Airline Jetstar has issued an apology to an elderly couple who were left shaking, in tears and waiting hours at an international airport after being deserted by the airline.
The couple – Paul Markoski, 78, and Georgina Markoski, 81 – were flying with Jetstar and left stranded at Bangkok airport while getting back to Australia.
They were travelling from Macedonia to Turkey, then onto Bangkok and Melbourne as priority care passengers in wheelchairs when their flight to Melbourne was cancelled.
A Jetstar spokesman said the airline was very apologetic to the couple about their experience.
“We sincerely apologise to Mr and Mrs Markoski for the disruption to their journey as a result of unexpected engineering issues,” the spokesman said.
“We are reaching out to them to apologise directly and get a better understanding of their specific experiences so we can improve our communications during disruptions.”
The pair were among 22 passengers who were told a refund had been processed and that the Jetstar staff were no longer able to assist.
Melbourne man, Elijah, 35, was on the flight and witnesses the treatment of the elderly couple, said he has been left disturbed by the Jetstar situation.
“In what was a traumatic couple of days, I witnessed Jetstar abandon two elderly passengers in Bangkok,” he told NCA Newswire.
“At this point, the passengers were removed from the wheelchairs and escorted to two chairs in the waiting area of Bangkok airport.
“It wasn’t until nine hours later that I went to check on the elderly couple to find them in tears not knowing what to do, severely distressed.”
The couple did not speak English, had no way of contacting their loved ones and were given no alternatives to re-book a later flight or be put up in accommodation.
With Elijah’s help, the couple were put up in a hotel for the night and their daughter was eventually contacted via Facebook who had been frantically trying to find her parents.
“How an elderly couple in their 80s could be left unattended and uninformed, stranded in an airport without a means of communicating to the outside world is beyond negligent,” Elijah said.
The couple’s daughter called Elijah her “guardian angel” and said he had done exactly what staff should have done.
She told NCA Newswire she was “very, very angry” at the situation, explaining that she was worried they had run out of medication.
She said she still had not received a response from Jetstar since contacting them on Friday and that the only way to talk to someone from the airline was via an online chat bot.
“I was frustrated, angry, concerned, worried that I didn’t know their whereabouts for hours,” she said.
Airline providers have been particularly under scrutiny, following major delays, cancelled flights and baggage issues.