We travelled on Air New Zealand recently (sorry Jules, was only there for 22 hours – will catch you for dinner and drinkies next time). We had a flight from Auckland to Sydney (having flown to Auckland on Aerolingas Argentinas). I kind of liked the Air New Zealand service last time I used them a few years ago so was feeling relaxed about the prospect of travelling with them again.
We were to check-in in Auckland and leave on NZ719 departing Auckland at 13:00 and arriving in Sydney at 14:30. We then had to catch a flight from Sydney to Bangkok, British Airways BA 10, departing Sydney at 16:40, so we had left a good two hours to transit Sydney – more than enough time as the travel agent had noted that Sydney recommended one hour as the minimum transit time.
We arrived at Auckland with plenty of time to spare. We went to the check-in desk and asked to check our baggage all the way to Bangkok.
“I’m sorry sir, we cannot do that for you as the policy here is to not allow for the onward checking of baggage when the two flights are not on the same ticket”, said the less than helpful check-in staff of Air New Zealand.
“What do you mean, is this some sort of security policy” asked the somewhat more than normally perplexed Thomo the Lost.
“No – it is policy at this airport” said Air New Zealand.
“What – the airport? Please give me the contact details of the manager of the airport so I can write and complain” asked Thomo.
“Er, well, it is Air New Zealand policy,” noted Air New Zealand. “Let me go and check with my supervisor for you.”
“I checked – we cannot check it through” said Air New Zealand.
“Why is this so” asked Thomo.
“It is policy because if we check your bags through and you miss your connecting flight, you become our responsibility”.
“This is crazy” I noted, “as I have travelled much in the last few years and I have never run across this before”.
In fact, today we checked bags through on Thai Airlines (another Star Alliance member) and checked them through to our destination even though the second leg was on a separate ticket.
The closing note on this entry (other than saying “avoid flying Air New Zealand if you are travelling on another airline”) is that the Air New Zealand flight was about 20 to 30 minutes late leaving Auckland as we sat on the plane and waited the arrival of “the last 3 passengers”. Maybe this is the reason, Air New Zealand cannot get itself organised.
Er, for the record, the British Airways (Qantas?) ground staff at the Sydney transfer desk were very helpful as when we got to the transfer desk we had less than one hour left for checking in and boarding (thank you Air New Zealand) and our bags were only tagged to Sydney. They found our bags, checked us in (we literally walked from the transfer desk and boarded the aircraft). The only wee problem we had was that they tagged the bags LHR and so they were going all the way to Heathrow. Fortunately the ground staff in Bangkok were able to pull them from the flight and I could put on some clean underwear.
Avoid flying Air New Zealand if you are travelling on another airline!