Commuters vent anger at Virgin
JON ENGLISH says when he made the decision to relocate to the Coffs Coast five years ago a key factor was the availability of cheap airfares and healthy competition on the route.
Now the entertainer is wondering if he will still be able to call the coast home.
“I am just one of the people affected by Virgin Blue’s decision to cut its early morning flight," Mr English said.
“I’m flying a lot at the moment because I’m touring in three shows and this decision has hit me and a lot of others for six.
“There is a sizeable group of us early-morning commuters and I know they will all also be wondering why this has happened.
"We all know how packed the flight is and so it is a slap in the face for our loyalty and support.
"I am appalled at what has happened and how it has happened.
“I can’t imagine how this will impact on all those people who I know have used the early Virgin flight to get to doctors in Sydney.”
Mr English says the option of switching to the more expensive and much earlier Qantas option will have a big knock-on effect.
“The more I pay on air fares the less money is in the pot for employing musicians and roadies, and ultimately the more money I spend away from here the less I have to spend here.”
Virgin’s decision has meant a lot of re-scheduling for Mr English’s locally based manager, Coralie Cameron.
“I had five early morning flights booked for the next month which I’ve had to find alternatives for and with little assistance from Virgin,” Ms Cameron said.
“Had I not contacted them I wouldn’t have known the flights had been axed.
“I fly regularly to Sydney and Jon’s tour manager is based here, but it is not just the local flights I’ve had to deal with.
"Because the morning flight has been axed all the connecting flights have been thrown into chaos.
“I am now faced with people arriving in cities across the country at different times which means additional taxi fares and accommodation costs on top of the higher Qantas fares.
“I am absolutely appalled at how this has been handled and other high profile travellers we know such as Jack Thompson, they feel the same.
“Everyone who bases themselves here but works elsewhere is going to be impacted by this decision.
"Living here is great but if the cost of commuting becomes too dear some people might have to rethink their situation.”