Airlines charging tourists $12,000 to leave Australia
An Italian waitress on a working holiday visa has been stranded in Australia for more than two weeks because she cannot afford the flight home after greedy Qatar airline quoted $12,000 a ticket home.
Camilla Dalla Chiesa, 24, is desperate to return home to Parma in northern Italy, even though the country's COVID-19 death toll is 11,500 and rising, compared to Australia's 19.
She and her mother visiting on holiday have been forced to rent a room in a share house in Surry Hills occupied by a Mexican, German, and another Italian for $400 a week after their flight was cancelled due to airport closures.
Her working holiday visa expires in two weeks.
With Italy in total lockdown since last Tuesday, and all non-essential travel banned until April 3, airlines have been cancelling flights two hours before departure.
"Even though my region has the biggest death toll of the coronavirus, it's right near the epicentre, I prefer to be home because at least we don't have to worry about people coming in and out of the house and bringing the virus," Camilla said.
"My dad is really worried that we cannot get back and my mum needs to get back to work, we can't afford $12,000 each for a flight with Qatar.
"We should be trying to help each other but instead airlines and supermarkets are cashing in.
"We're are trying to get cheaper flights with different airlines like Etihad for $3000 the airlines keep cancelling just hours before so we're not guaranteed a flight home and we keep losing money.
"I just want to be home so I can lock myself in my own house and take control of people coming in and out.
"We are living on nervous energy every day hoping that things in a few weeks will come down and we can get home to Colorno.
"Even if we can get a flight to Rome and then get a train up to Parma it would be better than living with the anxiety and fear of getting the coronavirus at any time.
"Sydney is such an expensive city to live in when you're unemployed."
Qatar Airline was unavailable for comment.
Originally published as Airlines charging tourists $12,000 to leave Sydney