BRITISH FAMILY STRANDED IN NEW ZEALAND FOR SEVEN MONTHS AFTER THREE SETS OF FLIGHTS CANCELLED

BRITISH FAMILY STRANDED IN NEW ZEALAND FOR SEVEN MONTHS AFTER THREE SETS OF FLIGHTS CANCELLED

A British family has spent seven months trying to get home to the UK from New Zealand, with three sets of flights being cancelled along the way.

Rachel Broadbent first booked flights from Auckland to the UK in September 2021 for herself, her husband and their 10-year-old daughter.

That first itinerary – flying with Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa – cost the Broadbents NZD4,400 (£2,300) in total. But in January, Lufthansa emailed to say that two legs of the journey had been cancelled, blaming “the current Covid-19 situation” for the change.

The family could have flown as far as Hong Kong, but would have had to make their own arrangements from there.

After taking a refund for the trip, Ms Broadbent rebooked the trip with Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa, paying nearly £1,000 more for the same journey.

This fare fell through, too, with Lufthansa cancelling the Singapore to London leg and booking the family onto a later one – which they would not arrive in time to connect to. Again, they chose to cancel and accept a refund.

“We contacted the airline and said, ‘That’s not going to work’, but they couldn’t offer us anything else through Singapore that would work,” Ms Broadbent told Stuff.co.nz.

Eventually, the airline was able to re-book the family on a flight with Air New Zealand, via Vancouver – the most recent attempt to fly home.

But on 29 April – just after they had paid NZ$200 (£104) for a “Skycouch” seat area, and received their seat numbers – this too fell through.

“We contacted Lufthansa and they said Air New Zealand had cancelled the flight, so I contacted Air New Zealand, and they said the flight was still going ahead and that Lufthansa had cancelled the seats,” says Ms Broadbent.

“So I don’t know what’s happened. All I know is that all of a sudden we don’t have a reservation, and that Air New Zealand has our $200 (for the Skycouch) and Lufthansa has our $5,300 (for the flights),” she adds.

The Broadbents have not travelled to the UK and seen any family members in three years.

“All we can do now is book whatever’s left, and now we’re talking $9,000 or $10,000,” says Ms Broadbent.

“We’ve got all these nice things booked. The last thing you expect is that you’re going to be in the position of suddenly not having any flights – especially when you’ve booked so far in advance,” she adds.

Multiple airlines around the world have suffered cancellations in recent months as travel businesses attempt to “scale up” amid ongoing Covid-19 infections and recent staff cuts.

British Airways has been cancelling dozens of flights per day for the past two weeks, while easyJet has cancelled around 50 a day on several occasions.

Both airlines blamed staff sickness for the cancellations.

The family started booking flights in September 2021

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