Editorial: Pay peanuts, get airport bunkseats

Friday October 11, 2019 Written by Published in Editorials

I know about budget airlines.

Living and working in the UK, my wife and I were trapped in Prague when easyJet cancelled our late-night flight back to London.

We ended up paying the difference for a flight the following night to Newcastle in the north, grabbed two or three hours’ shuteye in a backpackers’ hostel, then caught the red-eye train to London to get to work.

Four months and 44 emails later, easyJet paid us the £312 compo they owed us – a fraction of what the fiasco had cost us.

I could list more similar experiences. But you know what? You get what you pay for.

The same week Jetstar abandoned 60 passengers with no information, to bunk overnight on seats in Rarotonga Airport, the airline was advertising $148 flights between Auckland and Raro.

Newsflash: $148 doesn’t pay for both jet fuel and customer service. Take your pick.

Conceded, Jetstar’s service was abysmal. But the complaining could have chosen to pay for travel insurance. They didn’t.

The real victims of this saga are Cook Islands tourism operators. They have been unfairly maligned in international news headlines for the failings of an Australian airline, and of some Kiwi tourists who paid peanuts, and got bunkseats.

-       Jonathan Milne
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