I was surprised to wake up this morning to an email from United Airlines offering a travel waiver for Auckland. A travel waiver allows for voluntary changes for travel to, from or through the airport(s) listed. In this case it’s Auckland Airport (AKL) and for travel dates January 27 – 29. RELATED: 12 Things in Travel You Need to Know Today

Their reason was Auckland Severe Weather. I did a quick search and saw the devastating images and news of the torrential rain and floods in the city and the airport. According to the New Zealand Herald: “A record amount of rain had fallen on Auckland in 24 hours – by 1am, the region had recorded 249mm (9.8 inches) of rain, smashing the previous 24-hour record of 161.8mm (6.3 inches), back in February 1985.”

I logged onto Auckland Airport’s Twitter handle (@AKL_Airport) and see the airport is closed until noon on Saturday (about 6 hours from now since they’re a day ahead). “Due to the damage, no domestic or international flights will be arriving or departing from Auckland Airport before noon Saturday, 28 January.”

I really feel for those who were taking a long-haul flight as many have returned to their origin, like American Airlines Flight 35 from Dallas (screenshot below) or Emirates Flight 448 from Dubai.

Some of these passengers are flying 13+ hours to essentially nowhere, which really hurts. If I was on the plane, I would want to at least divert to a nearby airport so I wouldn’t have to make the trek again.

Below are some images and video of AKL. This situation is going to create a huge mess for days to come.

I’ve been fortunate to travel to New Zealand a couple of times and it’s a beautiful place. The best part about the South Pacific countries are the people. They’re so wonderfully friendly and I really hope they can all recover quickly.


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