A Kiwi father who is stranded in paradise with his daughter after Jetstar cancelled flights in and out of Rarotonga says he's never been treated so poorly by an airline in 40 years of flying.
At least 100 people remain in limbo in Rarotonga hotels today after a 1.30am flight was cancelled by Jetstar to Auckland early Saturday morning.
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Ohakune resident Brenton Barker was at Rarotonga airport in the early hours of yesterday with his daughter Georgia Wilson when Jetstar cancelled flight JQ129 five minutes before the scheduled boarding time.
Barker said there was no explanation for the last minute cancellation from Jetstar and there has been no subsequent correspondence about when they will depart.
"It's impacted a lot of people. It's very ordinary. It's just not acceptable for a professional carrier" Barker told the Herald.
"I think the worst part about it is the lack of communication.
"In 40 years of flying across the globe, never have I or my family been treated so poorly."
Barker said his Jetstar flight out of Auckland into Rarotonga last Saturday was also cancelled, and he arrived in the Cook Islands a day later than planned and is now leaving at least a day later.
Barker said he and his daughter arrived at Edgewater Hotel at 4am yesterday morning and have been checking with hotel management regularly for updates since, but there has been no word.
A Jetstar spokesperson confirmed that a flight from Rarotonga to Auckland was cancelled due to crew sickness.
"We are working with all affected customers to re-accommodate them on alternative flights where possible or provide accommodation and meal allowances while we work hard to get them to their destination," the spokesperson said.
"We appreciate this is very frustrating and apologise to our customers for the impact to their journey, however safety of our crew and passengers is always our first priority."
Barker was however not informed that the reason for the cancellation was crew sickness.
"It was the wee hours of the morning, everybody was tired. I think people there were pretty well behaved," Barker said.
"They did organise accommodation and they had a big line up of the whole flight waiting.
"But basically it was just a mess. The people there locally have done a fantastic job. They were struggling to even handle it."
Barker said the delay had left his 20-year-old daughter's "travel plans ruined" while holidaying with him from Adelaide where she lives.
Wilson was set to travel back to Ohakune with her father.
Barker said he was now going to miss at least a day of work.
"We're just hanging here waiting to see what's going on," he said.
"Last week they emailed us sort of straight away indicating what was going on. You had some idea. Whereas at the moment we've just got no idea."