US travellers who booked flights through Air NZ not being offered refunds

Thousands of Kiwis have had their travel plans brought to a halt amid COVID-19 and their flights cancelled at short notice.

But some who have booked through Air New Zealand aren't being offered refunds, despite being entitled to one.

In four weeks time the Beverland family should have been enjoying a Hawaiian sunset. Now they'll be enjoying the view from their living room.

But not only have their flights been cancelled, they can't get their $7600 back either.

"I did ask [for a refund] when I called the helpline and they said 'no we're not doing refunds we're only doing credits'," Marcelle Beverland says.

Air New Zealand has been issuing customers credit for any flight cancelled due to COVID-19  But some are entitled to a refund and they're not getting one.

Consumer NZ says while the airline isn't legally required to issue refunds to everyone, they are obliged to those who book flights to and from the US.

"Because their flight is to  Hawaii they would be covered by the US flight rules, so their airline should be offering them a refund," says Consumer NZ head of research Jessica Wilson.

In a statement on Sunday Air New Zealand conceded that while all customers affected by a cancelled flight are being offered credit, those travelling on flights in and out of America are entitled to a full refund.

And another issuing plaguing customers is the value of their credit with concerns that future price hikes might not cover the cost of another flight.

"Would I then have to pay an extra $1100 per person on top of that and their answer was 'yes that would be a possibility'," Beverland says.

But there has been some good news for travellers. Flight Centre has announced they will waive the 15,000 cancellation fees of $350 per customer.

One of those customers was Stuart Douce, who says it's a relief.

"They need to stand up when they feel like they're being ripped off or when something's not right," he says.

As for the Beverlands, they say given the economic uncertainty having their money would put their minds at ease.

"Would have been good to have our money back now when we need it," Beverland says.

Because what may have been the last family trip together before the kids leave the nest, has been put on hold indefinitely.