Jetstar misses bedtime, fined

Australian low-cost carrier Jetstar has been fined nearly AU$150,000 (US$112,000) for the “wanton and deliberate” breach of Sydney Airport‘s curfew. From 11pm to 6am, takeoffs and landings are prohibited – except when permission is granted. So, imagine the anguish caused when Jetstar flight JQ37’s wheels went up at 11:28pm!

It gets worse.

The flight had been delayed for seven hours, keeping 70 passengers on the ground who had planned to be elsewhere long after the plane wound up taking off. Jetstar asked for an exception to the curfew … and was refused. Though rules were broken, the effect was softened by the fact that the pilot took off over the water to avoid disturbing area residents.

So, for once, an airline effectively announced a grand “Screw you!” to the rules to the passengers’ benefit. Hey, the airline may have its flaws – such as requiring overweight passengers to buy two aisle seats (figure that one out …) – but with this incident, it shows that it does care about its customers.

Could Jetstar have waited for airport officials to come around? Well, this event occurred on December 3, 2007, and those officials are just getting around to levying the fine now.

Do the math.