25 Sep 2022

Passengers asked to volunteer to leave New York to Auckland flight as bad weather sparks range concerns

7:39 pm on 25 September 2022

By Troels Sommerville of Stuff

Air New Zealand's inaugural flight NZ2 makes its descent above New York City.

Air New Zealand's inaugural flight NZ2 makes its descent above New York City. Photo: Supplied

For the second time in a week bad weather is causing headaches for Air New Zealand on its flagship flight from New York to Auckland.

On Sunday afternoon (New Zealand time) airline staff asked fliers booked on the non-stop journey to volunteer to jump off to lighten the load in the face of "unusually strong" headwinds forecast on the route.

The spokesperson said the plane needed the passengers to get off to make room for the added fuel that was needed to avoid a stop in Fiji.

"The forecast weather is outside of the usual forecasting and more extreme than our 12 months of modelling and other data stretching back much further," they said.

They said that weather on the eastern seaboard of the United States has caused disruptions to a number of airlines, and reducing customer numbers on flights when weather called for it was common protocol.

It was much the same story last week when the inaugural flight was forced to shed passengers when faced with the same issue.

While initially it was thought it would have to land in Fiji, that was averted after the crew made in-flight adjustments.

The 15 customers who had to leave Sunday's flight will be moved on to alternatives flights "today and tomorrow", the spokesperson said.

"We want to thank our customers for their patience and understanding while we work through this exceptional weather pattern."

NZ1 took off at 10.13pm (local time) after initially being scheduled for a 9.55pm departure.

* This story originally appeared on Stuff.

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