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gzt

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  #2516362 2-Jul-2020 18:08
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One factor not mentioned here is travel insurance.

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  #2516543 3-Jul-2020 06:32
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As sbiddle says, plane tickets are covered by the Civil Aviation Act. I don’t understand why anyone would buy a non-refundable ticket and then expect a refund? If the Act was amended to make refunds mandatory, then the price of tickets would ... wait for it ... increase to the current cost of non-refundable tickets. If you want to pay those prices, just buy a refundable ticket now.

 

 





BlinkyBill


 
 
 
 




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  #2516548 3-Jul-2020 07:36
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BlinkyBill:

 

As sbiddle says, plane tickets are covered by the Civil Aviation Act. I don’t understand why anyone would buy a non-refundable ticket and then expect a refund? If the Act was amended to make refunds mandatory, then the price of tickets would ... wait for it ... increase to the current cost of non-refundable tickets. If you want to pay those prices, just buy a refundable ticket now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is absurd, I have herd this logic a few times, however there are some differences which are often overlooked, refundable tickets are often a lot more expensive because of the 100% flexibility they offer, a customer can cancel for any reason at any time no questions asked and get their money back. If there was no higher fee to deter this people would buy cheap tickets that are refundable even if they are only 10% sure they will actually take the flight, so they have reserved the flight with very little intention of taking it, but they MIGHT take it so they buy the ticket, then a few days before they decide not to go and to get a refund leaving the airline with a day or two to sell a seat (which is probably quite unlikely). This would throw airline into chaos with last minute cancelled flights due to low passengers, and angry passengers that their flight has been cancelled.

 

The difference with the laws in the USA and Europe is that a refund on any ticket type, is only a right of the passenger if the airline cancels the flight, I think that is good and fair. The law in the EU actually states the refund must be provided within 7 days which is also fair enough, however with what we are experiencing now with COVID I think most people and fairly understanding of the long wait caused by these exceptional times. I am currently waiting for a refund from Lufthansa which they are obliged to provide me under European law, I have been waiting just under 3 months now but that does not bother me as I know that eventually I will get my money back.

 

Some others have also mentioned insurance, blissfully unaware insurance will not cover cancellations due to pandemics.

 

One thing I have not seen or heard of is what about foreign tourist who may have been coming here and had domestic flights booked with Air NZ, they are no longer coming and have got Air NZ credit they are unable to use as they may not be in NZ before the credit expires or have simply taken there once per 2 year holiday elsewhere?

 

Lufthansa have recently lobbed hard to the German government to be able to provide vouchers which the German government took to the European council where they were promptly told that refunds of cash will continue to be the right of passengers who's flights they have cancelled.

 

As for the for the claim prices would go up, just take a look at what it costs country to country in Europe, its cheap, they sell tickets knowing they are bound by this law.

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 


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  #2516556 3-Jul-2020 08:15
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The cost of flights in NZ is different to Europe for a range of reasons, and adding costs to airlines is almost certain to increase the cost to travellers. That said, COVID-19 is pretty much an act of god (as in rare and unforeseen), so if we were to make cash refunds a requirement under similar circumstances, then given the low probability of a similar event reoccurring, then the cost impact should be minimal. Could be codified as requiring airlines to refund if they are unable to deliver a scheduled service within 1-2 weeks of scheduled date (the 1-2 weeks threshold would give airlines a grace period if flights were postponed due to extreme weather events etc). 

