Air NZ backpedals on Airpoints controversy

Air New Zealand has approved a Christchurch woman's request to use her late father's Airpoints for a family holiday.

The airline came under fire this morning when Jaclyn Philpott revealed she had been told her tickets to Hawaii would be "voided at the gate" as her father "was dead".

John Philpott, who died on April 5, was an elite member with the airline and had made thousands of Airpoints available to his family through Air New Zealand's Shairpoints scheme.

Ms Philpott told The Press she was "dumbfounded" when a staff member said she wasn't supposed to use her father's points.

"I said if I had not called them and had just booked the tickets, Air New Zealand would not even know he was dead, but the man said . . . we would be voided at the gate," she said.

"I asked to speak to a supervisor and she was of a similar stance. She said that I could not book them even though I was clearly a Shairpoints spender on his account."

"It's really upsetting. This was Dad's wish… that we all went away together. We only buried him on Wednesday."

Ms Philpott went on to book the flights anyway, hoping they wouldn't be cancelled, and Air New Zealand has since been in touch to approve the tickets.

A spokesperson told 3 News it was "standard procedure" to put an Airpoints account on hold after the death of a member.

"An Air New Zealand Airpoints account is like a bank account, Airpoints dollars are owned by the individual member.

"Once Air New Zealand receives a direction from the executor of the member’s estate the airline will distribute the Airpoints dollar balance into the account/s of the beneficiary."

The airline received instructions this afternoon and went on to confirm the flights.

However all of Mr Philpott's flight upgrades are have been voided as, by airline policy, they are not transferable.

A previous version of this story stated Air New Zealand prevented Ms Philpott from booking the flights and later made a "U-turn". This was incorrect – the airline was awaiting direction after placing the account on hold.

3 News

source: newshub archive