Fog plays havoc with plans

IAIN SCOTT
Last updated 09:00 22/02/2014
DAVID UNWIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Stranded passengers at Palmerston North Airport wait for their flights to resume.

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A Palmerston North woman faces the prospect of having a weekend reunion in Australia with the son she has not seen in 27 years cut short because of a cancelled flight.

Susan Galea's flight to Auckland, where she was to board a plane to Perth, was one of several cancelled or delayed yesterday morning as a result of heavy fog in Palmerston North and Christchurch.

Air New Zealand said low cloud and fog had caused disruption to regional link services across the lower North Island, upper South Island and in Canterbury.

A tearful Mrs Galea said she got the last seat on the next flight, which would land in Auckland after she was meant to check in for her connecting Virgin flight to Perth.

"I'm taking my son from Auckland to Perth and we're meeting my other son, who I haven't seen for 27 years," she said.

"I last saw him when he was about 10, because his father took his sister and him from me, and he wouldn't let me see him. I can't not be there. I can't."

She said her time with her son in Perth was limited "because after all this time I didn't know how it would go, so I only booked for the weekend".

She said Virgin had offered to put her on the next flight "but I don't want to be on the next flight because it ends up five hours later in Perth".

Federated Farmers Manawatu/Rangitikei president Andrew Hoggard was also affected.

Originally scheduled to fly to Hamilton via Wellington, he was now booked on a later direct flight to Hamilton.

"I'll be an hour late to a meeting, but that's all right," he said.

"I have lots of meetings in Hamilton. I would have done this route six times in the last year, and it's only worked once." Hong Kong woman Casey Nash, who had been visiting family, was unsure whether she would be able to attend a funeral in Auckland after her flight was cancelled.

Martinus Hartog, of Melbourne, was returning home after delivering a lecture on advanced planning and scheduling at Massey University.

He was now on a later flight, which meant his plane to Melbourne would leave only an hour after he was scheduled to land in Auckland.

"If everything goes as scheduled, I should make it, but I'm not that confident. It always takes a while to clear a terminal."

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- Manawatu Standard

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