I went through every day starting from the previous Sunday before my flight and asked her about what is available. She said I could change to Sunday and pay $450. I said what about Monday and she said it would be $483. I have already paid for the return flight. I said what about Tuesday. She said not available. I asked her about Wed and then Thursday (my original flight) and her response was the same. After speaking to her for about 20 minutes and going around in circles she then says to me, "...no flight after 23". That made me panic because the date of our conversation was 21st March. I ended our conversation by telling her I would call back if I am interested.
I partly did not think she knew what she was talking about because of the confusion of the conversation. On the Jetstar website, it says that customers will be contacted if a flight is cancelled and then offered alternative arangements. This is really important at this time as well due to limited flights and government restrictions. I called Flight Centre and they reassured me that if you have not received an email or phone call from Jetstar then the flight is not cancelled. She said that they get a notification from the airline and they call the customer too. I wanted to make sure I could get out of the country so I wanted to get an earlier flight just in case. Flight Centre call centre said I had to get in contact with the agent who booked it because it is a Jetstar flight. His office was not answering due to call volumes and the call was getting bounced back to their main switchboard. They said the best way to get in contact with him is by email. So, I did and waited. He got back to me at 3pm Saigon time after I sent it at 8am Saigon time. He did not get back into the office until 6pm Brisbane time.
He emailed me many times and he said he was waiting for Jetstar to pick up and if the Vietnamese lady said it could be done. The next email said that he was able to change my flight to Sunday night from Thursday night. Next email is that he is waiting for Jetstar to send the itinerary to him and they should send one to me as well. I did not receive any itinerary.
Anyone, I arrived in Sydney on 23rd March. I was so happy I was actually back in Australia - huge relief. Due to this being within the 5 days of the flight status checking dates, I decided to check the flight status of my original flight on the 26th as it would be highlighted on their flight status calender now.
This is what it said on the top of the window:
I would have been stranded in Ho Chi Minh City with all Jetstar flights cancelled.
I am appalled that no-one informed me of it while I was there. I would think that due to the situation at present, there would be a heightened effort to make sure customers get back before there were no more flights left.