Ever had problems with cancelled or rescheduled flights? We would like to hear your stories


I’m interested in hearing your stories of cancelled and/or rescheduled flights, particularly experience with our local airlines (Qantas, Virgin, Tiger and Jetstar).

  • Have you had a flight rescheduled? (or cancelled and moved on to a different service)
  • Did the reschedule suit you?
  • What alternatives did the airline offer you if the new flight didn’t suit you?
  • Were you charged a fee for picking an alternative flight or for cancelling?
  • Did you think any fee you paid was fair, or was it too much?
  • Did you get a full refund, or credit or nothing?

Tilly - travel policy and campaigns advisor :airplane: :ship: :rocket:


I’d just like to put in a good word for Qantas

Qantas is the only airline we have in parts of rural Australia and they deserve credit for continuing to serve us.

From my perspective Qantas has always done their best to get me where I paid to go as soon as possible. This has included putting me up in 5 star hotel in Cairns when there was no service for 2 days! They do fly their older aircraft on the less customised routes and aircraft problems is a risk that they take and bear the cost for.

I think that with the climate crisis we need to look at reducing air travel - not reducing costs!

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Yes ive just had both my flights to and return from Adelaide rescheduled for later time slots, by Jetstar. They apologised but didn’t offer any refund. I didn’t have any choice but to accept. Ann

A few years ago my wife and I flew with Virgin from Rockhampton,Qld to Hobart,Tas. for holidays. While there the Rockhampton Airport went under water in floods, I rang Virgin to check this and was told airport was closed, next day we turned up at Hobart Airport to be told all of our connecting flights home had been cancelled by the call centre the previous day, I said we still need to get home, the Hobart Virgin staff was very good and rebooked us as far as Brisbane where we then flew Qantas to Gladstone and went by boat home to Yeppoon. Virgin didn’t fly to Gladstone then.Anyway the flight we lost from Brisbane to Rockhampton wasn’t refunded but put as credit to my name, next time we flew to Hobart, I could not find any record or way of claiming this credit so ended up losing that money.I still don’t know how I was supposed to use that credit.

A 10-hour delay (that’s right, TEN HOURS) flying via South African Airlines from Johannesburg to Perth resulted in a domino chain-reaction around my pre-booked flight on to Broome. Despite complaints to SAA (now over two months ago) I have had absolutely no response from these people. Can I take court action? Here is my email to them:

"I was on Flt 9280 JBG to PER, delayed from 21:10 Sun 31 Jul until 07:00 the next day. I was informed of the delay by email AM of 31 Jul, too late to rebook my connection after Perth (though I tried). I’d planned, after your scheduled 12:20 Perth arrival to board a Virgin flight to Broome at 15:10 (3-hour stopover more than ample for customs checkthrough). When I realised that your delay would necessitate an unpredicted overnight stay in Perth, plus the loss of the fare to Broome and the cost of a new one at short notice, I notified SAA through your website’s Contact Us link to let you know that I would expect reimbursement for these costs. I have yet to receive a reply from you to this communication.

Aboard Flt 9280, we were told the “good news” that passengers affected by this delay would be met by an SAA rep at the bridge upon disembarking. It was close to 22:30 by the time I spoke to this woman, who refused to help me in any way, and firmly informed me that SAA’s obligations to me ended upon delivering me to Perth. Without any SAA support, I then had to source overnight accommodation in Perth, take a taxi to and from it, and book a new Virgin flight Perth to Broome.

Your employee at Perth airport that night was wrong. Your responsibility is not only to deliver passengers to their destination, but to do so within an acceptable window around your promised arrival time. No one could consider a flight delay of ten hours reasonable. None of my expenses in seeking accommodation in Perth and rebooking my onward flight would have arisen without SAA’s delay. I have kept all my receipts and stand ready to submit them to you for full reimbursement, since they exist entirely due to SAA’s failure to honour your commitment to this passenger. I am committed on principle to pursuing this matter to proper conclusion."

some regional airlines are fine but a lot of them take advantage of their monopoly on certain routes. we’re flying melbourne to mount gambier to visit my father next month and it will cost us $175 per person one way. for that money you can fly two people return to hobart lol. and that’s the cheapest fare on the only airline that flys out of gambier, a one way ticket can be as high as $250 for a 60 minute flight.

