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Optional scenic flight: Melbourne to Melbourne in eight hours

Passengers on Australian airline Jetstar spent eight hours on an involuntary flight over Australia just before the New Year. Caused by communication error.

Australians love Bali like Germans love Mallorca. Indonesia is the second most popular overseas destination for Australians. Sandy beaches, coral reefs, rainforests and especially parties draw them to the country – even on New Year’s Eve.

On December 27, holidaymakers wanted to fly to Bali with Australian airline Jetstar earlier this year. However, even flight JQ35 from Melbourne to Denpasar turned out to be a challenge. Yahoo News Australia reported. The Boeing 787-8 registered VH-VKE did not take off until 11:14 p.m., with a five-hour delay.

U-turn around 35 minutes before Bali

It was very annoying for passengers after about four hours of flight. The machine turned, flew a U-turn along the northwest coast of the continent and headed back. After about eight hours of flight, the plane landed back at its departure airport in Melbourne.


U-turn after four hours of flight time. (Image: Screenshot Flightradar24)

The reason for the reversal was not a technical fault, but a “miscommunication” according to the airline. A Yahoo News Australia spokeswoman said: “We changed yesterday’s flight from Melbourne to Bali to a larger Boeing 787 to carry more customers over the holiday period.” The airline regularly uses the Airbus A321 in its fleet.

Issue: The airline did not notify the Indonesian supervisory authority in advance of the aircraft change and did not obtain landing rights for the wide-body aircraft. Authorities refused to land shortly before leaving Australian airspace, and flight JQ35 was forced to turn back.

Passenger confusion

Customers then took to social media to express their displeasure. They described the airline as “stupid” or “the worst airline in the world”. One couple allegedly ruined their honeymoon, while others asked if Jetstar, like its parent company, had got Qantas to start mystery flights – meaning flights that only inform passengers of their destination shortly before take-off.

There was a small consolation in the end. In addition to hotel and other transportation costs, all victims received a travel voucher worth 200 Australian dollars.