Passengers grounded by gales left in the dark

19:44, Jan 03 2013
Lucy Haughey and Greg Stechman
PROLONGED TRIP: Greg Stechman, 28, and Lucy Haughey, 27, were delayed by winds.

After almost two days of delays, Jetstar customers Greg Stechman and Lucy Haughey finally staggered into Wellington Airport, swearing never to fly with the airline again.

"I'm knackered," Ms Haughey said.

Flight cancellations because of gales in Cook Strait on Wednesday left more than 1000 passengers delayed or stranded as the holiday season ended.

Six Jetstar flights after 5pm were cancelled on services between Auckland and Wellington because of the severe winds.

Most of the 900 stranded passengers were rebooked on flights within 24 hours, but no-one at Jetstar seemed to know what was going on, Ms Haughey said.

"It was ridiculous."


The Wellington couple had been in Auckland for New Year's celebrations on Waiheke Island.

After an initial flight was delayed by Wellington's raging winds on Wednesday, the couple were booked on a later flight.

But it wasn't until they were at the departure gate that they found out online that the flight had been cancelled.

"People were finding out on their phones, but no-one from Jetstar had even told us."

The pair will receive a $100 voucher from Jetstar, but had to fork out for flights back to Wellington on Air New Zealand.

Mr Stechman said his journey was still not over, now facing a night-time ferry crossing and a long drive to Westport for a funeral.

An extra return service was scheduled yesterday to help with the backlog, but some Jetstar customers were only offered flights on services today, stranding them for two nights.

Stranded passengers were offered $100 flight vouchers, provided with accommodation and refreshment vouchers, a Jetstar spokesman said.

Full refunds were offered to those who chose to fly with another airline.

Air New Zealand also cancelled nine flights on its 19-seater Beech aircraft in and out of Wellington and Blenheim airports.

Flights between Wellington, Gisborne and Palmerston North, and one from Wellington to Timaru, were also cancelled.

An Air New Zealand spokesperson said many of the 130 affected passengers were rebooked and reached their destinations on Wednesday night. The remaining passengers reached their destinations on flights yesterday.

Related story: Jetstar fails to front up

The Dominion Post