Nightmare Air New Zealand flight leaves 20% of passengers vomiting

Air New Zealand Boeing 777. Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A flight into Invercargill Airport on Wednesday night was so rough emergency services were waiting to treat unwell passengers, while Air New Zealand also quickly agreed to fork out a refund as a result of the nightmare experience.

Invercargill man Owen Scott was on board the flight with his wife, Cara, who has cancer and was in Christchurch for a hospital appointment.

Scott said for all but 10 minutes of the hour-long flight the plane was being rocked by strong turbulence. He estimated 20 per cent of the passengers on board were vomiting as a result.

During the flight the pilot told passengers he was dealing with 180kmh cross winds, Scott said.

“I would say he had his work cut out, he would have been busy up there. I think Air New Zealand did a great job, I think the pilot deserves a medal.”

Scott described the flight as the worst he had ever experienced and said most others on the flight agreed when they were getting off the plane.

However he added that he could not fault the care shown by Air New Zealand staff during and after the flight.

Emergency services tended to those passengers when the flight landed before a debrief was held by Air New Zealand staff.

The pilot provided passengers with an explanation of the processes and procedures which the crew followed to ensure the aircraft landed safely.

That night Air New Zealand sent an email to those on the flight apologising for the situation and offered a refund.

“As you will be aware, on approach to Invercargill Airport the aircraft experienced strong turbulence which is likely to have caused some discomfort to you and your passengers,” the email read.

“On landing you would have noticed emergency services were on hand to provide assistance as a number of customers were feeling unwell.”

“In recognition of your experience, a full refund of this flight will be processed.”

In a statement to Stuff, an Air New Zealand spokesperson stated it “offered customers travelling on the flight a full refund in recognition of their experience”.

“Air New Zealand flight NZ5715 from Christchurch to Invercargill last night experienced strong turbulence during the descent. The flight made a normal landing in Invercargill, however, emergency services were on hand to provide assistance to some customers who were feeling unwell.

“At least one customer has contacted the airline today saying the refund offer is appreciated but unnecessary.”

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