Skip to content   Skip to footer navigation 

Call for cash compensation as airline delays take off

CHOICE says airlines should be forced to pay fixed financial compensation for flight delays and cancellations.

21 July 2016

CHOICE is calling for airlines to provide fixed financial compensation to travellers who have flights delayed or cancelled for reasons within the airline's control such as turnaround delays or mechanical problems.

The call comes as CHOICE research reveals 23% of passengers experienced a problem with a flight delay or cancellation in the last 12 months, topping the list for problems associated with domestic and international flying.[1]

"Alarmingly, 63% of all consumers who experienced a flight delay or cancellation reported no assistance was provided by the airline," [2] says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.

"It's time we held airlines financially accountable for delays and cancellations within their control. Currently, there is no set compensation for consumers in Australia when an airline keeps you grounded."

In the European Union if the airline causes a major delay, passengers receive standardised compensation up to $900 (650 euros). [3] In addition to financial compensation, European consumers are offered refunds on flights, meals, refreshments, phone calls, emails and accommodation. [4]

"The airlines should take responsibility for their own mistakes and we don't believe passengers should be paying for an airline's delay," Mr Godfrey says.

"Compensation should be fair and standardised, no matter what airline you're on or what the customer service agent decides you deserve on the day."

Last year, the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics found an average of 1-in-10 flights didn't take off on time, with Jetstar Australia's worst performer with only 76.2 per cent of flights leaving on time.[5]

"Even though so many of their flights don't leave on time, Jetstar doesn't offer passengers any standardised compensation," says Mr Godfrey.

While a significant number of consumers are suffering delays, CHOICE's research has found over 39% of consumers making a travel related complaint found it too much of a hassle and 11% didn't know how to make a complaint.[6]

"In light of our research findings, and to remove the hassle from complaining directly to the airlines, we are launching a website called complane.com.au. The site allows consumers to complain directly to Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin or Tiger about a flight delay or cancellation," Mr Godfrey says.

"Through the site consumers are able to enter their flight details, the reason for their delay or cancellation and other details, including the money and time lost from the delay or cancellation."

To lodge an airline complaint visit: complane.com.au

Media contact: Tom Godfrey, CHOICE, Head of Media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669

What to do when your flight is delayed or cancelled:

1. Check if the delay or cancellation was within the airline's control (e.g. mechanical, crewing or passenger problems)

2. Log on to complane.com.au and send your complaint directly to the airline

3. If you don't hear back, follow up your complaint with the Airline Customer Advocate, the industry's independent complaints handling body

EU compensation
If flight arrives three hours or more after schedule, is cancelled or overbooked Up to 1500km More than 1500km 1500 to 3500km More than 3500km
Within the EU €250 ($365) €400 ($584)
Between EU airport and non-EU airport €250 ($365) €400 ($584) €600 ($876)


[1] Research conducted by Pure Profile with a nationally representative sample of 2500 Australians, aged 18-85 years. Research was conducted between 20 June to 8 July, 2016. Participants had taken a domestic flight in the previous 12 months and an international flight in the past two years.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Detailed information about compensation schemes for delayed travellers are available here: https://www.choice.com.au/travel/on-holidays/airlines/articles/flight-delays-and-cancellations-compensation

[4] Ibid.

[5] https://bitre.gov.au/statistics/aviation/otp_annual.aspx

[6] Op. Cit, Pure Profile Research, 20 June to 8 July, 2016.

Media contact