Missing a flight is a frustrating experience when you're to blame, but one Rotorua woman found herself "begging" at the gates to board a Qantas flight from Bangkok - despite being on time and medically cleared to fly.
In April, Annette Brons was returning from a month-long trip to the Middle East and India, where she’d had laparoscopic surgery for weight loss.
She’d been cleared to fly by her doctor, including a letter from the hospital, and had checked the Qantas medical guidelines which clearly stated she met the criteria to travel.
The airline’s website stipulates passengers must not fly for the first four days after surgery, but Annette was a week post-operation by the time she got to Bangkok.
But Qantas staff at check in had other ideas, and it turns out they have the discretion to refuse you boarding, even when you meet their criteria.
"I was begging, please let us on the flight, please we've got to get home," she said.
The supervisor rang a company called Medlink, which provides medical consultation services to the airline industry, and Qantas says its advice was that Annette should not fly.
But there was no specific reason given to Annette about what had caused that concern.
Annette says she wasn’t allowed to talk to Medlink, and couldn’t get an answer from Qantas staff either.
"She ripped up our tickets. I said to the manager, 'so what are we supposed to do, when will we be allowed to fly?' and she just shook her head."
Qantas says it has no record of the tickets being ripped up, but told Fair Go in a statement that the decision to refuse Brons travel was made for her health and safety.
"No one would have wanted the aircraft to make a medical diversion," it said.
THE TREATMENT WAS REALLY APPALLING
Annette eventually flew home, safe and sound, on Thai Airways and says she won’t be travelling with Qantas again.
"The treatment was really appalling," she said.
After she got home and complained, Annette was given her ticket in credit - but that would have meant flying to Bangkok just to use it to come home again.
After Fair Go got in touch, Qantas said it acknowledged the "inconvenience" caused by refusing Brons travel that day.
Annette has now been offered a full refund of her fare, and her travel agent Expedia has given Annette a $300 credit to use as well.