Jetstar chief to Kiwis: 'give us another go'

By Rebecca Lewis

Jetstar's new domestic service has endured a turbulent launch. In an exclusive interview with Rebecca Lewis, chief executive Bruce Buchanan asks Kiwis to give the airline another go.

Many passengers are complaining that Jetstar flights are overbooked.

"There is zero overbooking in the New Zealand market. We don't have close-out policies for overbooking, that was a rumour that was spread around."

What about cases like a man flying from Auckland to Christchurch, who spent 14 hours last Saturday waiting for a plane that was eventually cancelled?

"On that night it didn't matter if you were on a Jetstar flight or any other airline, all planes were grounded. The weather in New Zealand is particularly problematic at this time of year. ..."

And the people that missed their flights to Wellington to watch the All Blacks two weekends ago?

"I actually got a text from my brother-in-law that night who was booked on that flight, saying 'How dare you do this to New Zealanders? Don't you realise what you've done?' There was no overbooking though and there were nine people who didn't make it on board.

Sometimes you might find after there's been a cancellation or people are running late that there are people on standby for that flight."

Are refunds available?

"There's a policy we have that if anyone misses the purpose of their travel - like for a meeting - then we give them a refund. It's part of our standard policy."

Has the launch failed in New Zealand?

"I think there is a little bit of a perception out there in the media at the moment of that, but we're not seeing it in customers. Our booking sales have gone through the roof and all the noise out there has created a lot of interest in consumers.

"We are apologetic, and we aim to provide the best customer service in the industry. If we don't live up to that standard then we are very punishing on ourselves."

What is your message to disgruntled Kiwi passengers?

"If they've been disrupted in any way, or their travel plans have not been what they expected, then we are apologetic. We had problems with delays in the first week, and solved that, and the 30-minute check-in times were creating problems so we started the text messaging. Come back and give us another go."

- Herald on Sunday

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