Holiday couple stranded in New Zealand as country goes into lockdown
- Credit: 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.
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.
You may also want to watch:
“But you can’t get hold of anyone to talk about this.”
New Zealand - which has 205 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 - is currently in lockdown, with citizens ordered to stay at home.
- 1 Film crews shooting new Netflix film in Suffolk village
- 2 Suffolk-based former Marine found dead after 10-month disappearance
- 3 Two mega prisons for 3,500 inmates set to be built near RAF base
- 4 Overturned trailer causing delays on roundabout near Bury St Edmunds
- 5 Five people injured in 'violent disorder' at Newmarket racecourse
- 6 Town sign 6ft 5ins striker as Nsiala, Jackson and Barry all start for U23s
- 7 Air ambulance called to incident on Bury St Edmunds estate
- 8 Rovers bottom, Town starting to click, key men back... is this the night?
- 9 Delays on Orwell Bridge near Ipswich
- 10 Aldi to open 100 new supermarkets with eyes on four towns in Suffolk
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.”