Jetstar’s Eight-Hour Flight to Nowhere With a Boeing 787-8

January 12th, 2023
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Jetstar’s Eight-Hour Flight to Nowhere With a Boeing 787-8

Airbus A321neo aircraft were originally scheduled to operate the flight, but it departed with a five-hour delay.

After four hours in the air, Jetstar flight JQ35 between Melbourne International Airport (MEL) and Denpasar International Airport (DPS) in Indonesia diverted after it miscommunicated with Indonesian air traffic control.

What happened?

On its daily flights between Melbourne and Denpasar, Jetstar mostly uses an Airbus A321neo to carry passengers. On Tuesday, December 27, Jetstar would operate flight JQ35 with a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, registration VH-VKE. Due to a miscommunication, the airline was forced to operate an eight-hour flight to nowhere as a result of this change of aircraft.

The Guardian reported that the flight left Tullamarine airport around 23:00 on Tuesday, about five hours after it left. The Indonesian authorities refused to allow access to the flight after four hours due to the aircraft’s model. A spokesperson for Jetstar said the flight was originally scheduled to run on an Airbus A321 but was later changed to a widebody Boeing 787 aircraft “to carry more customers during the holidays.”

The airline added,

“Unfortunately, the swap to a larger aircraft wasn’t approved by the local regulator in Indonesia due to a miscommunication. Once we became aware, the flight returned to Melbourne, and passengers were rebooked for another flight later today.”

Launching an investigation

In an apology to the travelers, Jetstar has begun a review into how this miscommunication happened. In addition to booking the passengers on a different flight, the airline provided them with hotel rooms, meal vouchers, a $200 travel voucher, and pledged to cover additional airport transportation costs.

Jetstar’s flight JQ35 has been continuously delayed for the last few weeks, according to data. A number of angry passengers are contacting the airline on social media, requesting assistance due to cancellations or delays, lost luggage, and general confusion. There have been reports of long queues and chaos in airports across the country during the busiest holiday period in three years, and the airline industry is facing its busiest holiday period in three years.

Recent diversions by Jetstar and Qantas

When an Airbus A380 operating flight QF1 from Sydney to London Heathrow via Singapore had to divert to Baku in Azerbaijan a few days ago, Qantas – the parent company of Jetstar – caused another eyebrow-raising diversion. Pilots declared an emergency and diverted to the nearest airport after receiving a cargo smoke warning, according to reports.

It sent a recovery Airbus A380 to take the stranded passengers to their original destinations. The Australian carrier said it had an “operational spare” on standby throughout the holiday season to assist customers.