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Fiji Airways flight rescheduled causing missed connection

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mranwa

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Hi all,

I'm currently in Fiji and have a Fiji Airways ticket on 7 Aug from NAN to BNE. The flight was originally 8.15am arriving 1030am. My friend who is traveling with me have a connecting Qantas flight at 2 pm from BNE to NTL. Last night we received an email informing us the flight has been changed to 1.35 pm arriving 3.45 pm, thus my friend will miss his flight. He must get to NTL as there's an important meeting the next day. The only flight option left are Qantas 6 pm flight costing $600+ or an even later jetstar flight 8 pm ($99).

We have called Fiji Airways to complain but they are only willing to offer a change to a day before (6 th) or day after (8 th) flight. Won't even offer a refund. We requested for my friend to be changed to the same day 9am NAN SYD flight but they want to charge us $250 extra.

What recourse do we have? Can Fiji Airways simply cancel a flight and not compensate us for the missed connection and additional cost? We bought the fiji airways tickets under my Qantas amex card, will the travel insurance cover my friend? The Qantas connecting flight was bought separately paid via bpay.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

JohnPhelan

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We bought the fiji airways tickets under my Qantas amex card, will the travel insurance cover my friend? The Qantas connecting flight was bought separately paid via bpay.
And therein lies your problem. If it was all booked as one ticket, then it's up to the airline(s) involved to fix it. But when you buy separate tickets, you are entering into two separate, unrelated, contracts.

So in cases like this, the airlines have no liability - you take this risk when booking on separate tickets.

You don't say what the fare basis of the QF ticket BNE-NTL is - can you not at least get credit for it? But whatever happens, your friend will certainly need a new ticket to get to NTL.
 

BAM1748

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You are in a foreign country on a foreign carrier, I guess they are sticking to their terms and conditions in which case you are at their mercy.

if it was me, and I had to be somewhere for something important I'd just have to pay up and argue it later.

But whenever your friend talks to anyone in the airline, get their name! it may pay off later.

Matt
 

mranwa

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As a general rule, when an airline reschedule, do we have the right to get a refund? I thought a "contract" of sorts is entered into, I pay for a ticket for this date and time, if you change it surely I've the right to accept the change, or agree to another date/time, or a refund?

If they have allowed refund we would have accepted it as the NAN SYD flight is only fjd 90 more than what we paid for our NAN BNE ticket. Yet, to change it fiji airways wanted fjd 250.

Really at their mercy.

We are probably going to just take the delayed flight and buy a ticket from BNE to NTL then hope the travel insurance will reimburse. What are the chances I wonder?
 

docjames

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I guess it's either $250 to change or $xxx for BNE-NTL I guess pick whichever is cheaper and then try for recourse afterwards (either from airline or TI).

You'll may want to get some documentation from the airline re: the delay to assist if it comes to claiming on TI.
 

dajop

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As a general rule, when an airline reschedule, do we have the right to get a refund? I thought a "contract" of sorts is entered into, I pay for a ticket for this date and time, if you change it surely I've the right to accept the change, or agree to another date/time, or a refund?
Some airlines have policies on this sort of thing (see example below), some don't. It seems FJ doesn't.

If your flight is rescheduled before the date of travel, and departs more than 4 (four) hours before or after the original departure time, then you will be entitled to a travel credit or full refund of the unused part of your reservation if the alternative flight/s offered are not acceptable to you and you do not wish to travel. This is provided you notify Tigerair more than 4 (four) hours prior to the scheduled departure time of your flight
 

mannej

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As a general rule, when an airline reschedule, do we have the right to get a refund? I thought a "contract" of sorts is entered into, I pay for a ticket for this date and time, if you change it surely I've the right to accept the change, or agree to another date/time, or a refund?

If they have allowed refund we would have accepted it as the NAN SYD flight is only fjd 90 more than what we paid for our NAN BNE ticket. Yet, to change it fiji airways wanted fjd 250.

Really at their mercy.

