Your rights in flight

Delays due to natural causes, lost baggage or poor cabin service can ruin your travel plans.
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  • Updated:21 Jun 2011

04.How to complain

Irrespective of what an airline says it will or won’t do in its terms and conditions, you have rights under the Competition and Consumer Act and state fair trading laws if an airline doesn’t deliver the service you’d reasonably expect.

If an airline doesn’t take reasonable steps to help you if your flights are delayed or cancelled, for example, don’t put up with it. Complain to the airline in writing — see Letters that get results. If you don’t get a reasonable response, go to your state department of consumer affairs or fair trading and lodge a formal complaint. Our small claims courts and tribunals are designed to give consumers an inexpensive means of exercising their rights when they’re treated unfairly. We urge you to exercise yours.

Which convention?

The liability of domestic airlines is determined by the Competition and Consumer Act, the Civil Aviation (Carriers’ Liability) Act 1959 and applicable state and territory fair trading laws. The Montreal Convention also applies to international flights, and it sets out international provisions for damages. However, many airlines provide above the amounts set out in these provisions.

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