Tell us about you flight delay or cancellation experiences

:airplane: We’re interested in hearing about how your airline dealt with a flight delay or cancellation :airplane:

  • Did you get compensation? What did you get?
  • How was the customer service?
  • How long were you delayed for, or, if your flight was cancelled, did you get there eventually?

Let us know the airline and the route you were flying as well.

Feel free to give a shout out to an airline that handled the process well! :tada:

In February 2015 we undertook a fly-drive holiday in Tasmania. As I like to plan well ahead approximately 9 months earlier I booked flights on Virgin from Coffs Harbour to Sydney, then with Jetstar flying Sydney to Hobart - same day. At the same time I also booked flights on Jetstar for 10 days later returning from Launceston to Sydney, then flying Virgin on to Coffs Harbour, same day.

First cancellation - received notification from Jetstar that they had “rescheduled” their flight from Sydney to Hobart but the new flight offered departed Sydney whilst we were still in the air flying from Coffs Harbour. Therefore, I had to book a flight the following day and pay for overnight accommodation in Sydney !

Second Cancellation - received notification from Virgin that they had “rescheduled” their flight from Sydney back to Coffs Harbour. Once again, the new flight offered departed Sydney whilst we were in the air enroute from Launceston. We again had to book a flight the following day which necessitated booking overnight accommodation, again, in Sydney.

The extra costs involved in both airlines “rescheduling” (I read that as being a cancellation on their part of my original bookings) was in excess of $600, as well as the aggravation of spending two (2) nights in Sydney at hotels close to the airport. The $600+ covered payment for ‘unscheduled’ accommodation, taxi fares, meals, our car parked in secure parking, extra cattery charges etc. And any compensation from either airline - NIL, ZERO, NOTHING, SORRY, SORRY … blah, blah, blah.

The moral of this story is - even if you plan well ahead as I did (9 months) you will still get shot down in flames by the airlines. They rule the skies and can literally decimate any holiday plans you may make. And it will not cost them a cent because they really don’t care about customer satisfaction. You will have to wear the full cost of any changes they choose to make.

I thought I had got over my angst with this episode but unfortunately it has all come back again. Grrrrr.

Christine Curran

Earlier this year travelling on Cathay Pacific we suffered a 3 hour delay out of Hong Kong, but only announced after we had boarded the plane and they would not deplane us. The airline claimed the delay was simply due to weather as a thunderstorm had passed thru the airport a couple of hours previously and that had backed up operations.

The storm was short and sharp and for Hong Kong a very normal occurrence so I doubted it had a huge impact

In my opinion and experience of previously working in the industry the delay was really due to the late arrival of the airplane from a previous service meant they had missed ether their departure slot time in Hong Kong or arrival slot time Melbourne and had to take an available later slot time.

They was no compensation offered other than a round of free drinks during the wait onboard on the ground in honkers.
Cathay’s service is always OK about the same as most legacy airlines but I travel economy so its all I expect.

A traveller after my own heart @c.curran.christine - I love booking well in advance for all my trips as well. It sounds like a nightmare, sorry you’re reliving it now!

Unfortunately, it’s not considered “unfair” for the airlines to advertise a flight at a particular time and then change that flight. It’s written in to their contracts that they don’t have an obligation to get you anywhere on time (only to get you from A to B). Makes it hard when you’re trying to plan connecting flights or to get somewhere in time for a particular event.

The best thing a consumer can do to protect themselves is to book the chain of flights all with the one airline. Then they are more inclined to offer you better customer service if there is an issue with your connection.

@tndkemp Thanks for sharing - it’s so hard to know exactly why your flight was delayed or cancelled. You’re at the mercy of airline customer service staff who will tell the passengers whatever they can to keep them happy - and sometimes that isn’t the truth!

My daughter, hubby and their two kids booked Adelaide-Cairns. Paid extra to all sit together, take-off was around 9am in the morning. At 3am they were texted that the flight had been cancelled. After spending over an hour on hold, I was told that the Jetstar operating aircraft from Cairns did not fly for lack of a crew. Later Jetstar officers denied this, but offered no other reason.
They flew the following day, did not get sat together and lost a day of their holiday. The sitting-together premium was not refunded.
My family lost a day of their holiday, were stuffed around - it was late afternoon before they knew they could fly the next day, were not refunded premiums paid and were given scant reasons or apologies. The arrogance of Jetstar was extraordinary, matched only by their contempt of their customers.

