Cancelled flights proving ‘taxing’

Flight cancellations have been thwarting travellers’ attempts to return home after stays in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ).

Cardrona Distillery founder Desiree Whitaker, who was released from MIQ yesterday, had four times booked flights south, and four times had them cancelled by Air New Zealand.

The most recent cancellation had proven particularly galling, as it appeared the Wanaka woman would be able to fly to Queenstown instead of Christchurch.

However, her flight scheduled for 9.30am today was cancelled via text message at 11pm on Monday.

There were now no flights on offer to Queenstown.

She hoped fifth time would be the charm, having booked a flight to Christchurch and arranged for a friend to do the 10-hour round trip from Wanaka to pick her up.

‘‘It has been taxing to say the least, and I am deeply appreciative of my friend’s assistance.’’

An Air New Zealand spokesman said that schedules were adjusted on Monday night after Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern announced an extension to the lockdown earlier in the day.

The adjustment process was not automatic as it required co-ordination around the business.

Any affected customers would have been contacted on Monday evening to tell them their bookings had been credited.

The regional network was broadened this week when essential flights were expanded from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to include limited flights to Dunedin and Nelson.

One flight to Dunedin is scheduled for Friday, and a second the following Monday.

Flights beyond this point have not been announced.

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