After learning she had breast cancer, a New Zealand woman's initial bid to postpone a flight that interrupted her first radiation treatment was declined by Air New Zealand. Jackie McKenzie of Christchurch claims a representative from the airline cited that her compassionate consideration application was rejected because her illness was "only breast cancer."
McKenzie told Fairfax NZ News that the bid denial left her in tears. “I hung up the phone, fell to my knees, and just cried. I haven't cried like that through this whole cancer scare. [The representative] belittled what I'm going through when I have tried so hard to be positive about all this.”
In August, McKenzie booked flights to Brisbane for a trip with her husband and daughter. She was diagnosed with breast cancer just days later. After McKenzie asked Air New Zealand to postpone the $1,800 flights (roughly $1,400 US dollars), an airline representative told her the application was declined because her ailment was "only breast cancer."
McKenzie then asked to speak to a manager, who affirmed that the bid was rejected because cancer is an ongoing condition, "not a bereavement or a critical illness.”
After Fairfax Media contacted Air New Zealand about McKenzie's story, the mother was later told "the value of her fares would be held in credit until she was well enough to use them."