Flight chaos at Perth Airport: consumer protection reminds frustrated passengers of their rights

WA travelers have been made aware of their rights following the wave of canceled flights.

The frustrations have boiled over for holidaymakers, who have been stranded for the past week after last-minute flight cancellations and long delays to domestic and international destinations.

Perth Airport has canceled daily flights on Saturdays since the start of the school holidays.

Yet another Jetstar flight from Perth to Bali was canceled on Thursday morning – the fifth consecutive day it has happened.

Consumer Protection said Thursday it had received 193 complaints from WA consumers, the vast majority of which related to airlines refusing to refund or provide credit for canceled or delayed flights.

Nearly half of the complaints were made in the past two months, as COVID rules have eased and Australians have started to travel outside their country again.

Camera iconHolidaymakers should know what their rights are in the event of canceled flights over canceled or delayed flights. Credit: 9NEWSTwitter

It has prompted Consumer Protection to inform third-party liability consumers of their rights.

Consumer law requires airlines to provide their travel services within a reasonable time and consumers may be entitled to a replacement flight or refund if flights are canceled or delayed for a long period of time.

Consumer Protection Commissioner Gary Newcombe said the remedy passengers were entitled to depended on individual circumstances.

“The consumer guarantees that apply depend on the length of the delay, the reason for the cancellation/delay or whether the airline can re-arrange the flight within a reasonable time,” he said.

“The airline’s obligations may not apply if the reasons are beyond their control, such as weather conditions and other factors.

“If the airline offers only affected passengers a flight credit but refuses refund requests, consumers can file a complaint with us at Consumer Protection and we can provide specific advice or attempt to settle the matter.”

Newcombe said passengers may even have the right to book a flight with another airline and get a refund.

“If the airline does not provide a prompt 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,” he said.

“The compensation policies of different airlines will vary.

“Even if the ticket price is non-refundable under the terms and conditions, they 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.”

Mr Newcombe said passengers are strongly advised to take out travel insurance which covers situations of canceled or delayed flights.

WA passengers who have a dispute with the airline regarding a refund, credit or reasonable replacement flight can file a complaint on the Consumer Protection website.

Inquiries can be made by email to [email protected] or by calling 1300 30 40 54.

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