'It was horrible' - Passengers lash out at crew on stricken Tauranga flight

Passengers on board an Air New Zealand flight have lashed out at crew on the stricken plane for not keeping them informed on what was happening.

But the airline says the pilots were following standard operating procedures.

A landing gear defect saw the plane circle above Tauranga Airport for an hour and a half on Monday night, before it landed safely around 9pm.

Passenger John Hurihanganui says they weren't told what was going on or what the problem was: 

"I was a little disappointed that the captain would say on occasion yeah we're landing in 10 minutes. And then 20 minutes would go by, we wouldn't hear a thing. People would call out from the floor - could the captain update us - but we never got an update. It was horrible.

"People started talking, people started getting a bit grumpy. I fly a lot and I've never experienced anything like it."

Passenger Abbe Honey says the pilots and crew failed to relay information to those on board.

"They don't want to tell us too much to worry us more. But then again they could have informed us a little bit more about what was going on. Because we went around about 10 times and only got told once."

On Monday night an Air NZ spokeswoman said 50 customers and three crew members were onboard the plane.

Pilots identified a landing gear fault and requested emergency services to be on standby for the landing, which was a standard operating procedure, she said.

On Tuesday Newshub contacted Air NZ for comment on passengers' remarks.