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Refunds for all passengers on Air NZ ‘vomit comet’

January 29, 2019 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email


The original ‘vomit comet’ was a test aircraft designed to prepare astronauts for zero-gravity conditions – and hapless Air New Zealand passengers last week must have felt they were on something similar, as they endured a nightmare flight so bouncy it reportedly left about one in five people aboard vomiting.

The bout of “strong turbulence” that plagued flight NZ5715 from Christchurch to Invercargill on Wednesday night was so violent and prolonged it sent passengers lunging to grab sick bags from the seat pockets. (As the picture below shows, Air New Zealand sick bags are perhaps the wittiest in the skies, though those needing them don’t always have time to appreciate the humour.)

The outbreak of retching and vomiting was so severe, the airline refunded passengers their fares.

A passenger aboard told Kiwi news site Stuff.co.nz the hour-long flight was rocked by turbulence for about 55 minutes – or 90% of the time the plane was in the air. The pilot explained to passengers he was dealing with 180km/h crosswinds. The aircraft was an ATR 72, a twin turboprop plane seating 68 passengers in an all-economy configuration.

Emergency services were waiting on the tarmac on arrival as passengers emerged from the plane, ashen-faced.

The consensus is that the pilot deserved a medal and the cabin crew did a great job. Weather just refused to cooperate, making it a really rough flight.

Above: Air New Zealand’s legendary sense of humour extends to its sick bags

The pilot described to passengers the procedures the crew followed to ensure the aircraft landed safely.

That night, Air New Zealand emailed those who had been on the flight:

“As you will be aware, on approach to Invercargill Airport the aircraft experienced strong turbulence which is likely to have caused some discomfort to you and your passengers. 

An Air New Zealand ATR 72 of the type that operated the flight

“On landing you would have noticed emergency services were on hand to provide assistance as a number of customers were feeling unwell.” 

“In recognition of your experience, a full refund of this flight will be processed.”

Written by Peter Needham



Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. AgentGerko says:

    Apparently “on approach to Invercargill” starts about five minutes out of Christchurch. My sympathies to the passengers, applause to the pilots and also to Air NZ for acknowledging something that was beyond their control. Turbulence is never fun.

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