With the current viral outbreak of the coronavirus, many travellers will have concerns around their existing travel plans.

Given some travel arrangements may be disrupted or even cancelled due to a number of factors, it's important to know what you are entitled to in order to minimise any impact on your travel arrangements.

There are a few things to consider in any event of your travel plans being disrupted or cancelled. Below is a summary of some of these and how your travel plans may be affected.

What if a flight is cancelled due to mandatory government shutdown?

As the coronavirus outbreak is outside of the control of the airline and the shutdown for travel is government mandated, airlines are not responsible for providing a resolution or alternate plan for continuation of your journey.

However, airlines operating within New Zealand will need to give you a refund unless their terms and conditions expressly provide that you are not entitled to one. This will vary from airline to airline so it is important to refer to your booking terms and conditions.

Beyond refunds, for domestic flights, you will not be entitled to compensation if the cancellation was a result of a government direction, outside of the airline’s control, or for the purposes of saving lives. In this case, to avoid paying compensation, the airline would need to demonstrate that domestic flights needed to be cancelled as a result of the international travel ban.

For international bookings to and from New Zealand, you will not be entitled to compensation if the airline has taken all measures that could reasonably be required to avoid damages or if it was impossible for them to take such measures.

What if the business cancels the trip during a time period that may or may not be affected by the ban as it is too far in the future to know?

You will be entitled to a refund unless the airline’s terms and conditions expressly provide that you are not. Beyond this, you will not be entitled to compensation if the cancellation was a result of a government direction, outside of the airline’s control, or for the purposes of saving lives. As above, the airline will need to demonstrate that domestic flights needed to be cancelled in advance of a potentially extended travel ban being confirmed.

For international bookings to and from New Zealand, you will not be entitled to compensation if the airline has taken all measures that could reasonably be required avoid damages or if it was impossible for them to take such measures. The airline will also need to demonstrate that flights needed to be cancelled in advance of a potentially extended travel ban being confirmed.

What if I cancel my trip during a time period that may or may not be affected by the travel ban?

You do not have any statutory right to a refund if you have cancelled your booking due to changing your mind or if your circumstances have changed. If the airline is still flying / has not cancelled the flight, and the countries in your trip haven't mandated any travel cancellations, then you would need to refer to the terms and conditions of your booking for your rights to any compensation or refund.

What about my other travel arrangements like hotel or tour bookings?

You may be entitled to a refund depending on the terms and conditions set out at the time of your booking. Essentially, it is very important that you refer to the terms and conditions of any of your bookings or arrangements that you have made to determine whether you will receive any compensation or not. 

To find out more information, visit our page on flight and booking cancellations:

Flights, cancellations and delays 

If you have any other products or services you expect to receive that may be impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, refer to our page on delivery issues:

Delivery issues