Broadcaster Gary McCormick banned from flying Air NZ for two years

By Carolyne Meng-Yee

Broadcaster Gary McCormick is seeking legal advice after a stoush which ended with him entering the Koru Club - for which he is not a member. Photo / ODT
Broadcaster Gary McCormick is seeking legal advice after a stoush which ended with him entering the Koru Club - for which he is not a member. Photo / ODT

Broadcaster Gary McCormick is seeking legal advice after he says Air New Zealand imposed a two-year ban from flying on the airline.

The media personality, and frequent flyer with the national airline, revealed today he was embroiled in a "minor disagreement" with ground staff at Christchurch airport recently.

It ended with him entering the Koru Club - for which he is not a member - and having a drink.

"I was trying to go somewhere and Air New Zealand... well the plane didn't leave and so forth. They said they would switch [me] to another flight and they didn't. I said, 'This was unacceptable'," said the Christchurch-based father-of-five.

McCormick, 65, couldn't recall exactly when the disagreement happened. "I fly a lot. It wasn't last week. I can't even remember," he said.

Air New Zealand said they did not comment on individual customers or their circumstances.

The broadcaster doesn't know who had complained to Air New Zealand management after the run-in.

After the exchange, McCormick, a non-Koru lounge member walked into the lounge where he had a drink. "I wasn't happy with the service, I'd been waiting for hours so I thought to myself, I will go and have a drink. It was simple as that. I am an old protester you see," he laughed.

The media personality ended his Koru lounge membership five years ago. "I used to be a member until they changed all the rules. You used to be able to take family in and have meetings there."

McCormick said he was meeting with his lawyer today to discuss the two-year ban. "They sent me a letter that seemed to imply that [ban]."

He told Fairfax: "Even if justice doesn't prevail, it will be served, I'm not just doing this for myself, it's for all New Zealanders. This isn't the society we live in."

He told the Herald: "Apparently they (Air NZ) have this anonymous committee who hand out edicts - just like the cultural revolution in China. I've no idea who they are, I've never met them, they have never asked me about what went on. I didn't think this sort of thing happened in New Zealand."

McCormick said it wasn't the first time he'd been frustrated by Air New Zealand's staff.

"The only thing I have ever been involved in is when there has been poor service and that's happened numerous times. So I have been a 'disgruntled passenger' a lot."

McCormick says he frequently flies up and down the country and overseas and was looking forward to visiting his eldest daughter Celeste in Sydney at Christmas.

"All I can say is thank goodness we have other airlines to choose from."

- NZ Herald

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