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#269902 13-Apr-2020 21:54
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Back at the end of last year we bought return flights flying Air NZ from Chch to Los Angeles in September this year. We are fully expecting to lose our money here, but a friend in a similar situation found and forwarded to me this article from the US Department of Transportation which says:

U.S. and foreign airlines remain obligated to provide a prompt refund to passengers for flights to, within, or from the United States when the carrier cancels the passenger’s scheduled flight or makes a significant schedule change and the passenger chooses not to accept the alternative offered by the carrier. The obligation of airlines to provide refunds, including the ticket price and any optional fee charged for services a passenger is unable to use, does not cease when the flight disruptions are outside of the carrier’s control (e.g., a result of government restrictions).


On the face of it, this does seem to cover our likely situation - flights to the US which are canceled due to airline cancelation or government restrictions (assuming the current border restrictions will still be in place in September).

However, surely this legislation only affects those who bought their tickets in the US?

Link: https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/us-department-transportation-issues-enforcement-notice-clarifying-air-carrier-refund

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  #2460811 13-Apr-2020 21:54
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Allow me to introduce you folks to our new travel community: TravelTalk NZ.

 

We hope to see you there!

 





I am the Geekzone Robot and I am here to help. I am from the Internet. I do not interact. Do not expect other replies from me.



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  #2460820 13-Apr-2020 22:23
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My understanding is yes and no.

If you were American and asking for a refund you would get it under their law. If you are not you will get credit as that is what air new is offering




 
 
 
 


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  #2460854 14-Apr-2020 06:51
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I wonder what happens if you bought your tickets from NZ but from a US based airline?


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  #2460863 14-Apr-2020 07:51
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AirNZ is refunding according to DOT directives. 





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  #2460970 14-Apr-2020 11:44
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It 100% does apply, there is no reference to US citizens only etc.  There is an awkwardness around Air NZ denying it to certain clients, Kiwis for example.  The difficult thing is if they decline you repeatedly, what are your other options.  I would argue you need in writing them denying you rights to a refund despite the DOT legislation, file a DOT complaint, if you haven't heard anything within 7 days call them back and inform then you will be applying for a charge back and do it.

 

Its interesting in the sense many fans of the airline are arguing one should support them for longevity.  Thats a lovely altruistic concept, but different people have been effected heavily by the virus financially.  I think its reasonable for people to want a refund on a service that is not being supplied.  Its a shame that NZ consumer rights don't cover this, but I guess lucky that DOT does.


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  #2461010 14-Apr-2020 12:46
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Air NZ is not denying it to kiwi’s. As far as I can tell they are crediting for non-US flights, and refunding for US flights.

 

Although I’m personally ok with the credit Model, I’m against a mixed model and they should now, in my opinion, treat all of their customers the same.





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  #2461072 14-Apr-2020 13:30
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That is not what people are saying over at FlyerTalk.  In many cases it was taking several calls to get a refund, so it would be fair to say its not something they are offering unless you specifically point out the legislation, and even then its a lottery

 

1. Had three tries before getting an agent who understood DOT rules.
2. She issued me a refund (sent me an email confirmation) on Thursday.
3. Today (Saturday) the credit posted to my credit card.

 

 

Just called airnz re DOT
supervisor was adamant that it only applied to us citizens or if u brought ur ticket from US
they didn’t care that it clearly states tickets to, within, from USA

I told him I will be making a complaint with DOT

This supervisor was beyond arrogant

 




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  #2461138 14-Apr-2020 14:50
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itxtme:

 

Its interesting in the sense many fans of the airline are arguing one should support them for longevity.  Thats a lovely altruistic concept, but different people have been effected heavily by the virus financially.  I think its reasonable for people to want a refund on a service that is not being supplied.  Its a shame that NZ consumer rights don't cover this, but I guess lucky that DOT does.

