CHRISTCHURCH -- Air New Zealand, cloaks their baggage policy on their website but no mention that they'll commit highway robbery at the airport. Our confirmation mentioned, baggage fees apply but nowhere did it say anything about charges for international flights. We had extra bags but were unable to make changes to our reservations prior to the 90 minutes required before flight departure. Knowing we'd be charged for bags but never expecting them to cost us $160 each!
One unpleasant agent suggested that we should have considered bringing extra bags. We spent 3 weeks and needed our backpacks and gear for the amazing adventures New Zealand offers. We upgraded for our return flight but somehow our confirmation didn't appear in their computers and they again wanted to charge us. If this is a company representative of the country, it's too bad.
I have flown Air New Zealand multiple times in the past year, in fact, I've just earned Silver status and am quickly on my way to gold status with this airline. You would think the problems regarding the true, factual experiences of a more valued customer would be heeded, but this is not the case. Without whining about the details, a brief summary of the factual events are below. I am happy to discuss in greater detail, and am willing to provide details to journalists who need evidence to write articles about either Air New Zealand, or its Premium Economy class of service.
Tried to charge me a US$150 change fee to upgrade from regular Economy to Premium Economy, when the fare terms state that this fee was to be waived when upgrading to a higher class of service. Had to argue with customer service agent for 45 minutes until he finally logged in as me on my online profile and saw that I was right. I did purchase Premium Economy service at an extra cost of US$903 for an Auckland-San Francisco segment.
One of the reasons I upgraded was supposedly power ports in "most of the seats". I was told by the gate agent that no power ports existed in the Premium Economy cabin on this flight. Writing Air NZ customer service later, they now argue that this was not the case (essentially calling me a liar). This is in direct contradiction to the onboard power ports advertised on their website (ask me for a print-out of the airline's website page).
The food, which was supposed to be the same as business class, was disgusting (in particular, a fish dish). The food in regular Economy cabin has always been much better. Due to the change in daylight savings time, the crew got our arrival time wrong and therefore only Business Class passengers got breakfast. All other passengers were not offered any meal service whatsoever. This seems odd to me - why would business class passengers be served an hour earlier than regular passengers? This sounds calculated to me.
Bags of Premium Economy and Business Class passengers were supposed to be delivered at the same time - earlier than regular economy passengers. Mine were delivered a full THIRTY minutes after the other premium economy/business class passengers. Huge waste of my time.
In summary, Air New Zealand's "Pacific Premium Economy" service means a premium profit for the airline. True, you get more leg room, a cheap amenity kit, and nicer headphones, but these are small wins in the face of the other shortcomings. Most importantly, and disappointingly, my follow-ups have been completely disregarded by the company. I receive lip service but the airline will not stand by its mistakes. I cannot recommend Premium Economy on Air New Zealand. It was a complete waste of my money. I will also be trying the nonstop Auckland-Los Angeles service on Qantas Airlines in the future. Perhaps they will value my business more.
To the airline's credit, I have no issue with the flight attendants. The in-flight service was very good. However, it was the airline's complete post-flight washing its hands of responsibility that have irrevocably disappointed me, and which are the impetus for my crusade to share the truth with other passengers who regularly fly between the US and New Zealand.
AUCKLAND, ALASKA -- Just a quick email to let you know how appalling the head flight attendant ** was on our return flight Auckland to Wellington. I was travelling with my husband and two children who are four and two years of age. My husband went ahead with the two children and I carried on three hand luggage bags. Our allowance was four as four of us were travelling and paid full fair. Two bags were full and one was empty as we had taken Christmas presents with us to Auckland and didn't return with them.
As I was entering ** said to me, "is that bag heavy?" I thought how nice asking if I could manage as I had all the bags. Silly me, she grabbed the bag with a very sour face and said that's over the 7 kg, which it was not. I said that I had one empty bag and two full if she wanted I could divide them up so they each had items in them. She scowled at me and said make sure you don't hit anyone with the bags as you go down the aisle.
I have never been spoken to in a way by air hostesses, it was rude to say the least. During the flight she was most unpleasant and scowled every time she went past myself and the kids. I was so proud of my kids' behavior. Unfortunately my little girl was sick whilst she was sitting on my lap. I caught it in my hand. My husband was busy trying to get a sick bag. ** was standing right by us handing out the lollies when it happened. She turned to me and said "get up and go to the toilet."
I was so mortified and angry, my little girl was very upset and embarrassed. There was no mess as it was a small amount, one of the ladies in my row who I might add was an air hostess travelling to Wellington passed me some tissues to clean my hands, etc. The other air hostess who was serving with ** was lovely and went to the back and was coming back with some tissues to clean my hands up. Once I had my little girl settled, I went to the bathroom and washed my hands. The nice air hostess asked if everything was ok. She was so lovely as opposed to sour-faced **.
It is unacceptable that customers are belittled and made to feel small from staff especially those in customer service. Her behavior to children is unacceptable. I am sorely disappointed with her treatment of me and will seriously consider flying with Air NZ again. I know it is just one person and the other staff were lovely, but it taints the whole experience.
