A customer service fail for Air NZ

I’m a big fan of most of what Air NZ does. Their technology investment has been great (love my m-pass and e-pass), and I fly then when I can. I love their safety video (and one of the “stars” was working on my domestic flight today – poor girl – everyone talking to her about it). So I am not an Air NZ basher.

But I couldn’t believe their customer service at the international terminal today. I got there at around 11.30 for a 3.30 flight to Thailand. I’m on Thai Air, but Air NZ do the checkins for them.

Bad enough that at 11.30 they have not even assigned a desk for check ins, so you literally do not even know where to wait. Then at 11.50 they put up a sign for the flight, so I go to the allocated desk, to be told that they will not be checking people in until 12.30 pm. Now I’ve flown a lot and at many airports you can check in for an international flight at any time that day. How hard is it to just have even one person catering for early check ins?

Then around midday the check in staff appear. They chat to each other for a while, and then they go sit behind their desks. But because it is not 12.30 we still can not check in. Yep you had Air NZ staff sitting there behind their desks doing nothing at all, while a large queue is waiting in line frustrated. And the magically at 12.30 we are allowed to approach them.

Why in Gods name would they not just start checking people in, the moment staff are ready?

I don’t blame any of the staff. They are following orders. But someone in Air NZ management needs to get a culture change – don’t force people to queue up, when you actually have staff ready and able to work. They could have easily started check in 20 minutes earlier.

UPDATE; Consensus from the comments is Air NZ not to blame, as Thai would have contracted them for a start time, and they may not even be able to access the computer system earlier. Fair enough. My complaint to Air NZ then becomes a request – can they pass feedback onto Thai that by the three hour mark there are over a score of passengers already waiting to check in, and contracting Air NZ to have even one staff member start earlier would increase customer satisfaction!

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