Passenger details 'absolute shambles' of experience with Air New Zealand's New York-Auckland direct flight

A passenger on Air New Zealand's first New York to Auckland direct flight has detailed the "absolute shambles" she experienced. 

The 17-hour flight from the John F Kennedy International Airport touched down at Auckland Airport at about 8.30am on Monday morning. 

But what was meant to be an exciting first flight back was plagued with criticism after 40-50 passengers found out their bags weren't on the plane when they arrived in Auckland. 

Now another passenger, who asked to remain anonymous, has spoken about the "absolute shambles" she experienced. 

The passenger said she turned up early at JFK to avoid any stress, but when she arrived, there was already a massive line. 

She said there were five trainee staff members doing check-in, a couple of experienced staff helping out and a bunch of Air New Zealand staff standing around smiling and focused on marketing. 

"Honestly, it was an absolute shambles but what made it worse, and this is a little bit of the tone the whole way through, was there was a whole lot of what looked like marketing Air New Zealand people standing around doing nothing. I think there for the publicity," the passenger said.

She said they spent two hours in check-in and another hour in security before boarding the flight, which took off late. 

The passenger couldn't fault the service onboard but the drama continued when she landed in Auckland. 

The passenger said she waited about an hour by the baggage carousel for her luggage before another passenger told a "large" group of people waiting their bags weren't turning up. 

She then spent another hour getting them redirected to her New Zealand address, she said.  

The passenger said her bags arrived at her home on Tuesday afternoon but the entire experience made her "really, really angry".

"Shame on you Air New Zealand, I'm actually disgusted. I'm disgusted it has taken them this long for someone to contact me," she told Newshub.

"You couldn't get one person from your fancy media team to come out and apologise to us. Air New Zealand are all there and their number ones but couldn't be bothered about us poor people at the carousel waiting." 

The passenger told Newshub they were offered 200 Air New Zealand Airpoints or a Prezze voucher but said the whole experience had put them off flying with the airline.  

Air New Zealand said weather conditions meant they couldn't bring every passenger's bag on the flight. 

"We’re sorry we weren’t able to bring all of our customers’ bags on this historic flight. Given the forecast cyclone and other conditions on the day, we prioritised getting all of our customers safely to where they needed to be," an Air New Zealand spokesperson said. 

"The team then worked hard to reunite customers with their bags as quickly as possible. This is not the way we wanted things to run for our customers and we’ll be reviewing what lessons we can take to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

The spokesperson also apologised to the customers who were affected.  

"We have contacted all impacted customers individually to offer an additional goodwill gesture for the inconvenience caused on this occasion."