Angry Jetstar passengers can be heard arguing with staff in a video after the airline yesterday cancelled an Auckland to Melbourne flight at the last minute.
Pooja Pankaj Anand, her husband and their three-year-old were among those waiting to check-in for the flight and said she was appalled by Jetstar's service, especially by staff telling passengers to go home and rebook any disrupted travel arrangements by themselves.
Her husband, who did want his first name published, said the drama started as large check-in queues gathered for flight JQ216, which was due to leave Auckland at 8.30pm on Friday.
He said Jetstar only opened two counters for the check-in, meaning he and his family had already been waiting for almost an hour when he noticed the line was no longer moving.
"The two passengers at the counters at the front of the queue were waiting for half an hour," he said.
"And I'm telling my wife there's something wrong, maybe they don't have proper documents or they must not have filled out a form."
However, at about 7.15pm with scores of people still in the queue, staff came out to tell passengers the flight had been cancelled.
"They did not make any proper announcement on the speaker, it's just a woman, saying, 'Hey guys, the flight's been cancelled, go back home'.
"I said, 'Okay, the flight is cancelled but what do we do now? Are we getting a reimbursement are we getting another flight?'"
"And she said, 'I don't know'.
"Then people got really upset and angry because there were other families like us with kids."
Tonight, a Jetstar spokeswoman told the Herald yesterday's flight "was unfortunately cancelled due to the pilot becoming unwell at short notice".
"We arranged a replacement flight to operate today, and provided hotel accommodation overnight for those that required it," she said.
"We apologise for the disruption to this service."
Grumbling passengers can be heard in video shot by Anand trying to get answers from the Jetstar staff.
At one point in the video, a voice can be heard saying: "Please go home and make your own arrangements."
Anand's husband said he went straight to the counter to find out what was going on because he had a three-year-old and couldn't just wait around in the terminal.
Other families were having to lay their babies on the floor to care for them as there was nowhere else to put them.
He said one elderly lady standing beside him had been driven to and dropped off by her husband from Hamilton.
"That old gentleman had to come all the way back, take the lady back to Hamilton and she said she'd come back tomorrow night."
Anand's husband said he eventually got Jetstar to rebook his family on today's evening flight and also rebook their connecting interstate flights in Australia.
Jetstar also booked the family into a hotel as they are selling the family home and had just hired professional cleaners for the open homes.
But it was not until about 11.45pm that they were transferred to the hotel.
The family had to also foot the bill for hotel changes and other costs associated with their disrupted travel plans in Australia.
But Anand's husband said the family's biggest peeve with the experience was the rudeness of staff, the delays informing passengers and the difficulty getting Jetstar to help.
"They didn't seem to want to take any responsibility," he said.