Air NZ 'cock-up' ruins family's trip

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 09:30 28/11/2013
Bryan family
John Hawkins

DISHEARTENED: Stewart and Emma Bryan of Winton with their children (from left) Callum, 12, Archie, 7, and Katy, 14.

Relevant offers

A South Island family say an Air New Zealand "cock-up" ruined their once-in-a-lifetime holiday.

Stewart and Emma Bryan, of Winton, Southland, and their three children were booked to fly to the Gold Coast on Friday, October 25, for a V8 supercars event on the Saturday morning.

However, after their original flight from Christchurch was cancelled, Air New Zealand's service took a turn for the worse, Bryan said. "In nearly 30 years of flying, I've never been treated so badly.

"The whole thing was such a catalogue of errors."

After the cancelled flight, the family were flown to Auckland and told by Air New Zealand staff they were booked on a Virgin flight to the Gold Coast later that evening.

When they got to Auckland, the family found they were not booked on the flight.

A Virgin representative said Air New Zealand had not completed the booking properly.

Virgin delayed the flight for half an hour to give the Bryans time to get the matter sorted, he said.

The family spent the next 30 minutes running between the Air New Zealand and Virgin desks, trying to find out what had gone wrong.

The staff at the Air New Zealand desk did not seem to treat the matter urgently, and it took a lot of coaxing to actually get them to walk over and talk to the Virgin staff in person, Bryan said.

Eventually, the flight had to leave and the family were forced to accept they would not arrive at the V8 supercars, which was "one of those once-in-a-lifetime type of things", until at least lunchtime the next day.

The children, aged 7, 12, and 14, were shattered and in tears, Bryan said. About 11pm, Air New Zealand put the family in a hotel, which was supposed to include room service but did not, to catch an early flight out the next day.

The attitude of staff in the wake of the "cock-up" exacerbated an already bad situation, Bryan said.

"My beef isn't with the fact that the flight was cancelled. My beef is with the fact that from then on . . . nobody would help us."

The family wanted to claim on travel insurance, but were told it was unlikely they would get anything other than a refund for their first hotel night, if that, Bryan said.

After he wrote and complained, the company offered a goodwill gesture of a $250 Air New Zealand voucher, which was later increased to $500.

As this would only be enough for one family member to get from Invercargill to Christchurch, the Bryans did not accept the offer.

When an Air New Zealand representative asked what would be appropriate compensation, Bryan suggested a $1000 travel voucher, so the family could spend a night in a Queenstown hotel.

This was refused.

The whole experience had been disheartening and made him reluctant to fly with the airline again, Bryan said.

The family chose Air New Zealand because he thought any issues, like flight cancellations, would be sorted out smoothly, unlike with some cheaper airlines, he said.

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman acknowledged the Bryan family's travel plans were disrupted, which was why the company provided accommodation, meals and transfers to compensate.

Ad Feedback

However, airlines were not liable to cover consequential losses resulting from flight disruption, she said.

"On this occasion we did acknowledge the Bryan family's disappointing experience by offering them a further $500 voucher as a gesture of goodwill."

The company always recommended travel insurance to protect against unforeseen incidents, she said.

A Consumer NZ spokesperson said, as there were no extra costs incurred by the Bryan family because of the cancellation, Air New Zealand was not required to offer any further compensation.

- Fairfax Media

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Have you adjusted to the new alcohol limits for drivers?

No, I can't figure out how much is safe to drink

Yes, I have cut back if I'm driving

I don't drink at all if I'm going to drive

Vote Result

Related story: New alcohol limits catch first drivers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content

Then and Now