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'I have no understanding': Woman receives terminal cancer diagnosis — and has to pay $8,000 to rebook flight

'I have no understanding': Woman receives terminal cancer diagnosis — and has to pay $8,000 to rebook flight

Air New Zealand has since apologised. (archive photo)

Corner stone

An American woman was diagnosed with terminal cancer while on vacation. When she wants to rebook her flight home, an expensive surprise awaits her.

no time? Blue News sums it up for you

  • An American couple paid $23,000 for a flight.
  • Rebooking after a late-stage cancer diagnosis cost the couple another $8,000.
  • Air New Zealand has now apologized to the couple.

Todd and Patricia Kerekes paid $23,000 for their flights from New York to Auckland, New Zealand. The business class flights were supposed to mark the beginning of a very special four-month journey.

Six weeks into the vacation, Patricia Kerekes suddenly became ill. During an examination in New Zealand, it was discovered that she had gallbladder cancer. Doctors estimated he had four months to live.

On the advice of doctors, the couple decided to return home. In conversation with «Radio New Zealand» Todd says he spent about four hours trying to organize a return trip.

Despite being told it was an emergency, Air New Zealand staff showed no mercy. “An employee told me I would have to pay about $8,000 for flights, emergency or not.” The fact that the couple had already put $23,000 on the table didn't matter to the employees.

“I was really surprised people weren't more helpful. In the end we paid $8,000, even if I didn't understand it.”

After all, after Radio New Zealand's report, the airline contacted the couple and apologized. Officials announced that they would closely examine internal operations and wanted to recover the couple's money.