The Fine Print
In Australia airlines aren’t obligated to compensate you if they cancel a flight. Generally speaking, if a flight is cancelled because the airline was unable to crew the flight or there was a mechanical issue with the plane then the airline will usually try to get you onto another flight, and if that fails, the airline usually offers some sort of voucher for another flight, or a refund if you are very, very lucky.
However, if a flight is cancelled due to extreme weather conditions then the airline doesn’t owe you anything. These reasons are why getting travel insurance is so important.
If your flight is cancelled…
The first thing you need to do is find the information desk of your chosen airline (if you are at the airport), or give your airline or travel agent a call if you’re still at home. It’s important to find out why the flight was cancelled and what the airline is doing for passengers who paid for tickets on that flight. It’s important to remain cool, calm and collected because you will get more help if you’re friendly.
If you’re going to claim anything on travel insurance
In the case of flight cancellation, you need to get an ‘Insurance Letter’ from your airline that covers the cancellation of your flight to submit to your insurer. Be sure to keep any receipts for costs incurred as a direct result of your cancelled flight. All this paperwork is integral to making a claim against your travel insurance successfully.
How to get to where you’re going now
Once your flight is cancelled and you’ve found out what your airline is planning to do about it, it’s time to book some new flights. Speak to your airline about what other flights are available and be sure to mention if you have a connecting flight so the airline can do their best to cater to that issue as well. Like we said before, this is why travel insurance is so important. AT this point you must confirm with the airline what costs they will be covering as a result of the flight cancellation, and how you can access that payment or reimbursement. Try to get this emailed to you in writing if possible.
According to Flight Centre, Australia’s four major airlines, Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar and Tiger, should all offer to rebook you on the next available flight according to their written statements of commitment.
If your flight is cancelled due to avoidable or unavoidable issues, Qantas offers a full refund, Virgin and Tiger offer credits to be spent within 12 and 6 months respectively, while Jetstar offers no refund.
What you can do to stay ahead of the issue
When booking your flights ensure that you have registered the correct email address and phone number to your booking so the airline can contact you with important flight updates. Furthermore, check the flight status page on your airlines website rather than relying on the departure boards at the airport, which can receive flight information later than online.
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