Stranded daughter and sick mum pay $24k to get home
A BRISBANE woman stranded in the UK with her sick mother has slammed the government for refusing to help them get home after their original return flight was cancelled.
Alexandria Pearman and her mother are among up to 19,000 Australians stranded overseas since a weekly border cap of about 4000 international arrivals started in mid-July.
Ms Pearman said she and her mother had booked a return flight on Qatar Airways to attend her grandfather's funeral in the UK on August 20 but their return ticket was cancelled just days before they were due to fly home.
She said her mother had a medical condition and had sought an exemption to return but they were told "we can allow you to leave but we didn't guarantee your return".
"My mother's condition is deteriorating due to stress and not having access to treatment," Mr Pearman said.
She said they found that there were no available seats home for Australian citizens and airlines were not releasing their flight schedules or seats.
"Australia is for Australians and Queensland is for Queenslanders but despite this political rhetoric, we have been abandoned," she said.
The two women eventually paid $24,000 for the last remaining business class seats on Japanese airline ANA, and left London late Thursday Brisbane time.
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the government continued to explore options to help Australians access commercial flights.
Australian Border Force figures show an average of 456 Australian have arrived at Brisbane airport each week since a weekly cap of 500 was introduced on July 13.
A spokesman for the Transport Department said airlines could apply to increase their approved passenger arrival caps on individual flights.
"Airline requests requiring an increase above the caps in place would also require the agreement of the relevant state authorities," he said.
A spokeswoman for Qatar Airways said each passenger's case was assessed individually regardless of what class they were flying and the airline had assisted many passengers on emergency and compassionate grounds.
"Qatar Airways analyses each flight based on a range of criteria, including compassionate and medical requirements, connecting flights, booking class, party size and commercial value," she said.
"In order to ensure the continued viability of our operations to Australia commercial value of tickets sold must also be taken into consideration to be able to operate each flight".
Originally published as Stranded Brisbane woman and sick mum pay $24k to get home