Air NZ booking mix-up leaves couple stranded and jobless in New Zealand

In this case, green doesn't mean go.
In this case, green doesn't mean go. Photo credit: Getty Images

A Christchurch couple claim they have been left stranded and out of pocket after an error was made by a customer service agent at Air New Zealand when booking their flights to Australia.

Rory McGrath and Bridget Kuzniarski say they had made a booking with Air NZ on September 2, when red-zone flights had been released by the airline. 

The couple made the booking through the airline's contact centre and say they were told by a customer services agent that their booking for September 30 to Brisbane was on a red flight, when in fact it wasn't.

Due to Australia closing its borders to New Zealanders, only red flights are authorised to operate, and any green flights are cancelled.

Unaware of the mix up, the couple went ahead with quitting their jobs, selling a business, car and possessions, as well as giving notice on their rental property as they packed up their lives in anticipation of a move to Queensland to be with family.

It wasn't until Wednesday night that McGrath was told their booking was on a green flight and that unless Australia reopened its borders to Aotearoa before their departure date, the flight would not be going ahead.

McGrath says when he spoke to a customer service supervisor on Wednesday, he was told management had listened back to the original, and confirmed he and his partner had been given the wrong information, but that all other flights were fully booked.

"They said the call-taker had made a mistake, the wrong word was used," McGrath told Newshub.

The supervisor said he would make attempts to fit them onto another flight.

"Because of this mistake, my partner and I are now left waiting to see what happens. But if we don't get on this flight we will be left with no income, no car and have to find somewhere to live," McGrath said.

"We have jobs in the Gold Coast to go to that we won't be able to if we don't get there."

When contacted by Newshub, Air NZ said it was limited by the Australian government as to how many red flights could operate.

"All current flights from New Zealand to Australia between September 25 and November 30 will be cancelled. Customers will receive a cancellation email later today and be given a credit for their flight," the airline said.

The quarantine flights from New Zealand to Australia will be available to book from Monday.