Air New Zealand has reimbursed a passenger who was forced to pay the cost of rebooking her air ticket after her Timaru to Wellington flight was cancelled.
Emma Johnson, a university student, was booked on the Saturday afternoon Eagle Air flight, but when she checked her flight two hours before its due departure she discovered it was cancelled.
Miss Johnson was told the cancellation was because of maintenance engineering.
She rebooked to fly later that afternoon, but from Christchurch, costing her an extra $240.
The airline has since offered to pay her back the $240. Miss Johnson's father, Richard, said it was not known if the airline was also going to pay for the cost of petrol getting from Timaru to Christchurch, or for airport parking.
Air NZ spokesperson Brigitte Ransom said Miss Johnson's circumstances meant she was entitled to a refund.
The airline's conditions covering delays, cancellations and reschedules state that "if it fails to operate reasonably according to schedule" and the disruption is "caused by reasons within our control, eg, engineering faults, we will credit or refund your unused ticket in accordance with our conditions of carriage".
Air NZ also states it may need to use an alternative aircraft and/or the services of another carrier and/or ground transport provider to get its passengers to their destination.
"Where possible, we do try to advise customers of cancellations and changes."
Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said refunding the $240 was a "sensible gesture", given the circumstances.
Aoraki Development Business and Tourism Trust and South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wendy Smith has received a further three complaints regarding Timaru's Eagle Air service in recent weeks.
She said Eagle Air's lack of communication with its customers appeared to be the main issue.
The past month had been particularly problematic for the company after it grounded its fleet of Beech 1900D aircraft, disrupting travel to and from Timaru.
Mrs Smith has been in talks with Eagle Air regarding its service and plans to to contact the company again following the latest round of complaints.
The issue would be raised at the chamber board meeting on Monday, she said.
Ms Ransom said she was unable to get figures on how many flights had been cancelled to and from Timaru since August 1. However, she said 11 Beech aircraft were now operating, which would increase to 15 from Monday.
She said Timaru flights would be "largely back to normal" from Monday. One Thursday afternoon service was the only one expected to not be operating.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Should the Star Trust GM be able to attend Timaru's meeting on synthetic cannabis?Related story: 'Legal, but it's not safe'