COVID-19: How Air NZ and Jetstar's flexi options can curb the uncertainty of flying overseas again

COVID-19: How Air NZ and Jetstar's flexi options can curb the uncertainty of flying overseas again.
This year, many Kiwis may head abroad for the first time since the pandemic started. Photo credit: Getty Images

With the border opening as the COVID-19 pandemic enters a new phase, many New Zealanders are eying international holidays for the first time in two years.

But uncertainty remains. If one books travel then were to contract COVID-19 shortly before they depart, for example, they'd have to change their plans.

There's a chance airfares will get cheaper than they currently are as competition increases - but then the high cost of petrol could mean they increase, too, so it may seem a bit of a gamble exactly when one should buy airfares to destinations around the world.

Air New Zealand has a couple of options available to help with peace of mind amid the uncertainty - and one of them is free for a little while longer.

Travellers could even use these to hedge their bets and capitalise on future sales that offer big discounts.

International airfares with Air NZ for travel dates before the end of June can be moved to other travel dates for free, or even exchanged for credit.

The other option is to pay to make an economy ticket fully refundable as a 'Flexi', which would cost $315 for an Auckland-Los Angeles flight or $260 for Auckland-Tokyo, according to online ticket enquiries viewed by Newshub on Monday.

"We offer both the Covid flexibility of credit opt in or one fee-free flight change until June 30 and the option to add the Global Flexi Fare product to their long-haul ticket," said the airline's customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty.

"The benefit of the Global Flexi Fare is it's fully refundable and customers will also earn additional Airpoints and be able to seat select free of charge."

When asked if a customer could cancel expensive tickets bought now in order to buy cheaper options that pop up later, Air NZ suggested they could.

"Should customers need to opt into credit/get a refund (if applicable) for whatever reason they can do this and purchase a new fare," said Geraghty.

Rival airline Jetstar is relaunching flights to Australia out of New Zealand next month following the Government axing the requirement to self-isolate on arrival back in Aotearoa. Connecting flights can be bought for trips to China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Cook Islands, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and Hawaii.

Kiwis who book flights with Jetstar before the end of April, for travel dates right up to August 2023, will have change fees waived as part of the airline's 'Fly Flexible' campaign.

Customers also have the option of buying FareCredit with Jetstar, which means they could exchange airfares for credit with the airline - minus the amount of the FareCredit upgrade.

Of course, travel insurance is generally the best way to get peace of mind for any international holiday, and should always be strongly considered by Kiwis heading overseas.