It is stressful as it is travelling with children trying to keep them entertained so they don't disturb other passengers, but to have staff look down their nose at you is appalling. It seems to me if she doesn't like children and can't be pleasant to customers, it is time to find a new job.
AUCKLAND, NZ -- I have now tried unsuccessfully for over a month to get hold of the Air NZ lost property office in a bid to locate a cell phone that was possibly left on a flight from Melbourne to Auckland. You look up the tel number on the net, you call the number, you get a voice message that asks you to leave your details and someone will get back to you. I've done this four times now and still nothing.
Eventually I get hold of a real person - I can't recall how, and this bad-mannered ** starts giving me what-for about the missing cell phone... I explain to her that my original flight from Adelaide to Auckland was cancelled because the plane didn't even take off from NZ to get to Oz.
Air NZ then put about five of us onto a Quantas flight from Adelaide to Melbourne a couple hours later, and some time thereafter got us onto a flight from Melbourne to Auckland - no re-issue of tickets or anything, just "here's a boarding pass, jump on!" So the five of us did (of course). Problem is, no flight number details, no seating number details, no nothing (who cares, as long as we got home...).
That's all fine until someone tries to establish what flight you were on and what seat you were in on that flight so they can attempt to trace your lost property. (Not that they really need to do this as I discovered later). Anyway much to my disgust, this ** starts virtually calling me a liar about what flight I was on and what time I arrived in NZ.
Well I might not know the flight/seat number but I sure as hell know what day and time I arrived, but try as I might, she continues in the most disgusting fashion to tell me that I did not arrive that day or that time so I must have arrived on a Quantas flight and not an Air NZ flight. Not that this makes any difference whatsoever as I subsequently discovered when I tried to get hold of the Quantas lost property office, and ultimately ended up calling the exact same number and getting the same bloody voice message on the Air NZ lost property office!
Quantas lost property in NZ is handled by the Air NZ lost property office!! Ha, talk about going around in ever decreasing circles until you finally end up inside your own back side... Finally in desperation I call an altogether unrelated Air NZ number, just so I can speak to anyone who has more than three brain cells and presto, a very nice lady who has nothing to do with lost property at all jumps onto her database and within seconds establishes that my cell phone type has never been found on any Air NZ or Quantas flight in the past three months! As simple as that. Thank you very much and have a nice day! That's all I wanted to know.
My advice, don't EVER lose anything on an Air NZ or Qantas flight that ends up in NZ because chances are good you'll have to endure the same crappy service that I did and be subjected to the same rudeness and demeaning treatment by some ** who is actively tarnishing the otherwise fairly good name of Air NZ to all and sundry. Be warned!
AUCKLAND -- Yet again a 3 hour flight turns into a 10 hour flight due to a cancelled flight. Air New Zealand should ensure they meet their obligations to customers than concentrating on corny safety adverts. The lack of competition allows them to rip off the public. Quicker taking a bus.
AUKLAND, NEW ZEALAND -- On April 14, 2013 my husband and I were flying on Virgin America from New York to San Francisco and on Air New Zealand for onward flight to Sydney, Australia. Virgin Am flight was delayed at JFK since San Francisco airport had only 1 runway available. Virgin Am is partner with Air NZ so when we mentioned it to staff at the boarding gate that we would miss our Air NZ flight - they didn't offer any help - like it didn't matter to them. In any case, we were stuck at JFK.
Ultimately 6 hours later, Virgin flight took off and they were so inhospitable that it was a rude awakening! All they offered in flight was water/soda and no snacks! I know, it was a domestic flight, but remember we were stuck for 6 additional hours so it would have behooved them to offer us some food especially since we were getting to San Fran past midnight!!
It gets worse! Once we reach San Fran, there is nobody to help the international passengers who had missed connections (and there were few of us on that flight) from either Virgin Am or Air NZ! So now we go to luggage carousel, our luggage is missing - horror ! Thankfully, Virgin Am luggage office had a live person there who informed us our luggage had already been transferred to Air NZ and we need to go to International Departures.
So now two of us, panicked seniors and running over to catch the train to Int. Departures. Once we get there, another shock awaits us - the departure area is shut tight with not a soul in sight - not even cleaning people! Now what?
Thankfully, Air China had just finished sending a flight and couple of their agents were leaving - we stopped them and they helped us with tel. no. of Air NZ. I called that no. and the person on the other end (thank God for small mercies, like a live human on phone!) booked us on next flight to Sydney - the next night! I am completely flabbergasted at arrogant disregard of passengers by Air New Zealand that they didn't have their representative at airport to help us?
So, now we head back to domestic area, again on the train, and go to Virgin Am to ask for accommodation, etc. Guess what? They blatantly shrugged their responsibility for delay and blamed the San Fran airport and that they don't pay for accommodations!. I had heard so much good about Virgin America - what a bitter disappointment! Never again will I travel on Virgin! Or Air New Zealand for that matter. These airlines have become so arrogant that they have forgotten they are in hospitality business. Shame on you, Virgin America and Air New Zealand!
