A WOMAN has said she was left “emotionally wrecked” after what should have been a 90 minute flight turned into a 35-hour ordeal.
70-year-old Charmaine Smigielski was travelling from Tasmania to Sydney to see her friend who needed help getting to hospital for cancer treatment.
However, things went horribly wrong for her when flight after flight kept getting cancelled, forcing her to travel all over Australia to reach her destination.
First, Charmaine’s 90-minute flight from Launceston in Tasmania to Sydney was delayed for four hours by a mechanical problem before passengers were eventually allowed to board the aircraft.
However, an hour later, they were off the plane again and the flight had been cancelled.
For her troubles, Charmaine was handed an $8(Â£4.50) food voucher as compensation.
After explaining her situation to a Virgin Australia flight crew member, a kind fellow passenger overheard and offered Charmaine their place on a different flight to Melbourne, where she could then change to a flight to Sydney.
However, that flight was then also scrapped, leaving her stranded in Launceston.
For the night, Virgin booked Charmaine into a hotel and paid her taxi fare from the airport, but that was far from the end of her troubles.
She arrived at the hotel only to find out that there were no rooms available.
After eventually finding a place to stay at the end of the exhausting day, Charmaine awoke to yet further travel chaos.
Her flight had been changed once again, with her new route taking her from Launceston to Melbourne, Melbourne to Coolangatta and then from Coolangatta to Sydney.
However, after eventually getting off the ground and making it all the way to Coolangatta, her flight to Sydney was once again cancelled, this time because of bad weather.
After being re-booked onto a flight to Sydney from Brisbane, Charmaine had to get a $340 (Â£192) taxi from Collangatta to make it in time for the next leg of her journey.
After 35 hours of travelling, Charmaine eventually arrived in Sydney in time to take her friend to his cancer treatment.
She told A Current Affair that she was “wrecked” and “disappointed” by her experience.
She said: “I just keep getting shafted constantly. It’s really hard and I’m really tired, I could’ve been on the other side of the world.
“I felt emotionally wrecked. By the time I got here, I felt absolutely wrecked. I’m so disappointed.
“I really thought they [Virgin Australia] were better than that.”
After hearing of her story, Virgin refunded Charmaine for the cost of all her flights, taxis, hotels and meals.
A Virgin Australia spokesperson told A Current Affair: “The safety of our guests and our people is Virgin Australia’s number one priority.
“Unfortunately, due to engineering issues, the guest’s Launceston-Sydney service was cancelled. Subsequent weather events on Wednesday then had a direct impact on the flights we were able to provide to Sydney.
“Virgin Australia works hard to provide our guests with an easy and enjoyable travel experience that they can rely on and we are deeply disappointed that due to issues beyond our control, we were not able to deliver on this occasion.
“We have refunded all costs incurred related to the disruption our guest experienced, including taxis, hotels and meals. And in recognition of the unique compassionate circumstances of our guest’s travel purposes, we have also refunded the cost of the flights.”
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