Air new zealand cancelling flights many months in advance and keeping your money

Planes

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We are Australian and Air new zealand has just cancelled our flights that are after christmas. They claim its out of their control due to Covid and thus dont have to provide any refunds even though they cancelled it.

1) there does not seem to be any government determination that borders will still be closed on our dates and other airlines are still providing flights on this date on the same route. So I dont get how they claim its out of their control at this point. I was still hoping to go on the trip and i still think there is a small chance borders will be open by then. A lot can happen in nearly 5 months.

2) even if the government did decree borders closed and out of their control due to covid would there be anything we can do to get our money back? They offer credit for 12 months with extra charges for rebooking (the extra charges sounds terribly poor given they cancelled) but we cant use it anyway as we are using most of our leave in January so will have no leave left for another international trip. i always thought no refund cancellation policies only applied if we cancelled. Never would consider that they applied if the airline cancelled. Whats to stop them from taking peoples money and just cancelling flights and pocketing everyones money for the next 6 months?
 

drron

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Just as well I haven't forgiven the Kiwis for Ansett. :D
That does sound terrible.Might help contacting their consumer affairs to see if it is legal.
 

Percy Bottle

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I also had flights (for this September) between Aus & NZ cancelled by AirNZ. I rang them an asked for a refund rather than a credit. They declined after "checking with my supervisor", a couple of times. The conditions in my original ticket confirmation are just a link to the AirNZ web site. When I follow the link, there are words about not giving refunds if the cause of the cancellation is outside of AirNZ's control, and they specifically mention a pandemic as an example of something outside their control. Since this is just a link to a current web-page, I have no idea whether those words have been altered since I bought the tickets. Not knowing any better, I'm resigned to accepting the future flight credit. I haven't been given any details about whether I'll have additional booking fees to pay. I also had paid a deposit on a mobile home rental, which is being treated the same: a credit for use in the future.

Although we had booked the trip for a specific purpose which no longer exists, unlike the original poster, I shouldn't have a problem taking leave if/when the borders open up, so I should be able to use my credits. But since the original reason for travelling to NZ has gone, we might have considered alternatives if we could have gotten a refund.
 

Percy Bottle

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Actually, this also reaises an interesting question about travel insurance. If @Planes is unable to use their credit, can they make a travel insurance claim? I booked travel insurance at the time of booking my tickets to NZ, and I think that was before the pandemic really hit. Presumably, because the airline has given me a credit, I can't make a claim. But what if I get to the end of 2021 and haven't been able to book a new trip? The credit expires. Can I make a claim against my original travel insurance which was taken out at the beginning of this year?
 

kyanar

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Here's what the conditions used to claim up until February 2020


You are entitled under Article 9.2.1 if those terms applied to alternative routing on another carrier (it does not say same alliance). However Article 10.2.3 does seem to back their "no refund, credit only" policy.
 

Percy Bottle

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Here's what the conditions used to claim up until February 2020

Thanks for finding that, @kyanar. It looks like they added the example of pandemics after February. But they always had "if outside of our control" then we can give a refund OR credit. Fair enough.
 

RAM

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Thanks for finding that, @kyanar. It looks like they added the example of pandemics after February. But they always had "if outside of our control" then we can give a refund OR credit. Fair enough.
No that is not necessarily correct. If you pay for a service that they do not deliver then you are VERY likely to be covered by Australian law (if booked in or via Australia), if booked in the UK or Europe then you're even better off. I suspect the same or very similar consumer rights apply in NZ.

Just remember Q tried this on and got rebuked by the ACCC. Despite Q putting this up on their web site etc - a company cannot just disregard the law of the land no matter how many people get free memberships of exclusive lounges....

Depending where/how you booked - contact the ACCC or their equivalent.
 

