Here is the text of an email I sent to various top management of Jetstar Airlines in Melbourne - for which I have had no meaningful response:
I am writing to report a truly shocking incident at your check-in desk at Christchurch Airport New Zealand yesterday. Ive traveled extensively in my life, all over Europe, the USA, Australasia and have NEVER encountered a shoddy incident like the one I now describe.
I was on a business trip from Auckland, visiting a client in Christchurch. My client had purchased me a return ticket on flight JQ250 ref: P8GPFG departing at 3:05pm local time. I arrived just before 2:30pm at check-in and joined a small queue approx 4-5 people. I thought nothing of waiting for a few minutes obviously. The processing of these few people did take rather longer than expected. I reached the check-in desk at approx 2:38pm. The assistant, a young woman, asked if I had a boarding card I said no, that is what I am there for. She asked if I had a flight booking receipt, I said yes then she asked my name. I told her my name. Then she announced that the flight was closed. I didnt quite get what she meant so I asked her to explain. She repeated that the flight was closed with no further explanation. I said I needed to get back to Auckland, and that I have a paid for booking and I need to get on the flight. She then said there was another flight leaving at 5:40pm, but that I would have to pay an additional $70.
At this point I was in a state of shock and asked her who her supervisor was she pointed to another lady next to her. That lady then started telling me that a flight gets closed at the stated check in time completion (2:35pm in this case) and that she had made an announcement to that effect prior to 2:35pm to the people in the queue. I told her I had been in the queue since a few minutes prior to 2:30pm and had heard nothing to that effect and she argued with me that I couldnt have been there. Then I asked to get on the 5:40pm flight, at which point they refused to book me on that flight. At this point you might presume I was being rude or in some other way exhibiting unruly behavior but I can assure you I was merely expressing strong irritation with this almost unbelievable incident and especially the emphatically non caring attitude.
So I am then totally flabbergasted, and essentially in a state of shock. Honestly, it was really strange, Ive never come across anything like this before in decades of international traveling.
I then rushed quickly to the New Zealand Airways ticketing office there was a flight leaving for Auckland at 3:10pm. It was now approx 2:50pm. The New Zealand staff were a total delight, happy, friendly, and concerned and I was sold a ticket (NZ$254.00) and not only that when I cleared security, there was a New Zealand Airways official looking for me by name, and who then provided me with polite directions for getting to the aircraft.
So what is the net of all this?
My client is out of pocket for the Jet Star flight they booked for me, for which I was refused boarding by your rude, strangely uncaring Christchurch check-in staff.
I am personally out of pocket NZ$254.00 for the flight back to Auckland via Air New Zealand.
My busy work time is now taken up following this through to get your resolution to this very disturbing incident.
In my job, I am an internet marketing, PR, and Social Media Consultant to Hi-Tech companies in New Zealand, who are expanding globally. I fully understand the potentially major impact negative PR can have on companies especially when it virally spreads around the internet, and through TV programs like Fairgo in New Zealand.
I expect to hear from you promptly with your proposed resolution to this truly dreadful incident.