A Sydney father has slammed budget airline Jetstar for charging $436 to get his family home after an encounter with a stonefish left his 7-year-old daughter in hospital and unable to catch her flight.
Chris Mawn and his family were due to fly back to Sydney from Queensland's Sunshine Coast on January 19, when his daughter Gracie was hospitalised after stepping on the venomous fish.
Mr Mawn told AAP he flew back home with his son while his wife stayed with their daughter in hospital and rescheduled their flights to the next day after a Jetstar employee told him over the phone that the A$550 (NZ$615) cost of rescheduling the two flights would be refunded on "compassionate grounds".
But a few weeks later he received an email saying he would only be refunded A$160 - bringing the cost of flights to A$390 (NZ$436) - and the airline has since refused to refund the entire amount.
The family originally spent about A$900 on the four return flights.
"It just seems deeply uncompassionate and almost looking to monetise the situation," Mr Mawn said.
He said he didn't understand why the airline had not explained that booking two new fares would have cost substantially less, about A$80 each.
Jetstar has defended its handling of the case.
"We understand some passengers may need to change their flights and have a compassionate policy which applies to a range of scenarios," a spokeswoman said.
"In this case, on their initial call our team advised the customers they would be provided with a refund of the change fee applied to their new booking if they provided a doctor's certificate."