Sky-high Christmas air shock
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.