Passengers on Air NZ flight to Dunedin forced to return to Auckland due to fog, twice

Felicia Alkin and her family were on two flights that were turned around due to fog in Dunedin, both on the same day.

Felicia Alkin/Supplied

Felicia Alkin and her family were on two flights that were turned around due to fog in Dunedin, both on the same day.

A woman and her family embarked on the trip to Dunedin – twice – before being forced to return to Auckland due to fog.

Lioness Gym for Women owner Felicia Alkin​ and her family boarded a plane home to Dunedin from Auckland on Monday, after opening a new fitness studio in Rotorua.

The Air New Zealand plane was descending into Dunedin about 11am when the plane suddenly started going up again.

A few minutes later, the pilot told passengers the plane could not land as “the clouds were too close to the [airport] building”, Alkin said.

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An Air New Zealand spokesperson confirmed the two flights had to return to Auckland due to fog, which also cancelled two Auckland-bound flights from Dunedin. (File photo)

Ricky Wilson/Stuff

An Air New Zealand spokesperson confirmed the two flights had to return to Auckland due to fog, which also cancelled two Auckland-bound flights from Dunedin. (File photo)

“We flew all the way back to Auckland.”

After the plane landed about 12.30pm, Alkin turned her phone on and received a notification from Air NZ that her family had been rebooked onto a 4.30pm flight to Dunedin.

However, they boarded that flight and were about halfway to Dunedin when the pilot announced they would be returning to Auckland, again.

“They just said they couldn’t do the landing.”

Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran says customers should book early to avoid paying high airfares (video published June 2022).

Alkin said she recognised many of the other passengers as people who were also on her first flight.

“Everyone was like ‘ooh, again?’.”

To avoid her two young children getting upset, Alkin said she tried to make it seem like they were on a “fun adventure”.

“We enjoyed a couple of flights for free.”

But Alkin said it was not fun trying to find accommodation for the night, as their new flight wasn’t until the next day.

“I was on the phone constantly trying to find hotels nearby the airport and all of them were fully, fully booked.”

It was about 10pm when the family arrived at a hotel in the Auckland CBD, which Air New Zealand booked for them.

An Air NZ spokesperson confirmed flights NZ679 and NZ677 had to return to Auckland due to fog.

Both flights were on Airbus A320 planes.

Flights NZ664 and NZ680 from Dunedin to Auckland were also cancelled.

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