Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Nelson lawyer considers her legal options in Koru lounge dispute

A Nelson lawyer who failed to have her travel ban with Air New Zealand lifted says she's considering her legal options.

Anjela Sharma was barred from using the airline's services in 2019 after a dispute over entry into Nelson's Koru Club Members lounge.

In a decision released yesterday, the Auckland High Court dismissed her application for a mandatory interim injunction to immediately remove the ban.

Justice Paul Davidson also dismissed an application to move the proceeding to the High Court in Nelson, where Sharma lives.
She told The Herald she was "considering her options" following the decision, but did not want to comment further.

The lawyer, who has flown with Air New Zealand since 1980, had been a paying Koru Club member since 1996. She is a paid-up member of the club until March 30 2020.

Sharma told the court she was dependent on Air New Zealand's services for work-related travel, to maintain contact with members of her family and for holidays and recreation.

"As a result of the respondent's ban, on 18 and 19 July 2019 she was forced to drive approximately 13 hours to attend one of her son's birthday celebrations in Invercargill," her statement said.

Air New Zealand barred Sharma from its services for a year from July 2, 2019, after a Koru Club Lounge dispute spiralled.
Sharma said she was travelling from Nelson to India in December 2018 with her family when they were challenged on their eligibility to be in the Koru lounge.

On her understanding, their business class tickets entitled them to use Air New Zealand's Nelson Koru Club Lounge, Sharma said.

They were allowed to wait in the lounge for the two hours before their domestic flight from Nelson to Auckland with Air New Zealand, before travelling on a business class flight from Auckland to India with Singapore Airlines.
But while waiting in the lounge, Sharma said staff challenged the family's eligibility to be in the lounge.

Sharma and her husband were Koru Club members, but none of their six children were. Members are allowed to bring a maximum of one guest under the Koru Club policy.

A later report said New Zealand staff who dealt with Sharma found her behaviour abusive and offensive.

"The report described the applicant and members of her family as being very
loud, disruptive, and intimidating during their dealings with the lounge hostess over
their entitlement to use the lounge.
25/02/20 NZ Herald
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