19 Apr 2018

Air NZ flight cancellations: Bridal party left stranded

6:43 pm on 19 April 2018

A wedding party headed for Bali has been left angry and exhausted after 30 of its members were temporarily stranded in Auckland following Air New Zealand's flight cancellations.

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File photo. Photo: RNZ / Nita Blake-Persen

The Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines the airline uses in its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet have been plagued with problems since last year.

Thousands of passengers will be affected by cancellations and rescheduled flights until the middle of next week.

Eighty-six people are heading to the wedding in Bali and the 30 stranded members made up half of the bridal party.

The mother of the bride who had arrived in Bali earlier in the week, Nisha Clark, said the flight cancellation made for a stressful start to what was meant to be an exciting occasion.

She said the group, which included aunties, bridesmaids and siblings was on the way to the airport yesterday to catch their mid-morning flight when they got a notification that the flight was cancelled.

"That's when the trouble started," Ms Clark said.

People who got through to customer service on the phones were told to wait until they got to the airport to sort it out, she said, but once they were at the airport they had to wait for hours at the counter.

Some of party, when they reached the counter were told they, in fact, had to call the customer service line.

'She was in tears'

She said her daughter, the bride, was distraught and felt responsible for the stress caused to her party because she had opted to have her celebration overseas.

"She was in tears," Ms Clark said. "They were all going through so much stress."

Ms Clark said the family frequently travelled and she understood that that often resulted in delays and cancellations.

But Air New Zealand's communication was abysmal and confusing this time, she said.

"This was a total disconnect from customer service," she said.

"Generally, as a rule, the airline will help you to get on to the next booking or flight - they weren't offering any options; the passengers were getting mixed messages," she said.

There were no text messages after the cancellation notice and people were left in the dark, she said.

She said after many hours at the airport the large group managed to secure other flights. Some bought new Qantas flights, while others were eventually helped by Air New Zealand.

"They are delighted to be here but they were completely overwhelmed and stressed."

"It took all of the loveliness out of that day," she said.

In a statement, Air New Zealand said it "sincerely apologised" for the disruption.

"Air New Zealand flight NZ245 from Auckland to Bali yesterday was due to be operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. Unfortunately this service was cancelled as a result of the well-publicised inspections Air New Zealand has been required to undertake on some of the Trent 1000 engines fitted to the fleet.

"Although the requirement for these checks is outside of our control, we are doing everything possible to minimise the impact on our customers and have been working to re-accommodate around 6500 customers whose flights have been disrupted."