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Air NZ Apologizes For Removing Passengers Due To Their Size

Representational Image of Air New Zealand/Photo: AFP | RNZ

Air New Zealand issued an apology to two passengers who claim they were removed from a flight because of their size, News portal Stuff reported.

Angel Harding described feeling traumatized by a flight attendant on the Napier to Auckland service on March 8. She was returning to Northland with friends after attending a hui in Hastings.

According to Harding, while the plane was taxiing, she felt a sharp pain in her left arm as a crew member forcibly lowered the armrest onto her arm.

"I was in shock, and I moved forward. She started yelling at me that the pilot can't take off unless all the armrests were down, and she was quite aggressive. I just couldn't believe what was happening," Harding told 1News.

She was told she should have booked two seats, despite having no issues on the flight from Kerikeri to Auckland and then Auckland to Napier.

The plane eventually returned to the gate, and all passengers were told they would have to leave due to an "inconvenience." However, Harding and a friend were not allowed to reboard.

"I believe they took me off because of my build, because of my size. They didn't explicitly say it was because of that, but they said it was an inconvenience," Harding expressed.

Air NZ reportedly offered them accommodation and meals, and the airline paid for their seats. However, the next flight wasn't until two days later. Seats became available on a later flight on Friday.

Their story has been picked up by global media outlets, including the New York Post and The Mirror.

Alisha Armstrong, Air New Zealand's General Manager Customer Care, stated that the airline "will continue to work with the customer directly to address their concerns."

"We are committed to treating all customers with respect and dignity, and we apologize that these customers received an inconsistent experience.

"We strongly recommend customers who require additional space get in touch with us before their flight to ensure a safe and comfortable journey. If there is space available on the aircraft and a customer requires extra room, our teams will reaccommodate them with an empty seat next to them. We work to ensure every customer has a safe and comfortable journey."




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