Broome locals offer extra rooms to tourists following cancellations of flights from Qantas

Repeated cancellations of Qantas flights late at night have left Broome visitors stranded without accommodation, with locals offering extra beds to see tourists lodged for the night.

The latest cancellations on Thursday 9 June and Monday 13 June saw the last flights out of Broome canned by Qantas due to mechanical problems, leaving passengers without accommodation.

With hotels and hostels in the city with capacity, airport staff are resorting to calling for help on social media in the Broome community.

Robyn Maher, who has coordinated accommodation on Broome’s Facebook groups for passengers – including finding locals who can offer an extra bed, sofa or air mattress – said the cancellation of the plane late at night had become increasingly widespread in recent weeks.

‘It’s really, really bad. It is very terribly inconvenient for these poor people, she said.

“I picked up a guy and he was so grateful to just have a bed because he had worked night shifts, had nothing to eat and had nowhere to stay.”

Classic Taxis operator Jo Sampson, who alerts Maher about stranded passengers at the airport, said they were grateful when they were offered a place to stay overnight.

Camera iconCable Beach, Broome. Credit: Australias North West Tourism/Australias North West Tourism

“I did not even charge any of them because it is probably painful for them,” she said.

Platinum Cosmetic Ink owner and chief beauty therapist Juanita French said she felt helpless after falling victim to a canceled flight late on the evening of June 13.

Juanita French.
Camera iconJuanita French. Credit: Included

“I was quite emotional because it’s not a pleasant feeling to be stranded and not know where to sleep … it’s pretty scary,” she said.

Ms French estimates she lost between $ 4,000 and $ 6,000 due to the cancellation.

“I had booked a full day with customers for Tuesday in Perth,” she said. ‘I called them the next morning and they were quite unhappy.

‘I thought, should I sleep here with my suitcases? Do I have to sleep in a hostel? I guess all that kind of thing came up, and I was pretty teary-eyed. “

Ms French said that if it were not for the Broome community who came together to help stranded passengers, the experience would have been more traumatic.

“If it were not for beautiful Jo, the taxi lady who took me in, God knows what would have happened to me,” she said.

“If I can avoid it, I will never fly Qantas again.”

A Qantas spokesman said Qantas apologized to customers affected by the disruption.

“Unfortunately, we have had to cancel a number of Broome flights recently due to aircraft mechanical requirements,” the spokesman said.

“We now have a full-time engineer based in Broome and are working to build up our local engineering expertise to minimize the risk of cancellations.

“We also continue to experience covid-related personnel challenges in some places, particularly in WA, which have affected our regional operations.”

The spokesman said Qantas is exploring all options to support customers during these disruptions, including finding last-minute accommodation available.