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CHOICE says Tigerair is Australia’s least loved airline, as customer complaints don’t get off the ground

October 30, 2015 Business News No Comments Email Email

Consumer advocacy group CHOICE has released a its latest travel survey which found Qantas is the most loved domestic airline by Australian travellers, with Tigerair bringing up the tail, rating poorly for customer service, punctuality and complaints handling.CHOICE found that flights (38%) were the main source of issues for Australians in the travel market, with booking online (25%), booking through a travel agent (15%), car hire (15%) and accommodation (15%) also causing trouble.

“Worryingly, despite facing problems, more than half (52%) of the travellers that had a problem didn’t make a complaint,” says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.

“Of those who didn’t complain, 42% doubted a complaint would achieve anything. Clearly, questions need to be asked around how effective the current system is for identifying and resolving issues faced by Australian flyers.

“By failing to capture complaints, airlines are missing out on vital customer feedback that could help improve their operations.

“We should have a system that incentivises consumers to speak up, to ensure travellers’ rights are upheld and airlines seek to continuously improve,” Mr Godfrey says.

CHOICE says the existing Airline Customer Advocate scheme is only available to consumers who have already complained twice to a locally-based airline. Its powers are then limited to asking for another response from the airline within 20 days.

“The Advocate is undoubtedly doing what they can, working within some pretty major limitations,” Mr Godfrey says.

“But given airlines are the main source of troubles for Australian travellers, there’s a strong case for reviewing the whole system for airline customer complaints and giving consumers some power beyond a ‘complaints roundabout’.”

Of the 38% who had an issue with a flight, CHOICE found delays and cancellations (55%) were the main bugbear for flyers, followed by hidden fees or charges (22%), poor in-flight service (22%), lost/delayed luggage (18%), difficulty making changes to bookings/cancelling (16%) and charges associated with cancellations and changes (15%).

“Despite flights being the main pain point, only 19% of people who had a travel problem contacted airlines to complain in the last 12 months,” says Mr Godfrey.

When it comes to the most flown airline, Qantas (59%) and Jetstar (50%) top the list, with Virgin (42%) hot on their heels and Tigerair (12%) a long way from being a threatening predator.

For further information visit choice.com.au/airlinesatisfaction


  • If you experience a problem with an airline take the time to complain
  • If the airline fails to resolve your complaint, ask them for a review. If it’s still not resolved, escalate the issue to the Airline Customer Advocate
  • Go to choice.com.au/airline satisfaction for the detailed findings

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