Stranded tourists weigh options

JAKARTA • The closure of Bali's airport caused dismay among some tourists unable to return to their families and jobs, while others took it in their stride, with a few seeing it as a chance to enjoy an extended holiday.

"What can I say? We have to cooperate as this is a natural disaster," Indian visitor Krisna Mustafa told Agence France-Presse.

Bali's normally bustling Ngurah Rai airport, which handles hundreds of flights daily, was like a ghost town though dotted with Australian tourists desperate to get home. The airport authorities extended its closure yesterday.

On Monday night, tourists settled down on makeshift beds on the airport's floors, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported.

Some were considering making the more than 10-hour journey to Surabaya on Java island by road and ferry, and then catching a series of flights across Indonesia back to Australia. All were frustrated by what they said was a lack of information updates from their airlines.

Ms Janeen McKay said she knew about flight cancellations from a text message from her brother back in Australia as she was on her way to Bali's airport.

"I had nothing from Jetstar, they had my mobile number," she said, adding that she had been told she would not be able to get home until Saturday at the earliest, AAP reported.

On the other side of Bali, at Sanur beach, the distant crackle of lightning and an afternoon rain shower were the only annoyances for tourists lounging on sun beds and sipping cocktails. For them, the airport's closure means an extended holiday. "What's to be annoyed about, getting stuck here?" said Mr Simon Allan, whose flight to Perth was cancelled.

Actor Derek Du Chesne, 30, said he was having a very difficult time trying to find a flight home to the United States, CNN reported. "We couldn't get through to any of the airlines via phone, been on hold for an hour now, scary stuff," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 29, 2017, with the headline 'Stranded tourists weigh options'. Print Edition | Subscribe