We (me and my wife) flew Emirates to Europe and were booked back in mid August. Week before departure had to change return to early June for health reason which cost us $1150 according to our travel agent. Our insurance (Virgin) also wriggled out of it. Next time we will enquire beside the price also of change extras.

Thanks for your responses everyone! Interesting hearing your stories.

Thanks @laugaricien - I recently had to make a change on a flight with a trip booked through a travel agent. They were very clear on the costs associated with the change before they made it (and even gave me a breakdown of the cost: their cost, the airline’s flight change cost, and the difference in the ticket cost).

Having said all that, I must admit when I first purchased the flights I never looked through the contract to see what the change fees were should I want to change the flight later - I was just lucky it was cheap to change (no difference in flight cost) and I was flexible enough to not have to make the change if I didn’t want to.

Interesting the travel insurer wouldn’t cover the cost - did they say exactly why they wouldn’t cover it? (pre-existing condition for example?)

Hi @nigie - that sounds terrible! Nothing like a long delay to miss your connection. I have a tight-ish connection to make a last flight of the night type scenario in my next overseas adventure and I’m already crossing fingers nothing goes wrong.

Did you book your tickets in the one booking? (i.e. your ticket is Broome - Joberg return) Or, did you book the SA tickets separately to your Virgin Broome - Perth leg? The airline usually will assist passengers if they’ve booked the entire ticket in one line. However, if you’ve booked the trips separately, the general rule is that you travel at your own risk. Some airlines also do not guarantee connections even when the tickets are all purchased through the same supplier (Tigerair says this).

Unfortunately, in Australia, passengers have no rights when their flight is delayed or cancelled - but CHOICE is trying to change that. You can find out more at this CHOICE Travel article on your rights for flight delays and cancellations.

Not sure re format = iPhone

2yrs ago with Virgin @ Melbourne
Arrived for 1pm flight & Informed had been cancelled
Requested nxt flight in afternoon Informed all full till 7pm. Given 1 meal voucher & then girl relented & gave me 2 saying that would be enough to buy a meal
Tullamarine is a long way fr anywhere! All I could do was buy a magazine do puzzles & at appropriate time have a light meal (entree size) all the 2 vouchers would cover
Only 1 non fast food outlet available

Hi @wj.ca, I believe they would have refunded you the credit into Virgin’s Travel Bank. Did they let you know how to log in to this at the time? Did they give you a copy of the contract or contact you by email about this?

We had a similar case come to us, they were never actually given access to the contract for this credit and did not know it was going to expire after 12 months (FYI: @MeredithCridland - another one). They weren’t able to use it before it expired and lost the full value of the credit.

I flew Sunshine Coast- Sydney with Jetstar. The flight was due to depart Maroochydore at 6.30pm - it was delayed and delayed, with no explanation given and information really hard to get. Eventually at 9.30pm we found out that the flight had been cancelled as it was now too late to fly and land within the curfew in Sydney. We were told we would be given overnight accommodation in BRISBANE (!) and flown back the following morning. No other options available.
The process of getting everyone booked into accommodation and transported there was complete chaos. We had to wait for ages, not knowing what was happening, then had to queue for ages to be randomly assigned a hotel (within our group of 6 we were assigned 4 different hotels) then wait in the appropriate hotel bus until the bus was full (another hour) then driven to Brisbane to arrive at the hotel at 1.30am, where there was more chaos as the hotel staff didn’t seem to be expecting everyone.
We were collected again from the hotel at 4am for a 6am flight (hardly “overnight accommodation” ) to end up in more confusion at the airport - and almost missed the flight- as Jetstar had just given us a flight number but not told us it was actually a Virgin flight!
I landed at Sydney exactly 12 hours late, exhausted, fed up, sleep deprived and committed to never flying with Jetstar again.

