Airline Regulations

Simple question, why do Australian airline appear to
operate unregulated? At least in regards to any basic consumer protection.

In Europe and the US airlines are strongly regulated requiring cash compensation if they significantly delay or cancel flights.

In Aust, they can cancel flight at a whim, leave you stranded in Bali or Japan with no support or options for getting home. They cancel flights and offer a refund, then offer another flight a week later for double the price.
Why is this legal?

Dont believe me? Log into the ‘Why we hate Jetstar’ facebook page to see what that appalling airline is up to.

Regulate them!

1 Like

It’s the law. Or more concisely as you suggest lack there off.

Your point is in common with many other comments in other existing community topics. Consumer protections for Australian air travellers and in many other travel related instances are weak or ineffectively enforced.

Perhaps the airline industry remains a ‘sacred cow’ and the industry too influential with government. Even though the Qantas CEO only gets one vote at the ballot box like every other citizen.

A historical note is until more recent times the state governments provided the majority of paid for travel on public transport. Doubtless government set the standards way back to not expose themselves too significantly to any failures on their behalf. My personal translation is the FF miles and status credits plus the convenience of service to our flying politicians justifies throwing the average consumer under the metaphorical bus, or across the airlines terminal with the luggage.


Yes, that is of course the point, the regulatory laws need to change re airlines to provide more protection to consumers. For example, fines and compensation if they strand passengers due to cancellation or significant delays; and a change in the cabotage laws so international airlines can fly domestically to increase competition.

THAT would change the appalling behaviour we see from Aust airlines (but is mostly Qantas and Jetstar as the most ruthless and worst offenders).

1 Like

The statistics don’t show that this is the case:

Virgin has also from time to time had higher percentage of cancellations and delayed flights, and Qantas and Jetstar. Qantas generally has the lowest cancellation and delayed flight percentages of the three carriers (Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin).

1 Like

Assume you mean ‘the consumer law’ which is a shared responsibility for administration between the ACCC and State/Territory based consumer protection authorities?

When one mentions regulation of airlines, I think of CASA and the national system of licensing airlines. Those regulations and interventions on route services by government are what seem to most often get attention. For the Federal members with remote electorates, the frequency of services and ticket prices also rate, usually as we head to the ballot boxes.

Covid has increased the prominence of poor consumer treatment by the airlines. Successive governments that have one way or another acted to ensure the ongoing viability of just one carrier (Qantas/Jetstar) while looking elsewhere every time a small or large competitor falls away. Pre Covid we would fly very often 12+ flights a year. It was cost and time effective. We’ve only made 2 flights since the start of Covid, and now choose driving. The incremental cost of the extra car miles is far less than flying for 2. The Guardian has very recently pointed out.

1 Like

Hi there

In case you aren’t aware, Choice launched a super complaint about the airlines in 2017. Have a look at

You can also search the community for more relevant topics using the magnifying glass icon.

Perhaps it could be to do with the undue influence and close links some in the industry have on and with the federal Government? This undue influence is of course not limited to the airline industry, but also happens with retailing, mining, and other industries. The owners and shareholders win, and consumers at large lose.

1 Like

For Sept…
On-time departures

  • Rex Airlines — 75.1 per cent
  • QantasLink — 71.9 per cent
  • VARA — 67.6 per cent
  • Virgin Australia — 66.7 per cent
  • Qantas — 65.1 per cent
  • Jetstar — 57.5 per cent


  • Virgin Australia — 1.9 per cent
  • Rex Airlines — 2.3 per cent
  • QantasLink — 2.4 per cent
  • Qantas — 2.5 per cent
  • VARA — 4.6 per cent
  • Jetstar — 9.5 per cent

Jetstar are the worst!

Laws need to be past forcing them to compensate passengers if they cancel.

I bet their cancellation rate improves then!

1 Like

Airlines are at the mercy of many events beyond their control.

Airport operations, security screening, weather, sudden border controls, snap strikes or go slows, flight path restrictions, landing curtailment after certain hours, flight directions due to threats. And of course no reputable airline flies passengers if any craft fails mandatory safety checks. It may be fixed in a half an hour. Maybe it will take days.

Once a delay is introduced into the planned schedule for a series of flights it propogates through the entire day or longer The flight planners do a remarkable job in dealing with issues.

Safety is number one in the airline industry. Compensation for inconvenience to travellers is a distant second.

1 Like

Those factors happen to all airlines, yet some have 2% of flights cancelled, whilst some have 10% of flights cancelled.

So clearly there is much within their control, but some airlines clearly dont care how many thousands of passengers they might be inconvenience today - and run their airline accordingly.

Regulate fines and compensation to make that practice unprofitable and it would then only be the factors beyond their control that causes flight cancellations. Not choosing to cancel a flight because its simply more profitable to do so - which clearly some are doing now!

