A young Hastings family desperate to get to Australia to help care for a terminally ill family member are now stranded and jobless in locked-down Auckland.
Pregnant woman Grace Gillies, her partner Simon Haimona and their 1-year-old daughter had been granted an exemption to go to Australia to see Haimona's mother who has terminal cancer.
But they haven't been able to get to Perth, despite nearly a month of trying, after being twice "bumped" from Air New Zealand flights.
Air New Zealand customer general manager Liz Fraser says capacity limitations imposed by the Australian Government had meant the family were unable to get on their original flight to Sydney on July 19 and then again on a flight to Brisbane on August 11.
Fraser said on Tuesday flight schedules and capacities are naturally "very fluid" due to Covid-19 restrictions, and the family had been moved to a flight to Brisbane on August 22.
"Our teams are working to minimise disruption to customers as much as possible because we know there are people wanting to head to Australia at this time.
"We're sorry to hear the situation this family is in and we will contact them if seats become available earlier than August 22."
The family want to travel to Perth to assist in Haimona's mother's ongoing care, give her time to bond with her grandchildren that she has never met, and also support Haimona's father through it.
After going through the process to gain exemption to travel to Australia and planning quarantine periods on arrival into the country and then again on arrival in Perth, the family booked a flight from Auckland to Sydney for July 19.
As they are intending on being in Australia for at least a year, they quit their jobs and sold many of their belongings.
Two days before the flight, Gillies received a text saying they had been bumped from the flight.
She was told it was because the number of arrivals allowed into Australia has changed.
Using the full credit from the first flight and an extra $600 they booked the next flight available on August 11 from Auckland to Brisbane.
At 6.30pm on the night before the flight, Gillies received a text saying they had again been bumped.
After trying to reach Air New Zealand for three and a half hours, Gillies said the explanation that they had been bumped again left them feeling as if they had been "left in the wind".
"We were told [when booking] there was a limit of 30 passengers allowed on the flight, I assumed we would be included in that 30."
She said they're worried they'll be bumped again on August 22 or the flight may be cancelled if the Covid-19 lockdown enforced on Wednesday extends.
In the meantime they have been advised to stay in Auckland in case seats become available on a flight at short notice.
They are staying with a family friend, but without a source of income and needing to keep money set aside for quarantine in Australia, they want to get over there soon.
Fraser said on Tuesday that Air NZ was operating eight services per week to Sydney and five to Brisbane from Auckland.
The $600 charge for changing the destination they were flying was incorrectly enforced and would be refunded, Fraser said.