Call for passengers to be guaranteed compensation for delayed and cancelled flights as Qantas warns of even more major travel chaos during school holidays and footy finals
- Consumer advocate says Aussie airlines should have guaranteed compensation
- Australian travellers had many flights cancelled or delayed in recent months
- European Union has set compensation scheme for impacted passengers
- Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin offer their own compensation for delayed services
- Qantas performance has improved but warns it will be ‘tested’ in coming weeks
Calls are mounting for airlines to guarantee compensation for travellers who have their flights cancelled or delayed.
Australian airports have been in chaos for months with far more passengers than usual told their flights were rescheduled or cancelled altogether.
Staff shortages, the Covid pandemic, technical issues, and the weather were all blamed for the disruptions to many Australians’ travel plans.
Individual airlines decide what compensation will be given to those who had their flights disrupted and whether they are eligible for meal and accomodation vouchers.
But consumer advocates argued Australia should adopt laws used in Europe and the UK that apply to all airlines.
Australian airports have recently descended into chaos with many passengers being told their flights have been rescheduled or cancelled altogether (pictured is crowd in Sydney Airport)
‘The problem with the existing travel protections is that they don’t mandate things like telling people what they’re entitled to, or when they’re entitled to a refund,’ Jodie Bird, a travel expert from Choice, told the ABC.
‘We’re really falling behind countries like the UK, the EU, even New Zealand, or even in countries like Indonesia, where we’ve seen that there’s a level of compensation that we just don’t have in Australian consumer law.’
Qantas provides meal vouchers to passengers who had their flights delayed by at least two hours.
Passengers waiting overnight are given a $30 meal voucher per person and $200 for accommodation per room.
Individual airlines decide what compensation will be given to those who’ve had their flights disrupted and whether they are eligible for things like meal and accomodation vouchers
For those whose flights have been delayed by more than 12 hours, they will be given a $50 meal voucher per person, and $200 for accommodation per room.
These apply to situations where the airline is at fault.
Jetstar offers meal vouchers for flights delayed by at least three hours.
For overnight delays, passengers are given a $30 meal voucher each, and $150 to go towards accommodation per room.
A credit for a delayed flight of three hours or more if also offered to those who are unable to travel.
Qantas and Jetstar both offer credits and refunds for various reasons, including for those whose flights were delayed and they couldn’t be booked onto another one acceptable for them, or if the delay forced a passenger to cancel their trip.
Virgin Australia offers meal vouchers for passengers whose flights were delayed by two hours or more.
For passengers who have to wait overnight for their rescheduled flight, they will be given up to $220 for each hotel room.
Meal vouchers of up to $50 per person are also offered.
Mr Bird said Australians should follow the policies used overseas.
The European Union’s scheme offers set compensation for passengers who’ve been delayed by three hours.
Compensation of €250 ($AU373) are given for flights of up to 1,500km, €400 ($AU596) for flights up to 3,500km, and €600 ($AU895) for any further trips.
It comes as Qantas warns the airline will be ‘tested’ in the coming weeks as school holidays, long weekends and footy finals see many book a holiday (pictured is swarms of passengers at Sydney Airport)
Travellers also get free food and drinks for delays, accomodation, and two phone calls or emails. Passengers are also entitled to a refund.
Mr Bird also pointed out that refunds were returned within a week for flights overseas, but in Australia many passengers waited eight weeks to get theirs.
Qantas warned it would be ‘tested’ in the coming weeks as school holidays, long weekends, and footy finals prompt many holiday bookings.
‘Customers are encouraged to arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes ahead of the scheduled departure time for domestic flights and three hours ahead for international flights,’ the airline said.
The airline said it’s operational performance was improving towards pre-Covid levels, after it was heavily criticised for bad service.
Flight on time performance improved from 52 per cent in July to 71 per cent in August, according to their airline’s data.
Cancellations reduced to two per cent, down from 7.5 per cent in June.
Mishandled bags were at six per 1,000 passengers overall and at five per 1,000 for domestic – which is at pre-Covid levels, the airline added.
The airline said it understood how frustrating flight delays and cancellations ‘which were unacceptably but temporarily high post-Covid’ were for travellers, and it had a range of options available for impacted travellers.