There has been much in the media this past week about the ACCC taking Qantas to Court over the airline’s activities in relation to flight credits and cancelled flights.  Following significant media and public scrutiny, Qantas then announced that it would remove the expiry date on COVID travel credits that would otherwise have expired at the end of this year.

But what can consumers normally do if their flight is cancelled by the airline?

The ACCC has helpfully summarised the current law as follows:

“When a consumer buys a flight ticket, they are entering into a contract with the airline. The terms and conditions of the contract are set out in the airline’s conditions of carriage. Terms and conditions will vary between airlines and different fare classes.

Airline conditions of carriage do not include a guarantee of flight times. Consumers should not assume that a plane will meet its exact advertised schedule.

However, airlines must meet the consumer guarantee of providing the service within a reasonable time.”

“Most airlines that operate in Australia have a compensation policy published on their website. These policies set out the compensation and other help that an airline may provide to consumers if a flight is delayed or cancelled. This might include accommodation and meal costs.”

“A consumer’s rights under an airline compensation policy are on top of their rights under consumer guarantees. An airline’s policy can’t take away consumer guarantee rights.”

“Travel services, such as flights and tours, come with basic consumer rights known as consumer guarantees. This includes the guarantee that services will be provided within a reasonable time after being delayed or cancelled.

Consumers may be entitled to a replacement travel service or refund if a travel service is delayed or cancelled, depending on the circumstances.

Under the consumer guarantees, a consumer isn’t entitled to a refund or replacement if they change their mind or miss the travel service due to no fault of the travel service provider.

Airlines have compensation policies that set out what they’ll do if a flight is delayed or cancelled. But these policies don’t replace consumer guarantees that automatically apply.”

If you have any questions, please contact WGC Lawyers for further information.