Puts hand up

My flight back from Melbourne was cancelled over the weekend. The weather was atrocious with strong winds. Some airlines were still flying out, but Jetstar wasn’t the evening I was scheduled to go. So fair enough. They let me know by text message.

I tried to call them to see if I could reschedule, as I was on my smartphone and their website didn’t let me pick a reschedule flight on that (a message saying that it’s not possible on the mobile version of their website popped up… frustrating). I was on hold for 25 minutes and couldn’t get through. So I gave up and worked out how to force the Desktop version of Jetstar’s website onto my smartphone. Not the best user experience, but it worked. They gave me 5 flights to pick from. I picked one and all was well with the world. They also offered to pay for hotel accommodation via email and sent me a claim form. This wasn’t necessary for me as I was staying with a friend.

That was until I received a text message in the morning saying that my reschedule flight was going to be delayed leaving by an hour. No explanation given. I presumed the weather might have still been a bit choppy, but it was just a late running flight arriving from Taz.

When I arrived at the airport, it was again delayed once more. And then again. In the end it was a two hour delay. What was particularly galling was that Jetstar flights to the same destination which were scheduled to fly after my flight where leaving on time before mine!

I was not offered anything for the inconvenience and finding staff to talk to was a challenge. I noticed some passengers had $10 food vouchers on the flight, but with overpriced food I bet they could only get a muffin. And they didn’t hand out vouchers to anyone else on the flight unless they were already given them.

Not the best experience!

Yes they did put together prostate with bladder. I am 72 so prostate was bit of problem but perfect in PSI reading. Then just before the holiday I did see Urologist to see if I can take something to sleep better (instead of 4-6 visits to loo at night) and luckily he discovered cancer of the bladder. Insurance put it as pre-existing. I consider myself lucky anyway.

Last month, I had a Jetstar flight booked from Osaka to Sydney via Cairns.
The day before the departure, I received an SMS to advise that due to “engineering”, the departure time was changed from 20:20 to 00:00 (midnight).
At check-in I was given a food voucher to the value of 1000 yen. I thought, “At least I can use this to buy breakfast on-board”. I was wrong. The voucher was only valid for use within Kansai Airport. After 10pm. When almost everything was closed. So the voucher was next to worthless.
To add insult to injury, on arrival in Cairns, the aircraft was unfit to travel onwards to Sydney, so Sydney passengers were left to their own devices to try to discover what domestic flight they could access ( the announcement as we left the aircraft was to proceed to the Transit Lounge - wrong ! ). Signage in the international terminal was also wrong and misleading, and there were no Jetstar ground staff at all until an hour after we’d been offloaded. Confusing enough for me, it was an atrocious situation for non-English-speaking passengers.
A complaint to Jetstar, via Complane, resulted in a typical response from Jetstar, to the effect that they are only tenants of the Cairns terminal so they are not responsible for signage. No explanation as to why they had no ground staff - even at their service counter. ( A sign over the counter had advised that it would open at 09:15, but it didn’t )
I was emailed a $50 voucher to use against my next Jetstar booking. I’m unlikely to choose to fly Jetstar again.

I’ve had a Melb/Syd Virgin flight cancelled and advised of a later available flight. I was annoyed as I did not receive communication earlier and was filling in time elsewhere. By the time I got to the airport and got the text message, I had missed the next flight home which had room for me. No excuse why my original scheduled flight was cancelled, which would have been appreciated. As would have immediate notice to my phone. I got on another flight and home safe 'n sound. No charges incurred.

Jetstar gives you the option of getting cover for cancelled / rescheduled flights when you book. You must not have selected it. I just booked with them today and the popup is so big you can’t miss it.

Interesting they don’t feel like it should be part of their regular service to ensure that their flights run to time/schedule where possible!

My thoughts too but this Choice conversation isn’t about that. Personally, I think a more important issue is that it used to be common for airlines to look after you a bit but now the smaller ones instead on hefty payments up front for it.