The Australian Women’s Weekly currently carries a striking picture on its online site – a 21-year-old Sydney woman, heavily pregnant, sleeping on the floor at Brisbane airport.
The woman, the story explains, was forced to sleep on the floor after her Virgin Australia flight to Sydney was cancelled and the airline refused her access to its lounge.
Meghan-Rachel Cochrane, eight months pregnant, was due to fly from Brisbane home to Sydney at 8pm on Sunday night but the flight was cancelled at the last minute, becoming one of several flights cancelled by storms on Sunday night.
Virgin Australia staff promised to arrange accommodation for passengers but later withdrew the offer because bad weather “wasn’t their fault”, the Australian Women’s Weekly story states.
As a result, Meghan-Rachel and other passengers were left to wait in the terminal until the next flight to Sydney, at 5am the following morning.
Meghan-Rachel did ask whether she might be allowed into the Virgin lounge, as the hard plastic seats in the terminal were too uncomfortable to sit in for nine hours.
Staff remained firm. The lounge was open only to business class travellers or frequent flyers. Meghan-Rachel’s mother called Virgin Australia to plead her daughter’s case – but the airline wouldn’t budge.
Midnight passed and Meghan-Rachel finished up lying down on the terminal floor, after sitting up ceased to be an option.
“It’s safe to say it wasn’t the most comfortable night I’ve ever had!” she said.
Virgin Australia reportedly refused comment as “it does not comment on individual cases”. It certainly seems to have brought itself some bad publicity.
The Australian Women’s Weekly story, complete with picture of Meghan-Rachel on the airport floor, can be read here: http://www.aww.com.au/latest-news/news-stories/pregnant-woman-forced-to-sleep-on-airport-floor-23490
Written by Peter Needham