Coronavirus: Air New Zealand facing mounting pressure to refund cancelled flights from lockdown

Pressure is mounting on Air New Zealand to offer refunds to customers whose flights were cancelled in lockdown. 

Mosgiel small business owners Jan-Maree and David Anderson have $3200 tied up in Air New Zealand credit, but they would much rather have the money to spend.

"The over $3000 would be much better off in my bank account to help us through [COVID-19] rather than them hanging onto it," Jan-Maree says.

The pair had booked tickets to Perth for a wedding when the lockdown began. But now a credit and an unused ticket is all they have to show for it.

"We would prefer to have the refund because the window of opportunity is gone," David says.

Consumer New Zealand CEO Jon Duffy says it has been overwhelmed with would-be flyers wanting their money back.

"For some consumers, they really need a refund in these current conditions," Duffy says.

Air New Zealand chief revenue officer Cam Wallace says it knows there are people who don't want a credit.

"We are well aware there are a number of people that would rather have a refund than a credit. What we've got to do is manage the business."

It has refunded some flights, like those to the US because American law requires airlines to do so.

Duffy says the law should do the same in New Zealand.

Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi says he'd look into the regulatory space, since the position New Zealand is in doesn't match up with the EU and Australia.

The other thing that doesn't quite match up is Jetstar's offer of cheap domestic flights in July - despite the airline not yet confirming it will resume flying by then.

Newshub booked and paid for a Jetstar flight for July first - but the airline says it is still reviewing its operations beyond this month. Though it will offer refunds if they don't take to the sky by then.