Air New Zealand extends booking flexibility with borders closed

written by Adam Thorn | February 11, 2021

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon says the airline is devastated at the death of its engineer in the Christchurch attacks. (Air New Zealand)

Air New Zealand has extended the amount of time passengers have to use their international flight credits as the country’s border remains largely closed.

However, the business said it would revert to its normal fare terms and conditions from 1 April 2021 for domestic flights given it’s now operating at 80 per cent capacity.

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Air New Zealand’s chief customer and sales officer, Leanne Geraghty, said, “We’ve seen many of our customers using their credits already and we’re hopeful Tasman and Pacific travel will be up and running over the coming months.

“For those wanting to go further afield, we recognise this may take longer, which is why we’ve extended the window for opting into credit as well as the length of time people have to use that credit.”

The new rules will come into effect from Wednesday, 17 February 2021 and mean:

  • Customers who hold an existing credit will now have until 30 June 2022 to make a new booking using their credit, and until 30 June 2023 to take the travel. This applies to both domestic and international credits;
  • Customers who book or currently hold tickets for international flights scheduled to depart up until 11:59pm on 30 June 2021 will now be able to: hold the value of their fare in credit for rebooking until 30 June 2022; or amend the date of their flight with change fees waived.

The news comes after Qantas extended its policy for waiving fees passengers have to pay to rebook flights domestically.

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The new offer means those who book domestic or trans-Tasman flights before 30 April 2021 for travel up to 31 January 2022 won’t have to pay a charge to switch. Within days, Virgin Australia moved to match it.

Change fees and booking flexibility has been a key battleground for airlines in the last year. In January, Rex claimed “other carriers” had criticised its COVID refund policy, which allows any passenger affected by border closures to get their money back.

This compares with offers by Virgin and Qantas that only allow refunds if the flight is cancelled by the operator, but not if restrictions change banning certain passengers from flying.

Rex general manager of network strategy, Warrick Lodge, said, “We will not give in to industry pressure. Rex has always led the aviation industry in putting the interests of its customers first.”

Rex added it remains committed to a full refund of all tickets affected by any flight cancellation or rescheduling, “without exception”. You can read Virgin and Qantas’ policies by clicking the links.

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