Covid-19 Travel update (17 Sep’20)

    We’re here, working for you

    The Discover Travel team continues the mammoth task of chasing refunds from airlines and other overseas suppliers. We’re now approximately 90% through this incredibly complex task, and as of 17/9/20 we now have less than 120 items left to chase on your behalf. It’s pleasing to see that the speed with which some airlines are processing refunds has increased a little in recent weeks. However, each refund is still taking 12 weeks on average and longer in some cases. We’d like to thank you for your ongoing patience and good humour whilst we work tirelessly on your behalf.

    It’s worth noting that Discover Travel, like everyone else in the Travel Industry has effectively been working for free for the last 6 months as we repatriate millions of dollars of client monies back to NZ so it was great to hear recently that the Govt has now acknowledged our unique challenge and will be providing some support for the industry to help us with our ongoing costs.

    We are also managing approximately 500 different travel credits on your behalf with a myriad of airlines, tour operators, insurers and hotels and we look forward to helping you redeem these credits when our Borders re-open to the world and we can get back to exploring.

    With the borders closed, our Sales team’s workload is lighter than usual, so Juliet, Linda and Janine  will be taking what we hope will just be a short sabbatical beginning 2nd October 2020, but don’t worry – they’ll be asked to return once our normal trading conditions resume! Whilst they are away, Discover Travel remains very much open for business helping Kiwis discover their “backyard”.. If you have any queries about your existing booking or wish to make a new booking, please simply e-mail us as normal. Ian & Peter will look after your enquiry and respond promptly.

    We’d like to thank all our clients for their support during these very unusual times. We celebrated 20 successful years pre-Covid, and we certainly intend to be here for many more.

    Flying to Europe during Covid-19

    We’re fielding a number of queries from clients looking to travel to the UK and Europe before the end of 2020, mostly to visit friends or relatives or to return home. This seems relatively simple at first glance, as a small number of airlines are now flying regularly from Auckland to Europe, including Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qatar Airlines with one-way fares as low as $1450 ex Auckland.

    The only carrier flying directly out of Christchurch is Singapore Airlines every Tuesday & Thursday, with connections onto London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt & Zurich. A third Saturday service will be added from 6 October.

    However, the UK government requires travellers to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in England if travelling from, or transiting through the vast majority of countries, including Singapore, Doha and the UAE. This list is regularly updated and a few countries are still exempt – they are listed here

    The list of current exemptions or ‘travel corridors’ includes New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South Korea & Malaysia, but due to very limited flight schedules, the only transit point on this exemption list that Kiwis can easily fly from NZ via to get to the UK is Hong Kong. Air NZ and Cathay Pacific will fly you via Hong Kong into London Heathrow, albeit with a 18 hour layover in Hong Kong. So, please contact us for further details of this route, including indicative fares in economy, Premium Economy and Business Class.

    If you are a NZ citizen or resident you will be liable for a charge if you are currently overseas and return to NZ for a period of less than 90 days; or you leave NZ after the regulations came into effect (12.01am on 11 August 2020) and return at a later date. All the information about Managed Isolation and Quarantine on arrival into NZ can be found here, including details of the charges.

    Air New Zealand credits – a solution

    We now have an innovative “Virtual Card” Solution for Air NZ credits. This enables customers to retain and use residual balances, effectively removing the limitation of using a credit value solely towards one new ticket. The value on the Virtual Card can be used for any passengers as determined by the customer that owns the applicable credit and associated Virtual Card. Credits can be used to purchase any ticket with Air New Zealand, it does not have to be the same route, booking class or fare type as the original ticket.

    Discover something new in our backyard

    As a Kiwi owned and operated business we’re proud to support our local tourism businesses to provide some unique and inspiring home-grown holidays. Whether it’s a guided small group tour, an active walking or cycling holiday, a luxury lodge or short break, you can find a great and rapidly growing selection of NZ Holidays here. Popular destinations include the Chatham Islands, Stewart Island, Fiordland, the Sub-Antarctic Islands and Northland and there’s something for any interest and budget.

    Please do contact us for your next NZ holiday, it won’t cost you any more and we’d sincerely appreciate your business!

    Happy travels,
    Ian, Peter and the Discover Travel team