Airlines need to take responsibility over delays, disruptions - Consumer NZ


Consumer NZ is campaigning for New Zealand airlines to be upfront about passengers' rights.

This comes after the company received a substantial number of complaints from confused and concerned passengers who have had to fight to get the reimbursement they are entitled to.

A petition has also been launched demanding airlines clearly communicate passengers' rights when flights are disrupted.

They said they have received hundreds of complaints regarding flight delays and cancellations since 2020.

Consumer NZ said it was working with Air NZ and Jetstar to address further concerns.

Chief executive Jon Duffy said it was time the airlines lifted their game in helping passengers to understand their rights.

"At present, the airlines are providing very limited information to passengers about their rights when a flight is cancelled or delayed."

He added that passengers' rights were protected under the Civil Aviation Act (CAA), which states customers were entitled to compensation if a flight was disrupted for reasons within an airline's control.

This includes things such as overbooking, staffing, and operational or mechanical problems.

Although changes to the CAA, which have the potential to improve disclosure and aid consumers in understanding their rights, are in the pipeline, Consumer NZ said things won't change quickly.

"Part of the issue is airlines aren't always upfront about why a flight is disrupted, which makes it difficult to figure out what you're entitled to.

"As a result, passengers are being left out of pocket and airlines are getting away with shirking their obligations under the law."

Air New Zealand said it would be giving people more information.

Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran told Morning Report generally the rules meant if there was disruptions due to something that was in the airline's control, then the customer was entitled to a refund.

In that situation, whether or not the person would get expenses paid in addition to the refund would vary depending on each circumstance, Foran said.

"Because there are considerations that come in that need to be reviewed and considered but we do our best to do everything we can to get people where they need to on time and look after them."