Thirty Australians initially left in limbo after their flight from San Francisco malfunctioned on the runway have touched down on home soil.

The group captured the attention of media and politicians on Friday, after initial reports the expats were left to fend for themselves, and choose between forking out thousands for a business class ticket or risk missing getting home in time for Christmas, due to flight cap confusion.

After the federal government intervened, the 30 Aussies were put on the next available flight, alongside 30 others returning to the country, which arrived into Sydney on Saturday morning.

The group, including 19-year-old Alanna Manfredini, were immediately transferred to hotel quarantine for two weeks.

Ms Manfredini, who moved to the United States in August to begin her studies at Duke University, said she was glad to be home, after the United Airlines flight she boarded on Wednesday (US time) failed to take off due to a technical fault.

“We sat on about 200 metres from the gate for three hours, before they told us to get off because the plane wasn’t safe,” she said.

It was then the group were told they would be booked into a hotel room and rebooked for another flight, in a week.

“There was a lot of confusion with the caps … They were telling us the next available flight wasn’t until November 30 or December 3,” she said.

“I was just thinking about my options … I was pretty confident I could get back to Duke if I needed to, it wasn’t ideal because I wanted to see my family.

“They told us we couldn’t get on the flight the next morning because of the caps, but thankfully in the end they got us on it.”

The freshman mechanical engineering student said despite living in the worst COVID-19 affected country for the past four months, she had felt relatively safe at her university campus.

“Duke is such a well known medical uni, they had really good plans in place,” she said.

“We get tested twice a week … It was definitely intense to move to a different country amid a pandemic but if there was anywhere, Duke is the safest place.

“I still got to have a great experience.”

Ms Manfredini is home for about six weeks before she returns to the US for her second semester.

She said she considers herself lucky, that despite a technical fault she was able to get home for Christmas relatively easy.

“To anybody who is stuck overseas, I just want to say there are journalists and politicians back home who are really eager to help get us home,” she said.

“Don’t feel completely stranded, a lot of people are trying to help.”

Her parents, who greeted her from behind barriers at Sydney airport on Saturday morning, gifted her a welcome home balloon.

“I can’t wait to give them a big hug … It was really nice to see them,” Ms Manfredini said.