Australian traveller kicked off Jetstar flight after mistakenly being told she had dangerous item in suitcase

Stock image of suitcase
A traveller has recounted the shocking ordeal she endured being removed from a Jetstar flight and being mistakenly told she had a dangerous item in her luggage. Photo credit: Getty Images / @littleclaree / TikTok

A traveller has recounted the shocking ordeal she endured being removed from a Jetstar flight and being mistakenly told she had a dangerous item in her luggage.

Clare Vertannes, a 26-year-old event coordinator, was already seated on her flight from Sydney to Perth on the afternoon of April 10 when a cabin crew member informed her she was no longer permitted on the plane. 

Speaking to 7Life, Vertannes claimed the staffer offered no explanation as to why she was being removed from the plane, which prompted her to start panicking. 

"I felt beyond confused and in disbelief because I had no idea what was going on," the 26-year-old recounted to the outlet.

After being ordered off the flight, Vertannes was eventually told that staff had detected a "dangerous" battery pack in her checked suitcase, despite the passenger's insistence that it was in her carry-on handbag. 

Vertannes said she proceeded to take the battery pack out of her carry-on bag to demonstrate, but the staff disregarded it and told her she would need to collect her luggage from the baggage claim area.

Realising she would miss her flight, Vertannes asked the attendant if the airline would book her on the next plane to Perth - but the staff instead argued that it was her fault she had missed the scheduled flight and they would not be providing a seat on another plane. 

"The flight attendant said to me... that Jetstar will not be paying for another seat for me," she claimed to 7Life.

"She said it was my fault that I had held up all these people on the plane. This is when I started to feel angry and annoyed because she was blaming me and not giving me the benefit of the doubt."

By the time she arrived at the baggage claim, Vertannes said she was in tears - and the predicament only got worse. 

After making her way to the counter, the staff member allegedly informed her there had been a "miscommunication" and no dangerous item had been detected in her checked luggage. 

"The staff member said: 'There is nothing wrong with your bags - I left the desk to go to the bathroom and came back to this mess. I'm so, so sorry'," she recalled. "Honestly, I was hoping there was something in my suitcase so all this drama wasn't for nothing."

An outraged Vertannes became progressively "upset and emotional", calling the situation an "absolute sh*t show". When she had calmed down, she said she tried to discuss her next steps with staff, making it clear that she needed to be home in Perth that day. After waiting for an hour, she was told an available seat had been secured for her on a flight with Qantas, but wasn't offered any further compensation for the ordeal. The flight was also in seven hours. 

With a seven-hour wait on her hands, Vertannes then tried to leave her luggage at the airport so she could return to the city, but was told she would need to pay an additional AU$50 for storage. In the end, she decided to lug her suitcase with her - and took a taxi because the trains "weren't working".

And as the next instalment in the sorry saga, Vertannes later received an email from the airline with an invoice for a pie that had been charged to her seat on the original flight, despite her being removed before takeoff. 

Later, Jetstar offered to refund the AU$116.22 Vertannes had paid with her credit card, as well as reimbursing the AU$350.78 voucher she had used for her booking. However, the 26-year-old isn't satisfied with their offer and is also demanding a AU$50 reimbursement for her taxi fare - and a full cash refund of AU$467.

"I don't know why they bothered giving me a voucher - it's not like I'll be flying with them again."

As per 7Life, Vertannes received a letter from Jetstar outlining why they were unable to provide a monetary refund, noting she had paid for the booking using a voucher and a credit card payment.

"We can only process a voucher equivalent to the amount paid via voucher and a cash refund equivalent to the amount paid via credit card. We are unable to process a cash refund for a booking which wasn't paid in cash in the first place," the airline said, as per 7Life

"I appreciate how unhappy you are with this outcome. However, we're comfortable that we've met our obligations under applicable law by providing this outcome to you."

A Jetstar spokesman told "We sincerely apologise for any misunderstanding and are looking into what took place."

Four months on, Vertannes is now using her TikTok to speak out about the ordeal, sharing a video documenting "the trauma" of the experience that has since amassed more than 700,000 views.

"I'm glad I shared my experience though because everyone is starting to share their horror stories too," she added.

"Hopefully something will change on how budget airlines treat their customers."