A frustrated Air New Zealand customer whose holiday was cancelled has been able to secure a refund from an international cruise line and Qantas Airways - but not our national carrier.
John Taylor's planned 18-night cruise from Singapore to Sydney, set to sail this month, was cancelled as Covid-19 grounded international travel.
He and his wife were to fly from Auckland to Melbourne then onwards to Singapore with Qantas Airways on September 11, before departing on the P&O Cruise trip.
The pair were to return home to Auckland from Melbourne on an Air New Zealand flight on October 30.
The Auckland-based printer says he had no issues organising refunds for his cancelled holiday, until he contacted Air New Zealand who would only offer him a credit.
"P&O Cruises Australia and Qantas both approved a full refund for me two months ago, no questions asked."
"When I called Air New Zealand, it took about 25 minutes to get through to speak to someone.
"It was very scripted - they continually stated that Covid-19 was not their fault. Well, my answer was the same, it's not my fault either."
Taylor said he and his wife already have flight credits with Air New Zealand after a planned trip to Australia was earlier cancelled as Covid-19 began to spread globally.
But with international travel off the cards indefinitely, they don't want another credit that they don't know if they could even use.
"We thought we were doing the right thing and support the industry when we earlier took a credit, but when you're more than $500 out of pocket for one flight ... I just want my money back."
An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said the airline was crediting or refunding customer tickets according to the fare product purchased and local regulations that apply in some countries.
"Our records show Mr Taylor purchased a non-refundable fare, so this has been placed into credit," she said.
"We are offering refunds in accordance with our conditions of carriage and the terms and conditions of the fare at the time of purchase."
In New Zealand, airlines by law do not need to refund affected customers when cancelled flights are out of their control.
Fares are only eligible to be refunded if this was specified in the original conditions of your fare or if local legislation requires a refund when a flight is cancelled by the operating airline, according to Air New Zealand's website.
Taylor said he thought the airline had "a long way to go" in improving its treatment of customers whose flights have been disrupted by the Covid crisis.
"This week I've seen the Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran on breakfast television, saying they've put a lot of these problems with customer service to bed, because they have been through the mill," he said.
"It's disappointing that our national carrier sat on $900 million of Government help they're not using - they're certainly lagging a long way behind others when it comes to customer service."
In June, Air New Zealand refunded around 20,000 ticket holders on compassionate grounds even though they were not legally entitled to a refund.
Consumer NZ has taken issue with Air NZ's refusal to refund customers with non-refundable tickets - even though no laws are being broken - saying Kiwis need cash, not credit.
Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said Consumer NZ would push for a law change to make sure nothing like this ever happened again to Kiwis.
Whenever flights are grounded in Britain or in the United States, passengers are entitled to refunds, unlike here.
In July, Air NZ chief Foran publicly apologised for the airline's handling of customer refund requests, saying the carrier simply did not have the financial reserves to refund everyone.
"Simple facts are that if we went and refunded all non-refundable tickets, we'd actually be in a situation where we could not afford to operate," he told RNZ.
"So as much as I would like to be able to solve that, I can't. We've got a business that we've still got to operate, we've got staff to pay, we've got bills to pay.
"We've got a loan that we will draw down, and even when I take all of those things into account, there will not be enough cash in the bank should we go and refund non-refundable tickets."