Passenger forgives airline for big delay

17:00, Jul 31 2014

Despite being "herded like animals" while stranded for three days in Hawaii, a New Plymouth woman says she would fly with Air New Zealand again.

Rosie Steiner, husband Peter Fastier and daughters Jessica and Lucy were among the 227 passengers on the Air New Zealand flight that was stuck in Honolulu due to a suspected engine problem.

They were meant to fly out on evening of July 26 and everything seemed normal.

"We were ready to take off, I was ready to go to sleep. The plane sped up, then midway down the runway it pulled back."

They stayed seated on the plane until 2am when they were told the problem couldn't be fixed and they had to disembark.

For the next three days the passengers were ferried to and from the airport without being told what was happening.

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"It was very uncertain.

"There were young families, young babies, a woman who had been diagnosed with cancer.

"We were herded back and forth like animals."

There was no escaping to lie on the beach because they had to be in their hotel rooms to receive updates on the plane's status.

On the fourth morning they finally got on a plane and departed.

By this time many of the passengers had organised alternative transport home so there were only about 50 people on the flight, Steiner said.

"When we took off everyone was clapping."

Despite the hassle, Steiner forgives Air New Zealand for the blunder.

"The staff in Hawaii hadn't been in the situation before and they didn't know what to do, they had to follow policy which is fair enough. But the communication could have been better."

Steiner said she and husband Peter have shares in Air New Zealand so would most likely fly with them again.

The airline is promising to compensate each customer either $1000 or airpoints dollars.

It also said it will cover the costs of all travel-related expenses from meals to carparking.

Taranaki Daily News