CHOICE membership

Who is responsible for cost of cancelled flights


We had our flight from Melbourne to LAX cancelled and rescheduled by the airlines due to technical failure. We lost all of our internal flights in USA and had to re-book and pay for new ones. We had travel insurance, based on advice received from travel agent, that we would be covered for things like this. We lodged our claim with insurance company and have had it declined saying they do not cover for flight cancellations/re-scheduling. So my question is, is the travel agent liable due to incorrect information given to us.


That’s awful, Jo. Did you purchase your travel insurance through the travel agent ? In other words, did the travel agent misrepresent a product that they were selling ?


Hi Scott
I believe now we have been given the incorrect information by the travel agent.


Hi going through this right now. Our flight from Melbourne to LAX in August 2018 was cancelled by the airline. We lost all our internal USA flights and had to re-book and pay for new ones and also lost a day’s car hire. We did the bookings ourselves, therefore the airline is not accepting responsibility. We paid for travel insurance which was recommended to us by the travel agent and have had our claim denied on the grounds they do not cover for flight delays/cancellations/rescheduling. We are now trying to get travel agent to reimburse us. Still at a bit of a loss with where to go now

Calling all travellers - have you had a flight disaster?
Aussies fed-up with airlines, car rentals and travel insurers

If you had one ticket to LAX (one PNR) and another for the US domestic flights (another PNR) that is how it works when the first flight is delayed and you miss your connection. Technically the US domestic airline considered you as a no show because you did not board your first domestic flight, that would have essentially been the start of your US-domestic ticket.

One would have the same problem if flying from LAX to EWR with a change of plane and new ticket at DFW. If you missed the connection at DFW the airlines do not know anything except you were a no show and they have no responsibility. Booking the same itinerary on a single ticket (eg one PNR) and the airline is obligated to get you there. It works the same everywhere.

If all of your flights were on the same ticket the airline would have owned the problem and had responsibility to get you to your destination as timely as possible.

That is a common exclusion. Not meaning to be harsh, but buying an international ticket expecting the flight to be on time for a connection is only one delay - you could be in customs-immigration for 15 minutes or 3 hours, and you can arrive on time but still miss a connection because of that.

I cannot offer you hope that the travel agent will accept responsibility unless they sold you both tickets.

FWIW I often use multiple tickets, but always assure a minimum of 4 hours and often an overnight at the transfer point, just in case. International flight delays up to 6 hours are common, but much longer rare, although cancellation happen. I play the odds. Since your flight was cancelled I presume they rebooked you on the next available so it would probably come under ‘rescheduling’.


We had a similar experience a number of years ago travelling to Narita by train in Japan. The electric overhead wires were brought down some where between us and the airport. We allowed more than four hours spare (nominally 6hrs) in our schedule to make the flight, thinking that qualified for a delay.

By luck our train eventually limped into Nagoya, where we abandoned our Super Express, and paid two fares from the local airport direct. We made the connection with minutes to spare. The fine print as per @TheBBG then denied us any claim for the extra flight costs, and if we had missed the flight any other compensation.

When offering us travel insurance for this trip and others prior no travel agent ever explained how this scenario was not covered. The TA pushed the line re the coverage for delays etc, without explaining the very broad range of exclusions that make it next to useless.

I also now understand why on overseas trips the TA always seemed to find an excuse to have us stay the last night next to the airport. Usually also the most boring place imaginable!

I recollect that Choice has some great advice on this in the travel section.

We now book 90% of all travel direct and purchase travel insurance based on Choice reviews. It is possible to mitigate connection risks with overnight stays or occasionally flying on a premium fare for critical connections. Possibly a better use of points too.


A colleague left Tokyo for Narita in the Limousine Bus 5 hours before his flight. There was an accident on the expressway maybe 3km short of the airport. He missed his flight. Fortunately we were all traveling on business and they put him on the next day’s flight.

(is there an empathy icon?)


Only needed if I forget and use a travel agent every again.

But there is now proof that even in Japan if it might happen it probably has. It’s just not discussed!


so is the moral of this story, don’t take out travel insurance? We bought the insurance on the advice of the travel agent, surely this has to be misrepresentation on their behalf?


When travelling to the U.S. East Coast just recently, I was very worried I’d lose my connection flights both when going into LAX and when coming back home. The airport is more like a very big department store where you can buy anything you want, but where are the information desks to help you find your way around?
Going in was easier, as you follow the overhead signs: customs, baggage, etc,. Although it was a very slow process to go through customs, long queues, ALL your fingers fingerprinted…
But coming back my boarding pass did not have my Gate number, and where were the information desks, or the big screens to look it up? I really thought I would miss my flight back home. I was asking the Korean Airline girls where the Qantas desk was! Unlike other Airports I have passed through recently I think LAX is not very people friendly! My trip could have ended up in a very unpleasant way.


If you only bought tickets to-from LAX from the agent, did the agent know you also had your own bookings for domestic travel in the USA? The two cases would result in different priorities in the cover, the last being more rigorous. Did you ask or read what was covered prior to buying it? Did they claim it covered delays and the follow-on effects of cancellations? As with anything buying insurance is a caveat emptor experience.

Not at all. Anyone who does not get travel insurance is asking for it, especially for medical issues, but the lists of excluded cover can be long. Every travel policy is not the same although most are fairly close, but they vary in key ways as well as costs. The one that seems to hit most of us are the exclusions for injuries from mishaps on small motorbikes (but > 50cc) without a helmet and motorcycle license. Just because you don’t need either in your destination does not mean you travel insurance does not require them, but this is drifting from your problem. Any medical episode in the USA can bankrupt you if you do not have appropriate cover and you do not abide by the exclusions list.

Many outlets that sell insurance recommend the most profitable not the most comprehensive, not that your agent necessarily sold you an atypically limited policy. The Choice report @mark_m linked is a good place to start separating them out.


yes we were advised by the travel agent the insurance covered flight delays/cancellations/rescheduling. She asked us did we want to take it out in the event this happened, so we did.


In that case I would be strongly presenting my case to the agent as based on that I agree it would have been misrepresented.

You might find something useful in this site

and esp this document.


thank you for the information


Also, if you would be happy to post it, which policy did they sell you? There are dispute methods and if you believe the T&C in the PDS does cover your case, make a formal complaint/dispute with the insurance company, and the agent should be willing to assist.

Another avenue you might explore (it can be slow as they are busy) if you are a Choice subscriber is Choice Help.


If you don’t want to post here which policy you were sold feel free to send it to . We’re interested in looking into the specific T&Cs and whether the insurer have applied them appropriately to your situation.