There has been an article floating around today (read here), about AirNZ charging a family new fees to book a different flight after their son came down with chicken pox and they advised the airline of this.
I’m actually pretty frustrated with AirNZ over this one – by impacting people in this way, AirNZ is going to encourage unwell people to fly with them and infect other passengers.
I would much rather fly on an airline that is fully supportive of someone’s decision not to fly due to illness to encourage people to delay travel, rather than putting them in a position where they are financially motivated to travel whilst in an unwell state.
Most kiwi’s don’t bother with travel insurance on domestic flights, it’s not worth the cost, although I’m sure AirNZ wants to push their opt-out travel insurance as much as they possibly can.
I imagine the cost of moving flights for people who have come down with a genuine contagious illness domestically is going to be rather minimal and the publicity gain for passengers knowing that they are less likely to get sick on one of their flights due to this may even make it a profitable idea.
* As a side note, last time I checked out AirNZ’s domestic travel insurance, I was pretty unimpressed at the offering, from memory it didn’t cover electronics, which is about most of my luggage.
While I somewhat agree that people may be encouraged to travel while sick, I still don’t see why should AirNZ change flights free of charge for someone who hasn’t purchased insurance when others pay the $10/flight. If you have children, or circumstances where the likelihood of needing to change flights is high, then you should be paying for insurance – a quick look shows children under 11 years are covered by insurance for an adult fare, so it’s not even $10 each way for every person you’re booking for. Depending on the age of your children it could only be an extra $40 for the 2 adults, which isn’t that much in relation to the cost of 4+ fares. I never paid insurance on domestic flights because I weighed up the costs and benefits and likelihood of needing to change based on my circumstances. I could have paid upward of $200/yr for insurance on every flight or taken the risk that it would cost me somewhere around that to change a flight if it became necessary. However, I would re-evaluate the need for insurance if my circumstances changed – for example, booking a family holiday with children well in advance would probably lead me to take out insurance.
Also, electronic goods are not covered, because the insurance is a very simple policy covering checked baggage only, where electronics are much more likely to be damaged. Would you check your camera/laptop/other valuable items? Most people would use carry on for these things, and if they didn’t, the airline would be constantly paying out on them if insurance was purchased. If you want more comprehensive insurance, then you bypass AirNZ’s very simple offering and seek it independently.
I kind of understand what you’re saying, however my opposition comes from two key points:
1. Most people are fucktards – they don’t really care that much about others.
2. People hate spending money they can avoid spending.
Combining these two, you end up with a situation where most unwell people will just fly whilst sick and infect others if it’ll save them a bit of cash.
I don’t want flyairnz creating this situation, I want it so even the non-caring, tight person has no reason not to re-schedule their flight and avoid infecting others.
Re electronic goods, it was for goods in carry on as well as checked IIRC, but let’s not discuss that since I’ll have to look it up and we’re getting somewhat off-topic. :-)
But AirNZ aren’t creating this situation. The fucktards are!! Why is incompetence/inconsideration of the general population a commercial business’s problem? I’m so sick of this type of thing being in the media all the time when there must be more interesting stories to write about, but situations where people are wanting something for nothing, or for someone else to pay for their mistakes when the T&C are set out up front by whichever company is involved (not reading them is not an excuse), is becoming more and more prevalent. It seems as if the entire population is moving towards expecting all responsibility for their own decisions to be absolved!
All airlines have pretty much the same policy and flight/insurance offerings, so it’s not even fair picking on AirNZ. If any of them had a more open policy on booking changes, even for so-called ‘extenuating circumstances’ (I would call it ‘life’ and if you don’t like the risk – insure!), there would be chaos. How do you measure the degree of illness that would allow for a flight change? What types of illness do you exclude? For example, why should someone with a cold be excluded from flights when you could just as easily catch a cold from a friend, at work, in the supermarket, on the train/bus/tram, or just walking down the street behind someone who’s coughing and sneezing. Not to mention it opens a floodgate of other issues that people think should be covered by the more flexible policy. It could ultimately lead to the situation seen overseas, our domestic airlines could start routinely overbooking flights, then legitimate flyers, who have paid their fare, possibly picked up the insurance and are perfectly healthy start missing out on flights.
(and you recall incorrectly or the policy has changed since – baggage cover component is $1500 for checked baggage only, for future reference)