Passengers traveling from Auckland to Apia had their outbound trip delayed by four hours last Friday morning when a passenger comment was misconstrued.
New Zealand Police were called in to investigate the alleged “security risk” caused by a man who had just boarded Air New Zealand flight NZ990 bound for Apia.
“We have established that the comment was a misunderstanding and no threats were identified,” Senior Sergeant Wendy Pickering told One News NZ.
The commotion resulted in the man being “offloaded” while all remaining passengers were rescreened.
While it remains unclear what was said or who the comment was made to, the airline staff made no joke of the situation.
A passenger told Samoa Global News that passengers were made to disembark and have all their checked bags and carry-on bags rescreened
“I have no idea what he said or even who he said it to.. but it’s definitely a hard lesson to learn and an expensive one for him because as we all know, flights to Apia from Auckland are sky high at the moment.”
NZ Police said the airline reported a threatening comment was made by a passenger, however, after investigation, they found the comment to have been “a misunderstanding”.
“These matters are taken seriously, so police appreciated passengers’ cooperation while this matter was resolved,” said Senior Sergeant Wendy Pickering.
Air New Zealand apologised for the inconvenience caused to passengers.
“We take all security incidents seriously,” the airline said.
Air New Zealand maintains up to ten services weekly between Auckland International Airport and Faleolo International Airport, in which the airline deploys a mix of Airbus A321, Boeing 7879 and 777-300ER aircraft.
The route of just under four hours is arguably one of the most costly in the worls for the distance travelled.
A seat and bag only sky rocketing to up to NZ$1,115 or close to ST$2,000 one way.