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The best time to call your airline: CHOICE

CHOICE called Qantas and Virgin four times a day over nine days to find the best times to call.

A recent CHOICE mystery shop found that travellers are still waiting for prolonged periods of time when calling Qantas or Virgin.

"Having plans cancelled or changed can be stressful enough," says CHOICE consumer advocate Alison Elliott. "Our mystery shop shows that some times are worse than others to call. If you can, try calling earlier in the day or the weekend." 

Read the full story here:

CHOICE found the average wait time for Qantas was 39 minutes 37 seconds (and more than 50 minutes if you call after midday) and for Virgin it was 7 minutes 2 seconds. 

"In a survey earlier this year, many people told us they were waiting several hours on hold when calling their airline throughout the pandemic. While our mystery shop indicates shorter call wait times than that, the time airlines are expecting some customers to wait on hold is still too long. CHOICE has a guide to the best time to call your airline based on our results," says Elliott.

The best/worst times of the day
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The best/worst days of the week
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"If you're calling Qantas, make sure you call on the weekend. For Virgin, most days are fine but avoid Mondays. We also found that the earlier in the day you call the better, particularly with Qantas," says Elliott.

In July, CHOICE called on Australian governments to fix Australia's travel "cancellation chaos" with 7 urgent reforms, starting by making it easier for travellers to obtain refunds when plans are cancelled.

"CHOICE continues to advocate for minimum customer service standards across airlines and other sectors through a mandatory industry code," says Elliott.

"Given travel plans will continue to face uncertainty, a code would set an important benchmark of expected customer service that would help improve the experience of all travellers."

Australians can sign CHOICE's petition for better travel rights at:

Media contact: 0430 172 669,

Editor's notes:

The CHOICE mystery shop was conducted in August 2021 over a nine day period, calling both Qantas and Virgin at designated times four times a day. Over the nine day period there were no announcements of flight issues at the major hubs of Sydney or Melbourne. Mystery shoppers quickly got off the phone once the calls were answered to avoid prolonging wait times for other callers.