A man who was granted a travel exemption to rush to the UK when his elderly father died has been left stranded overseas.
A man who was granted a travel exemption to rush to the UK when his elderly father died has been left stranded overseas.

‘So frustrating’: Australian stuck overseas in COVID limbo

A CAIRNS hospitality trainer granted an overseas travel ban exemption to visit the UK when his elderly father suddenly died has been stuck a state of limbo after being bumped from multiple return flights.

Trinity Beach resident Christopher Parker joins an estimated 23,000 Australians stuck overseas due to coronavirus border restrictions.

A return traveller cap of 4000 passengers rolled out on July 10 has meant fierce competition for Aussie expatriates wanting to come home.

Mr Parker left the country on June 30 and felt confident of returning home on a flight slated for July 29.

"I know there are thousands of Aussies trying to get back but I left on compassionate grounds and had a return flight booked so why was I not on it?" he asked.

He was bumped from that flight after the returning passenger quota was reached that week.

A map, created by Dutch-Australian Pieter den Heten who is stranded in Amsterdam, shows the extent of where Australians are trapped.
A map, created by Dutch-Australian Pieter den Heten who is stranded in Amsterdam, shows the extent of where Australians are trapped.


He was bumped from another flight on August 1 and forced off a third flight set to take off on September 7.

His partner Mandy Nielson is waiting for him in Cairns.

"It's so frustrating and not good for my stress. My partner is frustrated but at least she knows I am with my mother (who) is now feeling guilty that I came over," he said.

Mandy Nielsen's partner Christopher Parker has been stranded in the UK for months after attending his father's funeral. Mr. Parker has all the relevant paperwork to enter Australia, but has been unable to do so because of the Australian Government's strict cap on the number of arrivals. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Mandy Nielsen's partner Christopher Parker has been stranded in the UK for months after attending his father's funeral. Mr. Parker has all the relevant paperwork to enter Australia, but has been unable to do so because of the Australian Government's strict cap on the number of arrivals. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE


Return traveller caps are being assessed at fortnightly National Cabinet meetings but are scheduled to remain until October 24.

Ms Nielson said she was irritated by airlines flying with a low passenger loads while so many Australians overseas were desperate to get home.

"The planes are flying empty, if it wasn't for the freight they wouldn't be able to fly at all," she said.


To maximise the chance of getting home Mr Parker has now shelled out $5200 for a business class flight due to depart the UK on October 25.

"But it's still not guaranteed, I will just move up the wait list," he said.

Once home, Mr Parker will be required to pay a hotel quarantine bill worth about $3000.

The Australian Government has capped the number of return travellers. Photo: iSTOCK
The Australian Government has capped the number of return travellers. Photo: iSTOCK

Originally published as 'So frustrating': Cairns man stuck overseas in COVID limbo


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