Air New Zealand NZ9 has finally landed

LAURA WALTERS AND SHABNAM DASTGHEIB
Last updated 16:42 30/07/2014
DANIEL GALVIN/stuff.co.nz

Air NZ passengers who have been stranded in Hawaii since Sunday arrive home.

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Grumpy and tired but happy to be home, the passengers of Air New Zealand flight NZ9 have finally arrived in Auckland after three days stranded in Honolulu.

Their nightmare began when an onboard system indicated there was a fault with an engine. However, there was no fault and a new part was required for the safety system. An initial replacement, sourced from the US, failed to resolve the issue and another had to be sent from Auckland.

In the meantime, passengers were ferried back and forth from the airport to a hotel. Elderly passengers and families travelling with children were especially affected as the group was made to wait for hours in an area without air conditioning.

Passengers were happy to see their safety come first but couldn't believe how badly the situation was handled.

"They absolutely stressed that they wouldn't fly until it was safe, and that is foremost when you are flying. It was the way they dealt with that was the big issues and that was very poor," said Linda Hills, who still had to get home to Christchurch.

"It wasn't not another two days at the beach. It could have been a lot nicer," said her husband Bob Hills.

Communication was the big problem and the Honolulu office was not prepared to deal with such a big problem, according to a number of passengers.

"It was unbelievable chaos. Most unenjoyable. We got all sorts of different stories about what was wrong," said Gary Forgeson.

However, at worst the experience would only temporarily effect their decision to fly Air New Zealand.

"For a wee while. Gathering one's thoughts. But we are proud Kiwis and we love Air New Zealand and scoff at Qantas," said Mary Forster.

Air New Zealand has offered compensation with a $1000 apology for each passenger. The apology could come in the form of either cash or Airpoints Dollars, costing the airline $227,000. 

In a note to staff chief executive Christopher Luxon today said he was personally overseeing a "detailed review" of Flight NZ9's lengthy delay from Honolulu to Auckland.

The review would include all aspects of the delay and the airline's management of it, from both an operational and customer experience perspective, Luxon said.

"Events like our management of NZ9 have a big impact on our reputation and the trust customers place in us," Luxon said.

"Put simply we failed more than 200 [227] customers and as chief executive officer I am ultimately accountable for this.

"I want to ensure that as an organisation we do not repeat the mistakes of the past three days again and if this means investing in training our teams further in disrupt management or purchasing new systems for enhanced communications with customers, that's what we will do."

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