A refuelling issue at Perth Airport on Saturday left thousands of passengers stranded nationwide — some even at international airports.

While many customers wondered whether they would receive refunds, the law actually states airlines are not required to provide compensation for delays or cancellations outside of their control.

So, what rights are passengers even entitled to if their journey is disrupted?

Here’s what we found.

What are my rights when my flight is cancelled?

It depends on your airline, how long the delay is and what caused the delay.

As a general rule, if your flight is delayed or cancelled and it was:

  • Within the airline’s control (mechanical issues or crew shortage): Most airlines will either carry you on another scheduled service as soon as possible or give you a refund. It’s at the airlines discretion, but some will provide meals, accommodation, and airport transfers
  • Outside the airline’s control (bad weather or border closures): Most airlines will try to help get you to your destination, but they won’t be responsible for paying any costs or expenses you may incur as a result of the delay or cancellation

In the case of the Perth Airport refuelling issue, this was outside the control of the airlines — which means most won’t compensate customers.

However, you should always contact your airline to confirm the conditions of compensation and refunds.

To give you a clearer idea of your rights, here’s a deeper dive into what each airline offers.

Within the airline’s control

Think aircraft maintenance, crewing issues or system outages.

Put on the next available flight if delayed or cancelled?

  • Qantas: Yes, if Qantas makes a significant change to your flight time
  • Virgin: Yes, once the delay is more than two hours (domestic) and four hours (international)
  • Jetstar: Yes, once the delay is more than three hours
  • Rex: Yes

Option of a refund instead?

  • Qantas: Yes
  • Virgin: Yes, if Virgin can’t make suitable alternative arrangements
  • Jetstar: Yes
  • Rex: Yes

Pay for meals, accommodation and transfers?

Qantas

  • Meal voucher for a delay of over two hours. Or $30 per person overnight and $50 if the new departure time is over 12 hours or original departure (if you’re away from your home airport)
  • And, appropriate to the length of the delay if you’re not at your home port: assistance to find overnight accommodation or up to $200 for a room
  • Airport transfers available for overnight delays

Virgin

  • Refreshment vouchers at two-hour intervals while you wait at the airport
  • And, appropriate to the length of the delay if you’re not at your home port: reasonable cost of airport transfers, up to $200 per room per night for hotel, and up to $30 per person per night for meals

Jetstar

  • Meal vouchers for delays over three hours or reimbursement of $30 per person if delay is overnight
  • Up to $200 per room plus reasonable costs of airport transfers (if you’re not at your home port)

Rex

  • If a delay exceeds 90 minutes, Rex will provide refreshments or vouchers if requested
A long queue of people stand in line with their luggage at Perth Airport.

The Perth Airport refuelling issue was outside an airline’s control, which means many passengers likely won’t get compensation.(ABC News: Rebecca Trigger)

Outside the airline’s control

Think bad weather, air traffic control issues, or airport refuelling issues.

Put on the next available flight if delayed or cancelled?

  • Qantas: Will book you on the next available flight
  • Virgin: Yes, once the delay is more than two hours
  • Jetstar: Yes, once the delay is more than three hours
  • Rex: Yes

Option of a refund instead?

  • Qantas: Yes, if Qantas can’t rebook you
  • Virgin: Yes, if Virgin can’t make suitable alternative arrangements
  • Jetstar: No, but you can get a credit voucher for the value of your flight on request (only if the airline can’t rebook you on an acceptable flight)
  • Rex: Yes

Pay for meals, accommodation and transfers?

  • Qantas: No
  • Virgin: No
  • Jetstar: No
  • Rex: No

If you’re after more information, head to the links above for each airline’s compensation policy.

My flight has been delayed a few hours, what can I do?

The Australian Competition Consumer Commission (ACCC) says airlines don’t have to guarantee flight times.

“When a consumer buys a flight ticket, they are entering into a contract with the airline,” it says.

“Airline conditions of carriage do not include a guarantee of flight times.

“Consumers should not assume that a plane will meet its exact advertised schedule.”

So, if for example, you end up missing your connecting flight, this is where travel insurance comes in. You should check to see if your provider covers any unexpected disruptions to travel plans.

Who do I contact if I have a complaint?

If an airline doesn’t deliver the service you’d reasonably expect, there are a few things you can do.

In the first instance, take your issue up directly with the airline.

If this fails, make a complaint to your state’s consumer protection agency (NSW Fair Trading, Office of Fair Trading Queensland etc).

You can also file a complaint to the Airline Customer Advocate (ACA) and consider reporting the matter to the ACCC.

Posted , updated 

Article source: https://airlines.einnews.com/article/716566304/U-XqtrjWKwWfcF-R?ref=rss&ecode=vaZAu9rk30b8KC5H

Leave a Reply