Frustrated Air New Zealand passengers have slammed the
airline for poor customer service and a lack of communication
and sympathy as they touched down in Auckland after three
days stuck in Hawaii.
Some of the last of the 227 passengers of Flight NZ09 from
Honolulu finally reached their destination this afternoon
after the flight was grounded following an indication
The Boeing 767 was finally fixed this morning after an
aborted takeoff on Sunday night [NZ time].
Tired and frustrated passengers arriving into Auckland
International Airport this afternoon were consistent with
their criticism of the airline describing the poor
communication as "unbelievable".
Lianne Killick, who was travelling with her husband Al and
9-year-old son Cooper, said: "We understand that safety is
paramount, but it was the lack of communication.
"Everyone was very patient with Air New Zealand staff but
after four days ..."
Even the offer of $1000 compensation, which she said reached
passengers through APNZ and the New Zealand Herald, rather
than airline staff, was "really insulting".
She described sitting in an open air terminal in sticky
30degC heat with no air conditioning or water provided.
"Some of the comments made by staff over there were almost
like, 'what are you complaining about, you're on a tropical
"We were in 30degC heat, no air conditioning and queue after
queue after queue in an airport. We weren't on a beach having
Brianna Maynard, 21, said it was "so good" to be home, after
her flight from college in New York, via LA and Hawaii took
three days longer than expected.
"I never thought I'd be glad to say that I'd left Hawaii,"
she said, after being greeted by her parents in the
international arrival gate.
"If we'd known it would take three days then we could have
done stuff, but it was wake up, shower, go to the airport,
wait, come back, shower, wake up, same thing."
Passengers doubted the plane would take off this morning
after days of broken promises from Air New Zealand.
"We were like, 'I'm not going to believe it until I see it',
and then the plane takes off and it was 'woohoo'."
Greg Britt, from Christchurch, said it was "quite a relief"
to be back in New Zealand.
"People think we had an extra few days off in Hawaii, but
there was no time off," he said, describing everyone as
"shot" with tiredness.
"When the 11pm flight was cancelled [on Sunday NZT] we didn't
get in taxis until 4.30am the next morning, some people with
kids not until 5am the next morning. And then we got woken up
early the next morning back to the airport, we had to wait
again all day until 1.30am the next morning."
He described the customer service from Air New Zealand as
"I've never seen anything like it in my life."
Mr Britt, who works as a magician in Christchurch, said he
was forced to stand up and make an announcement to fellow
passengers that last night's flight was cancelled after
ground staff failed to notify them.
The handling of taxi and hotel bookings was botched and
people were left stranded at the airport forced to make their
own bookings he said.
Mr Britt described the offer of compensation as "always
appreciated, [but] it won't take away the problem".
Airline 'failed 200 customers'
Meanwhile, the Air New Zealand chief executive has told staff
to lift their game after the flight from Honolulu to Auckland
was delayed for more than two days.
Christopher Luxon told staff in an internal memo that the
airline had "failed 200 customers", and he challenged staff
to "step up to another level".
"No matter where you are in our global network you have
probably read or heard about our poor management of customers
affected by the three-day delay to NZ9 that was due to
operate from Honolulu to Auckland on Sunday night New Zealand
time," he said.
"I am personally overseeing a detailed review of all aspects
of the delay and our management of it from both an
operational and customer experience perspective.
"Put simply we failed more than 200 customers and as Chief
Executive Officer I am ultimately accountable for this," he
The long delays in the flight sparked complaints of
mishandling and poor communication from passengers.
The flight has finally touched down in Auckland this
afternoon, more than 56 hours after its original arrival
The airline last night we issued an apology to passengers,
and offered what Mr Luxon said was the "exceptional step" of
offering $1,000 compensation.
"While some may say we didn't need to spend nearly $250,000
doing this, it's the right thing to do as we simply let them
down and more importantly let ourselves down.
Mr Luxon thanked some individual staff for their efforts in
He said the airline needed to "reflect on the recent media
headlines around the issue involving two pilots and cockpit
entry issues on a Perth-Auckland flight, the Transport
Accident Investigation Commission report into a landing at
Christchurch, the former cabin crew member accused of
importing drugs sewn into his uniform, and the bussing of
passengers from Christchurch to Nelson during the storm at
Easter after flight cancellations."
"I would like to be explicitly clear that I expect the
highest standards from all Air New Zealanders and our
suppliers. Over the past 74 years tens of thousands of people
have worked to make this airline what it is today. We are the
custodians of their legacy and as we head into our 75th
anniversary next year we need to be building on it. I know we
can all do this and be much better."