Stoush between Gary McCormick and Air NZ continues

Gary McCormick said he was seeking legal advice because the airline wanted to ban him from flying with them for two-years. Photo / File
Gary McCormick said he was seeking legal advice because the airline wanted to ban him from flying with them for two-years. Photo / File

Broadcaster Gary McCormick isn't happy with Air NZ's service. Air NZ says it isn't willing to tolerate bad behaviour.

So begins a standoff that may well end in with McCormick having to fly with another airline for the next few years.

Air NZ released a statement to the Herald on Tuesday night saying it is not willing to accept passengers on planes in cases where there have been ongoing behavioural issues that "are serious enough for the police to be involved".

The statement came after McCormick said he was seeking legal advice because the airline wanted to ban him from flying with them for two-years.

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

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

"The wellbeing, safety and security of Air New Zealand staff and customers are paramount and non-negotiable. We have clear and well documented expectations of the conduct we expect from customers," an airline spokeswoman said.

"In cases where customers breach our conditions of carriage, or behave in ways that our staff and other customers find intimidating, we follow a set of procedures to deal with the issue. The outcome is often in the form of issuing a caution.

"In cases where there are behavioural issues over a long period of time and/or are serious enough for the police to be involved, there comes a point where Air New Zealand is no longer willing to accept some customers for carriage on our services."

In those circumstances the spokeswoman said "the customer is advised in writing so there is no ambiguity. Mr McCormick is welcome to share any correspondence from Air New Zealand over the past month".

McCormick could not be reached for comment on Tuesday night.

Earlier, the Christchurch-based father-of-five said he 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'."

The 65-year-old said he 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 originally said it did not comment on individual customers or their circumstances but released the statement once McCormick's story became public.

The broadcaster said he doesn't know who 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 said, laughing.

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 to discuss the two-year ban.

"They sent me a letter that seemed to imply that [ban]."

- NZ Herald

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