First mercy flights take off from Sydney to bring Kiwis home

The first flights rescuing Kiwis in Sydney took off on Tuesday, with the lucky few passengers relieved to be coming home. 

Newshub was at the airport as the relieved passengers checked in and escaped the outbreak that grew by 89 new cases and saw the death of a second person on Tuesday

Tuesday saw NZ870 - bound for Christchurch - leaving Sydney Airport. 

The mood on board felt best at check-in, with passengers telling Newshub they were "so relieved" to be heading home.

But these ticketholders are the fortunate few. Just a teenager, Kate Holmes became stranded in Sydney - alone - when the travel bubble closed. 

"I'm just 19 so looking forward to getting home," she told Newshub. 

She's not the youngest flying today - that's little Max - four years old and heading back to Aotearoa with his dad and baby sister.

"It will be battle but there is a light at the end of the tunnel," Max's dad Ben Heele says.

For many boarding today - they had to risk crossing the Tasman, before it all fell apart. 

What followed was a stressful situation as COVID-19 began to spread through New South Wales. 

Tickets were given on a first-in first-served basis, so hundreds have missed out. But a portion have been set aside for people to put forward their case of why they should be given a spot for compassionate reasons. 

But there's a chance one of these passengers unexpectedly has and is right now harbouring COVID-19. They'll wait to find out during a mandatory two-week stay in MIQ.  

"It will be something I’ve never experienced before," Holmes told Newshub. 

This quick trip across the Tasman is sure to be an OE just as memorable as any. 

But fortunately - this one at least has a ticket out.