Jetstar has been criticised for poor sportsmanship after charging heavily for changing the name on an airline ticket after an injured schoolboy had to cancel his trip.

The Rangitoto College 1st XI cricket manager was shocked that one of the students had to pay an additional $200 to replace his teammate on a flight to Christchurch for a pre-season tour.

The budget airline says leniency on name transfer fees would only encourage a secondary market in domestic tickets.

Rangitoto College manager Mark Smith was told that on top of the $158 the 14-year-old injured boy paid for his ticket, the name change incurred a $60 levy as well as a $140 residual fee.

The residual cost brought the fare in line with the cheapest remaining tickets on the flight.

After protesting to Jetstar's customer service, he was told the $60 fee would be waived if the boy's surgeon could confirm the injury.

Jetstar general manager of corporate relations Simon Westaway said the airline was flexible in cases of bereavement or medical problems, and the flat fee would not be charged once a medical certificate had been provided.

Mr Smith said the airline must deal with team travel regularly, and that he was surprised it could not be more accommodating.

"We've paid the money, we've got the seat, yet they're still trying to get more money off us. If it's in the terms or not, it is a bizarre way of doing business," he said.

Mr Westaway said it provided the flexible fees in good faith. He added that if Jetstar did not charge for transfers, it would encourage a secondary market .

Jetstar allowed name changes on its corporates fares, called Jetflex, up to 30 minutes before a flight without cost. Cheaper fares, known as Jetsavers, could be transferred 24 hours before a flight by paying a flat fee and residual costs.

Pacific Blue had a similar policy. Air New Zealand said it allowed name changes for group bookings given that there were often changes to group travel, especially sports teams.

It charged $50 for transfers, but waived the fee in cases of injury or death.

Last year Jetstar appealed against an Australian court ruling that the airline had received an unfair windfall from the $600 penalty fee it charged a Victorian woman to change the name on a return ticket from Melbourne to Honolulu. The airline won.