Couple finally secure flight



A Queenstown couple stranded in Sydney by a series of pauses in the trans-Tasman travel bubble have finally got an Air New Zealand flight to Auckland booked for tomorrow — shortly after Mountain Scene contacted the airline about their predicament.

Kerry (left) and Kit Dunlop flew to the New South Wales capital on May 29 to see their
granddaughter perform in a high school production.

They intended to stay for a month, but have had a series of flights home cancelled because
of travel pauses between the state and NZ arising from Covid community outbreaks.

After three earlier bookings fell over, the couple finally thought they had a booking on a managed return flight to Auckland on Monday — with a link to an MIQ facility — only to have it cancelled last Saturday.

It turns out it wasn’t a managed flight, and calls to the airline and a consular emergency number all elicited the same response: there were no more MIQ spaces in Auckland until August 8.

But within an hour of Scene contacting Air NZ about the issue yesterday, the Dunlops received a call from the airline saying they’d be booked on a flight to Auckland this Sunday.

An Air NZ spokeswoman says it opened bookings for managed return flights between July 13 and 23, so the flight the Dunlops booked on was outside that period.

But because of ‘‘changing customer requirements’’, spots can become available, she says.

‘‘We have reached out to the Dunlops and have managed to accommodate them onto an
upcoming flight.’’

The bubble with Australia closed for at least two months from last Saturday, apart from
managed return flights.