Student's flight gets cancelled at short notice
A university student was left "surprised and angry" when just hours before departure her flight from Timaru to Wellington was cancelled with no notice.
Timaru woman Emma Johnson, who is studying in Wellington, was booked on the Saturday afternoon flight returning to Wellington. Her mother had earlier spent $240 changing the departure destination from Christchurch to Timaru.
When Miss Johnson checked her flight two hours before departure she saw it was cancelled.
"I rang the 0800 number provided. They said they could put me on a flight from Timaru tomorrow [Sunday], or they could put me on one at 5.50pm from Christchurch."
The Sunday flight did not suit so about 3.30pm she agreed to the 5.50pm flight from Christchurch.
However, when she asked for transport to get there she was told she had to find her own way.
She "drove her bum off", arriving at the airport with two minutes to spare.
Her parents picked up the car on returning from Australia, paying the parking fee.
Ms Johnson was told the cancellation was because of "maintenance engineering".
"I was surprised and it made me more angry they hadn't told us before.
"I said I had no way to get [to Christchurch]." She received no apology.
Ms Johnson's mother, Lyn, said her daughter had been "very upset" and left stranded.
"[Emma] thought it was due to high winds but when she phoned they said it was technical difficulties.
"So we don't actually know why it was cancelled.
"They were extremely unhelpful by the sounds of it."
She would pursue a refund.
"I find it totally unacceptable that [Air New Zealand] cancels flights without notice . . . and makes no attempt to find an alternative . . . especially when I had [paid] extra for changing this flight."
She wants compensation for the difference she paid in changing the flight, as well as the fuel and airport car-parking charges.
Last month Eagle Air, an Air New Zealand's subsidiary that provides the Timaru service, grounded its fleet of Beech 1900D aircraft when a hairline crack was found in the tail of an aircraft during maintenance.
It expected to return to a full schedule at the end of the month.
An Air New Zealand spokesperson last night thanked The Timaru Herald for bringing the issue to its attention.
It had not been contacted by Ms Johnson and was unaware of her concerns.
"Our customer service team has been in touch tonight to address this with her."
- © Fairfax NZ News