 

 

 

Given that COVID-19 is here to stay for a couple of years at least, I think any law changes around refunds are a long way from being relevant. The more pressing issue is ensuring travelers who get sick don't feel compelled to travel on their non-flexi booking. I understand airlines are offering grace in this respect, but I think ensuring this grace continues would be a more pressing concern for the govt, and something they look to codify if airlines stop playing nicely


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  #2516558 3-Jul-2020 08:24
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David321:

 

BlinkyBill:

 

As sbiddle says, plane tickets are covered by the Civil Aviation Act. I don’t understand why anyone would buy a non-refundable ticket and then expect a refund? If the Act was amended to make refunds mandatory, then the price of tickets would ... wait for it ... increase to the current cost of non-refundable tickets. If you want to pay those prices, just buy a refundable ticket now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is absurd, I have herd this logic a few times, however there are some differences which are often overlooked, refundable tickets are often a lot more expensive because of the 100% flexibility they offer, a customer can cancel for any reason at any time no questions asked and get their money back. If there was no higher fee to deter this people would buy cheap tickets that are refundable even if they are only 10% sure they will actually take the flight, so they have reserved the flight with very little intention of taking it, but they MIGHT take it so they buy the ticket, then a few days before they decide not to go and to get a refund leaving the airline with a day or two to sell a seat (which is probably quite unlikely). This would throw airline into chaos with last minute cancelled flights due to low passengers, and angry passengers that their flight has been cancelled.

 

The difference with the laws in the USA and Europe is that a refund on any ticket type, is only a right of the passenger if the airline cancels the flight, I think that is good and fair. The law in the EU actually states the refund must be provided within 7 days which is also fair enough, however with what we are experiencing now with COVID I think most people and fairly understanding of the long wait caused by these exceptional times. I am currently waiting for a refund from Lufthansa which they are obliged to provide me under European law, I have been waiting just under 3 months now but that does not bother me as I know that eventually I will get my money back.

 

Some others have also mentioned insurance, blissfully unaware insurance will not cover cancellations due to pandemics.

 

One thing I have not seen or heard of is what about foreign tourist who may have been coming here and had domestic flights booked with Air NZ, they are no longer coming and have got Air NZ credit they are unable to use as they may not be in NZ before the credit expires or have simply taken there once per 2 year holiday elsewhere?

 

Lufthansa have recently lobbed hard to the German government to be able to provide vouchers which the German government took to the European council where they were promptly told that refunds of cash will continue to be the right of passengers who's flights they have cancelled.

 

As for the for the claim prices would go up, just take a look at what it costs country to country in Europe, its cheap, they sell tickets knowing they are bound by this law.

 

 

Everything you've said conveniently ignores the fact the DOT and EU laws were never written for a pandemic that would shut down 99% of the global airline industry. They were written to cater for the odd cancellation and to provide consumer benefits in the case of this.

 

Hopefully the 1 in a hundred year scenario we've had will never happen again in our lifetimes. If we were to rewrite our Civil Aviation Act to force better customer protection you can guarantee it will be written to exclude pandemic type scenarios like the very one we are having now.

 

Your example of a foreign visitor who may never visit NZ getting a credit conveniently ignores that Air NZ are offering refunds on a case by case basis. Under such a scenario Air NZ may offer to refund fares. Likewise some airfares depending on the fare rules do offer a cancellation option (even on "non refundable" tickets) for a fee.

 

If you were a US tourist and the tickets were on the same PNR you would get a refund for these. If you were an EU visitor you probably will also. The vast majority of people would book domestic flights on the same PNR so are covered by the rules of their international ticket and the airline it was issued by.

 

I'm happy that you think flying in the EU is cheap. That's not a view I share. If you're happy to fly on a low cost carrier that does it's best exploits labour laws, has questionable training along with paying paying minimum wages I'm totally happy for you. I prefer to fly airlines that are a little more ethical, and find that pricing for flights is not cheap.

 

Flying within NZ is comparatively cheap compared to many other countries, and that's something much of the population simply doesn't seem to understand.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  #2516568 3-Jul-2020 08:55
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I believe the easy cancellation in US leads their airlines to overbook as they assume a level of no- shows. Result is there is the risk of being ‘bumped’ When everyone does turn up.

