Kāpiti Coast District Councillor K Gurunathan (Guru) has castigated Jetstar airline officials for failing to help a relative trying to rush to Auckland after the death of shark victim Adam Strange.
Cr Gurunathan says Mr Strange’s aunt Kay Cresswell, of Paraparaumu Beach, had booked with Jetstar to go to Auckland next week.
He says: “When news of this tragedy broke she tried desperately to change her booking to an earlier flight so she could be in Auckland to provide support to a family in shock and grief. But Jetstar management were unsympathetic.
“They then demanded $350 to make any change. Or, she was told, she could get a flight which was to leave in an hour!”
Note: The Kapiti Independent checked this story with Kay Cresswell this morning (following a phone query from the Jetstar PR Dept). Kay Cresswell says she called Jetstar by cellphone from Paraparaumu yesterday afternoon. The young woman Ms Cresswell dealt with was ‘helpful’ but said she had to refer the request for a ‘compassionate’ seat to management. She says this took 10 minutes and the answer from Jetstar management was ‘no.’
Earlier, the shark — possibly up to 12 feet long — killed Mr Strange near Muriwai Beach, West Auckland. It disappeared after police who were attempting to save Mr Strange fired gunshots.
Soon after Mr Strange’s mother and Aunt heard the news, Ms Cresswell phoned Jetsar to try to make the urgent booking , but finally received the unsympathetic reply from management
Cr Gurunathan’s reaction
Mr Gurunathan, who is a ward Councillor for Paraparaumu, says: ” I am appalled by this corporate profiteering
“I wish to convey my deepest sympathy to Mr Strange’s mother — and to his Aunt Kay.”
“Mr Strange’s mother Janette and his aunty are both residents of Paraparaumu Beach.”
Guru adds: “I am issuing this public statement because I am appalled by the behaviour of air passenger carrier Jetstar.
“But I wish to thank the police who were very supportive and helped to arrange an alternative flight on Air New Zealand.”