Qantas Refund Grounding FAQ

Qantas Refund Grounding FAQ

Qantas’ grounding of all flights has left customers scrambling for alternatives to existing bookings. Assuming you can find a flight with other carriers, what are your options for getting a refund?

Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

We covered this territory fairly broadly in our first post about the crisis, but Qantas had made more information available since then, so it seems worth breaking the options down in more detail. (We’ll update this post if more information comes to hand.)

Regardless of your circumstances, one thing to bear in mind: getting through to Qantas on the phone takes a long time, and right now that’s the only way to organise refunds. Be prepared for a long phone wait, and make the call from a landline if at all possible. (That’s assuming you can even get through — I’ve mostly been getting engaged signals.)

The big detail to remember is that you have more options refund-wise once your flight definitely isn’t happening. Qantas has said the grounding is indefinite, but is essentially processing flights in 24-hour blocks. Right now, it has only confirmed refund conditions for flights up until the end of October 31. If you’ve got a flight on Friday, chances are you’ll be told to contact the airline again closer to flight time — which will be, obviously, a really annoying outcome after waiting hours for anyone to talk to you.

My flight has been cancelled. Will I get a refund?

Qantas has said that it will offer changes or refunds on all cancelled flights (which, at this writing, is up until October 31). You have the option of also holding that credit for use on a future flight, but I suspect that will be a less popular option. What it isn’t offering is reimbursement of associated expenses (so if you’ve got a cheap hotel booking you can’t cancel, you’re unlikely to see that money as far as I can tell).

I’ve managed to find an alternative flight. Will Qantas pay for it?

When flights have been cancelled, Qantas’ site says it will “reimburse the difference between the cost of the customer’s alternate ticket (in the same class of travel) and the value of their refunded Qantas ticket”. You’ll undoubtedly have to pay up front and then hit Qantas for the money later. Update: Here’s the refund application form.

I’m stuck away from home. Will Qantas pay for my flights and accommodation?

As we mentioned yesterday, Qantas is sourcing accommodation for passengers who have already commenced their journey, and offering them $100 a day in “reasonable expenses” (essentially, food and phone calls). Passengers who haven’t flown yet have to find their own accommodation, but will be offered reimbursement on hotel costs up to $250, plus the $100 expenses claim. Update: here’s the expenses claim form.

I want to cancel a future booking with Qantas because I don’t trust the airline anymore. Can I get a refund?

We covered this issue back when only intermittent flights were being affected by industrial action, but the answer remains the same: generally speaking, you’ll only get refund options once a flight is actually cancelled. Since flights in the future haven’t yet officially been cancelled (and now won’t be for at least three weeks for industrial reasons), the grounds for a refund (in purely contractual terms) are pretty iffy.

Do I have to lodge a refund request straight away?

Qantas says it will accept refund requests up until January 31 2012. That means if you’ve already made alternate arrangements, you might want to wait for a while before hitting the airline for the money to avoid massive phone waiting. Of course, if you’re assuming Qantas is going to disappear altogether, you might be seeking your money more urgently.


  • I have been looking around for flights back from LAX to Melbourne as I fly out in a few hours originally but when i look up flights online to replace my economy flight I am finding that some are showing only option today is with economy to South Korea then Business Class from there. What are my options here? The Qantas office is just not answering.

  • Had a flight today to LAX with Qantas.. With internal flights to a conference all on the same booking. Spent 4 hours in a panic last night rebooking everything cost me $1000+ more and an extra 8hrs waiting in airports…..I got screwed…..Ive converted all my FF points to gift cards and will never fly Qantas again! I think both sides are Posturing and Joyce should have given at leadt a weeks notice to people i dont see the advantage of doing what he did except hurt qantas rep. He will get a vote of no confidence by shareholders, get kicked out and go back to Ireland with pockets full of cash….. The unions have too much power in this country and need to pull their heads in and grow up as well.

  • Does anyone know what will be refunded if you have flown part of a return trip. We had return tickets to Bris and got cancelled after check in last night before returning. Managed to run and rebook one way to Melb last night for $680 on Virgin but not sure what we will be refunded or what flight we can defer – will it be a return flight? No answers on their website.

  • I am in transit, returning to my home in sydney after a week in Perth. I had my boarding pass, checked in my luggage and gone through security whereupon I had around 25mins to go to board (2.15 departure). It goes without saying that I didnt finish my beer as theannouncements came over re cancellation of international and domestic flights. Unbelievable. Stuck in Perth!

    I was fortunate to get a reduced rate fare with Virgin, via Melbourne to change to another plane, but for a reduced rate of little over 400. Other people were not so lucky. My flight leaves this evening at midnight.

    I arranged a room at the Novatel, Langley. This was obviously beforr they realised they could double the price.. which came as a shock this morning when they told me it would be 309 if i wanted to check out at 10 tonight, ouch. I hope QANTAS will understand this when it comes time for reimbursment. I was not dressed appropriately for dining in their restaurant so i ordered a room service burger. I hope that this too is honored.

    My main worry is now i hope that QANTAS will understand the need for the extended stay and honor their pledge they committed to over expenses re accommodation and food and my need for the extension in the hotel. I wonder if they expect me to sit for up to 12 hours at the airport. Surely that is not expected of me and they come to the padty and make good on their promise, after all its not my fault i am stuck here. At least the hotel has washing facilities!

    What about those poor poor folks who are quite literally camping it out at the airpirt and it may well stay that way for days? I REALLY hope they are being looked after.

    One interesting thing to comment on though is the level of security here. Being opposite the hotel whede the queen opened the gala ball the otger day the security is over the top still. Apparently there were snipers on the roof here until yesterday.. gosh.

    What do you think of my situation? And thank you for being so informative.. i tried to get through to qantas but hey, tgey dont reimburse hours of life you lose in wait!!

  • It’d be nice to be able to publish Alan Joyce’s private number. I’m sure he’d love to deal with the public (and his shareholders) now he’s made this decision.

  • I was due to fly home on Sunday 30th October from Karratha to start work again on the Monday 31st October and due to the Qantas disruption I have missed a day’s work that I will not be getting paid for. Will I get reimbursed from Qantas for this?

  • I booked return ticket with Qantas but unfortunately my kid had ear infection I rang customer service qantas to cancel. Unfortunately they didn’t send me a cancelation details now I want to use that ticket and they tell me I used it already. I was so furious and don’t know what to do. How can I follow up with this because I don’t want to waste my money just like that and the person I speak with this morning had terrible customer service. How can I truck my call record to prove this.

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