Vanessa Vlajkovic says she was left in tears after not being allowed to board a Jetstar flight from Perth to Adelaide last Thursday on her own.

The 21-year-old, who is deaf-blind, was travelling alone for the first time and says she "could not have been more clear" about her condition when she booked her ticket.

Vlajkovic told Yahoo News Australia she even rang the airline twice to make sure they were aware of her needs.

"They said, 'No worries, that's all written down, we will see you on the day'," she recalled.


"And I stupidly believed it would go off without a hitch."

On Thursday, as she was boarding, she was led down the tunnel by staff with another person in a wheelchair. It all seemed to be going well.

"I waited there, just outside the plane doors, along with a person in a wheelchair also waiting to board first," she said.

"After much waiting, maybe 20 minutes or so, I started wondering what the hold-up was and why the wheelchair user had boarded but I still had not."

She took out her BrailleNote, to convert English to Braille and be able to communicate with a crew member.

The crew member asked her if she would be able to read the safety card and Vlajovic said only if it was in Braille.

Despite this answer, they provided her with a screen with the instructions in a larger font. Vlajovic informed them she could not read them.

She says the crew spent some time trying to work out what to do about her because there was apparently no mention of her being deaf-blind anywhere in the booking.


"So the passengers board and the Jetstar staff member I'm with tells me to follow her back to the gate so they could sort out my booking.

"I did so reluctantly as I started to get anxious at that point – and didn't want to make a scene."

She returned to the gate and the door was shut behind her. She knew, right then, that she was not going to make her flight.

"My heart sank," she said.

Vlajkovic texted her flatmates to pick her up from the airport and says she cried "for 20 minutes" while waiting.

According to the 21-year-old, Jetstar offered her compensation and booked her on a different flight the following day.

However, she doesn't understand how such a big error could happen.

"I appreciate that because it wasn't their fault, it was a policy error beyond their control," she said.

"But it did not ease the stress of the situation, the fact I'd been discriminated against for something that was their fault, an access issue."