$42,000 to Return Home to Australia? That’s What the van Zyls Paid

August 12, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Katelin van Zyl
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Australians Katelin and Johann van Zyl, a nanny and two kids weren’t allowed to board their August 7 flight back to Australia after competing at the CrossFit Games with CrossFit Urban Energy. The New Zealand border control wouldn’t allow Aussies to transfer through Auckland airport to fly to Australia so they had to scramble to find other arrangements. 

  • To get home, the van Zyls borrowed $42,000 from family to buy return tickets back.
  • They boarded a flight home last night and will be arriving in Australia today. 

The van Zyls aren’t the only ones experiencing issues. It was Friday night during competition that Ellie Turner found out her Wednesday return flight to Australia was canceled, and the earliest she could get home would be the 2nd of October. 

  • Turner was able to get the last seat on an August 7 flight back home after calling repeatedly. Lucky for her, it “only” cost $6,000.
  • Urban Energy teammates Jaylee and Adam Mansy are still stuck in the U.S. without return flights home. 

So what’s going on? Because Australia requires a strict two-week hotel quarantine upon re-entry, they are capping the number allowed back in because they’re running out of beds. This is also one of the reasons it costs Aussie athletes upwards of $20,000 to compete at the CrossFit Games this year. 

  • ​​Because only 15-20 people are being allowed on an airplane, airlines are charging $10,000+ a seat to make up the lost revenue. 
  • Aussie individual athlete Ellie Turner said she was the last of 15 people on her flight. 
  • “Because we have to go into hotel quarantine when we get there, it’s all about how many beds are available and how many people they’re letting back into the country,” Turner explained to the Morning Chalk Up in a sit down interview
  • “With the Olympics on at the moment as well they get priority to get back in. We are bumped back on the waitlist.”

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