A young Aussie couple are among many Jetstar customers scrambling to find their belongings after two flights arrived in Bali missing piles of baggage.
Declan Carruthers and Somaya O’Donnell were confused as they boarded the JQ116 Jetstar flight from Perth to Bali an hour behind schedule on Wednesday night — but not because of the delay.
The boarding sign had appeared on time, but just as everyone started to line up, they were told take-off was delayed.
Mr Carruthers said he and other passengers looked out the window and saw baggage handlers taking luggage off the plane and placing it on the tarmac.
“At that point, we thought the flight was cancelled since they were unloading the plane,” Mr Carruthers told news.com.au.
“But then we started boarding and all the flight attendants said to us was that operational maintenance was to blame for the delay.”
The couple suspected something was awry given they didn’t see the bags get reloaded, but they presumed the flight crew would inform passengers if some bags were missing.
But when they got to Bali and rushed to the carousel, there were only a handful of bags from their flight. Theirs were nowhere to be found.
“We were with all these other passengers just waiting for about an hour and then eventually we saw people piling up in the corner filling out forms for lost baggage,” Mr Carruthers said.
“We were told by a woman who worked at the airport the bags were left due to bad weather in Perth, but it was 30 and sunny and perfect weather.”
Mr Carruthers suspected bags were removed because the plane was too heavy.
“Why else would they pack and then unpack our bags?” Mr Carruthers asked.
However, a Jetstar spokesperson confirmed to news.com.au it was as a result of bad weather in Bali.
“Due to thunderstorms around Bali on Wednesday, we had to carry more fuel on some of our flights to Denpasar, in case we needed to divert to a different airport,” the spokesperson said.
“This meant we were not able to carry all of the checked bags on two of our flights.
“Our teams have been working really hard to get passenger’s bags to them as soon as possible, with the majority of bags now delivered to customers.
“We know it’s frustrating when your bags aren’t available when you land and we thank customers for the feedback that we need to provide more regular updates.”
The spokesperson said the airline will review its processes “so we can do better next time”. “We also thank customers for their patience.”
A day after the couple arrived in Bali, it emerged a Jetstar flight from Melbourne to Bali had ran into a similar issue on the same day.
Facebook groups were littered with comments from frustrated passengers on flights from Perth and Melbourne which arrived in Bali without all its luggage.
One post on the Bali Bogans page included a photo of suitcases which were flown to Bali on the next available flight.
Mr Carruthers asked a friend who was at the airport to check if his and Ms O’Donnell’s bags were there, but they weren’t.
The couple said they’ll continue to call the airport to check if their bags have been flow over, as they’re in Bali with friends until January 5 and are without their clothes or valuable belongings such as camera equipment.
Mr Carruthers said he was disappointed in Jetstar for not disclosing the baggage situation on-board.
“Back when we used to pay next to nothing for a cheap flight with Jetstar, you would expect things to go wrong, but we paid $1500 return each as far back in August,” Mr Carruthers said.
“It’s quite pathetic for Jetstar not to communicate with their customers to let us know our bags weren’t on the plane.”
Comments on a post about missing luggage on the Bali Bogans Facebook page showed the pair were far from alone, with people concerned about missing medication and baby essentials.
One person wrote: “My bag is still missing. I tried calling the number that guy gave me last night with no luck. No phone number to call Perth. And Jetstar wasn’t too much help.”
Another comment read: “My holiday is seriously ruined. Booked it like 7 months ago, paid for the luggage … and for what?!?! Have spent couple hundred of stuff just to tide us over a few days!”
The ordeal followed another mishap on behalf of Jetstar.
On December 27, flight JQ35 from Melbourne to Bali was forced to turn around and return to Victoria after a communication error saw landing requests denied by Indonesian officials.
The aircraft had nearly reached the edge of Australia when it turned around mid-air and headed back to Melbourne.