A lawyer who was banned from flying with Air New Zealand for a year has failed to have the travelling ban lifted.

Anjela Sharma, who ran for Nelson City Council last year, was barred from the airline's services after a dispute over entry into the Koru lounge spiralled.

She sought an interim injunction from the Auckland High Court to quash the one-year ban by Air New Zealand.

But in a decision released today, Sharma's application was dismissed, as was the application for the proceeding to be transferred to Nelson.

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Sharma said she was travelling from Nelson to India in December 2018 with her family when they were challenged on their eligibility to be in the Koru lounge.

The Sharmas were travelling domestically from Nelson to Auckland with Air New Zealand, before travelling on a business class flight from Auckland to India with Singapore Airlines.

Sharma said that on her understanding, their business class tickets entitled them to use Air New Zealand's Nelson Koru Club Lounge.

They were allowed to wait in the lounge for the two hours before the flight.

But while waiting in the lounge, Sharma said staff challenged the family's eligibility to be in the lounge.

Sharma and her husband were Koru Club members, but none of their six children were. Members are allowed to bring a maximum of one guest under the Koru Club policy.

Sharma was barred from Air New Zealand's services after a dispute over entry into the Koru Lounge spiralled. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Sharma was barred from Air New Zealand's services after a dispute over entry into the Koru Lounge spiralled. Photo / Brett Phibbs

A later report said New Zealand staff who dealt with Sharma found her behaviour abusive and offensive.

"The report described the applicant and members of her family as being very
loud, disruptive, and intimidating during their dealings with the Lounge hostess over
their entitlement to use the Lounge.

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"Members of the applicant's family called the Lounge hostess stupid and racist, and mocked and loudly mimicked her voice when she greeted other passengers entering the lounge."

At one point a member of the security staff was called to the lounge and offered to call police.

The report said Sharma was known to staff at Nelson Airport for "engaging in intimidating and bullying behaviour in order to get her own way every time she travelled through the
airport".

Sharma was later emailed and warned about her alleged behaviour.

Sharma's application to have the ban quashed was dismissed. Photo / Dean Purcell
Sharma's application to have the ban quashed was dismissed. Photo / Dean Purcell

The following April, she emailed Air New Zealand's chief executive Christopher Luxon, saying there was no justification for the warning letter she received.

Sharma's correspondence to the airline continued and in June 2019 she was unable to check in online for a flight the following day.

But another dispute arose when Sharma went to check in the following day and she claimed a staff member had been abusive and "on a venomous mission" against her.

"She said that although the Air New Zealand staff member had been in tears, her distress appeared to be contrived."

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However, the team leader who responded to the incident said Sharma was talking in an aggressive tone, with several members of the family crowding around the distressed staff member.

"The team leader describes the applicant criticising the staff member serving her, calling the staff member as "pathetic" and claiming that the staff member had "put on the tears".

The leader said Sharma's bullying behaviour was some of the most extreme she had encountered in her 24 years as an Air New Zealand employee.

Air New Zealand imposed a one-year ban on Sharma in July 2019. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Air New Zealand imposed a one-year ban on Sharma in July 2019. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Air New Zealand imposed a one-year ban on July 2, 2019.

Later that month, Sharma filed for a mandatory interim injunction on the ban, alleging the ban breached the airline's contractual obligations to her as she had booked and paid for several flights she could not use.

In his judgment, Justice Davison said Air New Zealand's approach was thorough and had tried to preserve its relationship with Sharma.

"It was only after she continued, despite the warning letter, to engage in what the respondent considered was unacceptable treatment of its staff, as well as indicating in her correspondence that she did not intend to desist, that the respondent finally made the decision to impose the ban."

The lawyer, who has flown with Air New Zealand since 1980, had been a paying Koru Club member since 1996.

Sharma's application to lift the ban was dismissed, as was the application to move proceedings to Nelson, where she lives.