Talking to Some of the 25,000 Aussies Stuck Abroad: Dan and Daniel’s Story

waiting airport

Dan and Daniel are the couple behind the Instagram account @thedailydan_. They’re newlyweds from Melbourne who got married last year in March and wanted to take the next step in their relationship by having a baby. They chose surrogacy and their daughter was born in Cancun, Mexico in July. Flying out once the first Melbourne lockdown was lifted for the birth of their child, they are now trapped in Cancun. 

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“We are now coming up to us currently having been here for three months which is crazy when we look back and think about it!

The pandemic has been quite different overseas. Cancun, being predominantly a tourist destination, hasn’t had much option but to open everything back up despite the increasing cases due to the pressure put on the economy.

“Our surrogate was confirmed positive for COVID”

In addition to this, our surrogate was confirmed positive for COVID whilst we were making our way over here thankfully she was asymptomatic which was great news for both her and our daughter.

Due to the pandemic our travel insurance was cancelled so this resulted in significant additional medical expenses for safety and precautionary methods at the hospital for the birth.

Beyond JobKeeper when we were back home, there hasn’t been any [financial support] available and unfortunately due to being overseas we’re unable to claim any government parental leave benefits that we are eligible for until we arrive back in Australia.

“We would do it all again for her if we had to.”

Our daughter was already a few months along by the time the pandemic hit. This meant we didn’t have an option to ‘press pause’ or take government advice and not travel. With our daughter due, we had to somehow get here in the middle of the pandemic and we would do it all again for her if we had to.

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In regards to returning home, we would be back tomorrow if we could! A couple of things delayed our return with the two biggest factors being the passport and flights.

We had flights booked and ready to go which were in line with the confirmed date of the arrival of our daughters passport. Unfortunately, the satchel arrived with no passport in it which meant we were unable to come home as intended and have had to wait for a second passport to be issued and shipped all the way from Australia.

The travel caps in place by the government have been a big challenge also. One set of flights were cancelled due to the announcement of no flights into Victoria. Our second set flights we missed due to the passport debacle thankfully we made the decision a month back to book another set of back up flights for the earliest available which was the start of October, with this being our currently planned flight path home.

We are lucky we booked these additional flights when we did as currently there are no flights available to return now until the start of November.

This has been stressful on so many levels. From the stress of the first passport going ‘missing’ to the limited availability of flights. You hear of so many stories of flights being cancelled or passengers arriving to check in and being told they’ve been bumped off the flight.

“Why isn’t more being done about this from the government?”

In addition to this, for the airlines to be profitable, they have been known to prioritise business seats over economy which we get, it makes sense for them to be able to continue to function. But with this, the ticket prices inflated significantly due to the demand vs availability for both economy and business.

With everything going on, it truly makes you worry will you ever be able to get home and why isn’t more being done about this from the government?

Our opinion would be they need to remove the flight caps. The increase of 2,000 is great, but it’s barely going to scratch the surface on those stranded overseas even for us, we have checked the airline websites almost hourly each day since the increase was announced and there is yet to be any additional flights available at an earlier date for us to be able to return home.

The reality should be that if you are an Australian citizen, you should at least have the option to be able to return home they do it for journalists or sports players etc, what’s the difference between them and everyone else?

“People shouldn’t have to resort to that as an option simply to be able to survive or afford to be able to come home”

In addition, some type of financial support is needed to support people to be able to survive if they’re stranded abroad and to be able to simply afford the cost of the inflated flights. All that has been done by the government is advised to set up a GoFundMe page or take out a loan to support yourself getting home.

We were lucky enough that a close friend set up a GFM page on our behalf and so many people have been so kind and generous it’s truly been a humbling experience but the reality is people shouldn’t have to resort to that as an option simply to be able to survive or afford to be able to come home”.

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