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Second time it’s happened. Son booked on Qantas flight Canberra to Townsville, stop at Brisbane. Early morning so as to catch the tide in Townsville for boat trip. At 2.30am text which ‘fortunately’ woke my son up to inform the flight was cancelled. They could take him much later, so miss tide have accommodation problems and tide plans for next day. Son had simply to re-book (at then 4.30am after lots of ‘clarifying’ calls, waiting online, etc) with virgin for similar time frame. Eventually has some costs refunded after many phone calls, confusions on their part and a few hours.

Bear with me on this…

Back in January I booked a flight Perth - Bangkok via Singapore with Scoot. The flight is in December (you have to get in early for a decent price) and there is an overnight layover in Singapore, but I accepted this because the 7pm arrival time in Bangkok was still OK, it would leave me time to book onward bus travel.

Then in April I was advised that my Singapore - Bangkok flight had been “re-timed”, and would now arrive at 11:20pm - for a total travel time of more than 29 hours. Nope, I’m not accepting that.

So I got on the phone to Scoot and was told I could change my flight to a different date without a change fee, but I would have to pay the fare difference (which by now was huge). Changing the date wouldn’t help anyway because the departure and arrival times would be the same. I could get a $50 voucher as compensation, but only if I actually boarded the flight!

So I complained online and was told the same thing.

Then I discovered Scoot’s Australian Flight Disruption policy - you can (or rather could) get to it by following the jurisdiction hot-link in section 9.2 of their Conditions of Carriage. This supplementary policy in response to Australian Consumer Law provides rights in addition to the Conditions of Carriage, including a refund for my un-flown flight if “your flight is delayed to the extent that you have to cancel your travel; or we make a significant change to the scheduled flight time which is not acceptable to you and we are unable to book you on an alternative flight which is acceptable to you”. Hooray!

Oh but wait…

First, when I asked customer service specifically to honour the policy, they just ignored it, repeatedly, refusing my claim on the basis of the Conditions of Carriage alone.

Meanwhile, they changed the Conditions of Carriage to define “significant” as more than 8 hours (there was no such definition in the Conditions of Carriage emailed to me with my original booking).

And now - wait for it - they’ve taken the Australian Flight Disruption Policy down off their website! 404 - not found!

This isn’t over, I have raised a complaint via the WA Dept of Commerce and they have taken it up on my behalf. But the airline’s behaviour to date has been so blatant that I thought it was worth airing in public.

Thanks for listening!

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@brianvcrowley
Good on you GIV’EM Hell

I’ve just had to cancel Jetstar flights to NZ because of an accident. It was a very easy process, all done online soon followed by a personal email and refund vouchers for the complete amount valid for months. Gold star for Jetstar!
When I tried to the same with Virgin flights ADL-MEL , I had to phone through (and wait on hold), and was advised there would be an $80 cancellation fee on both flights (me and my partner). Considering they were $95 tickets I wasn’t too impressed.

@brianvcrowley Thanks for sharing your story!

We would love to hear how you go with WA Dept of Commerce if you wouldn’t mind coming back here and sharing with us. It’s a shame there’s no formal complaints mechanism for you - the Airline Customer Advocate unfortunately only takes complaints for the 4 major Australian airlines (QANTAS, Jetstar, Virgin, Tiger) and Rex (the smaller regional carrier).

Update on this - I have at last received word from Scoot that they will give me a modest refund. They haven’t told me how it was calculated but it probably amounts to the difference at the time of booking between Perth-Singapore and Perth-Bangkok, and seems to include the $10 “processing fee” for the second sector. I have had to send in some documentation, but they have been very quick to respond in this process. I have been told it could take 8 weeks to get the money though.

I have no doubt that without the WA Dept of Commerce’s intervention I would still be sitting here stewing, so thanks and kudos to them.

For anyone else hoping to claim a refund, the Australian Flight Disruption Policy is still missing from the Scoot website, so I would say read whatever version of the Conditions of Carriage they gave you carefully, and test the web links in it to see if there is anything actually behind them!

