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Passengers stuck in Hawaii for 3 nights get cash

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- A group of Air New Zealand passengers were stranded for a third night Monday after being repeatedly told their plane was delayed due to mechanical problems.

The upside?

They're in Hawaii. And every passenger is getting 1,000 New Zealand dollars ($850) in compensation.

Flight NZ9 was due to depart late Saturday from Honolulu for Auckland, but airline officials told the 227 passengers the plane was unable to leave because of problems related to an engine sensor.

They trekked out to Honolulu Airport twice more only to be told a similar story. Some took a flight on another airline. The Air New Zealand flight is now scheduled to depart Tuesday morning - barring any further delays.

The airline has issued an unusual public apology and promised every passenger will be compensated with cash or equivalent in a rewards program.

"Due to the lengthy nature of this disruption, the difficulty we've experienced in adequately communicating with customers and the fact we have repeatedly let them down, we have made the decision that in addition to our unreserved apology we will also be compensating each customer," Carrie Hurihanganui, the airline's general manager of customer experience, said in a statement.

Airline spokeswoman Kelly Kilgour said the problem lay with an engine indicator which was giving a false reading. She said a supplier subsequently sent an incorrect replacement part, but that the correct part was now on the way.

Not helping the airline's public image is the fact that Tim Murphy, the editor-in-chief of the country's largest newspaper, The New Zealand Herald, is one of the stranded passengers and has been posting on Twitter about his experiences.

Asked if the weather was hot in Hawaii, Murphy responded: "beautiful when you get out into it. Not so much when you're queuing perpetually and feeling like Tom Hanks living in the terminal!"

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phpoling July 29 2014 at 9:27 AM

NICE!! It's such beautiful place to be stuck for three days! Extra cash and going on tours and learning how to surf. Not bad!

Flag Reply +5 rate up
bambi4318.barbara July 29 2014 at 10:04 AM

Wow, an airline with a heart that cares about its passengers.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
gramargo bambi4318.barbara July 29 2014 at 6:56 PM

That airline does seem to care. We were going to Tahiti, got to the checkin desk and were told the plane would board at about 2 a.m. instead of early evening. The incoming plane had been delayed at an island port, they said. We were given the choice of waiting at the airport or going to a nearby hotel with a free room and dinner and free to and back shuttle.....guess what we chose! Had a good meal and a nice room, and could watch an important football game as well. And we arrived in the morning instead of middle of the night, so we could see the islands during our approach. I'd fly that airline again, certainly.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
tropicalriderceo July 29 2014 at 11:23 AM

damn! that stuff never happens to me...I got stuck in Newark

Flag Reply +3 rate up
3 replies
billcdaly July 29 2014 at 11:18 AM

So they only have 1 plane?

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
gramargo billcdaly July 29 2014 at 6:57 PM

There's usually only one flight per day (or night, depending on where you are...), so it would take many hours to get another plane there.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
jbdavidson July 29 2014 at 11:49 AM

Cash? O.K., but what about hotel rooms, food, missed work ? $850 ? I think the rooms are that much a night there. And BTW when you have thousands of $$$$ riding on it, MAKE SURE THEY SEND THE RIGHT PART !!!! How much did that wrong Fed-ex package cost ?

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
M jbdavidson July 29 2014 at 4:03 PM

They may be getting a hotel room via the airlines. Airlines generally do that when their are plane problems. As an aside though, hotel rooms are much cheaper than $850.night.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
gramargo M July 29 2014 at 7:00 PM

That's what happened to us when our flight from LAX to Tahiti was delayed.....free room, dinner, shuttle to and from the hotel, with bags checked in at airline so no dragging them about with us.

Flag 0 rate up
kimcrdr July 29 2014 at 1:33 PM

ahhh, If I were to be stuck that would be the place I would want to be!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
bartonlyle July 29 2014 at 10:29 AM

Good job, Kiwis.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
bpante bartonlyle July 29 2014 at 12:55 PM

SPIRIT could take a lesson from a real airlines.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ddstan1120 July 29 2014 at 9:29 AM

Murphy would probably compain if they hung him with a brand new rope.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
tornekrayville July 30 2014 at 12:26 AM

If you ask me NEW ZEALAND is the PARADISE !!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Rick July 29 2014 at 11:21 AM

Really? Hell you can keep me there all the time! $850.00? Give me that once a week....I'll NEVER leave!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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