A woman has described the exorbitant prices being charged for rescue flights for Australians stranded overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic as “ransom money”.
An outraged Dr Alyse Brown made the claim on Twitter as she shared a picture of pricing for a one-way Qantas business class flight from London to Darwin on November 11 that totalled an eye-watering £4848 – or more than $A8900.
Those fares for herself and partner, plus the $5000 hotel quarantine bill they would both need to stump up on arrival home, meant they would be spending more than $22,000 to get back on home soil.
I just got an email from @Dfat offering my partner and I a repatriation flight home. 2 seats $17452 plus quarantine $5000 will cost us $22452. @ScottMorrison that’s not an offer of help, that’s ransom money. #removethecap #strandedAussies @abcnews @7NewsAustralia @9NewsAUS pic.twitter.com/5yQoGmjKIF
“I just got an email from @Dfat offering my partner and I a repatriation flight home. 2 seats $17452 plus quarantine $5000 will cost us $22452,” the Cambridge University academic wrote.
“@ScottMorrison that’s not an offer of help, that’s ransom money,” she continued, accidentally tagging the wrong Scott Morrison account.
When asked by another Twitter user why she booked in business class, Dr Brown explained: “An email was sent to thousands of us at 5am most of us login only to see the business class on offer. It (’s) a kick in the guts.”
The economy option would have cost $2500 had there been any tickets left, she said.
It’s a costly exercise for stranded Aussies to fly home.Source:Getty Images
The travel bubble with New Zealand has allowed stranded Aussies to cross the ditch. Picture: Adam Yip/ Second StorySource:News Corp Australia
Thousands of Australian nationals living or travelling overseas have been forced to wait months for the chance to return home due to locked-down borders and caps on international arrivals.
In September almost 27,000 people had registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade seeking to come home, while it was estimated there were 100,000 Australians living overseas.
There are about 30,000 living in the UK alone.
Many have been frustrated by frequent cancellations from commercial airlines bound by travel caps and hard border closures in some states such as Western Australia and Queensland.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pushed for travel caps to be eased. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary RamageSource:News Corp Australia
Last month Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the national cap would increase to 5865 people a week in November, up from 4000, after Western Australia agreed to take an extra 140 returnees each week and Queensland 150.
“The most effective way to get Australians home is to increase these caps,” he said on October 23.
Australian Human Rights Commission president Rosalind Croucher revealed in Senate Estimates in October it had received “a number” of human rights complaints about the travel cap.
Among the complaints were struggles of reuniting with family and children and citizens being excluded from returning to their own country.
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