Holidaymakers heading to Apia have had their voyage delayed after a plane malfunction forced them to turn back to Auckland this evening.

Jerry, the brother, of an Auckland woman on Virgin Australia flight 91, said his sister snap-chatted him after they landed back in the city about 40 minutes after takeoff.

He said the cabin had lost pressure and descended quickly to a low level before returning to Auckland Airport, where it was inspected by engineers.

"Some passengers report feeling dizzy," he said.

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The flight, which was due to depart Auckland at 5.45pm, [NZT] had been due to arrive at 9.50pm, but according to Flightradar24 it has since been cancelled.

The site's flight tracker shows the plane made a circuit in the air above Great Barrier Island before it returned to land.

Jerry wasn't sure whether his sister was going to do now, but said her holiday had been delayed by at least a day.

He said she was travelling by herself and was due to meet a friend in Apia.

He believed his sister's phone had gone flat, and was therefore unable to be reached early this evening.

Virgin Australia said the flight had to return due to a "minor engineering issue".

"Guests will be re-accommodated on another flight tomorrow and those requiring accommodation have been provided hotel rooms for the night. We apologise for any inconvenience this will cause."