6 December 2017
CHOICE's latest annual travel trends survey has found Australian travellers are so fed-up with the airline industry, almost two-thirds of those who had a problem (65%) didn't complain when they were left stranded.
"Delayed or cancelled flights were the biggest hassle, affecting 63% of those who experienced problems while flying. Despite that, many aren't taking up the fight with their airline," says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.
"37% of people who didn't complain said they thought their complaints wouldn't achieve anything, while 34% thought the complaints process itself is a hassle."
"With six in ten people telling us their airline took no action when their flight was delayed or cancelled, it's not hard to see why people are disillusioned."
The survey found those travelling with budget airline Jetstar were more likely to experience a flight delay or cancellation.
"Once again, Jetstar has come in at rock bottom in satisfaction ratings. Jetstar customers reported experiencing more problems than any other domestic airline, with 41% of people having a delayed or cancelled flight with the airline over the last year alone," says Mr Godfrey.
CHOICE also found none of the four domestic airlines surveyed improved in their overall rating, which includes punctuality, value for money and customer service.
"In fact, airlines' satisfaction ratings have declined since the 2016 survey," says Mr Godfrey.
"With delays and cancellations a top problems for Aussie travellers, CHOICE is calling on the domestic airline industry to provide fixed financial compensation to travellers who have flights cancelled or delayed for reasons within the airline's control."
"An industry-wide system of standardised compensation already exists in the European Union so it's hardly a stretch for Australian consumers to get the same guarantees for a service they paid for."
"Whether it's a missed business meeting, family dinner or even a wedding, Aussie travellers shouldn't have to pay for the airline's mistakes."
"CHOICE believes the airline industry also needs to face enforcement action if it's not compliant with the Australian Consumer Law, particularly in relation to unfair contract terms and consumer guarantees."
CHOICE is calling on the government to introduce fixed compensation for travellers who experience a flight delay or cancellation, similar to the existing compensation scheme in Europe: campaigns.choice.com.au/choice-airline-campaign/
The full 'Australian Consumers in The Travel Market' annual trends report can be read at: choice.com.au/consumer-advocacy/policy-submissions#reports
Notes to editors:
• The Online Research Unit, on behalf of CHOICE, surveyed 2,506 Australians aged 18-75 years from 19 June to 12 July 2017 who took a domestic flight for a holiday in the past 12 months and at least one international flight in the last two years. The data has been weighted to be representative of the Australian population.
• The industry-wide system of standardised compensation in the European Union was enshrined as the Flight Compensation Regulation in 2005. Compensation of up to $900 (600 euros) is available for delayed passengers, depending on the length of the delay and the distance of the flight. In addition to financial compensation, European consumers are offered refunds on flights, meals, refreshments, phone calls, emails and accommodation.
Tom Godfrey, Head of Media and Spokesperson - 0430 172 669 - @choice_news
Set up by consumers for consumers, CHOICE is the consumer advocate that provides Australians with information and advice, free from commercial bias. As vital today as when we were founded in 1959, CHOICE continues to fight for consumers and uncover the truth. By mobilising Australia's largest and loudest consumer movement, CHOICE fights to hold industry and government accountable and achieve real change on the issues that matter most.