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Compensation for cancelled flights should be the norm: CHOICE

Response to Qantas agreement to compensate 86,000 customers for cancelled flights.

Last updated: 06 May 2024

CHOICE response to announcement Qantas has agreed to pay $120 million to settle ACCC enforcement action

Quotes attributable to Rosie Thomas, Director of Campaigns and Communications at CHOICE:

"Qantas agreeing to pay $120 million dollars and admitting it misled consumers after ACCC court action is a significant result. The proposed settlement sends a very clear message to all airlines and travel service providers that misleading consumers about cancellations does not fly."

"CHOICE is pleased to see compensation included in the settlement. Over 80,000 consumers have had their travel plans derailed by Qantas' behaviour over a number of years and these payments are already well overdue. We've heard from countless consumers about having to fight tooth and nail to receive refunds or compensation from airlines for delayed or cancelled flights."

"Consumers should not need regulator action to receive compensation when it's owed. CHOICE's 2023 survey of almost 9000 people found that of those who pursued a refund or compensation for a cancelled flight, 1 in 5 had to wait over six months."

"CHOICE is calling for the establishment of a new travel and airline ombuds scheme and stronger rights to refunds and compensation for cancelled flights. We look forward to the Federal Government's upcoming Aviation White Paper to set out a clear plan to bring Australia's airline consumer protection framework in line with comparable international jurisdictions."

Editor's notes:

CHOICE has been advocating for reform to the aviation sector for many years, and together with the Consumers' Federation of Australia made a submission to the Federal Government's Aviation Green Paper, calling for new airline specific consumer protections..

In December 2023, a survey of almost 9000 supporters from CHOICE found 40% of respondents had a flight cancelled or delayed in the past 12 months. 

In November 2022, CHOICE gave Qantas a Shonky award for being the 'spirit of disappointment'.

In April 2022, CHOICE filed a complaint with the ACCC calling out onerous restrictions in Qantas's credit redemption rules.

Stronger refund rights and fairer flight credits are also some of the key recommendations we made to governments as part of our 2021 Report: A plan for fairer consumer protections for travellers.

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