1 Like

It used to be that one could book and board a flight at lunchtime in every major city or large town in Australia, and arrive at any other in time for a booked night of expensive theatre. Your overnight accommodation would be happy to greet you, the taxi queue predictable or hire cars at the ready. We also made use of Airport transfers by train or bus. While the scheduling was never Swiss or Japanese precise, it rarely failed. We learnt to add an extra 30-60 minutes into critical steps. There was nearly always a second option when all else failed.

We rarely required domestic travel insurance, although it can be of value when hiring a car from one of the regular chains. It’s not clear if it is of use with the alternates such as Car Next Door?

A useful question to ask is whether Domestic Travel Insurance is a reliable and suitable strategy for protecting one against the impacts and losses of unreliable air travel?

Qantas and Jetstar promote their own products when booking. Is this part of the Airlines retraining consumers? IE to transfer the cost risk away from the Airline. Our experience with travel insurance is it restricts claims for consequential losses through definition, travel time delays, and value caps. There is always an excess, while many added costs incurred, EG booking alternate tickets, are not covered.

The sage advice of Travel Agents in the past was always to spend the last day and night of your returning foreign departure close to your port of boarding. Similar also applied to connecting with booked tours etc for a margin on arrival in any foreign destination. All to avoid disappointment. It’s looking like one now needs to add an extra day or two to domestic travel subject to airline service reliability. Not to mention the hit to the hip pocket of extra accommodation and meals away. Also now more expensive and often of a lesser standard than pre-Covid.


It does appear to be a practice of some airlines to cancel flights that passengers have paid for, and then reschedule alternate flight at a higher price.
Yield management at it’s most insideous maybe?

Perhaps if there was a regulation that if a flight was cancelled and replaced with another, the price paid for the original MUST be offered to the customer, and if accepted, the seat is guaranteed. Or a full refund.


November cancellation:

Jetstar worst at 7.2 per cent during the month, followed by Virgin Australia Regional Airlines at 6.0 per cent, Virgin Australia at 4.9 per cent, Qantas at 3.7 per cent, QantasLink at 3.6 per cent and Rex Airlines at 3.1 per cent.

Again, I’m hearing reports of people buying discount international fares, but having their return fare cancelled once they are already overseas, requiring them to them to pay significantly higher prices so they can get home.

I do wonder now with a Jetstar in particular if doing this is a business model?

1 Like

Would you post some citations about that please. There have been reports about flights being cancelled but not ‘fares’, and that some travellers elected to buy more expensive tickets to get home more timely than waiting for ‘their carrier’.

Once upon a time mainstream airlines had inter-airline deals whereby they could get their otherwise stranded pax home on another airline having an empty seat. It was a win-win as the empty seat got some revenue and the pax got to their destination as timely as possible. Now the ‘offending airline’ only offers a seat of their own be it later, tomorrow, or next week with [empty] apologies given.


Not how any would want it to be?
It’s always wise to check carefully the T&C’s before booking, and to know what is correct. As Jetstar had been mentioned, looking to one section of Jetstar Australia T&C’s (my highlighting).

It does not excuse poor service or the inconvenience of schedule changes. For some the alternate flight arrangements offered may not suit, in which instance all Jetstar offers a full refund. It’s understandable some customers may have booked with minimal expectation of disruption. The only option as @PhilT suggested may be to take the refund, and seek a better flight option at a premium cost.

1 Like

Note those terms and conditions quoted only apply to events “within our control”. Jetstar claim nearly event that causes a cancellation is beyond their control, so that doesnt apply.

Regardless, with airfares now very high I’m becoming suspicious that their business model is, if they have a flight with a lot of cheap sales tickets on board, that they simply cancel the flight, provide a refund, knowing those passengers will have to rebook at a MUCH higher price, or be stuck in Tokyo, or Bali, or Phuket etc…

Appears to happening nearly daily at present, if you follow the passenger blogs.

My point is cash compensation payment regulations like they have in Europe would stop that practice.

1 Like

Sorry that was poorly worded. I meant flights cancelled.

Yes was a time when airlines would go out of their way to get you home. But Jetstar are happy to strand you overseas, and clearly dont care if you are stuck somewhere trying to find a new flight at 5 times the original cost…which they are then happy to offer you!

1 Like

Are you able to show where Jetstar has provided the details of all the flights cancelled for reasons outside Jetstar’s control, and those within?

All airlines have ultimate control over how many seats of each class and price they provide on a service.

Would such a ruse as suggested require a deliberate act cancelling the flight for circumstances within Jetstar’s control?
Under those circumstances customers have the option to accept a rescheduled alternate flight at no extra cost or request a full refund. For those travellers who have an itinerary with little leeway, who would not have taken out appropriate travel insurance? Especially for international travel.

1 Like