November 20, 2018

My Air New Zealand Experience

I flew to London yesterday for a week of work and play. I love London and always have a great time when I am here. I will mark the July 4th holiday by having a couple of meetings in the city, then dinner with friends. I will be busy and hopefully not have too much time to think about what my son is getting up to while I’m away. When you know there is no chance your mother will walk in unannounced, parties go to a whole new level. Best I don’t think about that.

I flew to the UK on Air New Zealand. I had never flown with them before, but they were $400 cheaper than Virgin Atlantic, so I figured it was worth a try. They are Star Alliance partners so I would get mileage with Air Canada, which is my airline of choice to fly home. Air New Zealand has great reviews for customer service and overall flying experiences, so I booked the ticket and was excited to see how it would go. I fly a lot so new discoveries are welcomed.

From the moment I walked up to the ticketing counter I knew this was not going to go well. I was greeted by a woman named Apple who didn’t smile, didn’t say hello, didn’t welcome me to Air New Zealand. She just demanded my ticket with no eye contact. It was off putting and certainly not how you want a first impression to be. It went from bad to worse rather quickly. Apple checked me in and informed me my bag was over the weight limit and there would be a fee.

I let her know I was aware it was too heavy and would have a charge, but I checked the weight limits and felt it was better to pay $70 for the extra weight rather than have to schlep two bags on my own. Apple let me know the cost was $150. I told her it was listed as $70 on the website and she told me that was the online check in price. I told her I would happily check in online to save the $80. She told me I was already checked in and needed to pay $150.

I asked for a supervisor and was told she was busy. I asked Apple to uncheck me in and I would do it online. It took her 5 minutes to understand, but then unchecked me in. I went to check in online and pay for my bag, but the website kept showing me as checked in already. Again I asked to speak with a supervisor as it was now 3:20 and online check in was closing in 10 minutes. The supervisor was at the end of the counter talking to another employee, not a customer.

I reminded Apple we didn’t have a lot of time and she told me I needed to wait. It is now almost 3:30. The supervisor finally came over. Her name is Janet and her first words to me were “What exactly do want?” I was already stressed out as my flight was in 90 minutes and I still needed to clear security. I told Janet I did not appreciate her tone of voice or her attitude, and she let me know if I didn’t stop screaming I would not get on my flight. Really? Janet is an idiot.

I was not screaming, or even raising my voice, simply telling her I didn’t like her attitude. I explained to her what the problem was, and she told me online checking was closed and I needed to pay $150 or not take my bag. I said  “Are you fucking serious?”, and Janet about lost her mind, telling me I would not be let on the flight. I am now shaking, the gay next to me is apologizing on behalf of all New Zealanders, and I’m done. I pay the $150 and head to security.

By the time I got to my gate they were calling my name. It was very stressful and not how you want to start a trip. I ordered a vegetarian meal, because I am actually a vegetarian, but they had no record of my having requested it. When I assured the flight attendant that I always order a vegetarian meal, she told me, “no you don’t”, which struck me as hilarious. Maybe this was just a particularly off trip, but I have nothing good to say about Air New Zealand.

I will check my bag in online for the return flight, and hopefully it will be on another airline because the thought of flying home with this people is not a good thing. Also, Air New Zealand owes me $80.00. Important to note that when I was going through this drama, I was tweeting about it. Air New Zealand wrote me with a standard “We are so sorry to hear this” tweet, but when I sent them a DM, they said they would talk to their staff about it. Whatever.

Air New Zealand knows I am unhappy with their service and has had no follow up. They are not at all concerned I didn’t have a good experience. I’m just one person so I guess they can have a who cares attitude, but I am also one person with a blog. It is shameful they allow Janet and Apple to represent them. When there are so many choices when selecting an airline, customer service is everything, so they have nothing. As for my flight home, I am keeping the faith.