A Perth mother desperate to get home for her young son’s birthday is stranded in the UK despite having a return ticket and a travel exemption.
Danielle Foxcroft originally booked a 10-day round trip to the UK to attend her father’s funeral, but after being bumped off multiple flights has been told she is unable to secure a seat unless she pays almost $15,000 to upgrade.
Harrison turns three on Friday but his mother has been stuck almost 15,000km away for a month.
“He’s not himself. He’s crying for his mum. He doesn’t understand why I’m not there. He feels abandoned and I feel guilty,” Mrs Foxcroft said.
“I just don’t know what to do to get back. Nobody wants to help me at all.”
Mrs Foxcroft said Qatar Airways twice told her her flights were cancelled unless she paid for the upgrade.
Her husband Rick said there was no way the family could afford the fee.
“Being a young family we’d have to go into debt for that,” he said.
“I don’t know how they can be taking advantage of customers at times like these.”
The family said seats to Australia should be categorised by circumstance rather than prioritised by class.
“I wouldn’t have come if I’d known what I know now. I wouldn’t have left my two-year-old,” Ms Foxcroft said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs told 7NEWS it was exploring options to help get Australians home, but that cost was a matter for the airlines.
Just 13 international passenger flights will land in Pert this week. The Foxcroft family desperately hopes Danielle will be on one of them.
A spokesperson for Qatar Airways said current restrictions on flights to and from Australia meant the airline was limited as to how many people could get on flights.
They added that individual cases are assessed on a case-by-case basis.
“The current restrictions to Australia have meant that the number of passengers we carry vary from 30 to 50 passengers day to day,” they said.
“While certain governmental exemptions apply to these numbers, we strictly adhere to the restrictions.
“The passenger list is continually assessed and based on a range of criteria, including compassionate and medical requests, connecting flights, booking class, party size. Each passenger’s case is treated on an individual basis regardless of the cabin they have booked.
We continue to work closely with our passengers to find alternative flights if they are unable to travel on their original intended flight.”