Percy Bottle

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Hi @RAM, I did book in Australia using AirNZ's Australian-facing web site. However, I checked the ACCC web site just now, and they have FAQ pages that explicitly address this kind of thing for Covid-19 related cancellations. They say that credit notes are perfectly acceptable as long as (a) they didn't make any prior promises of refunds, and (b) the credit notes have a reasonable life span before they expire. Because I bought the cheapest on-special fare, they never promised any refunds and I've got until end of 2021 to re-book.

This is not a big drama for me, because I'll be happy to holiday across the ditch sometime when we're allowed to travel again.
 

RAM

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Hi @RAM, I did book in Australia using AirNZ's Australian-facing web site. However, I checked the ACCC web site just now, and they have FAQ pages that explicitly address this kind of thing for Covid-19 related cancellations. They say that credit notes are perfectly acceptable as long as (a) they didn't make any prior promises of refunds, and (b) the credit notes have a reasonable life span before they expire. Because I bought the cheapest on-special fare, they never promised any refunds and I've got until end of 2021 to re-book.

This is not a big drama for me, because I'll be happy to holiday across the ditch sometime when we're allowed to travel again.
That was the exact line that Q put out - and was shot down by the ACCC. If you feel like the cash then as you were not provided the product/service - you should be entitled to it.

May be worthwhile having a read through this summary post which provides a play-by-play pon the Q refund saga:

 

oz_mark

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No that is not necessarily correct. If you pay for a service that they do not deliver then you are VERY likely to be covered by Australian law (if booked in or via Australia), if booked in the UK or Europe then you're even better off. I suspect the same or very similar consumer rights apply in NZ.

Just remember Q tried this on and got rebuked by the ACCC. Despite Q putting this up on their web site etc - a company cannot just disregard the law of the land no matter how many people get free memberships of exclusive lounges....

Qantas got rebuked as their own Conditions of Contract specified that a refund was available.
 

Revenge

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Qantas got rebuked as their own Conditions of Contract specified that a refund was available.
That is my understanding as well. ACCC looked at QF's own terms which said a refund would be an option. So they said they should be held to that.
 

RAM

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That is my understanding as well. ACCC looked at QF's own terms which said a refund would be an option. So they said they should be held to that.
However, an airline's terms & conditions DO NOT over-ride the applicable legislation.

An airline can say they will not refund a ticket (in the normal course of business being the implied assumption under the legislation) which is in conflict with the legislation. So airline's T&Cs are invalidated & refund can be claimed. ACCC did not state 'only certain tickets must be offered a refund', they said ALL Q passengers given flight credits MUST be offered a refund.

CV is not normal course of business - so normally I'd be seriously asking the question regardless. Due to CV - even more likely to be in your favour - a service not delivered cannot be charged for (so much recent case law in Australia came out of the Banking Royal Commission, eg: AMP charging for services not provided).

Q, for example, would not even be on thin ice IMHO as they have refused to pay a number of their airport charges due.
 

Revenge

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Just received an update from NZ.

We have two important updates to share with you about your credit with Air New Zealand.
Credit validity
Firstly, to acknowledge the ever-changing situation and limited options to fly internationally, your credit will be valid until 31 December 2021. You can use it at any time up until then to book new travel. You will then have 12 months to complete your travel from the time you make your new booking. For example, you may use your credit for flights up until 31 December 2022.
Using your credit
Secondly, we would like to update you on how you can access your credit.
As you may be aware, we have rolled out our new online credit redemption tool, which some customers can now use. However, there are still a number of credits the tool will not yet recognise. Unfortunately, this includes your cancelled booking below.​
Your cancelled booking:
Booking reference: xx_xx_
Original departure date: 9-Apr-20
Your original trip included flights from Gold Coast to Vancouver.​
Your credit redemption options
We’re developing the tool so you will be able to access your credit online soon, and we’ll be in touch as soon as this is possible. Thank you for your patience while we work through this.
In the meantime, if you would like to book new flights, please call our Contact Centre.​
 

straitman

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This all seems like another reason not to book Air NZ.

I have only used them once since the Ansett debacle which had a direct effect on many of my friends.
 
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