Bereaved man 'red-flagged' in airline dispute

ABBIE NAPIER
Last updated 08:59 14/01/2014

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A Christchurch man heading to Auckland for his mother's funeral says he is disappointed by airline Jetstar's customer service.

On Sunday, Glenn Reeves attempted to check-in for his Jetstar flight to Auckland 10 minutes after the company's strict check-in deadline and was turned away. 

Emotional and angry, Reeves snatched his itinerary from the airline employee and left the airport ''distraught''. 

A Jetstar spokesman said Reeves was then placed on a 24-hour stand down because he had ''made physical contact'' with an airline employee, which had to be investigated as part of Jetstar's staff safety procedures. 

The airline later agreed any contact between Reeves and its employee was ''not intentional''.

Reeves said he may have brushed the employee's hand when grabbing his documents, but did not intend to touch her and was not violent towards her. 

Unaware of the flight ban imposed by the airline on Sunday, he returned to the airport about 6am on Monday to catch a second flight he had booked after missing the first. 

''They'd red-flagged me,'' he said. ''The mental anguish of this whole thing has been really hard. They had my phone number, why couldn't they ring me and tell me they'd banned me from flying?''

Jetstar said the stand down was put in place overnight and Reeves was informed when he returned to the airport in the early hours of Monday.

''I just think they could have let me on that first flight,'' Reeves said. ''My mum had died, emotions were running high, and I just wanted to get home.''

Late yesterday morning, Jetstar cleared Reeves to fly and booked him on an early-afternoon flight.

Reeves said he felt much of his distress could have been avoided by Jetstar staff showing some consideration for his circumstances, and communicating with him when he could not fly for the second time. 

Jetstar said it would refund the cost of one of the tickets Reeves had booked during the ordeal.

Now in Auckland with his family, Reeves said he thought a full refund would be more appropriate considering the emotional stress it had caused both himself and his father who was waiting for him in Auckland. 

He had not booked his return flight from Auckland to Christchurch, and had not decided whether to fly with Jetstar again or not. Jetstar said it would not be reconsidering its strict check-in deadlines.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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