COLAC’S Leanne Mayer says her children will have plenty to write about in their diaries after the family’s latest holiday – and unexpected journey home.
Mrs Mayer and her family were on holiday in the Northern Territory when they discovered airline authorities had grounded Tiger Airways due to safety concerns.
“Our holiday consisted of flying to Alice Springs – return – and then we got a motor home and went up to Darwin and then when we were in Darwin we heard that Tiger had grounded all their flights,” Mrs Mayer said.
“It put a bit of a dampener on the holiday, but there was nothing we could do,” she said.
Mrs Mayer said she and her husband Greg spent two days looking for alternative ways to get home to Colac.
“We contacted Qantas and it was going to be $4000 for the six of us to fly home, we thought there’s got to be other options,” she said.
Mrs Mayer said spotting a Victorian coach on a street at Alice Springs turned their luck around.
“I was driving around and I came across a Victorian Coaches bus. I thought ‘this is Victoria I wonder if it’s going to Melbourne’,” she said.
“So I chased him around town until he pulled into a bus stop.”
The family arranged to travel 2260 kilometres back to Melbourne on the bus, which was returning to Victoria after transporting a school group.
“I got a phone call from the bus driver he said ‘I’m leaving Wednesday morning from the airport, meet me there at 9.30am, the bus is going home empty’,” she said.
“We had the whole big coach to ourselves, it was a 50-seater,” Mrs Mayer said.
“We just took all the scenery in, it was just fantastic.”
The Mayer family’s story comes just weeks after three Colac and district families drove for 20 hours from Brisbane to Colac when an ash cloud from a South American volcano eruption caused airlines to cancel flights around the country.
Mrs Mayer said she had flown Tiger Airways numerous times in the past and had always found the airline “better than Qantas”.
“We’ve been travelling Alice Springs for the past five or six years, my dad lives up there and since Tiger came in and did their budget prices and we’ve always flown with them,” she said.