Canned flights stranded 1000 people

Last updated 15:49 03/01/2013
Landing
CRAIG SIMCOX/Fairfax NZ
An Air New Zealand plane lands amid high wind at Wellington Airport yesterday.

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Flight cancellations due to gales across Cook Strait on Wednesday left about 1000 passengers stranded as the holiday season comes to a close.

Nine Air New Zealand flights to and from Wellington and Blenheim airports using its 19-seater Beech aircraft were cancelled, including four flights between the two.

Return flights between Wellington, Gisborne and Palmerston North were also cancelled, as was a service between Wellington and Timaru.

An Air New Zealand spokesperson said many of the 130 affected passengers were rebooked and reached their destinations yesterday, while the remaining passengers reached their destinations today.

Six Jetstar flights between Wellington and Auckland after 5pm were cancelled due to the severe winds.

The majority of the 900 stranded passengers' flights were rebooked within 24 hours of their original departure time, and an extra return service was scheduled today, though some were only offered flights on services tomorrow, stranding them for two nights.

Some passengers chose to purchase new tickets on Air New Zealand services today.

Stranded customers were offered $100 flight vouchers along with accommodation and refreshment vouchers, a Jetstar spokesperson said.

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

While some customers had complaints about wait times at airports to rebook their seats, Jetstar staff at Wellington Airport gave queuing passengers the option to rebook using a phone reservation line, and said the average wait time was less than half an hour.

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- The Dominion Post

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