Air New Zealand crew resign after booze binge
FOUR Air New Zealand flight attendants have left the airline under a cloud after a booze-fuelled night.
The Herald on Sunday understands all four resigned from the airline on Wednesday after an investigation into a heavy drinking session in Wellington in October.
Details of the case come soon after revelations an off-duty flight attendant "straddled" All Black Israel Dagg on a flight from Los Angeles to Auckland last month.
And in July, crew assigned to fly stranded passengers from Hawaii to Auckland were understood to be drinking heavily, making them unfit for duty if the plane had been airworthy.
The incidents have prompted the national carrier to fire off a warning to all cabin crew about standards of behaviour.
The latest incident involved cabin crew having dinner with two pilots during an overnight stay in Wellington on October 31. Once the pilots had left, the flight attendants continued to drink.
One became so drunk, she reportedly had to be carried back to the Rydges Hotel.
It is understood an intimate video of one of the crew was recorded during the night.
The four were stood down on December 1 before resigning.
Air New Zealand has cracked down on drinking among its 2000 cabin crew members and at least one other person, in an unrelated incident, has resigned this week after failing a breath test before working on a flight.
In-flight service managers are able to breath test crew if they have reasonable cause to suspect that they have been drinking within 10 hours of operating a flight.
The airline would not comment on the case involving the cabin crew's behaviour in Wellington, but confirmed the flight attendants resigned after breaching the company's code of conduct. There was no suggestion they had broken any safety rules.
Bruce Parton, chief operations officer, said the airline took its conduct code extremely seriously. "Customer safety is paramount and non-negotiable," he said.
"Regrettably over the past two months we have had two isolated incidents involving cabin crew who were not operating at the time. As a result of these two isolated issues all cabin crew are being reminded of the standards expected of them."
Meanwhile, the off-duty flight attendant who allegedly straddled Dagg during a flight from Los Angeles on November 27 is back on duty after being given a warning. It was reported she had been drinking during the flight where she had been a passenger.
Cabin crew general manager, Leeanne Langridge, emailed staff after the incident saying that Air New Zealand had "no other choice other than to immediately stop the consumption of alcohol" for crew working on short-haul and mid-haul flights.
A day later, Langridge sent a second email to staff saying her previous email was "a real low point for myself and the team" and labelled the order not to drink as a "drastic" measure.
"It culminated in yet another incident we were faced with involving crew and alcohol consumption while on duty," she wrote.
"I believe that given the level of commitment displayed over the last 24hrs to work to resolving these issues I'm comfortable for you to use your discretion whilst positioning on whether or not you choose to have a drink or not."