An 18-year-old cricketer is hoping to be reunited with her family in the Netherlands tomorrow after six rescheduled flights have kept her in Brisbane.
An 18-year-old cricketer is hoping to be reunited with her family in the Netherlands tomorrow after six rescheduled flights have kept her in Brisbane.

Six flights cancelled in teen’s bid to go home

AN 18-year-old cricketer is hoping to be reunited with her family in the Netherlands tomorrow after six rescheduled flights in the past three weeks.

Iris Zwilling has been playing an Australian season of cricket with the Sandgate-Redcliffe Gators.

She arrived in September last year - her first trip outside Europe - and has been living at Boondall with her boyfriend Bryce Street, who plays for Queensland Bulls.

Queensland batsman Bryce Street in the Toyota Second XI T20 tournament. Picture: Warren Lynam
Queensland batsman Bryce Street in the Toyota Second XI T20 tournament. Picture: Warren Lynam

 

Miss Zwilling was originally booked to fly home on April 15, until she saw a news bulletin last month announcing Europe was about to close its borders.

"When I saw that I thought measures are getting really strict and I decided I wanted to go home before I wouldn't be able to go home," she said.

Thus began Miss Zwilling's series of flight rescheduling.

On March 14 she changed her flight to March 18 - that got cancelled when Singapore Airport (the stopover) closed.

She rebooked with Etihad Airways for March 28 with an Abu Dhabi stopover - cancelled.

She got another flight on the same day - cancelled.

April 1 - cancelled.

Then she got a flight for April 18 - "which would have been past the date when I was supposed to go the first time" - it, too, was cancelled.

She was advised the Netherlands was trying to organise repatriation flights from Australia, but they were leaving from Sydney and Melbourne.

"Then I got an email saying there were still flights available with different airlines. Qatar Airways was saying they're still flying until the end of April. I found one for 1000 euros ($A1744)."

Iris Zwilling bowling for Sandgate-Redcliffe in the Katherine Raymont Shield. Picture: Mike Batterham
Iris Zwilling bowling for Sandgate-Redcliffe in the Katherine Raymont Shield. Picture: Mike Batterham

Miss Zwilling's flight leaves Brisbane at 9.20pm today, flying via Qatar and arriving in Amsterdam at 3.05pm tomorrow.

She said her attempts to get home were frustrating but she had tried to stay positive.

"It was for the main part really annoying because I have no control over it whatsoever, but I'm still in a safe home with my boyfriend.

"I've heard stories about backpackers with nowhere to go."

Miss Zwilling said she was looking forward to being at home with her family during the global pandemic.

The Netherlands is currently ranked 12th worldwide with confirmed cases of coronavirus (20,549) and 9th with deaths (2248).

"I've been in touch with my family every day," Miss Zwilling said.

"My parents are both working from home, and my brother and sister are studying uni from home. They are only going out when necessary.

"I'm keen to be there because we can't know what's going to happen next, what measures are going to be taken in the Netherlands or in Australia.

"It will be good to have the certainty of being home even without the certainty of what's going to happen in the world.

"It's been seven months since I last saw my family."

However, Miss Zwilling said she was sad to leave her boyfriend.

"That's very upsetting," she said.

"I'm not going to see him until this pandemic is over. My plan is to come back at Christmas to see him if the coronavirus has passed and I can fly again."

Originally published as Six flights cancelled in teen's bid to go home


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