Christmas flight cancelled, rebooked

MICHELLE COOKE
Last updated 15:45 26/11/2012

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A cancelled Jetstar flight which could have destroyed the Christmas plans of 80 people travelling from Melbourne to Auckland has been rescheduled for the same day after the airline had a change of mind. 

Jetstar cancelled one flight from Melbourne to Auckland on December 23, forcing passengers to rebook on another service, which meant they could have missed out on arriving in New Zealand in time for Christmas. 

Passengers were informed of the move over the weekend, but now the airline is scrambling to contact them to let them know that another flight will replace their original flight, which remains cancelled. 

The replacement flight will run on the same day, but it was not clear yet at what time, Jetstar spokesman Phil Boyen said. 

Jetstar was contacting all of the passengers to let them know that there was a new flight on the same day, he said. 

There was no reason other than "rescheduling" for the cancellation of the original flight and no specific explanation as to why another flight was now able to replace it. 

"We said we would get everybody there for Christmas and we will." 

Melbourne couple Ruth Proctor and Regan Kerekere were among the passengers affected. They said the cancellation could have prevented them from spending Christmas with Kerekere's father, who is unwell. They booked their flights with Jetstar months ago.

Jetstar notified them by email on Saturday and said that the change was "unavoidable".

"Jetstar is sorry to inform you that since you made your booking, your flight schedule has been changed. We understand it can be frustrating when plans change, and we apologise for any inconvenience caused," the email said.

"While we try to avoid any changes to our timetable, in this instance it was unavoidable. The change to the schedule has been made so we can maximise our aircraft utilisation and continue to offer you everyday low fares."

Proctor said that when she contacted the airline to complain, it proposed putting the pair on a flight on December 18, when they will both still be working.

"It's a month before Christmas, I'm sure they could organise something between now and then, like put us on another flight," Proctor said.

"I've explained to them we're going home to visit my partner's father, it's probably the last Christmas we're going to get to spend with him and they've not helped me out at all."

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- Auckland Now

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