Dozens of passengers heading in and out of New Zealand have been bumped off at least two flights over the last few days so that extra fuel could be added to the plane.

Christchurch man Bruce Glennie, 71, said he and his wife Helen Glennie, 68, were among 37 people to be bumped off a Virgin Australia flight from Melbourne to Christchurch on Thursday night.

The flight was scheduled to leave at 6.30pm and due to arrive in Christchurch just before midnight (NZT).

Glennie said passengers were told the airline needed to put more fuel into the aircraft because of bad weather conditions associated with Cyclone Cook.


He said he and his wife had been booked since Christmas and had been on their way home to spend time with their family on Friday - his wife's birthday.

"There was no recompense at all. It was just hard luck, you're off. And there were some really, really upset people.

"That was not a pleasant experience.''

The couple - as well as the others bumped off the flight - turned up 24 hours later and made the journey last night.

Glennie said although they had a bad experience that night, he acknowledged that the flight crew on their flight last night was exceptionally good.

Meanwhile, it is understood a similar situation occurred with a flight bound for Rarotonga, from Auckland, yesterday.

A number of Weekend Herald have contacted the newspaper saying the Virgin Australia VA91 flight was delayed for a number of hours before between 20 to 30 people were removed from the aircraft.

One passenger said they were told the captain wanted to add extra fuel because of potentially bad weather in the region.

A Virgin Australia spokesman is looking into the matter and said they would be making a comment shortly.