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.