Over the last couple of days I’ve seen an increasing number of emails and posts about various airlines sending out new cancellation emails for their Australia and New Zealand routes and I think it’s well beyond time we talk about the obvious: Stop booking these flights!
For some reason people felt compelled to continue booking flights to the two South Pacific nations even as they continued to string people along with prolonged lockdowns, border closures and burst travel bubbles.
Many countries are closed at the moment to foreign visitors and as much I’d love to visit some of them I feel it makes absolutely no sense booking flights even a year from now in the hopes of having the borders reopened again at that point.
Airlines have adopted a system of demand tracking by sales which is basically them throwing flights on the market they have no intention of operating or which will in all likelihood be cancelled due to regulatory decisions by the local government.
For the carriers it has very little downside, they get paid by the passenger at the time of ticket issuance and even if the flight is cancelled and a refund is due they can take their sweet time in processing the refund. Free money for a year!
Passengers on the other hand face certain risks including the flight actually operating for the few people who are eligible to enter the destination country (mainly citizens and permanent residents) and due to this not being eligible for a refund when tourists can’t enter due to border shutdowns. The passengers are then looking at a complete loss or a voucher to use in the future.
This is a universal issue for all destinations but for some reasons the destinations that always seem to disproportionately pop up both on social media and in our reader email are Australia and New Zealand.
Border and public health policies for these two countries change more frequently than bedsheets at a hotel. There is absolutely no planning certainty but their approach so far is pretty clear: No foreigner will enter these countries for a long time to come, at least not from outside their funny little mini-travel-bubble that seems to burst every few weeks.
It’s time to face the music and STOP booking flights to AUS / NZ because it doesn’t make any sense!
Yes sure you can use miles to book a flight and have it sit in your account as a beacon of hope for novelty reasons but why not just let it be and revisit your options once a viable choice for tourism is on the table?
Here are some of the less than encouraging news about travel to the South Pacific region we covered and that resulted in a bunch of cancellations:
Nothing is going to happen soon down there, booking flights doesn’t make sense. It’s a waste of time, money and hopes to do anything until these governments have come to their senses and depart from their zero Covid policy.
Looking at other countries it’s bad as well. I’d love to go back to Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia (Bali) but that’s not possible at the moment using a European passport (I believe U.S. citizens can go to Korea with a quarantine). Nevertheless I won’t be booking any flights these days until I have a firm pathway to actually get on the plane and enter the destination without headaches.
Making tentative bookings that won’t pan out and possibly leave me in a bind isn’t a wise business decision and let’s not forget about the many airlines that went bust during the pandemic. The safest choice would be a mileage ticket but even that is a gamble.
Many countries will keep their doors closed for a long time to come or apply punitive measures to people entering for either business or leisure reasons. While some nations are slowly opening up no such path is visible for Australia and New Zealand yet people have been adamant on booking themselves flights to these countries to go on holiday. It isn’t a good idea to do this and should be stopped!
British Airways just sent out another wave of cancellation notices to customers as as projected every time they do that we get the same type of reader emails seeking advise on how to handle this. The way I usually reply is “Always try to get a full cash refund, don’t accept a voucher unless there is no other way, don’t cancel yourself if the flight is still operating and wait if maybe the airline has to cancel which would make you eligible for a refund.”