Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind

Why aren’t we in Sendai?


COVID-19. That’s why

This week, we were supposed to be in Sendai (the wife’s home town) as part of a seven week journey around Japan. But we’re not. Instead we’re stuck here in covid-free Aotearoa while the rest of the world goes mad.

The airline cancelled our flights to and from Japan months ago, but due to quirks of history, the Consumer Protection Act does not cover the sale of air tickets. Consequently the airline is not obligated to refund the price of the tickets. Instead it has given us a credit that must be used by December 2021 to purchase tickets for flights to be completed by December 2022.

Legally, they’re only required to provide tickets for a single journey to the same destination: the airline pocketing the difference if the fare is less or charging the difference if the fare is more. Instead they are “generously allowing” us to purchase tickets for multiple flights up to the value of the credit to any destination they serve.

Given that the airline has already stated that after the pandemic is over, they’ll be a regional carrier instead of a world wide international carrier, and it’s very unlikely that they will ever resume passenger flights to Japan, there’s nothing generous about their offer.

How many short haul journeys within New Zealand or to Australia would it take to spend the credit from a return business class fare between New Zealand and Japan? Somewhere between 20 and 50 domestic trips or between 10 and 20 trips to Australia. All to be taken by by the end of 2022. I think not.

The airline is using its legal “right” to make ticket holders bankroll them through the pandemic. Who is going to bankroll the ticket holders?

I’m pleased that we hung onto the tickets until the airline cancelled the flights, because had we cancelled them, there would have been no credit, let alone refund. But I’m still holding out for a change of heart that will allow us to get most, if not all, of our money back.

Author: Barry

A post war baby boomer from Aotearoa New Zealand who has lived with migraines for as long as I can remember and discovered I am autistic at the age of sixty. I blog because in real life I'm somewhat backwards about coming forward with my opinions.

4 thoughts on “Why aren’t we in Sendai?

  1. Interesting Barry.
    Here it is possible to claim a refund. They may deduct a portion of it but at least you get some of your money back.

    • Those who purchased tickets for flights commencing, passing through or or terminating in the USA or Europe are protected by regulations in those countries, even if purchased in NZ, the same does not apply to flights such as those between NZ and Japan.

      Our Consumer Guarantees Act applies to every service and product with the apparent exception of air fares. The Act requires that products and services be of acceptable quality, durability and fit for purpose. It means that if you purchase a refrigerator that comes with a one year manufacturer’s warranty and it fails after five years use, the seller is responsible to bring it back working condition by repairing or replacing it, or providing a full refund. A refrigerator can be reasonably expected to last for 10 to 15 years under normal conditions, so failure after five years would not meet the durability expectations.

      I bought an Android tablet a few years ago that had a 12 month warranty. It died after 15 month use. The retailer refused to repair or replace it or refund the purchase price. That was until I reminded them that it would be reasonable to assume such a device would last at least two years, especially at the price I paid and therefore they were required to repair, replace or refund under the Consumers Guarantees Act. They quickly gave me a full refund. Penalties for breaching the Act are severe, but even more importantly a retailers reputation is seriously harmed in the public eye if they are convicted of a breach.

      Given the furor generated by so many people being out of pocket over cancelled flights, I hope the new government will see the way to amend the current law pertaining to air fares.

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