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Air New Zealand pays $1000 to stranded passengers in Hawaii

The last of 227 Air New Zealand passengers stranded for three days in Hawaii are on their way home this morning after an engine fault was fixed overnight.

The airline has "unreservedly" apologised for the delay and paid each passenger $1000 in cash or Airpoints Dollars for the inconvenience.

The passengers included businessman Sam Morgan, who tweeted the airline should have kept passengers more up to date through a website or Twitter feed.

Another was New Zealand Herald editor in chief Tim Murphy, who told his followers he arrived back in Auckland just before midnight on an Hawaiian Airlines flight to find his airport parking bill had blown out by $50 to $200.

Carrie Hurihanganui, general manager customer experience, admitted the service was below par and that compensation was made because of “the difficulty we’ve experienced in adequately communicating with customers and the fact we have repeatedly let them down” during the lengthy disruption.

Half of the passengers caught in the delay, which occurred on Sunday night, arrived in Auckland last night.

“Due to an unfortunate combination of events this group of passengers has travelled to Honolulu Airport on three occasions expecting to fly, however, on each occasion the aircraft has been unable to depart because of a series of evolving engineering issues,” Ms Hurihanganui says.

“A part was required and we attempted to source a replacement within the US, however, despite assurances, the right part was not supplied.”

The part was finally flown up to Honolulu from Auckland yesterday.

The original flight, renamed NZ6889, was scheduled to depart at 7.30am Honolulu time (5.30am NZT) and is due to arrive at 2pm in Auckland.

What do you think? Was $1000 adequate compensation for the stranded Air New Zealand passengers? Click here to vote in our subscriber-only business pulse poll.

More by Nevil Gibson

Comments and questions

Frankly, Air NZ sucks. $1000 doesn't even cover the costs passengers incurred. I travel on HK, Shanghai and Tokyo on a regular basis on Air NZ, and am always dismayed to find the state of toilets. The seats barely have any cushion. What is even more worse, is that on most flights you can't raise the arm rest between seats up, even if there is no one seated next to you. What's the rationale? The technology that Air NZ uses is PATHETIC, at best, the recent 8th promotion of Grab-a-seat, the website was down due to overloading. So many people were disappointed, and it wasn't the first time. SHAME on you Air NZ.

Isn't that what travel insurance is for, to cover your extra costs when things go bad?

Do you travel to HK, Shanghai and Tokyo on other airlines with cleaner toilets and more "cushion"?

Such level of compensation is not exceptional in industry. 600 euro plus hotel for overbooked European airline flight out of Europe, although longer journey to be fair.

The level of compensation offered is pathetic.

Air NZ runs a fairly lean, profitable operation, but sometimes they seem a bit parsimonious. Not providing adequate support for stranded passengers is a poor marketing strategy. For long-haul, I prefer to use other, larger airlines with more generous transit support policies (and not such a cramped economy cabin.)

Hope Sam is going to donate the grand to a worthwhile cause

They probably wouldn't have got that if Sam Morgan wasn't on the flight!

What kind of safety conscious business gets the wrong aircraft part 3 times!! What kind of company tells it's customers to return 3 times when it knows it hasn't got the right part.

This scenario (although handled poorly) could most likely be traced back to the 787 delays.

I'm sure that ideally Air NZ would not like to be running aircraft that are getting up near 20 years old and would instead have had the 787 running these kind of routes for a few years by now...

The combination of clapped out old planes and the Ryan Air/Easy Jet type cost-cutting/ charge for everything attitude(does any other airline police and charge the 23 kg limit like Air NZ?) says the company is a greater travel risk than Malaysia right now. Their's has been bad luck. This is cheap-skating.
Management profit-gouges for their own back pockets, while still expecting us to treat them as our national airline. They stopped being that when the retailer came onboard.

Well said, spot on.

Always easy to sit behind a keyboard and fire through the critical analysis. No company is perfect, and from time to time situations like this happen. Im sure Air NZ didn't didn't deliberately go out of their way to cause a fault on the plane.
What would you be saying if Air NZ chose to fly with a faulty plane that led to a accident of some sort?

You're right, Air NZ isn't perfect but it portrays itself as the most perfectly amazing incredible flying bus company in the whole wide universe! They even send tweets about themselves and cross promote with rugby players. They're amaze-amaze-amazing! And their planes are black, or white, or black and white, depending how perfectly messy their brand communication wants to be. They're just so perfectly amazing that half of their equity shouldn't be propped up by the taxpayer. That way we could all see just how truly amazing they really are.

The best result is to sell Air NZ back to private enterprise. If government can sell off power companies there is sure a much bigger and stronger case for selling off Air NZ.

I have flown this route with Air NZ for over 20 years, in the latter years I been able to afford business. in that time the planes have not changed except for minor alterations. I have seen 1st hand in business class personal TV's taped with duct tape, seats that would not recline, seats that would not return to their upright position, staff that are bored with the job and pat their use by date.
The truth of the matter is that these are "clunker" aircraft that should have been replaced years ago (as promised by management years ago).
The answer is to travel via Melbourne with a real airline which has its customer interests at heart.

If you weren't aware, there has been something called a global financial crises that had a major impact on airlines globally, as well as rocketing costs of fuel. These events combined have restricted investment in things such as new aircraft. Air NZ, unlike many airlines, has still managed to turn a decent profit. The fact is Air NZ has several new dreamliners on order to replace the 767's. The deliveries of these new aircraft have been delayed by years meaning Air NZ has had to continue with its existing fleet. I feel travelers place far to much importance on their flight, rather than the actual holiday or destination itself.

Seems like the issue was badly mishandled by Air NZ. The passengers should have got updates by way of a dedicated link via social media. In this age of Instant Communication, it's baffling as to why Air NZ failed to employ the tools that were so readily available. The most frustrating feature of travel disruptions is not knowing because the carrier is not communicating; it is then construed as indifference and uncaring.

I have to agree that it can be hit-and-miss traveling in Business Premiere. The newer aircraft are great but the older ones' interiors are looking tired. Also, the choice of entertainment when it comes to choice of movies -- as well as switching from one film to another -- on those aircraft that haven't got the updated software and touch-screens, is like comparing dial-up modem to fiber optic. Painfully slow.

Updated business plan: don't carry Sam Morgan....

in reply to AB
The GFC has not been around for 20 years but the Clunkers certainly have.
It amazes me that all the new planes are far more economical, especially on long haul, but all Air NZ's recent purchases take other routes becuase it had a monoply over the Auckland/Honolulu route for so many years.
Bring on the competition and then lets see what Air NZ will do ?