Jetstar Bangkok flight stranded in Alice Springs

Jetstar flight out of Bangkok Saturday stranded at Alice Springs airport for 7 hours

Hundreds of passengers on a Jetstar Bangkok flight Saturday were stranded on board the aircraft at Alice Springs airport for seven hours.

The latest mega-delay comes just days after a 2-hour flight across Japan became a 16-hour nightmare when a flight was denied permission to land because it was 10 minutes late.

Jetstar flight JQ30 was heading from Bangkok to Melbourne on Saturday with 320 passengers on board when it had to be diverted to Alice Springs after a passenger suffered a suspected stroke.

The ailing passenger was taken off the flight at Alice Springs for medical treatment.

Replacement aircraft for Jetstar Bangkok flight

Jestar bangkok flight
Alice Springs is a domestic airport and lacks customs and security to process international passengers.

According to Australia’s Channel Nine, the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft was meant to take off and resume its flight to Melbourne when an electrical fault was detected.

A second plane had to be flown in, and Alice Springs is quite a long way from anywhere a replacement jet may be mobilised from.

Passengers on board were then told that they would not be allowed to leave the plane. Alice Springs is a purely domestic airport, and not an international airport. It lacks customs and security clearance to process the passengers, even if those passengers are just stretching their legs.

Jetstar Bangkok flight stuck on the tarmac

Jetstar bangkok flight
Baking subtropical desert surrounds Alice Springs airfield

There is obviously a big chance that refugees, or other suspicious returning from their vacations in Koh Samui and Phuket, might make a break for the baking subtropical desert that surrounds the airfield, a place where scorpions struggle to survive.

That news meant passengers were stuck on the tarmac with limited food and no in-flight entertainment for seven hours while they waited for the replacement plane. Eventually passing through some legal loophole, it was suddenly possible for passengers to leave the plane. This move to get off one plane would prove essential in getting on another one.

Passengers were eventually marched off the plane into a room at the terminal where they waited for a while before being hustled onto the replacement plane, touching down in Melbourne after 11pm yesterday.

Gone, but not forgotten

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But of course, something is missing. To everyone’s surprise, passengers will have to wait until today for their luggage to arrive, because there was no equipment in Alice Springs to take the bags of the 787-8.

Jetstar today apologised to passengers for their “difficult experience” but said it had to be conscious of safety.
Luggage will instead arrive in Melbourne today on the original plane.

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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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