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1 July 2022

Your wins: Air NZ customer reimbursed after "very poor" treatment

One of the things we’re most proud of is when we can help our members get a fair deal.

A Consumer NZ member, Craig, got in touch with us after he and his wife were left stranded in Melbourne when they were bumped off their flight home for no apparent reason.

Craig and his wife arrived at Melbourne Airport for their return flight to Christchurch in April, only to be told they were not on the passenger manifest so could not board. This was despite the couple having an itinerary with the booking clearly on it, and they’d received a text reminder about the flight.

The couple had to wait in line to check in for 90 minutes. But when they got to the counter, they were told they were not in the system and that they’d have to report to the service desk. At the service desk, they were told the same thing. They were also told that because their reservation had been taken out of the system, they did have a credit so needed to rebook the flight themselves. But there was no time to do this before the gate closed.

“I asked the service desk staff to rebook for us but incredibly they said that their systems did not allow for that,” Craig said.

“We contained our anger and frustration remarkably well. The rest of the day until 7.30pm was spent organising a flight for the next day; overnight accommodation in Melbourne and Christchurch (the flight arrived too late to allow a transfer home to Dunedin); new RATs; travelling back to Melbourne then back to the CBD by train for RATs; as well as making a range of changes and notifications to domestic arrangements given that we were now arriving home two days late.”

Craig initially complained to Air NZ via the “compliments and complaints” section of its website, which indicated he would receive a reply within five working days.

But 17 days later, he had not heard back. So he complained again – this time about the lack of a response. After six more weeks of silence from the carrier, he contacted Consumer.

Our Consumer advocate immediately got in touch with Air New Zealand to point out that Craig had been treated very poorly by the airline and was out of pocket through no fault of his own.

After we get involved, Air NZ contacted Craig the very next day to apologise. It also offered to fully reimburse him for all additional costs incurred plus 150 Airpoints dollars for the disruption caused.

“I am very grateful to Consumer for taking it up on our behalf. We weren't being listened to and Consumer got action.”         

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