Air NZ to refund cancelled US flights
Air New Zealand has announced they will be offering refunds to customers that booked flights transiting through the US.
This announcement follows Consumer NZ lodging a complaint with the Commerce Commission about Air New Zealand’s refusal to provide refunds on all cancelled US flights.
Under US regulations, passengers on flights to or from the United States, including transiting passengers, are entitled to refunds where flights are cancelled, regardless of the reason.
An Air New Zealand spokesperson says to date, they have been providing refunds to customers with cancelled flights to and from the USA and for the majority of cancelled flights transiting through the USA, except for NZ1 and NZ2.
“From today, in respect of cancelled NZ1 and NZ2 flights, we will provide customers a refund upon request. Customers should contact the original booking agent for a refund.”
Before Air New Zealand’s announcement, Consumer NZ chief executive John Duffy said Air New Zealand was advising customers on some US flights they could only get a credit.
“We’ve had a steady stream of complaints from consumers who we consider have been given misleading information by Air New Zealand about their refund rights.”
The US Department of Transportation confirmed to Consumer NZ that passengers have a right to a refund even when they are transiting through the US on their way to another destination.
“We consider this conduct to be misleading and in breach of the Fair Trading Act. We’re making this complaint because Air New Zealand isn’t doing the right thing for these customers.”
John says the situation highlighted the need for law changes to better protect Kiwi consumers.
Rules in both the US and EU entitle passengers to refunds whenever flights are grounded. However, airlines here are only liable when flights are cancelled for reasons within their control.
In response to Consumer NZ’s concerns, the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi has recently stated he will review the rules.