Shark attack: No job loss over fee

By Abby Gillies

A relative, Kay Cresswell, phoned Jetstar on her behalf but was told Mrs Strange would have to pay $350 to change her flight. Photo / Greg Bowker
A relative, Kay Cresswell, phoned Jetstar on her behalf but was told Mrs Strange would have to pay $350 to change her flight. Photo / Greg Bowker

The Jetstar worker who asked the mother of fatal shark attack victim Adam Strange to pay an extra fee to change her flight booking will keep their job, the airline said today.

But the company is reviewing its compassionate policy and reminding staff of procedure as a result of the incident.

"We'll be looking at improving that process in terms of we have a compassionate policy in place and making sure it is carried out correctly," communications manager Phil Boeyen said.

Mr Strange's mother Jeanette was booked to fly from Wellington to Auckland next week, but after learning of her son's death on Wednesday, rushed to find an earlier flight.

A relative who phoned Jetstar on her behalf spoke to a staff member at the company's call centre in The Philippines but was told Mrs Strange would have to pay $350 to change her booking.

The woman was asked to pay the extra fee but the conversation was "cut short" before the call centre worker could discuss the company's compassionate policy, including fee refunds, Mr Boeyen said.

Air New Zealand subsequently offered Mr Strange's mother a discounted seat, access to the Koru Lounge before her flight and a food pack for her to take aboard.

Jetstar last night contacted the Strange family and apologised for the way the call was handled.

The fact it was dealt with by an overseas call centre had no bearing on the incident, Mr Boeyen said.

"The issue is that the compassionate travel policy we have in place was not communicated as it should have been."

Under the policy Jetstar waives fare-change fees on compassionate grounds on a case by case basis.

"We've looked at it and certainly we can understand in such a stressful situation the compassionate policy should have been put in place straight away on the phone," Mr Boeyen said.

A Trust Account has been set up for Adam Strange's family. Donations can be made into ANZ Account: James Bell Accounting Ltd Trust Account 06-0193-0262946-03 (The suffix must be 03). Please use the reference: A STRANGE or ADAM.

- APNZ

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