A Melbourne family say they have been mistreated by Qantas after domestic flight delays left them stranded in Sydney.
Javiera Martinez, partner Daniel Capurro and their three children aged 14, seven and eight were supposed to be flying to Chile on Friday to visit relatives they had not seen in three years.
But after their 8am Qantas flight from Melbourne was delayed by half an hour, baggage handling and airport transfer delays in Sydney meant they couldn’t make their 11.30am flight to Santiago.
Ms Martinez said the airline’s procedures at the airport were chaotic.
“We think Qantas didn’t behave appropriately, I got berated by the person at the counter, they never apologised, they never assumed any responsibility at all,” she told AAP.
“It was a rude conversation, we have been mistreated badly I would say.”
Qantas has been contacted for comment.
On Friday, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce clarified earlier comments that passengers were “not match fit”, saying the delays were not their fault.
The airline shed thousands of staff during the pandemic, and outsourced ground crews in a decision that was challenged in court.
Qantas paid for a hotel for the Martinez family on Friday night, but they still don’t know when they will make it to Chile for what was to be a two-week trip.
COVID tests out of date
The PCR tests they need to travel have now expired and they will have to re-take them as they wait for seats on the next flight to Santiago departing Sunday.
They are among many affected by travel hold-ups amid the busiest travel period in two years, with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports warning passengers to arrive two hours before domestic flights.
On Friday, about 78,000 domestic passengers went through Melbourne Airport, with construction work at the terminals adding to congestion and queues.
In Sydney, domestic passenger numbers have nearly doubled in the past six months.
Sydney Airport General Manager of Operations Greg Hay warned travellers to be ready to go through security when they arrive at the terminal.
“We’ve also noticed people are a little out of practice with security protocols, for example not taking laptops and aerosols out of their bag at screening points, which is contributing to the queues,” he said in a statement.
Amid the surge in passenger numbers, the company providing security services at the airport, Certis Security Australia, is also attempting to rebuild its workforce, Mr Hay said.
More than 51,800 travellers went through Brisbane airport on Friday, making it the busiest day in more than two years.
It comes as services at the airport are also training up new staff, according to Rachel Bronish from the Brisbane Airport Corporation.
“As the aviation industry continues to ramp up, our partners across security screening, food and beverage, retail, and the airlines face the challenge of training additional staff to meet the demand, so passengers should expect longer processing times at the airport,” Ms Bronish said.