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  #2516636 3-Jul-2020 09:51
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I've always thought of refundable fares as being "refundable in case I the traveler change my mind", not "refundable if the contract isn't delivered on for some reason completely outside my control".  The only single time I've ever bought a refundable ticket in the 35 years I've been travelling internationally is when I knew I was going to have to cancel it but needed to show onward travel at check-in.  So, COVID has added a new perspective.  This also seems to be the way the fares have been marketed in the past, and presumably that will change also.  I would doubt that many private travelers would consider paying the often considerable extra fare affordable on the off chance that an event such as COVID happens.  Fine when you're spending someone else's money - although in fact even the large govt dept I work for has very strict rules about booking flexi fares, because of the extra cost.

 

I therefore find some of the views expressed on this thread along the lines around refundable fares surprising.  I guess some have much high travelling budgets than the rest of us.


 
 
 
 


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  #2516795 3-Jul-2020 14:24
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gzt: One factor not mentioned here is travel insurance.

 

Mine (annual policy) has a clause that excludes losses due to pandemics.





Mike

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  #2516797 3-Jul-2020 14:28
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Scotdownunder: I believe the easy cancellation in US leads their airlines to overbook as they assume a level of no- shows. Result is there is the risk of being ‘bumped’ When everyone does turn up.

 

My experience in the US is that they pay people to transfer to a later flight.  I got $US 80 for transferring so that I spent 4 hours waiting in Denver instead of in LA.





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  #2517184 4-Jul-2020 13:44
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I have always thought refundable tickets and flexi fares were more about a traveler paying a premium to be able to cancel or re-schedule flights, not about an airline being able to keep the money that they had charged for a service when they don't provide it. Some people (not me luckily) are out thousands of dollars, for trips they have been saving for years for and money they can't afford to lose, and are left with a voucher that they may be able to redeem at some indefinite time in the future, for whatever routes Air NZ is still flying. I think a refund should be required to be provided.

 

Would people be saying the same thing if it was a furniture supplier "poor Smith's City, they should just keep my money if they can't give me the sofa I have paid for, because they can't afford to pay me back?". I'm not really interested in the jingoistic "but, but, but it's the national airline..." nonsense that I keep hearing crop up. They took the money for a service, they should either provide the service or refund the money. If they haven't got enough money to return what they have taken for a service they aren't providing, then they are insolvent and should be placed into liquidation. Then at least the people they took money from for a non-existent service will at least get some of their money back from the liquidator.

 

If the Government desperately wants to keep a NZ branded airline in existence, they have the option of either bailing Air NZ out, or buying the business as a going concern from the liquidator.

 

If Air NZ are in strife and there are people who are happy to give them money then they should set up a Givealittle page so that those people can give them money if they choose to do so. Not trouser money for a service they are not providing, and may never provide, and wander off into the sunset whistling nonchalantly.... because, hey, National Airline.

 

 

 

 


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  #2517441 4-Jul-2020 23:57
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JimmyH:

 

Would people be saying the same thing if it was a furniture supplier "poor Smith's City, they should just keep my money if they can't give me the sofa I have paid for, because they can't afford to pay me back?". I'm not really interested in the jingoistic "but, but, but it's the national airline..." nonsense that I keep hearing crop up. They took the money for a service, they should either provide the service or refund the money. If they haven't got enough money to return what they have taken for a service they aren't providing, then they are insolvent and should be placed into liquidation. Then at least the people they took money from for a non-existent service will at least get some of their money back from the liquidator.

 

 

This is 100% how I feel about it.  A non-refundable ticket does not mean airline cancel the flight and keep the money.  I also question if US flights are that much more expensive.  The distances travelled are much larger in general.  Its not fair to compare LA to New York with Auckland to Queenstown.  Just checked for a flight from Chicago to New York (2 hours) $112 each way with checked bag.  Dunedin to Auckland $99 each way with a checked bag.  Seem pretty comparable to me.


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  #2517498 5-Jul-2020 11:17
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JimmyH:

 

I have always thought refundable tickets and flexi fares were more about a traveler paying a premium to be able to cancel or re-schedule flights, not about an airline being able to keep the money that they had charged for a service when they don't provide it.

