Homeless, pregnant with twins and stranded with a 17-month-old child in the United States, one young family is living a homecoming nightmare.
Australian man Jason Bevilacqua, wife Celina Perez and 17-month-old daughter Olive were due to fly home from Los Angeles this week.
But at the very last minute, they received an email to say their airline tickets had been cancelled.
With twins due in January, Ms Perez must fly before it is medically unsafe to do so on September 15.
“It’s been just the worst day of my life really,” Mr Bevilacqua told AAP.
“We’ve gone from planning our life with a family to now being completely homeless and not knowing if we’re going to get back to Australia in the foreseeable future.”
Airline Delta assured Mr Bevilacqua when the tickets were booked eight weeks ago the company wasn’t overselling flights.
But that promise appears to have been broken.
When the couple found out twins were on the way, they made the decision to return to Melbourne after two years in the US.
Flights were booked months ago, with visas and coronavirus travel exemptions also locked in.
The family desperately wants to secure a flight before their lives are thrown into disarray.
“I have a job back in Australia that I’m at risk of losing if I don’t get back as well. We’re really in a lot of trouble if we don’t get back,” Mr Bevilacqua said.
With anxiety levels at fever pitch, Mr Bevilacqua has been bounced around Australian government departments.
The 24-hour Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade emergency helpline told him to call Home Affairs.
Home Affairs handballed him back to DFAT, who told him to call the consulate in LA in the morning, potentially costing the family a vital 12 hours.
“We’re stuck with a 17-month-old baby, twins on the way and no way to get back to Australia now,” Mr Bevilacqua said.
He is pleading with the Australian government to help his family as they try to find a path home.
A DFAT spokesperson told AAP the department was looking into the case.
Failure to board a flight in time will also dash the couple’s dreams of having the twins born on Australian soil.
“We’ve got the twins due in January, but realistically we can’t get back until April because it’s going to take time to get that organised with passports for the babies,” the young father said.
“We’ve gone from planning to have our twins as Australian citizens born in Australia to now trying to rough it out.”
The flight is still going ahead without the family, who emptied their house and received the devastating cancellation email at Mr Bevilacqua’s mother-in-law’s.
“They haven’t offered to reschedule,” he said.
“We’re going to get to this point where my wife won’t be able fly because it will be too late in her pregnancy.”
AAP (Exclusive by Matt Coughlan)