Jetstar delays bride for more than 13 hours

Wardrop eventually arrived in Queenstown in the early hours of the morning. She was meant to arrive at noon the day before.
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Wardrop eventually arrived in Queenstown in the early hours of the morning. She was meant to arrive at noon the day before.

A bride on her way to Queenstown for her wedding was delayed for more than 13 hours in what she calls a "flight from hell".

Olivia Wardrop was meant to fly from the Gold Coast to Queenstown a comfortable two days before her ceremony in Wanaka, arriving just after midday.

But that stress-free trip was not to be.

Olivia Wardrop with her husband Callum and one-year old daughter.
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Olivia Wardrop with her husband Callum and one-year old daughter.

Wardrop was travelling with her fiancee, eleven relatives, and her one-year-old daughter, who had recently been hospitalised with bronchitis. Doctors had cleared her daughter for the plane trip.

First, Jetstar delayed the flight multiple times while Wardrop's party was still at the airport. Then as they boarded the plane another delay was announced - their bags had not yet been loaded on.

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"I didn't know how notorious Jetstar was beforehand."
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"I didn't know how notorious Jetstar was beforehand."

They finally took off about four hours later than the flight was initially schedule for, but this delay was just the start.

"Just as before we start to descend, the captain announces that due a separate issue with the landing equipment we have to land in Christchurch," she said. 

"In the announcement he also said that the rest of the journey would 'on land'. We figured out pretty soon that meant a bus."

The almost 500-kilometre trip from Christchurch to Queenstown takes nearly six hours at the best of times. This bus journey took nine. 

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"I had a few questions when we landed. My daughter was still not very well - I wanted to get her some more formula and some hot water to sterilise her bottle. Nobody could really answer any questions."

Wardrop said she was not given time to call her travel insurance company and check if they would cover a flight to Queenstown. Jetstar representatives said she could fly if she wanted, but it would be at her expense.

While the pilot announced the diversion just minutes before they landed, Wardrop's said her cousin could see the flight was diverted on an online tracker soon after they took off.

So they packed onto the bus for the bumpy nine hour ride, with Wardop standing in the aisle attempting to get her daughter to sleep.

When they finally arrived in the early hours of the morning the hire-car company they had booked with were closed, so they had to taxi to their accommodation.

The groom's mother also had to stay with them, as the lodge she was at wasn't open to let her in.

"We were meant to get there at about noon, two days before the wedding, collecting our hire car in in Queenstown. Instead we got there at about 3am."

Wardrop and her baby didn't get much sleep that night, and then spent all the next day fitting two days of errands into one - including a rescheduling of their rehearsal.

"We were just so tired. I didn't sleep on the bus at all."

The wedding in Wanaka was beautiful in the end, but Wardrop says the travel woes did impact on the ceremony.

"We were just very tired. We had a really nice day we were super tired."

Jetstar did not reach out to apologise to her or offer travel vouchers, she said.

"Their customer service was awful throughout....Honestly it just seemed like they wanted us to get on the bus and be not their problem any more."

"I didn't know how notorious Jetstar was beforehand. Afterwards it seemed like common knowledge - everyone has their own experiencing, missing their Grandma's 90th or something."

"I definitely know now that if you are wanting to get somewhere on time, go with a different airline."

Jetstar provided a written statement concerning the incident to The Daily Mail Australia.

"Safety is Jetstar's top priority and it is sometimes unavoidable that a flight is diverted due to engineering requirements."

"We deeply regret the inconvenience caused to our customers as a result, and we do our best to get them to their destinations as safely and as quickly as possible without any compromise on safety.

"We sincerely apologise to Ms Wardrop for the difficult start to her wedding celebration."

 - Stuff

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