A former Air New Zealand flight attendant has denied filing multiple incident reports against her then managers to "intimidate" them.

Jennifer Kilpatrick has taken the airline to the Employment Court for unjustified dismissal, in a long-running dispute in which she is seeking to be reinstated to her job.

Emotional testimony in long-running dispute

She was sacked after a disagreement with bosses about her behaviour on flight NZ19 from Rarotonga to Auckland in March 2012 and her subsequent sick leave.


After that flight, she filed a number of incident reports - known as operations occurrence reports or OORs - complaining of safety breaches by her flight services manager Michelle Coyle.

She claimed to have witnessed Ms Coyle break or overlook a number of safety procedures on the flight, and said she considered Ms Coyle to be inexperienced on that route and type of plane, a Boeing 767.

The two women had never worked a flight together before.

Ms Kilpatrick described a number of occasions in which she "took the initiative" or was "proactive" in carrying out a task she considered had been overlooked, including providing a mother with a seatbelt extension to secure her young child before take-off, closing stowage compartments, and checking passengers boarding at the rear of the plane when she realised there would be no-one there to do so.

In her second day of evidence at the hearing in Auckland, Ms Kilpatrick was grilled by lawyer for Air New Zealand, David France, who put it to her that she was "using the OOR system to intimidate the FSM [flight services manager] and the ISC [inflight service co-ordinator]" - a claim made by the captain of the flight.

She denied this.

"No, that was not my intention," she said.

"It's to bring to the attention that safety breaches had occurred during the tour of duty, that's my purpose, because safety is paramount."


Air New Zealand would deny the safety breaches she claimed had taken place, Mr France said, saying other staff on the flight disagreed with her version of events - including one claim about music being played loudly during take-off and landing, when the plane is supposed to be silent, in which "all the other flight attendants say they couldn't hear any music".

The captain of the plane had advised Ms Kilpatrick when she came to the flight deck to ask whether Ms Coyle's absence from the rear of the plane during boarding was a breach of Air New Zealand's safety manual, that it was not, Mr France said.

"He actually stated that he was unaware of the clause," Ms Kilpatrick responded.

Mr France accused Ms Kilpatrick of breaching safety protocols herself in the way she gained access to the cockpit, claiming she failed to gain permission to do so from her flight managers, and that she did not ring from the designated area.

But Ms Kilpatrick was adamant she "followed the procedure", despite admitting she did not speak to either the FSM or the ISC for permission.

"I don't believe I did [breach procedure], but it was just a matter that those two people were unavailable for me to have that conversation," she said, claiming Ms Coyle was in the bathroom and the ISC was "not in the immediate area".

She was also challenged over why she did not raise her concerns with Ms Coyle personally at any time during the flight, instead of waiting until afterwards to file an OOR.

Ms Kilpatrick said she did not have a chance to do so, because she was straight into a busy service.

She also denied that she was late leaving the crew hotel in Rarotonga and missed the flight briefing before boarding the bus to the airport.

Ms Kilpatrick is fighting a decision by the Employment Relations Authority, which ruled in 2013 that she was justifiably dismissed, and ordered her to pay $10,000 in costs to the national carrier.The hearing continues.