I had to go to Melbourne Airport to provide language assistance to an elderly, non-English-speaking couple travelling from Launceston to Singapore. They were flying with Jetstar from Launceston and were booked on a Singapore Airlines flight from Melbourne. They had requested wheelchair assistance for the wife for the transit, confirmed before departure.
Jetstar provided a wheelchair but not an employee to push it. When I met them, I was shocked to see the 73-year-old husband pushing the wheelchair while dragging his hand luggage. The wheelchair passenger had her handbag on her lap and her hand luggage on her feet.
With more luggage collected at the carousel, they were unable to walk to the international terminal. When I approached the duty supervisor at the Jetstar customer service desk, I was told that as a budget carrier, Jetstar didn’t provide transfers within the airport if the connecting flight wasn’t with Jetstar. When I sought help from Singapore Airlines, it willingly sent an officer to pick up the passenger from the domestic terminal.
When a budget airline promises a wheelchair, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will provide a staff member to push it. If the person travelling with the wheelchair passenger isn’t physically capable of manoeuvring a wheelchair and luggage, it’s better not to travel with a budget airline.