Extra travel and expenses rankle

A Wanganui woman believes Air New Zealand "doesn't give two hoots about Wanganui".

Penny is one of a handful of locals who have stepped up to complain about their travel plans being disrupted because of Air New Zealand pulling out from the Wanganui to Auckland route.

Air New Zealand announced in May it would be dropping the service, and Air Chathams will take over the domestic route from August 1.

"Wanganui has been badly treated," said Penny, who booked a flight to Auckland for a trip to Honolulu, but now must travel to Palmerston North to fly to Auckland airport.


While she could have rebooked with Air Chathams, she would have to collect her luggage herself to check it in for the international flight.

"Air Chathams weren't going to be given that right and that's where I think Air New Zealand is pretty mingy."

Patrick O'Leary is another upset by the change.

He booked online in February for a trip to Australia, then later read about the airline change in the paper. He received no messages from Air New Zealand and had to contact them to find out what was happening.

He has been rebooked through Palmerston North and fortunately has a family member who lives across from the airport, so he can stay with her the night before his trip.

He was frustrated with the "lack of public relations communication with their customers".

"I haven't even received an email from Air New Zealand."

Another woman said leaving from Palmerston North instead of Wanganui would cost "hundreds of dollars" more for her and her husband.

She booked a flight in April for their holiday to Sydney next year. When she called Air New Zealand to find out what was happening, she was told they were holding seats for her on a Palmerston North flight, and were waiting for her to call and arrange them.

"I thought, 'Well, thank you for letting me know'."

She and her husband must drive to Palmerston the night before their flight, stay in a hotel, and organise somewhere at the airport to store their car as they will be away for nearly a month.

"It's annoying that we've had it forced upon us - it's going to cost not just a few dollars, but hundreds."

Her travel insurance, booked with her flight through Air New Zealand, will not cover the extra cost. She was told they would only reimburse passengers if the flight was cancelled due to strike.

Gillian Kilmister, who booked flights for a holiday to Cairns later this year, has rebooked through Air Chathams and will fly the night before her international trip, staying in an Auckland motel so she has time the next day to check in her luggage.

Flying out of Palmerston North was not an option, she said. "We're senior citizens, who would take us at four o'clock in the morning?"

Mrs Kilmister was not happy to stay in a motel in Palmerston North when it was only an hour away from Wanganui.

"We're very disappointed and very angry. I tell you what - they're just money-hungry, Air New Zealand. They couldn't care less about the smaller provinces like Wanganui."

Another reader to contact the Chronicle, Margaret, has had to re-organise her trip to Sweden, while Oliver and his wife will have to pay for a carpark for a week in Palmerston when they holiday in Rarotonga. He would like Air NZ to refund the car park costs.