Australian family paid $10,000 for Qantas flight to Scotland before airline downgraded them to Jetstar
An Australian family was left fuming when a leg of their Qantas journey to Europe was ‘downgraded’ to Jetstar but they weren’t offered a refund on the price gap.
Albert Chen, his wife and two young children shelled-out $10,304 for full service tickets on Qantas flights from their home of Melbourne to Scotland with a stopover in Singapore leaving August 10.
But on the day of their trip, Qantas told them their flight to Singapore had been cancelled and offered them an alternative Qantas flight that would include a stopover in Sydney lasting three hours.
‘We didn’t want an extra three hours in Sydney, having to keep our kids entertained in an airport terminal,’ Mr Chen told Yahoo News Australia.
They were then offered a Jetstar flight that did not have the Sydney detour which they accepted – reluctantly, having paid for the premium Qantas experience.
Albert Chen and his family are fighting for a full refund of the fare difference after their Qantas flight to Singapore was cancelled and they were downgraded to Jetstar instead
Jetstar is the budget arm of Qantas with the main airline billing itself as a premium experience
Mr Chen then requested a refund for the price difference between the Qantas and Jetstar tickets to Singapore and said he was stunned when he wasn’t immediately offered one.
‘Qantas refused to acknowledge that our change from Qantas to Jetstar was a downgrade,’ Mr Chen said.
It is understood when a passenger is moved from Qantas to Jetstar they are offered extra services such as baggage and meals at no additional charge.
Mr Chen was later offered a partial refund of $700 along with frequent flyer points as a goodwill gesture by the airline.
He claims it’s not enough and is still in touch with Qantas demanding the full refund of the ticket difference.
Mr Chen said according to his research his family’s Melbourne to Singapore leg worked out to about $4,100 with Qantas while a similar package with Jetstar costs about $1,780.
According to consumer rights watchdog the ACCC, when an airline cancels a flight, ticket holders are entitled under law to alternative within a reasonable timeframe.
‘If that replacement service is not within a reasonable time, the travel service provider must give the consumer their choice of a different replacement service or refund,’ the ACCC states.
Qantas have offered the Chen family a partial refund of $700 along with frequent flyer points as a goodwill gesture by the airline
‘If the consumer had to book a new flight with another airline because the airline they had originally booked with had no reasonable replacement flights, they may have a right to reimbursement from the original airline for the cost of that flight.’
The ACCC also added that in issues of a dispute what is ‘reasonable’ is decided by a tribunal or court and that when booking a flight, customers are agreeing to the airline’s terms of service, which could outline what an acceptable alternative is.
Qantas has been contacted for comment.