20 Jul 2017

Girl, 7, gifted Chch-Timaru taxi after flight diverted

6:45 am on 20 July 2017

A seven-year-old Wellington girl had an unexpected school holiday adventure when Air New Zealand splashed out for a taxi ride to make sure she got to her grandma's in Timaru after her plane was diverted.

Kaahuia and Moana.

Kaahuia Te Kahika and her grandmother Moana. Photo: Supplied

Kaahuia Te Kahika was on the 7pm flight out of Wellington on Monday night when fog forced it to be diverted to to Christchurch.

Her mother, Jessie Moss, said the 7pm flight was quite late for her daughter, who was kitted out in her pyjamas and excited at the journey.

Ms Moss received a call about 8.30pm from Air New Zealand telling her the flight had not gone as planned and she would be landing in Christchurch.

"Meanwhile, my mother-in-law Moana [in Timaru] was fretting quite a bit," she said.

The airline offered a few options including being sent on a coach with the other passengers, or staying overnight in Christchurch supervised by an Air NZ chaperone.

In the end they put her in a taxi.

The airline paid for a chaperone and the taxi ride, which can cost between $450 and $535 for the 160km journey.

"We were quite surprised it was a taxi because that's quite a massive cost.

"I'm not sure why she didn't go on the bus with the rest of them - but perhaps just for comfort for her."

Ms Moss said she spoke with Kaahuia before she got in a taxi to make sure she was okay, had her special toy lamb and that she had been to the toilet and had a snack.

"She's a super easy-going kid ... she was totally happy and actually really excited. She thought it was all quite a big adventure getting in the taxi and she probably chummed up with the taxi driver as well."

Ms Moss said her daughter was really happy when she arrived at about 11.30pm and thought it was all a lot of fun, despite it being a late evening for her.

She said Kaahuia travelled to Nelson, Christchurch and Timaru quite frequently as an unaccompanied minor to see her grandparents.

She praised Air New Zealand's response and said she felt assured that her daughter was with a staff member the whole trip and that the airline kept in constant contact with her to let her know how the journey was going.