Air New Zealand is cancelling domestic flights into December citing alert level uncertainty but travellers say flights still in the system are much more expensive.
One customer said the airline was ”currently doing mass cancellations” of domestic flights in three weeks time, at a time when many university students are on the move.
”A lot have actually not been cancelled just given a new flight number and the price put up by three times,” the disappointed customer said.
Another passenger yesterday got a message from Air New Zealand saying their December 5 Auckland to Wellington flight and return or connecting flights in the same booking were cancelled.
However, the customer found online there was one flight still available for December 5 but the fare was $185 for a seat only and $205 for a seat and bag.
Their original flight was two hours earlier and priced at $59 for a seat and $69 for a seat and bag.
At alert levels 3 and 4, flights out of Auckland are limited to a skeleton service for essential workers but there has been no announcement on when the restrictions will be lifted.
Another Auckland man anxious to see his daughter in Wellington after months of lockdown said he wanted to know whether Air NZ knew more about any changes to travel rules than the public.
”I was angry that Air NZ cancelled our flights in November and December today without warning. As far as I am aware there is no timeline as to when Aucklanders will be able to fly to Wellington,” he said.
”What do I not know and the people who live in Auckland do not know? That is very concerning in my opinion.”
Another customer said: ”We bought our son the most expensive ticket to travel so we could change flights at no extra cost. Now the new flights offered are over $ 130 more.”
She said buying this type of top tier ticket seemed to favourAir NZ and not the customer because now we are forced to buy a much more expensive ticket.
”Last night (I) waited on phone for 90 minutesbefore giving up. This is just not on.”
Air New Zealand chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty told the Heralda large number of flights have been cancelled due to the Auckland border remaining in place.
All customers booked to travel on those services were given a credit or refunded (depending on fare type) due to the vast majority of people being ineligible to travel to/from Auckland under the continuing restrictions.
Air New Zealand continues to operate a reduced schedule to allow for the movement of essential workers and exempt travellers around the country. Due to the limited number of seats available the pricing on some of these flights may be higher than the original fare paid, she said.
”If customers are still eligible to travel, they can rebook their flight within a seven day period from date of travel through the contact centre with no additional fare or fees to pay.”
The airline says cancellations were made to consolidate its schedule based on the demand it was seeing.
In the email to passengers Leeanne Langridge, general manager customer, saidpassengers hadoptions if they still need to travel.
At Alert Level 3, travelling is limited and only essential travellers are permitted to travel between regions.
”If you would like to travel domestically with no connection through Auckland, you can do so as normal under the guidance of Alert Level 2. If you transit through Auckland, you will need to stay within the terminal while you wait for your connecting flight,” Langridge said.
”We appreciate this is an unsettling time for everyone and our teams are working hard to manage these changes while keeping you informed.”
Comment has been sought from Covid Response minister Chris Hipkins on options for Auckland border settings in the leadup to Christmas.
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