Stuck at LA airport
A GROUP of Whitsunday residents spent five days stuck in Los Angeles last week after their flight home was cancelled.
They should have landed at Whitsunday Coast Airport at Proserprine on Sunday, October 17 but didn't arrive home until Friday, October 22.
Scott and Linda Wardroper, Annie and Dean Kercher and Donald (Hank) Hankins had been to Las Vegas on holidays and were on their way home when the drama unfolded.
They were waiting at LA Airport on the Friday night at about 9.30pm American time for an 11.30pm flight when they were told by a V-Australia employee that the flight had been cancelled.
They were not given any explanation.
According to other people at the airport, a plane which was to be used for a flight to Sydney had been damaged when backing out of a hangar.
The Whitsunday group was flying to Brisbane and it was rumoured their plane was then used for the Sydney route, meaning the Brisbane flight was cancelled.
Scott Wardroper said he was very disappointed with the lack of customer service from V-Australia.
“We weren't told anything,” he said.
“There was absolutely no response from them.”
V-Australia paid for the group's accommodation at the Hilton hotel in Los Angeles but there was no compensation for other living expenses.
When they were first told their flight was cancelled, they were simply told to get their luggage and go to the Hilton.
The following morning, they phoned the 1800 number they were given but were placed on hold and didn't get any answers.
Mrs Wardroper and Mrs Kercher then caught a taxi back to the airport terminal the following morning and lined up in a queue for three hours.
They were finally told someone would call them the following day.
This didn't happen.
They phoned the 1800 number again and took it in turns to hold the phone as they were again placed on hold.
This went on for five hours.
Dean Kercher said it had been a great holiday which was spoilt at the end.
He said while some people may think it would be a dream come true to get stuck in LA, the group was ready to come home and they couldn't do anything for several days as they could not confirm when they would be leaving.
The three Whitsunday businessmen were stuck in America trying to do business from there via mobile phones.
Mrs Kercher is a nurse at Proserpine Hospital and was due back at work.
She said it was very stressful to be stuck as she felt she was letting her colleagues and the hospital down.
Mrs Wardroper was also due back at work.
It was more than two days of chaos from the time of their cancellation until they finally had confirmation of when they would be flying home. “We still haven't had any confirmation from V-Australia of what happened to our plane,” Mr Kercher said.
“There has been no apology, no communication at all.”