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Christchurch to Auckland in 29 Hours by (No) “Jokestar” (aka Jetstar):

Christchurch to Auckland in 29 Hours by (No) “Jokestar” (aka Jetstar):

Old Aug 3, 11, 3:25 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 68
Christchurch to Auckland in 29 Hours by (No) “Jokestar” (aka Jetstar):

This is not about bad weather, volcanic ash clouds, mechanical or maintenance issues. This is altogether something else, so read on…

Last week, three of us had to attend meetings in Christchurch and we were booked to return to Auckland on Jetstar’s 6:30pm flight. We checked in at 5pm Saturday evening – everything fine, flight on time. We were just about to go through Security when there was an announcement that the flight had been cancelled. We raced downstairs and after 45 minutes in a queue, reached the counter. Given that the weather was perfect and we could see the plane was soon to land, we were puzzled by this news. We were even more astonished a moment later when we were told by the Jetstar agent that the flight had been cancelled because they had “run out of crew”. (What, don’t they have stand-by crews at their operating base??).

We were soon re-booked on the 7:10am next morning, Sunday. We asked about accommodation and the young lady said she didn’t know, but we could phone the Freecall line and enquire. Given that it would likely take hours to have our call answered, we made a few phone calls of our own and the hosts of one of our party kindly said we could stay at their home, only 8-9 minutes from the airport. By this time, the crowd of disrupted travellers was turning ugly. Security staff and the Police were called, while we made our escape to our hosts’ home.

As requested, we checked in next morning just after 6am and were disgusted to see that the flight had just been delayed by almost 2 hours. However, we were soon checked in, stopped off for coffee and then headed for the departure lounge. Our Airbus 320 was parked at the gate. However, when the time for boarding came and went with no sign of Jetstar’s staff, we began to get suspicious. Sure enough, a few minutes later, it was announced that THIS flight too had been cancelled. All 177 passengers rushed downstairs and this time it took us a full two hours to reach the Jetstar desk. This time, the mood of the crowd was more resigned, and we made friends with several people in the queue, among them some young UK travellers who were connecting to flights to Fiji and Chile. We pushed these young ladies in front of us as we reached the top of the queue and they received very cavalier treatment, to the effect that Jetstar could do nothing for them but re-book them on a flight the next day. One of them was almost in tears and said to the agent, “You mean to say I’ve waited two hours in this queue only to be told you can’t do anything more to help me than that?” The Jetstar staff member merely shrugged. We suggested they find the Qantas office and the girl heading for Chile was rebooked on Air New Zealand in an instant and left soon after, with plenty of time to catch her connection in Auckland. We’re not sure what happened to the other girl.

In contrast to the treatment these two girls received, and possibly as a result of our superhuman efforts to be courteous and understanding, we received first class attention. The young man seemed to be more senior than the other agents and managed to find two of us seats on the 7:30pm flight to Auckland. He could only find a seat on Monday afternoon for the third member of our party.

But here comes the interesting bit: when asked what the problem was this time, he told us that the flight was cancelled for “lack of crew”. Sound familiar?? When pressed, he said that they were flying a pilot down from Auckland, and while she was on the plane, three Christchurch-based crew members called in sick! This meant the flight couldn’t leave, disrupting several hundred more passengers in both Christchurch and Auckland. We couldn’t help wondering if the crew had been partying the night before and were hung-over, rather than ill.

What a way to run an airline and on one of the busiest days of the year – the last day of school holidays! It’s easy to think that some of Jetstar’s staff are sabotaging the company and it seems to me that Jetstar’s management needs to get a grip on the situation and investigate what’s going on with their crews. It is completely unacceptable that, no matter how cheap their fares, that their passengers are treated with such cavalier disregard. It is fascinating to note that they give their clients not a nanosecond of leeway and flexibility with check-in times and compliance with their rules, yet Jetstar seems quite incapable of understanding that it’s their passengers who keep them in business and who deserve professional and reliable service, even though it’s a low-cost operation.

Of course, dozens of people were heard to say they’ll never fly Jetstar again, but memories will fade and they’ll be seduced back by low fares, and will run the risk of similar ordeals in future.

My friend and I finally landed at Auckland at 9pm on Sunday night, exactly 29 hours after checking in the first time in Christchurch. Despite having had some quite acceptable trips with Jetstar, after this experience we will certainly do our utmost to avoid flying “(No) Jokestar” in future. It sure is no joke flying with Jetstar when things go wrong.
Waihi49 is offline  
Old Aug 3, 11, 5:51 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sydney Australia
Programs: VA,GA, SQ, IHG, HH, Europcar
Posts: 1,466
I have to admit to flying Deathstar once bet CHC and AKL. I had bought lots of EK trips from SYD to CHC for $99 AUD while my Mum was near the ends of her days. My last trip were a special at $89!
Mum had passed earlier in the year, and I had done all that was needed, house sold etc , so I had a spare set of tickets.
I did not want to go to the Sth Island so hoped that EK would take pity on me and let me board for AKL but no.
So a pleasant EK J trip (after a $100) upgrade offer, plenty of Verve for breakfast in the EK SYD lounge.
Get to CHC, organize a flight to AKL NZ wants $330 and JQ $130 , even when I tell NZ I would prefer to fly them can they compete with JQ ? So they drive pax onto JQ.
It's a short flight , I returned on NZ apart from a snack and water service not much if different!
Where it differs is when something goes wrong!!!
adampenrith is offline  
Old Aug 3, 11, 10:55 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: TSV, Australia
Posts: 2,361
Wow what an awful story.

I disagree about staff 'sabotaging' the airline. If it is being run properly, with the appropriate back-up systems in place, it wouldn't be possible to sabotage it.
camsean is offline  

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