What To Ask For If An Airline Changes Your Flight

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If an airline involuntarily bumps you from a flight, chances are you can ask for a whole more than you think, like meal vouchers, a hotel stay or just cold, hard cash. But what are your rights if an airline suddenly decides to change your flight’s departure time entirely? It happens; over on Reddit, u/kaileen shared their family member’s experience when an airline changed their itinerary last-minute.

“My brother bought a ticket from Frontier Airlines back in August,” they wrote. “The original flight was for this Saturday at 5:45am. He just got an email for a new itinerary that has him leaving Sunday at 6:00am ... If this isn’t a mistake, is there anything that can be done to get a discount or some kind of compensation for the inconvenience? I know Frontier isn’t famous for being great to fly with, but this just seems ridiculous.”

It is ridiculous—but don’t expect any compensation. Generally, in the best-case scenario, you can ask to be rebooked on a different flight for free or to just be given a refund, which you can use that to rebook on another airline, at least.

Below are several policies for several major Australian airlines that you should definitely take a closer look at, so you can better understand what to ask for when your departure time changes in a major way:

Qantas

Commercial overbooking

We take the utmost care in managing each flight, but on rare occasions a flight may be overbooked and we may need to seek a volunteer to change to another flight. If there are no volunteers, we will choose passengers to change to another flight. If this happens to you, and you arrived on time for your confirmed flight with all required documentation, we will re-book you on the next available Qantas flight and provide you with the assistance (in accordance with the above table for a delay or cancellation within our control). If you are flying internationally and the next available flight departs over 4 hours after your scheduled departure time, you will also be given a Qantas travel voucher.

Refunds for delays, cancellations and overbooking

  • If we cancel your flight and we cannot offer you suitable alternative arrangements.
  • If we delay your flight to the extent that you have to cancel your travel.
  • If we make a significant change# to the scheduled flight time and we are unable to book you on an alternative flight that is acceptable to you.
  • If we cause you to miss a connecting Qantas flight on which you have a confirmed reservation.
  • If we are unable to carry you and you have a confirmed reservation.

Virgin

What happens if VA denies me boarding (for reasons other than my conduct)?

On rare occasions we may request for volunteers to move to a later flight. If we do not get any volunteers, we may need to involuntarily move you to a new flight to the same destination. If this occurs, we will move you to the next available Virgin Australia service. If your new flight is more than 2 hours from your original scheduled time of departure but you choose to accept your new flight, we will also provide you with a credit (other than if you are delayed in the USA, see below) for your inconvenience as follows:

  • $50 for domestic and international short haul flights; and
  • $250 for international long-haul flights where you are delayed in Australia or Hong Kong.

If the new flight time is not suitable to you, you may request a Travel Bank credit or a refund of the total price you paid for your impacted flight by contacting our Guest Contact Centre or your travel agent. You may be entitled to claim compensation for reasonable costs you incur as per section 8 or under the Australian Consumer Law. For flights between Australia and the US, we will provide you with assistance and compensation in accordance with the requirements of the US Denied Boarding Legislation.

Jetstar

Commercial Overbooking

We take the utmost care in managing each flight, but on rare occasions a flight may be overbooked and we may need to seek a volunteer to change to another flight. If there are no volunteers, we will choose passengers to change to another flight. If this happens to you, and you arrived on time for your confirmed Australian or New Zealand domestic flight or international flight from Australia or New Zealand with all required documentation, we will re-book you on the next available Jetstar flight and give you a Jetstar travel voucher. If you live over 50km away, we will also provide you with assistance in accordance with a delay or cancellation within our control.

Refunds for delays, cancellations and overbooking

  • If we cancel your flight and we cannot offer you suitable alternative arrangements.
  • If we delay your flight to the extent that you have to cancel your travel.
  • If we make a significant change# to the scheduled flight time and we are unable to book you on an alternative flight that is acceptable to you.
  • If we cause you to miss a connecting Qantas flight on which you have a confirmed reservation.
  • If we are unable to carry you and you have a confirmed reservation.

Tiger

What happens if Tigerair cancels or delays my flight 72 hours or more prior to my scheduled departure time?

If we need to change or cancel your flight 72 hours or more prior to your scheduled departure time, we will contact you using the contact details provided in your booking (which may be by phone, text or email) to advise you or your nominated booking contact of the change to your flight details.

  • If your flight is moved less than 10 minutes earlier than the original scheduled departure time or is moved less than 4 hours later than the original scheduled departure time, we will provide you with the option to change the date or destination of your Booking, subject to payment of the prevailing change fee plus any applicable fare difference.

If your flight is moved 4 hours or more later than the original scheduled departure time or moved at least 10 minutes earlier than original scheduled departure time, we will provide you with the following, one-time options:

  • Change your departure date: depart within 7 days from the original departure date, and we will waive the change fee and the difference in fare; or
  • Change your destination: depart within 7 days from the original departure date, and we will waive the change fee. (please note that you must pay any applicable fare difference and/or taxes and charges); or
  • Receive a credit account: (valid for 6 months from the date of issue on Tigerair Australia services only); or
  • Receive a refund: opt for a full or partial refund for the affected sector.
  • You may be entitled to claim compensation for reasonable costs you incur as per section 8 or under the Australian Consumer Law.

What happens if Tigerair denies me boarding (for reasons other than my conduct)?

  • On rare occasions we may request for volunteers to move to a later flight. If we do not get any volunteers, we may need to involuntarily move you to a new flight to the same destination.
  • If this occurs, we will move you to the next available Tigerair Australia service to the same destination without charge and we will also provide you with a credit for your inconvenience in the amount of $85.00 per person.
  • If the new flight time is not suitable, to you may request a credit or a refund of the total price you paid for your impacted flight by contacting our Customer Support Centre or your travel agent.
  • You may be entitled to claim compensation for reasonable costs you incur as per section 8 or under the Australian Consumer Law.

If you want to change your flight or request a refund, understand the policies that affect you and contact your airline immediately to request a change. It’s worth noting, however, that if a scheduled change affects your ability to make a layover, chances are the airline will try to better accommodate you (though there are no rules in place that point out specific time limits).

Also, if you booked two legs of a trip on separate airlines, and might risk missing the connection, know that your second airline doesn’t owe you much of anything in this scenario. In this instance, you might want to check out our guide on airline change fees ASAP.


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