It was this time last year that travellers were being encouraged to ‘return home’ before they became stranded overseas.
Earlier the month before, two family members had ‘close shaves’ – one had been gone a few weeks seeing and doing what was on ‘the bucket list’ but getting more worried as days went by, finally managing to get a flight back from Glasgow (nowhere near where they were). They had booked with a travel agency which had worldwide outlets (High Street ‘shops’ all over the world) so appreciated the negotiations that took place between their ‘contact’ in Melbourne and someone in the uk to get them onto one of the fast filling aeroplanes coming back to Australia.
Another, plus her daughter, were booked to fly out; granddaughter had obtained a work visa with employment all lined up, daughter was going along to keep her company; they’d have a week or two sightseeing, granddaughter would start work, daughter would then go and visit family before coming home. So not hearing from the agency they continued to think everything would be ok – until g/daughter’s contacts in the uk said….”we recommend you don’t come”. . They spent days cancelling everything and watching the world shut down
Then the task began for both families to try and get refunds, in other words recover everything they’d outlaid already. Flights, accommodation, other transport plus entertainment and other bits and pieces. Trouble was…..just about every other traveller (worldwide) was trying to do the same…and it took a long long time. Both families were lucky in getting back all payments – there was a little argy bargy with some companies offering credit vouchers not cash but last I heard (at Christmas time) that was ‘all sorted’
So what this is leading up to is that after all this time of a closed international border (apart from instances of approved returning Australians who then go into a quarantine program) Australia and New Zealand have finally opened their borders to each other. The first flights took place the other day…..quarantine free but with a catch. The bubble will be burst if the virus raises its ugly head on either side of the Tasman….people could be ‘stranded’ away from home not knowing when they could make their return journey …..people will be looking for refunds….and if this article is anything to go by (see link below) – they will need to pick their airline carefully or there may be problems getting them!
“Those undertaking travel on either side of the ditch will do so under the guidance of flyer beware. People will need to plan for the possibility of travel being disrupted if there is an outbreak,” Ardern said.
‘ While everyone is hoping it doesn’t become necessary, there is still a possibility that additional travel restrictions could be reimposed at any time. This could involve the trans-Tasman bubble being paused or suspended with little or no warning, in the event of a new COVID-19 outbreak somewhere in Australia or New Zealand. If this unfortunately happens, the government is unlikely to help and most current travel insurance policies specifically exclude cover for getting stuck somewhere due to COVID-19 border closures’
Link – Which airlines will refund cancelled trans – Tasman flights.