Air New Zealand customers say they are frustrated by the hours-long wait on the phone to be able to get help from the airline.
An Air New Zealand customer in Australia told the Herald that he’d been trying to get through to the customer service line for two days and on one call had been waiting for over two and a half hours.
“I eventually got through but the wait times are absolutely appalling,” he said.
“This is an ongoing issue with Air New Zealand.”
The customer said that in the past the airline has provided a call-back service as an alternative to waiting, but that seemed to have disappeared now.
Another customer of Air New Zealand tweeted about a similar experience.
“It seems Air New Zealand has dropped their call-back service,” they wrote.
The person was waiting on the phone for over an hour in the “priority line” and needed to make flight changes.
Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said he was concerned that Air New Zealand was still letting its customers down.
“We receive many complaints from people who have flights disrupted and then have to wait hours to speak to Air New Zealand for assistance,” he said.
“On top of that we have heard that passengers impacted by flight delays and cancellations are being misled about their rights and airlines’ obligations.
“Air New Zealand has a responsibility to provide accurate information and not mislead its passengers. We keep hearing that refunds are painfully slow and sometimes denied when the law requires them.”
Duffy said Consumer NZ appreciated that the airline was in recovery phase and businesses needed to make a profit.
“However, it is frustrating that domestic airfares have shot up almost 20 per cent in a year, and people have no choice but to shoulder these airfares – there’s a lack of competition in the market.
“Consumer would like to see Air New Zealand lift its game and reinvest some of its significant profits into providing better customer service.”
It was reported earlier this week that Air NZ was on course for a $468m profit in the 12 months to June, up from its $507m loss last year, mainly as a result of strong demand for travel and reduced competition.
An Air New Zealand spokesperson said the recent severe weather events had had a major impact on operations and about 50,000 customers were affected.
Last year in May, Air New Zealand was on the hunt for an additional 200 contact centre workers after customers were left waiting for hours.
The airline said at the time that the wait times were due to a surge in contact centre calls as Kiwis started to book flights and have more complex inquiries than before the pandemic.