Consumer Protection is reminding WA consumers about their rights when impacted by the current wave of domestic and international flight cancellations or long delays.
So far this year, a total of 193 complaints from WA consumers have been received with most relating to an airline’s refusal to offer either a refund or credit for cancelled or delayed flights. Almost half of the complaints were lodged in the past two months.
Under consumer law, airlines must provide their travel services within a reasonable time and consumers may be entitled to a replacement flight or a refund should flights be cancelled or delayed for a long period of time.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said the remedy that the passenger is entitled to may depend on individual circumstances.
“The consumer guarantees that apply will depend on the length of the delay, the reason for the cancellation/delay or whether the airline could organise another flight within a reasonable time,” Mr Newcombe said.
“The airline’s obligations may not apply if the reasons are outside their control, such as weather conditions and other factors.
“If the airline is only offering affected passengers a flight credit but refusing requests for a refund, consumers can lodge a complaint with us at Consumer Protection and we can provide specific advice or try to conciliate the matter.
“Should the airline fail to provide a speedy resolution or offer acceptable alternative travel arrangements, passengers may also have the right to book with another airline and recover the costs from the original airline. The compensation policies of different airlines will vary.
“Even if the ticket price is non-refundable according to the terms and conditions, those will not apply if the cancellation or unreasonable delay is initiated by the airline. Passengers who change their mind or miss their flight may not be entitled to a refund or replacement flight.
Consumers are advised to consider taking out travel insurance that covers these situations and those who are travelling to attend a specific event should allow extra time in case of disruptions to their travel plans.”
This advice relates specifically to the current spate of flight cancellations and delays and may not relate to previous issues associated with COVID-19 restrictions.
WA passengers who are in dispute with the airline about a refund, credit or reasonable replacement flight can lodge a complaint on the Consumer Protection website