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Air New Zealand brings back COVID credit policy

written by Adam Thorn | July 11, 2022

A three-year-old Air New Zealand A321, ZK-NNB, as shot by Victor Pody

Air New Zealand is bringing back its COVID flight credits policy in light of rising COVID cases and winter illnesses.

The move will put pressure on Australian airlines to extend their equivalent offers, with Qantas and Virgin’s flexibility schemes having now ended for new bookings.

Qantas scheme, though, does still allow customers who test positive for COVID within seven days of their flight to get a fee-free flight change

The Kiwi flag carrier’s new deal lets customers who are unwell turn their booking into a flight credit or change their departure day with no fee. The offer applies to bookings made until 31 July and applies to both domestic and international travel.

Chief customer officer Leanne Geraghty said, “With more than 670,000 customers booked to travel with us in the next two weeks alone, it’s likely that some will find themselves in a position where they can no longer fly due to illness or looking after unwell family members.

“With sickness and wild winter weather disrupting flights over the past few days, our contact centre team are under an enormous amount of pressure and are doing everything they can to help our customers at this time.

“So we thank our customers for being patient and understanding while we work through these challenges.”

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The finer details of flight credits have become hugely controversial worldwide, with airlines having vastly different terms and conditions.

In the recent ACCC report on the airline industry, which you can read here, the organisation said “a significant number of consumers raised concerns” about Qantas’ policy.

“Qantas’ terms and conditions with respect to credits issued for bookings made from 1 October 2021 state that where a customer cancels the booking and accepts a credit, the credit cannot be used for multiple bookings, and must be put towards a new fare of equal or higher value than the original fare (Single Use Term),” it wrote.

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“The practical effect of the Single Use Term is that customers who seek to book using a flight credit issued for flights booked on or after 1 October 2021 are made to use a different flight booking portal and, in some cases, are not shown cheaper fares that may be available when booking using other payment methods on Qantas’ website.

“The ACCC is looking into these issues, including whether Qantas’ conduct may raise concerns under the Australian Consumer Law. As our investigation is continuing, we are unable to comment further at this time.”

Qantas has strongly denied any wrongdoing, and indicated any fare discrepancies are due to recent rules that restrict flight credit holders to only purchase tickets of the same fare class or higher.

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