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As an industry insider, I can tell you that it is most definitely best to book your outbound and return flight/s with the same carrier as that way, if a disrupt or schedule change impacts your plans there are more options for reaccommodation, including a refund, if they are unable to get you to your destination as originally ticketed for your holiday, business meeting, funeral, wedding, or family reunion, etc. Remember, there are many reasons for a delay, and some of them are simply beyond the airlines’ control, eg weather, air control restrictions, crew rest requirements ( I know I wouldn’t want to be anywhere in the sky with a crew who were over their hours-and for that I’m prepared to be delayed if necessary). Often when there’s a mechanical issue, the engineers don’t know when they first look at something how long it’s going to take-they often have to investigate many causes and this takes time-even with all the planned maintenance in the world. If you are travelling with a legacy airline (ie, not a budget carrier), I know from personal experience that if you are disrupted, and your connections cannot be made on the same day, you may well be offered complimentary overnight accommodation, meal vouchers and transfers if you are away from your home port. What about the turn-backs, say, 3 hours out from LA due to a medical emergency-the airline doesn’t get any compensation for that (and has to cover the fuel, landing fees, etc, and sometimes this means the carrier has to offer accomodation to passengers and find a new crew)-but I’m really glad they do. However, as you are probably aware, this has a cost, particularly if it’s a 747 or A380 sized aircraft- and if the budget airlines were to offer this, their airfares would be so much higher than they currently are. To be honest, with Virgin, Scoot, Jetstar and Tiger airfares, often their fares are less than the cost of the petrol it would take to drive to your destination. I do think a lot of travellers buy the low-cost carrier fares expecting the same offering of JAL, Thai Airways, Cathay, Qantas, South African, Singapore Airlines, Air Canada, United and Air New Zealand. There’s a reason they cost more.

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It is 15:45. I was supposed to be wheels up to HKG at 14:20, but alas when I awoke at 05:45 I was greeted by an email informing me so sorry, flight is delayed to 20:45 causing a 75 minutes connection to become a 19 hour layover and a 24 hour delay to the destination.

Stuff happens. The irritating bits include when I first rang the airline at 06:00 and asked about a reroute via SYD they responded no seats. Full flights happen. We rang the travel agent for options and they were on the phone to the airline.

Agent was on hold for 40 minutes listening to how important his call is…then after considerable discussion at 10:34 a resolution is proposed - some seats are available on the SYD-HKG flight but we need to be at MEL for an 11:00 departure to SYD. Right.

An alternative route was then offered to include downgrading our tickets on another airline with more legs that could individually be delayed or cancelled, with no compensation as part of that deal, but only a 4 hour delay to the destination if all those flights were on time.

edit - ETD rolled back again to 21:25, now 22:05. Maybe that 19 hour layover will collapse into a just in time connection. Is there a cancellation in the works? Lucky I did not go with the alternative! /sarcasm

Elected to stay put with ‘assistance’ of a gratis hotel and vouchers in HKG for the 19 hour layover. But, a failure can cascade.

  • Want to do anything in Hong Kong during those 19 hours?
  • Taxis are cash.
  • HKG was not on our travel advisories as we had no intention to stop there except change of plane. Lest one’s card be blocked by the fraud system or worse, eaten by an ATM.
  • In countries such as ours one needs a short stay transit visa, not available at short notice, not always available at the airport, and not always free. Fortunately no worries in HKG.

Then the obvious, advising the hotel we would be a day late (lucky it was not a prepaid non-refundable). Yes, we have travel insurance and multiple cascading changes to the flight schedules in hand for evidence if we were out of pocket, but just recanting some of the joys of being stuffed around from an airline fail.

For want of adequate phone staff and some empowered reservations agents what could have been a delightful low stress journey was transformed.

Someone will bring up airline safety, but that is not the topic of this thread.

[Not seeking or asking advice, just contributing to ‘how it can go’ and letting off a bit.]

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Sounds like they really gave you the run around! It’s always so disappointing to start off a trip on the wrong foot like that.

The sad thing here is that your travel insurer would be likely to say “the cancellation was the fault of the airline” and direct you to the airline for compensation, and the airline would likely direct you to your travel insurer for compensation. This is why it’s always important (where possible) to get hotel, transport and food vouchers or cash from the airline direct, rather than a promise to be reimbursed after the fact.

Hope you had a great trip otherwise.

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@grahroll, thanks for asking in the RC thread.

Excepting for the irritating burp trying to get anything done on the phone they did comparatively well. A day at the HKG airport Regal, 3 subsidised meals (if eaten at the hotel), and profuse apologies along the way, and the day out and about.

Discovered the original inbound airplane was 2:30 out of HKG and had a mechanical, and turned back to HKG- those pax had 5 hours airtime from HKG to HKG - ‘new’ airplane, transferred the pax and luggage and another 9 hours to MEL; our northbound wheels up happened at 22:30. Some airlines would probably have cancelled both flights. In retrospect excepting for the phone staffing issue Cathay Pacific handled it fairly well.

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Well I am glad it has worked out so well for you. As I have said before enjoy the holiday in whatever mode of movement it may take you even if it exhausts you you know it’s good :slight_smile:

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