Following the extreme weather events that disrupted flights and caused a complete closure at Auckland airport, one of the most significant recoveries in Air New Zealand’s history is in progress. The company works to rebook 9,000 customers who faced the worst heavy weather that ripped through the city.
Leanne Geraghty, Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer, detailed that the international call centre team have been focusing on rebooking customers affected to clear the backlog quickly.
“The team have made great inroads working around the clock to rebook the 9,000 disrupted customers onto alternative travel. We have around 1,200 customers left to finalise travel for, which is a great effort in a short time period,” Geraghty said. “We also know there will be some customers whose rebooked flight is further out than they would have hoped. Our next phase of recovery is to work through our schedule and see how we can get them home on earlier services, where possible.”
As Air New Zealand works to fix customers’ travel plans as soon as possible, Geraghty explained their team has been in communication with partners to use a larger aircraft where possible. Friends at Singapore Airlines have replaced a 777-300 with an A380, which adds 200 seats for Air New Zealand customers needing an urgent into or out of Singapore.
Additional services from Los Angeles, departing this evening, will get nearly 300 customers back to Aotearoa, New Zealand, in addition to an extra Niue flight scheduled for 2 February. A New York service will stop at Fiji to collect another 111 passengers home.
“We’re grateful for the patience and support of our customers while we do everything we can to recover from this significant event, and I would like to acknowledge and thank our travel agent partners, alliance partners and our Air New Zealand teams across the globe – this is a shining example of what people can do when we all pull together.”
The airline is exploring adding passengers to flights currently scheduled for cargo and using larger aircraft within the Air New Zealand collection. Many customers have taken the accommodation goodwill payment of $250 per night, and thousands have used the flexibility options to put non-urgent flights into credit.
International scheduled flights have been maintained every day since Sunday, mainly because Auckland Airport reopened at 5 am and multiple baggage systems were not functioning.