A TAMWORTH family’s Christmas plans are in tatters after they were struck a bitter blow by embattled airline Brindabella.
On Thursday, a local woman called the airline to confirm her daughter’s Christmas Day flight from Brisbane to Tamworth was still on track.
Much to her horror, she was told that not only had the flight been cancelled, but her daughter’s supposed return leg on Boxing Day had been cut as well.
The woman, who rang the airline again yesterday only to be told the same bad news, contacted The Leader to warn others their Christmas plans could be in jeopardy.
She said she was furious that Brindabella had not been in contact as soon as it knew the flights, which were booked in October, were cancelled.
“If I hadn’t have rung, we wouldn’t have known that these flights were cancelled,” she said.
“I asked the girl on the phone when were they going to tell us. Were they going to wait until my daughter turned up at the airport on Christmas morning to check in?
“I just wonder how many people out there are thinking they’re coming home for Christmas and don’t know that those flights are cancelled.
“So if you’ve got flights, please ring and confirm, because they obviously haven’t told anyone yet.”
The woman said her daughter only had two days off and now faced the prospect of a 600km, seven-hour drive on Christmas morning to be with her family.
Brindabella chief commercial officer James Blake said it had been the airline’s intention to offer a Brisbane to Tamworth service on Christmas Day for the first time this year.
However, he said poor ticket sales and rationalisation measures across the network meant the service was cancelled and all customers would be contacted and given refunds.
Moree mayor Katrina Humphries said Brindabella’s frequent delays and cancellations were playing havoc with people’s lives – not least of all those in need of medical treatment.
She said service disruptions had placed doubts over the future of a Sydney gynaecologist who travelled to town several times a month to treat patients.
“He doesn’t make the money here that he does in Sydney, but his father was a doctor up here and he has a social conscience and he’s been coming up here for years,” she said.
“But he’s been bumped for the third time this week and he’s not going to come back, so we’ve got people who can’t afford to get out of town for treatment.
“This is jeopardising the health services of Moree. Business and everything else is hugely important, but this is people’s health and I have a huge issue with that.”