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13 October 2023

Flight rights wins: Air New Zealand extends Covid credits and ditches dodgy reimbursement rule

Join our fight for your flight rights and celebrate some of the latest wins, including Air New Zealand giving Covid credit extensions, compassionate refunds, and fairer flight change reimbursements.

Last month, our campaigns team met with Air New Zealand and expressed concern the airline was set to pocket $225 million in unspent Covid credits. We asked Air New Zealand to drop the expiry dates on outstanding Covid credits and to refund passengers who applied for reimbursement.

Air New Zealand has now extended the expiry date on Covid credits by two years. All customers with Covid credits have until 31 January 2026 to book. Travel must be completed by the end of 2026.

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Compassionate refunds for Covid flight credits

The airline said it will continue to provide compassionate refunds to people with Covid credits who are facing financial hardship. It also provides compassionate refunds to people who can no longer travel due to ill health. If you booked directly through Air New Zealand you can email [email protected] to request a refund on compassionate grounds. Others should contact their travel agent to request a compassionate refund.

“We are pleased Air New Zealand has acknowledged pocketing over $200 million of customers’ money was not the right thing to do,” said Jessica Walker, Consumer NZ communications and campaigns manager.

Reimbursement for flight changes within Air NZ’s control

We have also succeeded in getting Air New Zealand to ditch its dodgy 14-day rule. Until recently, the airline claimed it wasn’t responsible for any costs passengers incurred because of flight changes within its control, if it provided at least 14 days’ notice of the changes.

“Our team pointed out this rule did not reflect New Zealand civil aviation laws, was not included in Air New Zealand’s conditions of carriage and was likely to mislead passengers and potentially breach the Fair Trading Act,” said Walker.

Air New Zealand has now removed the 14-day timeframe from its reimbursement policies. This means customers can request reimbursement of costs from the airline for schedule changes within the airline’s control, regardless of when the change is notified. Anyone who thinks they have a case for reimbursement should contact the airline.

Add your voice to our flight rights campaign

Our ongoing flight rights campaign calls for much-needed improvements to bring New Zealanders’ flight rights into line with other countries with better protections.

We have already had some success:

  • Air New Zealand has updated its website and produced a guide for passengers affected by delays or cancellations – explaining their consumer rights.
  • The Commerce Commission is investigating our complaint about Jetstar misleading passengers about their rights when flights are delayed or cancelled.

Now we want law reform to strengthen consumer protections. If we had better laws, New Zealanders would have been entitled to refunds when their flights were cancelled due to Covid, and the airlines wouldn’t have got away with providing credits.

If you want to add your voice to our call, please sign our flight rights petition.

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Flight rights campaign

We’re calling for airlines to communicate honestly with passengers about the reason for cancellations and delays, and clearly display their rights.

Learn more

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