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Lawyer makes Air New Zealand staff cry and brands them racist after being refused entry into lounge

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A lawyer has been ordered to pay more than $30,000 to Air New Zealand after she reduced staff members to tears and accused them of racism. 

Solicitor Anjela Sharma, her husband and their six children, who are all teenagers or adults, flew from Nelson to Auckland before boarding a business class flight from Auckland to India in December 2018 when the conflict began. 

Sharma believed the business class tickets allowed her whole family of eight to access Air New Zealand’s exclusive Koru Lounge in Nelson Aiport before their domestic flight. 

But only the parents were Koru Club members, while their six children were not. Club policy also only allows for one guest per member. 

When the Lounge Hostess questioned their entitlement to use the lounge, the family accused her of being ‘stupid and racist’, court documents revealed.

The airline warned her about her behaviour via email and she was later banned from flying with Air New Zealand in July last year – a decision she challenged in the High Court. 

But Sharma’s claims were rejected by the High Court of New Zealand and she was ordered to pay the airline $31,465 and another $3,407 in disbursements on July 9. 

Solicitor Anjela Sharma, her husband and their six children, who are all teenagers or adults, flew from Nelson to Auckland before boarding a business class flight from Auckland to India in December 2018 when the conflict began

Solicitor Anjela Sharma, her husband and their six children, who are all teenagers or adults, flew from Nelson to Auckland before boarding a business class flight from Auckland to India in December 2018 when the conflict began

Only the parents were Koru Club members, while their six children were not. Club policy also only allows for one guest per member

Only the parents were Koru Club members, while their six children were not. Club policy also only allows for one guest per member

The Sharma family were ‘intimidating’ to Air New Zealand staff when they were in the lounge, according to court documents obtained by the NZ Herald

‘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,’ the documents read. 

‘Members of the applicant’s family called the lounge hostess stupid and racist, and mocked and loudly mimicked her voice when she greeted other passengers entering the lounge.’

Eventually, a security guard was called to the lounge and even offered to call the police to make the family leave. 

Sharma was already notorious among staff at Nelson Airport for ‘bullying’ them until she got her way, according to the documents.   

The barrister and solicitor was later warned about her alleged behaviour via an email from Air New Zealand. 

Sharma's claims were rejected by the High Court of New Zealand and she was ordered to pay the airline $31,465 and another $3,407 in disbursements on July 9

Sharma’s claims were rejected by the High Court of New Zealand and she was ordered to pay the airline $31,465 and another $3,407 in disbursements on July 9

Sharma argued there was no need for the warning email in a separate email to former Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon in April, 2019. 

The mother of six attempted to check in online for an Air New Zealand flight in June 2019, but wasn’t able to do so. 

When she went to check in in person for the flight the next day, she claimed an Air New Zealand staff member was abusive to her, in an argument that left the woman in tears.  

Sharma believed the woman’s tears were all for show but a team leader who witnessed the argument said the lawyer was aggressive.  

‘The team leader describes the applicant (Sharma) criticising the staff member serving her, calling the staff member as ‘pathetic’ and claiming that the staff member had ‘put on the tears’,’ the court documents read.     

After making the Air New Zealand worker cry,  Sharma was banned from flying with the airline on July 2 last year. 

She challenged the decision in the High Court but was ordered to pay a total of $31,484 to the airline earlier this month.  

Sharma was banned from flying with Air New Zealand on July 2 last year.

Sharma was banned from flying with Air New Zealand on July 2 last year.

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