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Boy, 9, sleeps on cardboard boxes after Virgin Oz diverts

March 21, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A nine-year-old boy who recently had a heart operation spent a night “sleeping rough” on cardboard boxes at Melbourne Airport, along with two other children, after a last-minute flight diversion by Virgin Australia.

The saga last Thursday began when violent thunderstorms forced an evening Virgin Australia flight from Brisbane to Sydney to divert to Melbourne, Daily Mail Australia reported.

Nine-year-old John Meredith, flying unaccompanied to see his grandparents in North Sydney, finished up spending the night in a function room at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, along with two children he had never met.

The news outlet quoted John’s mother saying the family had paid “quite a bit” extra to ensure John was supervised by a flight attendant.

Virgin Australia says the children were constantly supervised.

“I felt kind of scared,” John told Seven News.

“Who am I going to be staying with? Where am I going to go? And I’m not going to be with a family member?”

The story in Daily Mail Australia has many photos, including one of John and two other shirtless children playing in a makeshift bedroom made from cardboard boxes (and looking very happy with their adventure). It can be viewed on the publication’s site here.

A Virgin Australia spokeswoman told the Daily Mail the airline communicated regularly with the child’s nominated guardian (his grandmother in Sydney) during the evening. John’s mother alleges a few hitches in the communications. She has spoken of a “comedy of errors” but is not entirely amused.

A Virgin Australia spokeswoman said “no available accommodation could be sourced at late notice” in Melbourne last Thursday, due to the staging of the Grand Prix at Albert Park.

Written by Peter Needham

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