No one wants to deal with the rowdy tourists – not even flight crews.
Tonight, Newshub aired an interview held with the group spokesman, John Johnson.
Mr Johnson told Newshub he and several members of his family had retreated to the hills above Wellington, and were staying in tents.
He claims they fear for their very lives, and dare not show themselves in case they are attacked.
“We’re down a lot of money.” He said – perhaps referring to the email scam they were caught out by several days ago.
The rowdy tourists have captured the interest and vitriol of the nation, to the degree where it has become an international talking point.
A question on the lips of many New Zealanders is, “so when are you guys actually leaving?”
During the interview, Mr Johnson told Newshub he and his family had booked flights out of Wellington “next week”.
The Stuffed Herald reached out to some contacts at Wellington airport to try and pin down a more definite time frame for the rowdy tourists’ departure.
One such contact confirmed they are booked to fly next week. They agreed to speak with us under the condition of anonymity.
“Look, I absolutely can’t tell you what flight they’re on. It’s just not happening.” They said.
“I’ve been warned, we’ve all been warned, not to tell anyone when they’re going. We’ll lose our jobs if we do.”
Our contact explained a memo went out yesterday, prior to Newshub’s segment, informing all Wellington airport staff and flight crews of the rowdy tourists’ impending departure.
The memo stated explicitly that no one was to leak the departure time, as public feeling towards the family made it a security risk.
“We can’t even tell anyone a rough time, or give any clues. The memo said anyone found leaking information could face court action as well as the loss of their job.”
Extra security staff in plain clothes have been rostered on to cover the date the family is due to fly out.
Flight crews react
The Stuffed Herald understands the crew on the affected flight immediately began to try to negotiate a shift swap.
“Nobody wants to fly with them, given their track record.” Said our contact. “Especially not on a long-haul flight.”
A passenger on the flight the family arrived on called it “the worst flight we’ve had”, claiming the rowdy tourists caused chaos during the trip.
“All flight crews have tough flights and challenging passengers occasionally, but no one is keen to do this if they can avoid it. The crew who is rostered for that flight has been offering all kinds of things to team members willing to take their shift.”
Among the offers are vouchers for supermarkets and retail stores, alcohol, food, free babysitting, and even a double pass to Eminem in March.
The flight crew’s colleagues are said to be driving a hard bargain, with negotiations continuing.