A fuel gauge on an Air New Zealand plane that was forced to turn back mid-flight was faulty before take-off, a passenger says.
Flight NZ10 from Auckland to Honolulu was re-routed earlier this afternoon because of a fuel gauge problem, and landed back on the tarmac at Auckland Airport.
One passenger on board, Liora Saad, said the flight had been late taking off because the fuel gauge "wasn't reading properly".
"Then we got the all-clear and took off, and then a while in to the flight the captain announced that the fuel gauge wasn't cooperating properly," she said.
"So he was sorry for having us turn around but ... he said for safety reasons, 'I don't want us to be flying over an ocean with a faulty gauge, so we'll be turning around', and he'll keep us informed.
"And sure enough he came back on and said an Air NZ crew was already getting a new plane for us, everything will be sorted, not to worry."
Ms Saad - an American who has lived in New Zealand for eight years - had nothing but praise for the captain and crew.
"He [the captain] came around the cabin answering any questions that people had, so it was a really good service," she said.
People felt quiet safe, she said.
"Our main concern was, we're arriving [in Honolulu] now around 2am, so we just have to contact our hotel there and that sort of thing.
"But they [Air New Zealand] were very good."
Once they landed back in Auckland, the crew gave everybody vouchers to buy food in the airport while they waited to board the new plane, she said.
"They're really looking after everyone."
She had earlier tweeted about the situation, praising the airline for its swift handling of the incident.
"Massive thumbs up to our pilot on flight NZ10 and how he handled the situation @FlyAirNZ #airnz"
Marty Pine also tweeted his praise of the crew.
"Great communication from flight crew on #nz10. Good form, @FlyAirNZ."
Earlier an Air New Zealand spokeswoman confirmed the flight had been re-routed.
"The pilots operating NZ10 from Auckland to Honolulu today noticed a problem with the cockpit fuel indication system," she said.
"As a precaution, the flight returned to Auckland where it will be checked by engineers."
All passengers would be moved onto another aircraft, to fly to Hawaii later today, she said.
They were expected to take off at 4pm.
The flight took off at 10.55am, and appears to have been diverted shortly before 2pm, according to flight tracking website www.flightradar24.com and social media posts.
Auckland Airport confirmed the plane had landed at the airport.
- Additional reporting: Tess Nichol