Sky-high Christ­mas air shock

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

A Pil­bara fam­ily say their Christ­mas is set to be much less merry this year af­ter a 150 per cent markup on the cost of a flight home left them un­able to in­tro­duce their one-year-old son to his grand­par­ents.

Parabur­doo res­i­dent Kathryn Sarich said she was shocked when she dis­cov­ered re­turn flights from Parabur­doo to Launce­s­ton from De­cem­ber 15-30 would cost $12,228 for three adults, one child and one in­fant. The cost has forced the fam­ily to can­cel their trip.

When Mrs Sarich checked in Fe­bru­ary, costs were al­ready about $11,000, well above the $4000 she said she usu­ally paid.

A Qan­tas spokes­woman said the high cost was be­cause of ab­nor­mally high de­mand on De­cem­ber 15, with flights the next day drop­ping back to about $6500.

At the time of print a Parabur­doo to Perth one-way ticket with Qan­tas on De­cem­ber 15 would cost $350. Kar­ratha to Perth flights ere start­ing from $391, $72 more ex­pen­sive than Vir­gin Aus­tralia, and Ex­mouth to Perth was at $209.

Qan­tas failed to re­spond to fur­ther ques­tions by time of print but a spokes­woman sug­gested leav­ing a day ei­ther side of De­cem­ber 15.

Mrs Sarich said she did not want to fly out the next day be­cause it was a Jet­star flight.

“Qan­tas will not trans­fer our bags to the next flight if fly­ing Jet­star, which is dif­fi­cult with three chil­dren,” she said, adding they had ex­pe­ri­enced prob­lems in the past with that ar­range­ment, with the flights “not hook­ing up due to Qan­tas be­ing de­layed from Perth”.

I could go over­seas and come home with change. Kathryn Sarich

“When you speak to Qan­tas they say they hon­our missed flights due to de­lays but they make a big deal of it,” Mrs Sarich said, adding her fam­ily in Parabur­doo and “back home” had been left heart­bro­ken by the can­cel­la­tion of the muchan­tic­i­pated trip.

“I could go over­seas and come home with change,” she said.

“We have been here four years and I reckon this year we have the most peo­ple that have stayed for Christ­mas.”

North West Cen­tral MLA Vince Cata­nia said there was an ur­gent need to do some­thing about re­gional fares.

“We des­per­ately need an in­quiry into the pric­ing struc­ture and how the Depart­ment of Trans­port reg­u­lates our avi­a­tion trans­port,” he said. “It’s ur­gent we have an in­quiry to look at terms of ref­er­ence, where Gov­ern­ment needs to step in to reg­u­late costs, times, and all ser­vices when it comes to the avi­a­tion in­dus­try, par­tic­u­larly in re­gional WA.

Mr Cata­nia said there was no rea­son a one-way ticket from Parabur­doo could not be capped at $250.

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