Air NZ delays controversial air points auction system
A new system that would see Air New Zealand Air Points members bidding against each other for upgrades has been delayed.
The controversial auction system was due to go live from today.
It is now due to be phased in on July 12.
Can we chalk up another victory for social media agitation?
Blogger Ben Kepes, who kicked off the kerfuffle over the auction system, is hopeful.
When contacted by Keallhauled today he was living in hope.
"I'm one of a small band of ultra frequent Air New Zealand travellers.
"I've always found them to be proactive, supportive and innovative.
"If this delay indicates a rethink about their approach to this new policy for their most loyal customers, it is a great example of the airline listening to their market - I'm hopeful, and reasonably confident that is, in fact, the case."
Sorry, Ben, it doesn't seem like it.
Air NZ spokeswoman Marie Hosking told NBR ONLINE the delay was purely for technical reasons. There are no further tweaks to the system in the works (in an earlier concession, the airline did exempt Gold Elite Air Points members).
Read Air NZ's official, migraine-inducing explanation of its new "OneUp" system here.
The airline's initial OneUp announcement drew a furious response from some. Mr Kepes said it would add unnecessary stress and create an opportunity for other airlines, such as Qantas, to target disgruntled frequent flyers.
Kiwiblog's David Farrar was blunter. Under a piece headlined "You bastards," he wrote that Air NZ had constantly degraded its air points programme - but that (until now) he had stayed loyal for the opportunity of business class upgrades on long-haul flights.
"I can not afford to pay more higher than economy class to travel overseas.
"However, I regularly use airpoints to purchase upgrades so I can escape cattle class. Now Air NZ is destroying the benefits of having gold status with them."
But not everyone in social media land was bashing the airline.
Another frequetly flying member of the Twitterati, Cathy Odgers (aka Cactus Kate) said anyone with a working knowledge of Trade Me should understand there was potential for cheaper business class upgrades under the new system (read Ms Odgers full six-point prong at Mr Farrar here).