Norwich couple worried they will be stranded in Australia ‘for months’
PUBLISHED: 11:16 29 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:28 29 March 2020
The lack of flights from Australia has left a Norwich couple feeling abandoned and unsure of when they will be able to return home, as the coronavirus pandemic has seen the travel industry grind to a halt.
Paul and Ann Walker are stranded in Sydney and struggling to get any advice, after being told by Emirates airline on Tuesday that their flight scheduled for two days later had been cancelled.
Mr and Mrs Walker, both in their mid-50s, live in Dereham Road in Norwich and had been enjoying a three-week holiday Down Under, visiting friends in Brisbane.
“We have not been re-booked on any new flights or with another carrier,” explained Mr Walker.
“We have twice been to the British consulate here in Sydney. The first visit they handed us a fact sheet and told us to keep our distance. The second visit they handed out a details of a government database in Canberra for us to register our details with.
“Our travel company has rung once and we have been told there’s nothing they can do at present. The consular are telling us to speak to our airline. Our airline are telling us to speak to the consular. It feels like we are being pushed from pillar to post.”
Mr Walker usually works for Anglian Home Improvements and Mrs Walker at John Lewis but they have been left unable to return home during an already distressing time amid social restrictions to combat the Covid-19 pandemic worldwide.
Staying in touch with family using mobile technology as much as possible, they are hopeful that a repatriation flight will eventually get them home, if they cannot find another solution.
“Our hotel booking has now ended so we’ve had to cover our own accommodation costs,” Mr Walker continued. “There seems to be only one airline who’s still flying to Europe and that’s Qatar Airways but seats are around £1,600 per person in economy class and up to £12,000 in business class.
“Admittedly there are worse places in the world to be stuck but we are worried that Australia may close its international borders then we could be stuck here for months.”
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