Airlines waive change fees for Christchurch flights

By danwarne, February 22 2011
Airlines waive change fees for Christchurch flights

Update: last updated at 1522 Wednesday NZ time 

Airlines have announced compassionate measures for those flying in and out of earthquake-affected Christchurch, with fee waivers for people wishing to change flights.

Christchurch Airport reopened for domestic flights at 0800 NZ time on Wednesday. Previously, only medical evacuation and emergency services flights were allowed to use the airport.

Air New Zealand

For anyone who bought an Air New Zealand ticket prior to today, the airline is allowing changes to flights without penalty.

Passengers flying to or from Christchurch prior to midnight on 25th March can rebook for a flight up to 12 months later in the same travel class. They can also change to a different destination but a fare difference may apply.

Passengers can also cancel their ticket and get a credit for 12 months.

If anyone needs to bring their flight to/from Christchurch forward, Air New Zealand is allowing that without penalty as well (for flights booked through to 11th March).

The airline will fly five return flights from Auckland and Wellington to Christchurch on Boeing 747 and 777 aircraft on Wednesday, with further extra flights on Thursday.

Special emergency fares from New Zealand and overseas have been made available for urgent travel to and from Christchurch. The domestic fares have been set at NZ$50 one way between Christchurch and any New Zealand airport, and will be in place until Friday 25 February. 

Air New Zealand is also offering "compassionate" reduced fares for immediate family members needing flights from abroad into Christchurch. From Australia and Pacific Island airports the special fare is NZ$50 one way. For flights from further overseas, the special long-haul fare is NZ$400 one way.

We have full information on these emergency and compassionate fares in our updated article. 

Full details are at Air New Zealand's website.


Jetstar is providing flexible arrangements for passengers on affected flights today and for travel from/to Christchurch up to 25th February.

The airline is also running extra flights to and from Christchurch on Wednesday.

Jetstar is offering full flexibility in travel including refunds, re-routing or changes to travel dates/times for no fee. However, travel must be taken prior to 11 April 2011.

More information is available at Jetstar's website.


Passengers booked on Qantas flights on Tuesday and Wednesday have a number of options: reroute, return home, bypass Christchurch, rebook, refund credit or delay travel.

Qantas has not yet announced any compassionate fares, nor provided any information on policies for passengers booked to travel after Wednesday. Travellers who need to be in Christchurch urgently should contact Qantas' call centres.

More information will be available at Qantas' website

Pacific Blue

According to Pacific Blue, travellers who are booked to travel until midnight on 25 February to or from Christchurch can change their flight to a later one (no later than 5th April) or obtain a full credit (even for non-refundable fares) valid for 12 months. Internet discounts will be honoured when re-booking, even through the Pacific Blue call centre.

Travellers can monitor Pacific Blue's response to the earthquake at the airline's website.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines says it will waive administrative fees for refund, re-booking or re-routing, for customers holding confirmed tickets issued on or before 22 February 2011, for travel to and from Christchurch from 22 February to 6 March 2011 (both dates inclusive). The waiver also applies to KrisFlyer redemption tickets. More information is available at Singapore Airline's website.

Australian Business Traveller is awaiting clarification on change and cancellation policies from other airlines that fly to and from Christchurch, including:

  • Air Pacific
  • Emirates

This story will be updated with further information as soon as we receive it from the airlines.

Further updates

Read more comprehensive coverage of the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake, plus authoritative advice for travellers in the area and overseas.

Further updates will be posted at and on our @AusBT Twitter stream.

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