 

 

Damn right. If Air New Zealand want donations they can setup a GiveALittle / GoFundMe and those "fans" can donate there. While I sympathise with Air NZ's current situation, I don't sympathise to the point that I wish to give them $4000+ in return for absolutely nothing. How can Air NZ expect people to accept credits when they've publicly stated they'll be a largely domestic airline with "some" overseas services that will therefore be harder to get and no doubt much more expensive. Plus, is it even responsible to travel within the next 12 months given the risks to health? There is too much uncertainty to expect people to comfortable accepting credits.


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  #2461144 14-Apr-2020 15:02
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Perhaps you are not understanding. If your flight is cancelled, you can get a refund.





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  #2461164 14-Apr-2020 15:39
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BlinkyBill:

 

Perhaps you are not understanding. If your flight is cancelled, you can get a refund.

 

 

My comment above is really regarding the situation with all cancellations, not just ones that involve the US.


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  #2461174 14-Apr-2020 15:51
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itxtme:

 

Its interesting in the sense many fans of the airline are arguing one should support them for longevity.  Thats a lovely altruistic concept, but different people have been effected heavily by the virus financially.  I think its reasonable for people to want a refund on a service that is not being supplied.  Its a shame that NZ consumer rights don't cover this, but I guess lucky that DOT does.

 

 

I don't think you understand the airline model - it's one where forward bookings cover current costs. If Air NZ were forced to refund every single ticket for forward bookings they would probably be very close to being insolvent, and unable to trade at all without a further fairly significant handout from the government (remembering their current one is a loan).

 

 

 

 


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  #2461175 14-Apr-2020 15:54
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sbiddle:

 

itxtme:

 

Its interesting in the sense many fans of the airline are arguing one should support them for longevity.  Thats a lovely altruistic concept, but different people have been effected heavily by the virus financially.  I think its reasonable for people to want a refund on a service that is not being supplied.  Its a shame that NZ consumer rights don't cover this, but I guess lucky that DOT does.

 

 

I don't think you understand the airline model - it's one where forward bookings cover current costs. If Air NZ were forced to refund every single ticket for forward bookings they would probably be very close to being insolvent, and unable to trade at all without a further fairly significant handout from the government (remembering their current one is a loan).

 

 

 

 

 

 

But why should that model be the customers problem? And if it is the case how are US airlines coping when they have to refund due to DOT rules?


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  #2461214 14-Apr-2020 16:26
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cshwone:

 

But why should that model be the customers problem? And if it is the case how are US airlines coping when they have to refund due to DOT rules?

 

 

Virtually every airline in the world is acting no differently to Air NZ - they're doing their best not to hand money back to customers. Every US airline is operating in the very same way, and while there is only anecdotal evidence, certainly plenty of people in the US are taking a credit and not a refund. Getting a refund from some airline has been a very convoluted process.

 

And as for "why should that model be the customers problem" I'd answer that by asking how you think an airline should operate. They're an incredibly capital intensive, low margin business.

 

If you look at how many of the US airlines are handing this they're acting very differently because of their laws. Lots of airline staff over there are on extended unpaid leave, or leave where they are only receiving a fraction of their normal pay.

 

 

 

 


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  #2461241 14-Apr-2020 17:08
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sbiddle:

 

I don't think you understand the airline model - it's one where forward bookings cover current costs. If Air NZ were forced to refund every single ticket for forward bookings they would probably be very close to being insolvent, and unable to trade at all without a further fairly significant handout from the government (remembering their current one is a loan).

 

 

There are thousands of examples of businesses that rely on forward bookings for cash flow.  The question is why are some airlines needing bail outs immediately and others not?  I suggest we are looking at an airline that has not prepared for a rainy day, granted nobody foresaw how rainy it was going to get.  I havent seen the latest financials for them but 2018/19 saw 150+% of free cash dividends paid out, plus share buy backs. The likes of Qantas have generated a decent war chest comparably and apparently don't need an immediate bail out, so have some behaved a little more recklessly?

Equally what is your comment to those who have lost jobs or income and want their money back for a service they did not receive? They are entitled to it*, so whats is your argument for misleading behaviour by the airline?

 

Edit: * I am referring to the DOT claim for US based flights


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