Air travel has been a chaotic scene all year round. With more people booking holidays, and COVID-19 clusters springing up to cancel them, it’s more important than ever to know your airline’s policies before paying for a flight.
Here’s the current situation for the major Australian airlines and the rundown on each one’s change and cancellation policies for domestic travel.
Qantas states that due to covid-19 if the company cancels your flight it will rebook you on the next available flight to the same destination, at no additional cost. Alternatively, a flight credit or refund can be chosen. This applies to both domestic and international flights.
Be aware that choosing to cancel your own flight can result in a cancellation fee being charged.
Qantas also reminds passengers to check the latest government travel requirements for any health declarations before a flight. You can contact the Qantas office to discuss options related to border restrictions.
For domestic flights on or before 31 March 2021, this is what Qantas states on its website:
- If you’re due to travel on a Qantas flight and wish to change your plans, you can cancel your booking and retain the full value as a flight credit.
- Request your Flight Credit before your scheduled date of departure.
- Then book and travel by 31 December 2022.
- When you’re ready to rebook, you’ll need to cover any change fee and any fare increase in your new booking, if applicable.
For domestic flights after 31 March 2021, this is the situation:
If your plans have changed or you no longer wish to travel, visit Manage Booking to change your travel dates, or cancel your flight and request a flight credit to use the value towards a future flight.
- Your flight credit is valid for booking and travel within 12 months from your original booking date.
- Our standard fare rules apply, so you may be charged a change or cancellation fee.
- You’ll also need to cover any fare increase in your new booking, if applicable.
To check your fare conditions for change and cancellation information, enter your last name and booking reference at Manage booking, then move down to the flight section.
Qantas is also extending its fly flexible offer, allowing further flexibility on flights in the domestic network. When booking between certain dates, Qantas will allow travellers to change the date of travel and the company will waive the change fee, but only once. Customers will need to cover any fare increase for a new flight.
The airline is also running an initiative for customers to retain their frequent flyer status.
Virgin Australia is also being fairly flexible with flight cancellations and bookings.
For bookings before April 20, 2020, Virgin allows changes on domestic travel dates and destinations, unlimited changes without fees (before January 31, 2020), any payable fare differences and bookings can be changed to any date up to 12 months in advance.
Virgin Australia’s cancellation policy for flights prior to April 20, are as follows:
To cancel a booking you can visit Virgin’s website, or contact your relevant travel agent or booking provider.
Virgin Australia has also launched a Velocity Gold Status match program to help travellers retain their airline status.
Jetstar offers a FareCredit option when booking which allows customers to cancel their booking for any reason and get a voucher for the flight value in return.
The airline will also waive the change fee as part of its Fly Flexible program, but customers will need to pay any fare difference when rebooking.
If a flight is cancelled, Jetstar may offer a credit voucher, refund, or move the flight to a new date/time free of charge. Cash refunds are only available when:
- your flight has been cancelled due to events within our control and you have not been provided an alternative flight or the alternative flight we’ve provided you departs more than 3 hours before or after your originally scheduled departure time; or
- the fare rules applicable to your booking offer it (eg. if you’ve booked a Business Max bundle)
For the most recent travel restrictions regarding NSW on December 18, this is what Jetstar’s website dictates:
State governments are re-imposing quarantine restrictions for travellers from New South Wales. Due to these recent changes, we are offering flexibility to customers with bookings to fly in or out of New South Wales.
Customers with bookings to or from New South Wales until 31 January 2021 who no longer wish to fly can choose to cancel their trip and receive a voucher to the value of their booking. Please visit Manage Booking on Jetstar.com to process your voucher request.
If any flight is cancelled due to border restrictions, we’ll contact customers directly with a range of options, which may include an alternative flight or a refund depending on the circumstances.
All airlines are encouraging travellers to check each state and territory’s border restrictions to see if their travel plans are impacted before booking a flight. Best of luck, friends.