Picture: Denis Owen

Wellington -

Scores of Air New Zealand passengers have been stranded for three nights after being repeatedly told their plane was delayed due to mechanical problems.

The upside? They're in Hawaii. And every passenger is getting NZ$1 000 ($850) in compensation.

Flight NZ9 was due to depart late on Saturday from Honolulu for Auckland, but airline officials told the 227 passengers the plane was unable to leave because of problems related to an engine sensor.

They trekked out to Honolulu Airport twice more only to be told a similar story. Some took a flight on another airline.

By late Monday, the airline issued an unusual public apology and promised every passenger would be compensated with cash or equivalent in a rewards programme.

The flight is scheduled to depart on Tuesday. - Sapa-AP