New Zealanders living in Melbourne have had their Christmas plans thrown into turmoil after being told by Jetstar that some flights home for the festive season have been cancelled.
Many had booked their flights early in the year only to be told this week that they had to reschedule, with some being offered alternative flights on Boxing Day.
Jetstar yesterday vowed it would get everyone home in time for Christmas, but did not say how it planned to do that.
No seats were available on the Jetstar website from Melbourne to Auckland on any day between December 18 and 27.
Many Jetstar customers vented their frustrations on the Jetstar Facebook page.
Kat Anderson said her partner was told on Saturday that his flight from Melbourne to New Zealand on Christmas Eve had been cancelled.
He was offered an earlier flight on Christmas Eve - which he could not take because of work commitments - and was told the next flight would be on Boxing Day.
"The customer service was poor and no explanation has been provided for why this flight has been cancelled," she wrote.
Aleisha McNiece said Jetstar had "officially ruined our Christmas" after her flight from Melbourne to Auckland, which had she booked in July, was cancelled 3 weeks out.
The fare difference on another airline was $600, "which makes the difference of literally NO presents under the tree".
"Sorry to all the other Kiwis trying to get home this Christmas who this has happened to as well. I know I'm not alone."
Rhys McPherson said he had to book a flight with another airline at three times the cost after being told his flight to New Zealand was cancelled because of "safety problems".
"If you can't fix your planes in a reasonable time period or even sort alternative planes within a month I have huge problems using your service again," he said. Questions to Jetstar about why flights were cancelled and how many flights had been affected were not answered.
However, a brief statement said: "A small number of Jetstar passengers are being transferred on to alternative Melbourne to Auckland services due to schedule changes in December."
All passengers were being contacted by the customer care team via telephone or social media to discuss alternative flight arrangements.
"We know that this is a very special time of the year for our customers and we will ensure they get home for Christmas," the statement said.
But it could be too late for some, with some travellers having decided to rebook with other airlines, or vowing never to fly Jetstar again.
"I have been a loyal customer for years, having flown to Asia, Australia, NZ in this carrier many times. And I have defended it. I will never use you again," Rebecca McLean wrote after she was told only yesterday that her flight home for Christmas was cancelled.
- APNZBy Hana Garrett-Walker Email Hana