CHOICE is calling for airlines to provide fixed financial compensation to travellers who have flights delayed or cancelled for reasons within the airline’s control such as turnaround delays or mechanical problems.The call comes as CHOICE research reveals 23% of passengers experienced a problem with a flight delay or cancellation in the last 12 months, topping the list for problems associated with domestic and international flying.
“Alarmingly, 63% of all consumers who experienced a flight delay or cancellation reported no assistance was provided by the airline,” says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.
“It’s time we held airlines financially accountable for delays and cancellations within their control. Currently, there is no set compensation for consumers in Australia when an airline keeps you grounded.”
In the European Union if the airline causes a major delay, passengers receive standardised compensation up to $900 (650 euros).In addition to financial compensation, European consumers are offered refunds on flights, meals, refreshments, phone calls, emails and accommodation.
“The airlines should take responsibility for their own mistakes and we don’t believe passengers should be paying for an airline’s delay,” Mr Godfrey says.
“Compensation should be fair and standardised, no matter what airline you’re on or what the customer service agent decides you deserve on the day.”
Last year, the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics found an average of 1-in-10 flights didn’t take off on time, with Jetstar Australia’s worst performer with only 76.2 per cent of flights leaving on time.
“Even though so many of their flights don’t leave on time, Jetstar doesn’t offer passengers any standardised compensation,” says Mr Godfrey.
While a significant number of consumers are suffering delays, CHOICE’s research has found over 39% of consumers making a travel related complaint found it too much of a hassle and 11% didn’t know how to make a complaint.
“In light of our research findings, and to remove the hassle from complaining directly to the airlines, we are launching a website called complane.com.au. The site allows consumers to complain directly to Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin or Tiger about a flight delay or cancellation,” Mr Godfrey says.
“Through the site consumers are able to enter their flight details, the reason for their delay or cancellation and other details, including the money and time lost from the delay or cancellation.”
To lodge an airline complaint visit: complane.com.au