Australian family paid $10,000 for Qantas flight to Scotland before airline downgrades them to Jetstar
An Australian family was left furious when a leg of their Qantas trip to Europe was “downgraded” to Jetstar, but they were not offered a refund for the price difference.
Albert Chen, his wife and two young children forked out $10,304 for full-service tickets on Qantas flights from their home in Melbourne to Scotland with a stopover in Singapore, departing on August 10.
But on the day of their trip, Qantas told them their flight to Singapore had been canceled and offered them an alternative Qantas flight that would include a three-hour stopover in Sydney.
“We didn’t want to spend an extra three hours in Sydney and have to entertain our children in an airport terminal,” Mr Chen said. Yahoo News Australia.
They were then offered a Jetstar flight without taking the detour from Sydney, which they accepted – reluctantly, after paying 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 canceled and downgraded to Jetstar.
Jetstar is the budget arm of Qantas, the main airline marketing itself as a premium experience.
Mr Chen then requested a refund for the difference in price between Qantas and Jetstar tickets to Singapore and said he was stunned that one was not immediately offered.
“Qantas refused to acknowledge that our move from Qantas to Jetstar constituted a downgrade,” Mr Chen said.
It is understood that when a passenger transfers from Qantas to Jetstar, additional services such as baggage and meals are offered to them at no additional cost.
Mr. Chen was later offered a partial refund of $700 as well as frequent flyer points as a gesture of goodwill from the airline.
He says this is not enough and is still in contact with Qantas to demand a full refund of the difference between the tickets.
Mr Chen said that according to his research, his family’s Melbourne-Singapore trip cost about $4,100 with Qantas, while a similar package with Jetstar cost about $1,780.
According to the consumer rights watchdog ACCC, when an airline cancels a flight, ticket holders are entitled by law to an alternative within a reasonable time.
“If this replacement service is not provided within a reasonable time, the travel service provider must give the consumer the choice between another replacement service or a refund,” the ACCC states.
Qantas offered the Chen family a partial refund of $700 as well as frequent flyer points as a gesture of goodwill from the airline.
“If the consumer has had to rebook a flight with another airline because the airline they originally booked with did not have reasonable replacement flights, they may be entitled to a refund from the airline of origin of the cost of this flight.”
The ACCC also added that in the event of a dispute, what is “reasonable” is decided by a tribunal or court and that when booking a flight, customers agree to the airline’s terms of service, who could define what an acceptable alternative is.
Qantas has been contacted for comment.