 

 

But why would you think that? I'm genuinely curious because it's certainly not how I think about that. Whenever anybody purchases an Air NZ ticket the option to make it refundable is put before them on the screen. At that point a person is making a decision to calculated decision as to whether they take that option or not - what thoughts cross their mind is something I can't answer however, but you'd assume that at least of that process would be considering the financial risk.

 

I see it as being no different to people who have a car or house with no insurance, or those who travel with no travel insurance. You have made a decision to take the path you have and one would assume have fully considered all the potential consequences of the decision - if you haven't considered all the potential consequences and risk then who's fault really is it?

 

And comparisons with retailers are just stupid. The simple fact is fare rules are what they are, and if people don't understand them then maybe they should actually research them before booking a flight. Even prior to Covid if somebody had say a flight from WLG-AKL that was cancelled due to reasons beyond Air NZ's control and was not a refundable ticket you would not get a refund - you would get a credit. Covid hasn't changed the rules, it is simply lots of people clearly never bothered to take time to understand the rules or read their ticket. Once again a few weeks ago we had yet another case in the media of somebody complaining because they didn't turn up to the airport 30 mins before the flight. Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  #2517501 5-Jul-2020 11:27
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itxtme:

 

JimmyH:

 

Would people be saying the same thing if it was a furniture supplier "poor Smith's City, they should just keep my money if they can't give me the sofa I have paid for, because they can't afford to pay me back?". I'm not really interested in the jingoistic "but, but, but it's the national airline..." nonsense that I keep hearing crop up. They took the money for a service, they should either provide the service or refund the money. If they haven't got enough money to return what they have taken for a service they aren't providing, then they are insolvent and should be placed into liquidation. Then at least the people they took money from for a non-existent service will at least get some of their money back from the liquidator.

 

 

This is 100% how I feel about it.  A non-refundable ticket does not mean airline cancel the flight and keep the money.  I also question if US flights are that much more expensive.  The distances travelled are much larger in general.  Its not fair to compare LA to New York with Auckland to Queenstown.  Just checked for a flight from Chicago to New York (2 hours) $112 each way with checked bag.  Dunedin to Auckland $99 each way with a checked bag.  Seem pretty comparable to me.

 

 

Well yes a non refundable ticket DOES mean an airline can just cancel a flight and keep the money IF the cancellation is beyond their control. This is a basic ticket rule of most airlines. If a cancellation is due to fault of their own then most airlines will offer a full refund.

 

Cherry picking one US flight with one NZ flight is not a good example - because a flight from DUN-AKL can also cost $489 which if the full Y class seat only fare. It's not uncommon when events are on in Las Vegas and flights are full to see flights up to US$1000 for the 1hr flight from LAS-LAX, and the 1hr flight between SFO and LAX can easily cost upwards of US$500

 

If you want to look at a real world example of a 5hr flight lets look at LAX-EWR vs AKL-ADL in a few months. A fully flexible flight LAX-EWR on United will cost US$834 (NZ$1275) in Economy. A fully flexible ticket AKL-ADL on Air NZ will cost NZ$614


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  #2517529 5-Jul-2020 12:50
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sbiddle:

 

If you want to look at a real world example of a 5hr flight lets look at LAX-EWR vs AKL-ADL in a few months. A fully flexible flight LAX-EWR on United will cost US$834 (NZ$1275) in Economy. A fully flexible ticket AKL-ADL on Air NZ will cost NZ$614

 

 

Definitely didn't cherry pick, it was the first one I looked at.  Its not fair for you to do a currency conversion on an airfare to suit your point of view.  I just did a search for LA to Newark and can get return in Nov for $469 vs $808 Akl to AdL.  Seat bag fares but the US ones afford you the US protection.  I dont think thats a fair representation though because its across countries, point is flights in the US can be affordable, but much like NZ if you have no flexibility it can cost.

 

Are you saying that Air NZ did not routinely refund customers there air fare when weather meant that cancellation of the flight was necessary?

 

I just disagree that you cannot cost effectively afford consumers protections equivalent to the US or EU and have competitive flight cost.  I also find it morally reprehensible to put airlines in a special category than anybody else as far as not delivering services and then not refunding the money.

