A passenger who booked a flight months in advance is upset about being rushed

Passengers feel helpless after discovering that airlines can knock them out of seats to make room for other travelers without warning.

Auckland wife Kylee Davis booked a trip to Queenstown in April, ahead of the school holidays.

But when she arrived at the airport for her Air New Zealand flight on July 10, she found she had been pushed around in order to make room for other passengers on another flight which had been cancelled.

She says staff told her she was put on hold because she paid a cheaper fare. She received a $100 travel voucher and was assured that she would still travel to Queenstown that day.

But that didn’t happen. She missed subsequent flights and then learned that there were no direct flights for the next four days.

“Why are you penalized for being organized?” Kylee told Fair Go.

“It made us think that next time, the September holidays, will we wait until the last minute to find out that we will take this flight?”

Davis eventually found a flight to Invercargill for her and her son and flew out the next day, which cost an extra $850 and required her husband (a Koru member who was not bumped from the flight) to take a five-hour round trip from Queenstown to Pick Up Les.

Under the Civil Aviation Act, customers are entitled to compensation of up to 10 times the price of their ticket or the actual cost of the delay, whichever is lower. This excludes whether it was due to bad weather, government orders or air traffic control instructions.

Gemma Rasmussen from Consumer NZ explained why airlines are going after people in cheap seats.

“The more expensive the flight, the more they may have to pay you.”

She says it’s essential that passengers understand why they were kicked off the flight and can then find out if they are actually entitled to a refund.

Consumer NZ says that while there is no definition of what events are considered to be within an airline’s control, it would include things like mechanical issues, staffing, scheduling and overbooking.

However, the airlines are not responsible for bad weather, air traffic control instructions, government orders such as Covid restrictions, major events such as an earthquake or volcanic eruption or a medical emergency.

Air New Zealand told Fair Go that it does not deliberately overbook or oversell flights.

Head of customer sales and officer Leanne Geraghty explained that the Davis family’s flight was overcapacity because it had to carry passengers from a previous flight which had been disrupted by crew illness.

“We are sorry for the disruption to the Davis family’s trip. Unfortunately, it was one of Air New Zealand’s busiest weekends since pre-Covid and our flights were extremely full.

“Due to understaffing at the airport and long call wait times in our contact center, Kylee made her own reservation and paid a higher rate than if we had made the reservation for her.”

When Davis complained to Air New Zealand, the airline credited her with her original flight, but not the additional expenses. After Fair Go raised the issue with Air New Zealand, the company reconsidered its case and has now offered to cover the additional costs of accessing Queenstown via Invercargill.

Air New Zealand’s Overbooked and Denied Boarding Policy outlines a range of factors it takes into account when rebooking people on different flights after a cancellation or disruption.

These include:

• If passengers are heading for an international flight

• If they have special assistance needs

• Their medical condition

• If families are traveling together

• If the passenger is an unaccompanied minor

• Fare type and loyalty status

• If the passenger is an unaccompanied minor

• Fare type and loyalty status

About Laurence Johnson

Check Also

Krystle Dsouza Wore Coordinated Set So Cheap To Celebrate Maldives Vacation, You’ll Be Shocked To Know The Price

Krystle Dsouza Wore Coordinated Set So Cheap To Celebrate Maldives Vacation, You’ll Be Shocked To …