Stranded passengers fume

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Air New Zealand passengers flying from Auckland to Nelson were left “fuming” after being told the flight was cancelled because of bad weather, only to see other planes fly out without a problem.

Several passengers on flight 5253 contacted Nelson Weekly about the experience that left them feeling “ignored” and “frustrated”.

Many of the passengers had flown to Auckland for the Eagles concert, while others were traveling back to Nelson after a holiday abroad.

Passengers say they were originally told the flight was delayed due to an “engineering fault”, the reason was later changed to poor weather in Auckland. That was despite all but one other flight departing Auckland without problem.

Nelson-bound Norwegian passenger Lise Skogrand strand- ed at Auckland Airport on Sunday.
Nelson-bound Norwegian passenger Lise Skogrand stranded at Auckland Airport on Sunday.

The stranded passengers were later flown to Wellington, not Nelson, because there was no accommodation available in Auckland. International traveller, Lise Skogrand of Norway, was heading to Nelson to visit her daughter and grandchildren but was left wandering Auckland airport aimlessly after being offered “no help” from staff.

She was finally befriended by some other Nelson passengers who helped her get a flight to Wellington and then to Nelson on Monday. One of the passengers who helped her, didn’t want to be named, but did say “this pretty much sums up where Air New Zealand are at the moment – no- where.”

Nelson’s Erin Silke-Atkins says she was frustrated at the “lack of customer service”.

“It was hugely frustrating. We were sitting there being told that the plane couldn’t take off because of bad weather and we watched all these other planes leave with no problem. We were looking out the window at a light drizzle and that was hard to accept.”

She says the flight was cancelled after being delayed five times. “The worst part for me was that they didn’t want to know us after it was cancelled. They just ignored us. We asked about accommodation and they said they couldn’t help us but that we could sleep in the international terminal. I don’t mind the adventure of it but I felt they just wanted rid of us.” Two other passengers were

returning from a holiday in Norfolk Island. Roslyn Elliot and Dale Filer were disappointed that their holiday had been ended in such a way. “It’s not our fault,” they said. Nelson Weekly tried to get hold of Air New Zealand to respond to the criticism and ask why it could fly the passengers from Auckland to Wellington but not Auckland to Nelson. But the airline failed to respond to all attempts, apart from a Tweet, which directed the Weekly to an email address, which went unanswered.