Dearest consumers, this is a warning to all of you not to be fly on Air NZ, especially not through Zuji, an online electronic retailer for air tickets. I chose Zuji because it was the easiest way for me to book the ticket and it was slightly lower in cost compared to agent-quoted flights. However, it turned out to be my costliest mistake.
I bought a Hong Kong-London return ticket for a year. Zuji gave many options on screen. Instead of the 1 month and 3 month ticket, I paid extra for a 1 year ticket, and paid more for it, and made sure I could change the date of the ticket. However, upon return, I wanted to change the date the flight (which was allowed on my ticket and I was told that my ticket would expire in only 4 months, instead of a one year ticket). I was then told I could not book beyond this date.
I complained to my credit card company and they cited lack of evidence to proof a one-year validity. This is because on Zuji's screen option, once you have paid, they only email you a receipt by email and onscreen showing the dates of the tickets you bought and not the type of ticket (1 year) that led to the choice of purchase. This disappeared once the screen changed. Thus, I had no "proof". This ridiculous con by Air NZ and Zuji is the most elaborate and sophisticated I have encountered so far, and completely unscrupulous. It is shameful that a national airline carrying New Zealand's name could resort to these techniques.
I complained. After complaining, calling numerous time waiting online being transferred here and there and being pushed like a ping pong ball from Air NZ to Zuji and vice versa, I was told I had to pay an extra 1000 HKD (150 USD / 90 GBP) and on top of that 2 service fees 50% that amount to Air NZ for change of date and for service fees. This worked out to be 1/3 to 1/2 the fare price I paid in addition. Moreover, the economy had plunged in 2008, and the original ticket I bought was now only about half the price!
I complained and both Air NZ and Zuji refused to do anything except "extend a goodwill gesture". As a result, I could not use my ticket and it was completely wasted. This became the most exorbitant one-way ticket to London I bought, the most unpleasant flight. No wonder my flight from Hong Kong to London was about half-empty. Air NZ and Zuji's business practices are completely unscrupulous. DO NOT EVER BUY ANY TICKETS FROM THEM AND BOYCOTT THESE COMPANIES if you do not want to be cheated by unscrupulous practices.
We booked the premium service for our July & August 2008 vacation - halfway between first class and tourist and over double the cost. On the flight Vancouver/Auckland, we were ignored by the attendants and couldn't get service even when we asked for it.
We were supposed to have the same menu/food service as first class but what we got was what was leftover (no choices) for dinner and they never once offered fruit or a snack or anything else 1st Class got. The attendants spent their time in Tourist or First Class and we only got attention if we grabbed someone going from one to the other. We had to ask for permission to use the first class washrooms, just on the other side of the curtains.
For the Auckland-Brisbane portion, we were seated in crappy old tourist quality seats just in front of tourist, as it appeared that they decided to close the upper deck of the 747 where we originally were booked because there weren't enough Premium Class passengers to bother the staff to open up the area. We had to seek permission and be escorted to use the upstairs washroom.
On check-in, the area reserved for premium check-in was being used by tourist class, and we would have had to wait in that long line had we not complained (both ways). They misplaced the suitcase with all my scuba gear on the way back. It was located by an employee at the Brisbane airport who found it and contacted me directly to arrange return.
To add insult to injury, they assigned baggage recovery to Air Canada, which ran the LA-Vancouver return flight and who could not have been less interested. Needless to say, they ignored all of my written complaints and no one ever replied to them. Next time, Qantas. If you must go Air NZ, the Pacific Premium seats are probably not going to be worth the extra cost.
MELBOURNE -- We had a family holiday to the US booked in September. When we tried to check in we were told that my husband couldn't fly because he didn't hold a transit visa for NZ. When we explained to them that he was an Australian Permanent Resident they said no he still needed a visa.
They were completely wrong and we had to pay $1500 for him to fly one way with Virgin the next day. The airport staff promised us a refund on our return. Instead we got answering machines, unreturned emails and call center staff that weren't even able to contact the customer relations team!
Finally the customer relations team emailed me back telling me that they wouldn't be refunding me or compensating us because it was NZ immigration not them... NO it was Air New Zealand giving the immigration dept. incorrect information. I will never fly them again! I am also letting everyone know how terrible they are.
If I could give half a star I would and I haven't even taken the flight yet. I booked a return flight to Auckland for my wife and myself, a family reunion. Due to some miscommunication, I had to change the dates of departure and return. I expected a change fee but was gobsmacked to be hit with a bill for $400. Yes that's right, $100 per person per change both ways. This is simply extortion or legal theft.
I myself made the changes online so operator intervention was minimal. Updates to records take place in nano seconds so where is the justification for $400? Perhaps checking availability? Nope, this was checked by me prior to making the change. All flight times are the same, even the flight numbers are the same, just a week earlier.
The only explanation I can think is that it is done because it can be done and you the customer can do nothing about it. Airlines and airports are totally out of control. The change fee plus all the other add on costs come to more than the flights cost. Perhaps if Air NZ cancel the flight I will be able to bill them for $400. Fat chance!