Jetstar rebooks Auckland Christmas passengers

MICHELLE COOKE
Last updated 20:03 26/11/2012

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A Jetstar passenger is warning others to check their flights over the Christmas period after at least two were cancelled, causing distress and disruption for travellers.

The airline today said it was putting on another flight from Melbourne to Auckland on December 23 after earlier cancelling a flight on the route that day. But a passenger says that flight wasn’t the only one to be cancelled over the Christmas period.

Sian Summers said the airline told her on Thursday the overnight flight she’d booked from Melbourne to Auckland, leaving on December 20, had been cancelled. She was given the option of being rescheduled on a December 17 or 28 flight, or taking a refund.
 
Summers reluctantly accepted the December 17 flight, forcing her to take an extra four days off work, after deciding all the other flights available close to Christmas were too expensive.

The airline revealed very little about why her flight was cancelled, she said.

She had heard from other affected passengers who said they were given “various excuses … safety, engineering problems, operational issues, scheduling problems”.

Summers encouraged other passengers to ensure their flights over Christmas had also not been rescheduled or cancelled.

“This isn’t the first time Jetstar have just decided to cancel my flight and bump me to another one – but bumping me to a flight four days earlier is a joke,” she said.

Melbourne couple Ruth Proctor and Regan Kerekere were also among the passengers affected by the cancellation on December 23. They said the cancellation could have prevented them from spending Christmas with Mr Kerekere's father, who is unwell. They booked their flights with Jetstar months ago.

Jetstar notified them by email on Saturday and said that the change was "unavoidable".

"Jetstar is sorry to inform you that since you made your booking, your flight schedule has been changed. We understand it can be frustrating when plans change, and we apologise for any inconvenience caused," the email said.

"While we try to avoid any changes to our timetable, in this instance it was unavoidable. The change to the schedule has been made so we can maximise our aircraft utilisation and continue to offer you everyday low fares."

Ms Proctor said that when she contacted the airline to complain, it proposed putting the pair on a flight on December 18, when they will both still be working.

"It's a month before Christmas, I'm sure they could organise something between now and then, like put us on another flight," Ms Proctor said.

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"I've explained to them we're going home to visit my partner's father, it's probably the last Christmas we're going to get to spend with him and they've not helped me out at all."

Earlier today, Jetstar spokesman Phil Boyen said the airline was contacting all of the passengers flying Melbourne to Auckland on December 23 to let them know that there was a new flight on the same day.
He did not say that any other flights had been affected.

There was no reason other than "rescheduling" that the December 23 flight was cancelled and no specific explanation as to why another flight was now able to replace it.

Boyen could not be reached this afternoon to respond to allegations of further cancellations.

- Fairfax Media

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