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QANTAS: What you are entitled to if a flight gets delayed or cancelled

QANTAS: What you are entitled to if a flight gets delayed or cancelled

This is an area that should be straightforward but is actually complex due to the number of intertwined and overlapping legislation and responsibilities.

There is more than one set of rules/legislation that comes into play:

However, as a ready reckoner, the table below supplied on the Qantas website gives you the basics from Qantas’s point of view. This chart applies to any domestic or international flight which is delayed or cancelled, and you are away from your home airport. Your entitlement depends on how long the flight is delayed and whether the cancellation or delay is within the control of Qantas.

Qantas controlled delay or cancellation

The text and tables are edited versions of information available on the Qantas website. I’ve tried to retain the detail, and just eliminated unnecessary language, but you should always go to the source before asserting your rights. Note that the values change depending on whether Qantas makes arrangements or the customer does. Qantas does not seem to oblige itself to make arrangements, and this table suggests that either Qantas or the customer can book accommodation.

If a delay or cancellation occurs within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time, we will re-book you on the next available Qantas flight at no additional cost to you. Alternatively, you may be entitled to a refund (further information set out below).

Qantas Compensation and Refunds

Away from home airport

TimeArranged byMeal voucherTransfersAccommodation
2+ hoursQantasYesNoNo
Overnight (new departure within 12 hours of original departure)QantasA$30 or local equivalent value per person inclusion in accommodationYesYes
CustomerA$30 or local equivalent value per person reimbursement (receipts required)A$200 or local equivalent value per room booked reimbursement (receipts required)
Overnight (new departure over 12 hours of original departure)QantasA$50 or local equivalent value per person inclusion in accommodationYesYes
CustomerA$50 or local equivalent value per person reimbursement (receipts required)A$200 or local equivalent value per room booked reimbursement (receipts required)

At home airport

TimeArranged byMeal voucherTransfersAccommodation
2+ hoursQantasYesNoNo
Overnight (new departure within or over 12 hours of original departure)Qantas or CustomerNoCab chargeNo

Commercial overbooking

Qantas will ask for volunteers to move to a different flight. If there are no volunteers, Qantas will select passengers to change to another flight. If you arrived on time, Qantas will re-book you on the next available Qantas flight and render assistance (see the table above). For international flights where the next flight departs over 4 hours after your scheduled flight, Qantas will also give you a travel voucher.

Refunds for delays, cancellations and overbooking

Customers are entitled to a refund if Qantas:

  • cancels your flight and cannot offer a suitable alternative arrangement
  • delays your flight causing you to cancel your travel
  • makes a significant change to the scheduled flight time and is unable to book you an alternative acceptable flight
  • causes you to miss a connecting Qantas flight with a confirmed reservation 
  • is unable to carry you on your confirmed reservation

Claiming a refund

Contact Customer Care (good luck with that unless you are a platinum frequent flyer!). The refund will be equal to the fare paid if the ticket is not used. If part of the ticket is used, then the compensation will only apply to the unused part.

You should also check whether you have further compensation rights under the Australian Consumer Law. 

Flights to or from Canada

Have a look at the Canadian Air Passenger Protection Regulations for your entitlements.

2PAXfly Takeout

Qantas provides reasonable protections, although not as generous as those guaranteed in the European Union. Choice Magazine, a consumer advocate organisation has published a comprehensive guide to delays and compensation and an overview article that you can access online. It even covers airlines besides Qantas, and your rights in other countries like Europe, New Zealand, Indonesia and the USA. Choice is also advocating on behalf of consumers by mounting a campaign targeting the ACCC to improve consumer protections in this area.

No one wants to spend valuable pre-holiday time researching their rights and responsibilities if a flight gets delayed or cancelled, but like taking out travel insurance, eating healthy, and taking regular exercise, we should all do it!

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