Search

Holiday couple stranded in New Zealand as country goes into lockdown

PUBLISHED: 11:42 25 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:09 25 March 2020

Jade Hatfield and Mitchell Human have been left stranded in New Zealand as flights have repeatedly been cancelled Picture: JADE HATFIELD

Jade Hatfield and Mitchell Human have been left stranded in New Zealand as flights have repeatedly been cancelled Picture: JADE HATFIELD

Archant

A Suffolk couple are desperately trying to secure flights back to the UK from New Zealand after their dream holiday turned into a disaster because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The couple left the UK for a three-week holiday at the start of March Picture: JADE HATFIELDThe couple left the UK for a three-week holiday at the start of March Picture: JADE HATFIELD

Jade Hatfield and Mitchell Human flew to the country at the start of March for a three-week holiday, but are now taking refuge in a hostel as they hope to secure a route home.

But the pair have been left frustrated by both extortionate flight prices and frequent airline cancellations.

Miss Hatfield, from Haverhill, said: “Everything was absolutely fine, but then we got the feeling that we should really get back home.

“We have been pleading with our travel agents to get us home sooner.

“But you can’t get hold of anyone to talk about this.”

MORE: Join our Facebook group for updates on coronavirus in Suffolk

New Zealand - which has 205 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 - is currently in lockdown, with citizens ordered to stay at home.

Miss Hatfield and Mr Human had been travelling throughout the country, visiting both the North Island and South Island, as the coronavirus crisis escalated worldwide.

They decided to cut their holiday short and head home to be with their families, spending hundreds to change their flights to an earlier date.

But as almost all flights to the UK stop in countries that have closed their borders, their efforts so far have been fruitless as airlines suspend their services.

Flights that have been running have proved particularly expensive, with one priced at £7,500 per seat.

Miss Hatfield said providers have been taking customer’s money before cancelling flights, only offering credit instead of a full refund.

She and her partner have managed to secure temporary accommodation in a hostel in Auckland - but if they left to go to the airport and their flight was cancelled, they would not be able to return due to government guidelines.

In response, a Haverhill resident has launched a GoFundMe page to help the pair secure funding for flights and accommodation.

Miss Hatfield added: “We need to know the flight we book is taking off before we leave this hostel.

“We are stranded here. It’s quite a worrying time for us.

“We feel we have just been abandoned and we are worried about our families.”

MORE: Junior doctors from mental health trust to join coronavirus fight

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad. Coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges our community has ever faced, but if we all play our part we will defeat it. We're here to serve as your advocate and trusted source of local information.

In these testing times, your support is more important than ever. Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star