Following the decision to move this spring's Rugby World Cup games from Christchurch to other locations around New Zealand, Qantas will waive change fees for flights to Christchurch in September and October 2011.
Of course, the waiver isn't just good for rugby fans -- any business traveller holding Qantas reservations to Christchurch for one of its many conferences and conventions can also make changes without fees.
With many of the city's business hotels requiring extensive repair (or even demolition) after the earthquake, conference organisers -- like the Rugby World Cup -- have had to find other venues.
Valid for any flight booked before 17 March, with travel dates between 1 September and 30 October, Qantas is giving passengers the following options:
- Re-route travel to Wellington, Auckland or Queenstown via the most direct routing using Qantas.
- Retain the value of the ticket in credit for future travel within 12 months from the original ticketed date of departure. If the new fare is more expensive than the existing ticketed fare, the fare difference is payable by the passenger. Applicable ticket taxes may apply.
- Change to destinations (other than Wellington, Auckland or Queenstown).
- The value of the existing ticket can be used towards the purchase of a new ticket. If the new fare is more expensive than the existing ticket fare, the fare difference is payable by the passenger. Applicable taxes may apply.
- Defer travel as per the conditions outlined below.
- Changes permitted to tickets issued on/before 17 March 2011 for travel between 1 September 2011 and 30 October 2011.
- New travel dates must be within ticket validity.
- If the same booking class is not available, the lowest booking class within the same cabin may be booked (eg Business or Economy).
- Any third party costs/penalties, such as hotel or other ground operator fees incurred will not be waived by Qantas.
- All other rules and conditions of the ticket remain unchanged.
- This policy also applies to customers who are booked on Codeshare flights operated by Qantas.
That last point is important: Qantas has relegated its internal New Zealand flights to Jetstar, meaning that Qantas-ticketed flights on Jetstar planes are also valid.
As ever, online systems may not be fully set up to make the fee-free changes, so calling the reservations hotline may be an easier choice.
Within Australia, Qantas' number is 13 13 13.
In New Zealand, the number is 0800 808 767, except for Aucklanders, who need to call 09 357 8900.