16-hour Air New Zealand flight to nowhere caps a ‘wild’ journey


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It’s the stuff of nightmares. You’re attempting to get someplace, you’ve prepped and deliberate and also you’re doing all of your finest and but you find yourself proper again the place you began.

That’s about what occurred to frequent flyer Bryan Gottlieb and his fellow Air New Zealand passengers on Thursday when their deliberate journey from Auckland to New York’s John F. Kennedy Worldwide Airport was disrupted by {an electrical} outage on the airport.

JFK’s Terminal 1 was closed and among the flights scheduled to land there needed to be diverted. Some worldwide flights landed at different airports: Newark, Washington Dulles, Boston Logan.

Gottlieb’s flight, ANZ2, circled mid-flight and landed again in Auckland, greater than 16 hours after departing the identical airport. Flight monitoring website FlightAware logs a complete flying time of 16 hours and 25 minutes, with the aircraft turning again roughly midway by its scheduled journey.

“I used to be sleeping fairly soundly, and I wakened with the sensation that I might certainly be touchdown in JFK quickly,” Gottlieb mentioned in a message to CNN Journey. Then “the passenger subsequent to me tapped me on the shoulder and mentioned ‘do you know we’re nearly again in Auckland?’”

Gottlieb mentioned his fellow passenger gave him the information two or three hours earlier than the aircraft was set to land. An announcement in regards to the diversion didn’t come till the flight was nearly again in New Zealand, he mentioned, though “you can see our route on the tracker, and phrase had unfold round.”

He mentioned when the pilot made the announcement, “he acknowledged that a part of the choice was based mostly on schedule effectivity for the airline, and that the dearth of crew at an airport close to JFK would have induced the airline additional delays.”

The passengers weren’t comfortable.

“Everybody on that aircraft would have a lot most well-liked to be in any airport within the US, to say nothing of Newark or LaGuardia proper in the identical normal space,” mentioned Gottlieb, a sport designer who was headed house from a five-week work journey to affix the tail finish of his brother’s bachelor social gathering journey.

Air New Zealand mentioned Thursday in a press release to CNN Journey that “diverting to a different US port would have meant the plane would stay on the bottom for a number of days, impacting various different scheduled providers and prospects.”

On the time, the flight was nonetheless en route again to Auckland, and the airline mentioned its workforce was prepared to help its prospects with rebooking on the subsequent obtainable service.

“We apologise for the inconvenience and thank our prospects for his or her endurance and understanding,” the assertion mentioned. CNN reached out to the airline for extra particulars on Friday however didn’t instantly hear again.

Gottlieb, who lives in New York, spent eight hours on the airport in Auckland ready for his subsequent flight out to Los Angeles, the place he was set to connect with JFK. Air New Zealand offered him with $100 value of meal vouchers, however he didn’t have any luck shopping for his means right into a loyalty membership lounge to clean up in Auckland. He hadn’t heard about different compensation on the time he communicated with CNN.

The diverted flight was Gottlieb’s second try at getting house. His authentic flight again to the States on Monday was canceled because of the devastating cyclone that struck New Zealand this week. His spouse’s plans to affix him for the final two weeks of his keep have been foiled when her flight was canceled because of airport flooding in Auckland on the finish of January.

With the 16-hour Auckland to Auckland delay, he missed the bachelor social gathering altogether. So far as journeys go, “it was a wild one for positive!”

Gottlieb is dissatisfied with the airline’s response “at a company degree” and mentioned their choice to reroute to Auckland was “about their backside line, not the plans of their passengers.”

However the airline workers was very useful.

“That is definitely the worst journey expertise I’ve ever had, however finally, this stuff do occur, and I at all times attempt to take into account that not one of the folks I’m interacting with had something to do with the choices that delayed me — they’re all simply doing their finest they usually have been legitimately type.”

And New Zealand is one in every of Gottlieb’s favourite locations.

“The folks and area are each beautiful. I positive do want it was a bit of nearer although.”