How a six-hour Virgin flight delay forced a plane full of passengers into 14 days quarantine – despite promises they would only have to isolate at home after airport bungle
- Passengers forced to quarantine for 14 days after flight delayed by six hours
- Virgin Australia flight VA469 was scheduled to leave Perth at 1.40pm on Friday
- Though ‘engineering matters’ delayed the flight’s departure time until 7.11pm
- The flight landed in Brisbane hours after new quarantine rules were enforced
An entire plane of passengers have been forced into 14 days of hotel quarantine after they narrowly missed the window period to isolate at home because their flight was delayed by six hours.
Though engineering matters delayed its departure and its 150 passengers were forced to wait patiently in the terminal until 7.11pm.
On the same day it was revealed a Victorian man, who had been quarantining at the Mercure Hotel in Perth, had contracted Covid-19.
The Virgin Australia flight VA469 was due to leave Perth for Brisbane at 1.40pm on Friday (stock image)
Western Australia premier Mark McGowan announced a three-day snap lockdown would begin in his city from Friday midnight.
Queensland also listed Perth a Covid-19 hotspot and ordered anyone returning from the city to quarantine in hotel for 14 days.
The delayed Virgin Australia flight finally took off from Perth and landed at Brisbane airport at 1.30am – one-and-a-half hours after the quarantine changes were enforced.
Passengers would have been allowed to get tested for Covid-19 and wait for the results at home if their plane had landed at the scheduled arrival time at 8.10pm.
Adrian, who was a passenger on the flight, claimed nobody onboard knew of the changes until they were being ushered to the nearby Pullman Brisbane Airport to quarantine.
‘It’s just appalling,’ he told Courier Mail. ‘The decision was made while we were flying and we had no opportunity to change travel plans.’
Virgin Australia says it was only made aware of the changes when they came into effect on April 24.
An airline spokesperson said the flight was already in the air when the restrictions were updated.
‘We understand that changing border restrictions can cause significant disruption to our guests and we encourage and remind guests to ensure they check the latest information on the respective Government websites prior to any travel,’ the spokesperson said.
Queensland Police said an officer notified Virgin Australia’s office at Brisbane before the its flight left Perth.
Travellers who return from overseas or a Covid-19 hotspot are also required to pay for their 14-day quarantine.
Travellers who return from overseas or a Covid-19 hotspot are also required to pay for their 14-day quarantine (stock image)
Adrian said he received a letter from Metro North Health’s Medical Services executive director Elizabeth Rushbrook informing him the fees would be waived in this case.
‘As you were not able to be made reasonably aware of the entry restrictions and requirements for hotel quarantine to inform your travel to Queensland before departure, a class exemption was approved for Flight VA469 arriving on the early morning of 24 April 2021,’ the letter states.
‘This meant you were permitted to enter Queensland regardless of whether or not you met the requirements of paragraph 6 of the Border restrictions Direction (No. 24).’