It started with an ominous email: “We urge New Zealanders currently travelling overseas to consider returning home while commercial options remain available,” the foreign affairs ministry wrote.
For citizens of the nation at the bottom of the world, long-haul travel can be stressful at the best of times – returning from the northern hemisphere usually takes a full 24 hours, including multiple stopovers.
New Zealanders have since reported tearful and angry scenes at London’s Heathrow airport as travellers attempted to board flights home but were barred from doing so.
“When we arrived at the airport, we found out only people who had American visas or green cards, if you were going through Los Angeles, would be able to get on the plane,” one traveller, Haydn Read, told Radio New Zealand.
Donald Trump has instituted a travel ban on travellers from Britain and Europe. Those barred from the flight panicked because the London to Los Angeles route on Air New Zealand – the country’s national carrier – is due to halt on Friday.
The disputes as passengers attempted to push into queues for tickets with other airlines were “in some cases, physical”, Read wrote in a post on LinkedIn.
“There is a burgeoning question from me to our government about the hundreds, even thousands who will/cannot get home,” he wrote. “I would like to see Air NZ, with backing from the government come and get anyone who wants/needs to get home.” Read More…..