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NewsSydney Airport chaos: Virgin worker delivers brutal speech to...

Sydney Airport chaos: Virgin worker delivers brutal speech to travellers after flight cancelled

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A Virgin employee has delivered a tough message to hundreds of travellers after their late-night flight was cancelled minutes before departure – go home.

The Virgin staff member took to the intercom at Sydney Airport in June to tell the shocked travellers they would have to leave the domestic terminal immediately.

She advised them to either ‘go home’ or try and book a hotel room, after the 11.30pm flight to Melbourne was cancelled.

British man Matthew Gallagher, 24, who travelled to Australia to be with his family which had relocated to the country, was not able to get a hotel so late at night.

And without a local home to go to, Mr Gallagher was forced to sleep on a bench at the nearby McDonald’s – alongside other passengers from the same flight.

Virgin told Daily Mail Australia that it was dealing with a record number of passengers, with the figures even higher than they were at Easter, when staff shortages and increased demand threw many Australian airports into chaos. 

Mr Gallagher described the episode as ‘such a horrible experience’ and suggested to other travellers ‘don’t go booking holidays soon’.

An Australian airline worker has delivered a brutal message to a young British traveller and stunned passengers after their late-night flight was cancelled forcing them to sleep in McDonalds

An Australian airline worker has delivered a brutal message to a young British traveller and stunned passengers after their late-night flight was cancelled forcing them to sleep in McDonalds

He posted a TikTok of the moment the Virgin announcer spoke to passengers.

‘I’ll be straight up with you, you’ve got basically two options … if you are from Sydney, go home,’ the worker said.

‘If you aren’t from Sydney, I can’t secure hotel rooms at this time of night.

‘You just need to do that yourself and then claim that money back through us … I just can’t secure them, I have been on the phone trying to see if I’m able to.’

The Virgin worker said the passengers would be refunded for a hotel room up to $220, and would be able to claim extra travel expenses from the airline, as long as they kept the receipts. 

As soon as the angry passengers heard the boarding gate worker admit they would have to sort out a bed for the night themselves, they began to call out in disappointment. 

The Virgin worker said the passengers would be able to claim a hotel room later from the airline up to the value of $220 for the night, plus travel to the room - if they kept receipts

The Virgin worker said the passengers would be able to claim a hotel room later from the airline up to the value of $220 for the night, plus travel to the room – if they kept receipts

The Virgin worker also instructed the passengers to leave the boarding gate area.

‘I don’t want people hanging around longer than what you need to hang around for,’ she said.

Mr Gallagher’s video quickly went viral and drew dozens of comments from travellers across Australia who also had their flights cancelled in recent times. 

On TikTok dozens of users recounted similar stories of travel nightmares lately.

‘This happened to me yesterday with Qantas going to Wellington from Sydney,’ one man said.

On TikTok dozens of users recounted similar stories of travel nightmares in Australian aiports lately

On TikTok dozens of users recounted similar stories of travel nightmares in Australian aiports lately

‘My flight from Melbourne to Queensland was cancelled an hour before we were about to leave for the airport. We couldn’t get another flight until two days later,’ a woman said.

‘Same thing happened to me,’ another man said. ‘I was due to leave Sydney airport to Melbourne and cancelled the flight five mins before.’

‘Travelling is a nightmare this year, unfortunately just not enough staff working but huge amounts of demands. Airlines can’t keep up with their supply,’ a woman said. 

The TikTok followers generally praised the Virgin worker for her directness.

‘They messed up big time, but I liked that she was straight with the passengers and didn’t keep them hanging,’ one man said.

‘I actually would have preferred that honesty rather than sitting ducks and guessing,’ a woman agreed. 

Matty Gallagher, who travelled to Australia to be with his family, was unable to get a hotel so late at night. He admitted sleeping in McDonalds - alongside other passengers (Pictured, stock photo of Virgin passengers waiting at Brisbane airport in 2020)

Matty Gallagher, who travelled to Australia to be with his family, was unable to get a hotel so late at night. He admitted sleeping in McDonalds – alongside other passengers (Pictured, stock photo of Virgin passengers waiting at Brisbane airport in 2020)

The flight in question was understood to have been cancelled for undisclosed ‘operational reasons’. 

A Virgin spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia that passenger numbers are currently ‘significantly higher’ than during the Easter holidays.

‘The number of travellers flying with us this school holidays has increased by 15 per cent in comparison to 2019 levels, which is significantly higher than the recent Easter holiday period,’ a Virgin spokesperson said.

‘We have not been immune to the challenges experienced globally and our team is working incredibly hard to help our guests get to their destinations safely.

‘We sincerely apologise to any guest impacted by changes to our flight schedule and we are working around-the-clock to ensure our guests get to their final destinations safely.

‘Airports and airlines globally are experiencing huge demand as travellers return to the sky as pandemic restrictions ease.’ 

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