Equally Air NZs cancellation of flights that were then replaced with less [equivalent] flights less often was 100% an economic decision by Air NZ.  Now the lines are blurred between Covid19 and economic viability.  Fine cancel those flights and create a new structure - but give those people a refund for goodness sake.


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  #2517620 5-Jul-2020 17:20
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itxtme:

 

sbiddle:

 

If you want to look at a real world example of a 5hr flight lets look at LAX-EWR vs AKL-ADL in a few months. A fully flexible flight LAX-EWR on United will cost US$834 (NZ$1275) in Economy. A fully flexible ticket AKL-ADL on Air NZ will cost NZ$614

 

 

Definitely didn't cherry pick, it was the first one I looked at.  Its not fair for you to do a currency conversion on an airfare to suit your point of view.  I just did a search for LA to Newark and can get return in Nov for $469 vs $808 Akl to AdL.  Seat bag fares but the US ones afford you the US protection.  I dont think thats a fair representation though because its across countries, point is flights in the US can be affordable, but much like NZ if you have no flexibility it can cost.

 

Are you saying that Air NZ did not routinely refund customers there air fare when weather meant that cancellation of the flight was necessary?

 

I just disagree that you cannot cost effectively afford consumers protections equivalent to the US or EU and have competitive flight cost.  I also find it morally reprehensible to put airlines in a special category than anybody else as far as not delivering services and then not refunding the money.

Equally Air NZs cancellation of flights that were then replaced with less [equivalent] flights less often was 100% an economic decision by Air NZ.  Now the lines are blurred between Covid19 and economic viability.  Fine cancel those flights and create a new structure - but give those people a refund for goodness sake.

 

 

Based on your flights examples I think the point I'm making is lost on you.

 

I chose two very specific flights and prices for my comparison - the cheapest possible flexible LAX-EWR on UA (M class) and the cheapest possible AKL-AKL on Air NZ (H class).  The key thing is that these are the two cheapest flexible fares that are available on those two routes, so are one of the few ways you can compare pricing across different airlines due to their differences in fare structures. Sure your example shows the US flights being cheaper because they're not comparing comparable fare levels. On a typical Air NZ domestic flight for example there are 14 different booking classes (at different prices).

 

And yes I am saying Air NZ (along with most other airlines) have never need to provide you a refund because of a weather disrupt unless you have a ticket that has fare rules that offers refunds. If you think this is "morally reprehensible" did you raise this during the reviews of the CAA act in both 2014 and 2018 when they sought public comments? Everybody seems to have a view on this right now, which raises the questions of why nobody really seemed to think this was a problem previously.

 

Here is Air NZ's disrupt policy (which is pretty similar to virtually every airline globally) -

 

Have not yet commenced your journey we will:

 

-Ensure connections with other flights that are part of the same ticketed journey are re-booked with as little disruption as possible
-Keep you updated with any changes to rescheduled travel plans

 

-Where you opt to amend the arrangements offered by us we will permit one change without penalty for travel within 3 days of the unsuitable flight subject to availability in the same cabin class. Changes outside of the 3 days or after the first change can be made subject to the original fare rules and costs.

 

-If the alternative flight arrangements made aren't acceptable to you, or if we fail to operate reasonably according to schedule and your reason for travel no longer exists then:

 

-If the disruption is caused by reasons within our control (e.g. Air New Zealand/Star Alliance industrial action) we will credit or refund your unused Air New Zealand ticket in accordance with our conditions of carriage
-If the disruption is caused by reasons outside our control (e.g. weather, non-Air New Zealand/Star Alliance industrial action, natural disasters) the normal terms and conditions of your Air New Zealand ticket apply. If your fare is non-refundable, you should review your travel insurance policy or approach your travel insurance provider to determine if you may be covered. If you do not have travel insurance, we will hold the value of your fare in credit for up to 12 months
-If you hold a ticket issued by an airline other than Air New Zealand please contact your travel agent or travel provider. Alternatively you may wish to contact your travel insurance provider

 

 


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