Qantas will be giving frequent flyer points to the passengers who were trapped for hours yesterday on the Ohakea military base tarmac amid sweltering heat.

The unlucky travellers had left Melbourne and were diverted to the Ohakea RNZAF air base, 140km north of their Wellington destination, after a mechanical issue on flight QF171.

Customs and immigration staff were required to travel from Wellington to Ohakea to allow the passengers to disembark the Boeing 737 - meaning the weary travellers were in for a long stay onboard the plane.

Passengers were delayed from reaching the capital city by a total of eight hours.


When contacted today a Qantas spokesman again apologised for the disruption.

"As gesture of thank you and goodwill, we will be giving passengers Qantas Frequent Flyer points."

The spokesman also said the plane had been checked by engineers and returned to service.

UK woman Lisa Blatch was on board the flight after a 40-hour journey from Gatwick Airport in London.

Blatch previously told the Herald it was a full plane with some young families onboard.

However, she credited the staff onboard as being "fantastic".

The ordeal spilled onto Twitter yesterday where other passengers voiced their frustrations about what was happening.

"Awkward when your international flight gets diverted to an air base, and they can't let you off the plane because there's no Customs," Suzy McKinney tweeted.


"#QF171 Can't leave plane because no Customs, can't fly plane as broken, can't get replacement plane (easily at least) as at air base. A difficult problem to solve."

McKinney added on Twitter that it was unclear what the mechanical issue with the plane was.

"A technical issue with the 'flaps' is what was cited by the captain," she posted

Another person apparently on board the plane, Ryan Newington, posted "it's getting very warm in here".

Newington added Qantas attendants were refusing to open the doors of the plane and the temperature was becoming very uncomfortable.

"#QF171 sitting on the tarmac in the sun, getting extremely hot in the plane. Many passengers visibly distressed. @Qantas won't open the door because reasons. Customs apparently driving up from Wellington (two hours away), not sure there's much point, we'll all be roasted by then," he wrote.

Another passenger added: "The crew are doing their utmost best to help and keep positive in super challenging circumstances. But two hours until we can ... dunno, get Customs to consider letting us out? No wi-fi, poor reception, and water and crackers. At least we landed somewhere!"