If anyone else is in a similar situation or has any suggestions as to what I could do please let me know - I'm a student and can't afford to just throw away $500!
My friend and I booked online tickets last month with Jetstar to fly from Melbourne to Christchurch next Tuesday 21 June. At the time of booking we thought it would be safe to travel to Christchurch because there hadn't been an aftershock from the earthquake since February. However this week there have been two fairly severe aftershocks, as a result of which my friend and I have decided that it is no longer safe or appropriate to go over there. (our original plan was to go skiing). I called the customer service centre today and was told that our tickets would be forfeited unless Jetstar decides to cancel the flight on account of volcanic ash clouds. I asked the lady on the phone whether I could any get money back, or a voucher or a deferred ticket if I decided to not travel next week due to the danger of travelling into an internationally recognised natural disaster zone. To this she said I could try the compassionate department. After googling about this it seems that the compassionate department would only give me a refund (if at all) for deaths in the family. As this is not my case, I am wondering if there is anyone else out there who had planned on travelling to New Zealand in the immediate future, but have decided that it would be unsafe to, and what avenues of redress you have discovered with Jetstar or any other airlines. I feel like Jetstar should provide some kind of contingency procedure for natural disasters.
At this stage I am hoping that the flight will be cancelled next week. If not, I don't know how I can any of my money back.