Frustrated travellers were stranded at the Mount Isa airport today.
Qantas passengers travelling from Mount Isa to Brisbane have had their flight postponed three times already – and were not confident they would make it to Brisbane tonight.
According to Qantas, flight QF2701 departed at 3.20pm – three hours after it was scheduled to leave.
A Qantas spokeswoman said there was an engineering issue with the original aircraft, which meant a replacement aircraft had to be flown in from Brisbane.
“We apologies to our customers for the delay to their flight, however their safety is our number one priority,” a Qantas spokeswoman said.
“Our teams did everything they could to get a replacement aircraft to Mount Isa as quickly as possible.”
Sharon Tonkin and her husband Phillip from Donald, Victoria were visiting their granddaughter in the north west this week.
“These people are charging first class prices and treating us like second class citizens,” Mrs Tonkin said.
“People do not book these trips willy-nilly and we are all on budgets, we don’t have the money for all the extra costs when you are delayed.
“It is absolutely disgraceful. They need to consider the impact these ad hoc changes have on people,” she said.
Mrs Tonkin said her beef was not with the staff at the airport, who had done a good job “under duress”.
Young mum Taylah Horne is flying across the country to Perth with her three month old son Ezra.
“I am flying to Brisbane and then onto Perth to see my mum,” Ms Horne said.
“Now I am not going to land until one in the morning, and it is the first time I have ever flown with Ezra.
“I am pretty annoyed that I have to fly overnight now but it is what it is I guess,” she said.
Nicole Ward had been spending the past few days at a property outside of Cloncurry.
She did not find out her flight was delayed until she was already at the airport, and was stranded there for most of the day.
“Most people at the airport are being pretty nice about it, it seems like this must happen all the time,” Ms Ward said.
“They have changed our departure time three times already and I don’t even know if we will actually be able to leave,” she said.
“It is making me a bit anxious”
Mount Isa resident Amy Farrugia has been forced to cancel her evening plans because of the delay.
“Even if you have travel insurance, you don’t get anything back unless you have been delayed for six hours,” Ms Farrugia said.
“It is pretty inconvenient, especially considering I paid $1500 for my flights.”
North West Queensland had its day to ask questions and give its experiences to the airline inquiry in Cloncurry and Mount Isa on last week.
The North West Star has contacted Qantas for a response.