We are probably going to just take the delayed flight and buy a ticket from BNE to NTL then hope the travel insurance will reimburse. What are the chances I wonder?
Read the Conditions of your booking. Many airlines explicitly state that the time and date of the flights don't form part of the contract.

Somehow I think you may need to follow up with your TI directly to see what they will cover and what they won't.

Lesson learned - there is a risk booking on separate tickets, it's not nice learning about the consequences.
 
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anat0l

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Best to check with Travel Insurance on Flight Delays...many of them have certain time periods before they will cover you, e.g. "if your originally scheduled flight is delayed more than 6 hours...." etc. In some cases, it may not apply unless the delay happens on the day of departure.

You may or may not be able to invoke the claim clause under change of plans beyond your control to get to an important, non-negotiable event. Check your policy carefully and consider calling your insurer.

Generally there is no legal protection in this case. The airline is contracted strictly to get you from A to B. The timing is somewhat immaterial unless the variance is significant, which is measured more or less in terms of the length of the flight and how often it operates, not on a passenger case by case basis and especially not on circumstances beyond the original ticket, e.g. other flights.

If this had happened in Europe with an applicable carrier, you would have been eligible for particular remedies (including options to refund or reroute) under a specific European regulation.
 

JohnK

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I am not quite sure I understand why refund is not an option. The airline has inconvenienced a customer and the new flight times are unsuitable.

And travel insurance is not always going to help in these situations. Especially if the excess is $200 or more if there are policies with that type of excess.
 

YSSY

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I would probably have a go at calling back and trying different operators to see if a supervisor can approve change to the SYD, this may be your best option at getting some goodwill. Just be polite but persuasive.
 

mranwa

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I called the operator 3x all saying the same thing, we can change you to a date before or after but no refund. Even when I insist to speak to a supervisor they say "I'm a senior agent and my supervisor will say the same thing" and refuse to escalate.

I would probably have a go at calling back and trying different operators to see if a supervisor can approve change to the SYD, this may be your best option at getting some goodwill. Just be polite but persuasive.
 

mranwa

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My friend have decided to just fly back on the rescheduled flight and bought a later jetstar flight to NTL (last flight of the day).
Also got in contact with our TI who requested in writing the reason for the the reschedule from the airline. We emailed and got an automated reply from FJ, "we will reply within 60 days" :mad:
 

JohnK

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Also got in contact with our TI who requested in writing the reason for the the reschedule from the airline. We emailed and got an automated reply from FJ, "we will reply within 60 days" :mad:
Seriously? :confused:

Add another to the no-fly list.
 

MelUser

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(As an unrelated aside: AA Australian call centre is now in Fiji and I have found them so helpful.)

I think it is always a risk that flight schedules will change.

Also, this is why I use a travel agent. If these things happen (which they do) she can call her rep and get a resolution.

A flight change is a flight change.

I'd also be interested in how much was paid for the ticket. If we are talking in the hundreds as cheap economy tickets are on Fiji Airways/Air Pacific then you need to work with them.

If you paid many thousands for a business class ticket then I would expect them to "work with you" - I love that US phrase "work with you" when they are going to help - "We;ll work with you on that one sir" - when I hear those words in USA I relax knowing it is going to be fixed.
 

BAM1748

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Seriously John, have you not heard of Fiji time?
Talking of Fiji time, I once was waiting at Sydney for someone coming off an Air Pacific flight, about 2 hours after the expected time they came through customs. The reason, they couldn't get the door open for over an hour and I guess it never crossed their mind to request stairs and assistance to disembark passengers.
 

MelUser

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There was an air pacific plane which had its landing gear seriously damaged on a "hard landing" into Sydney earlier this year. Adopting a "She'll be right" attitude the plane flew (loaded with PAX) back to NAN. When engineers looked at it in NAN they realised it was a miracle that plane actually did land correctly in NAN. THe plane was taken out of service for bit while landing gear was replaced. Bula!
 
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Bula,
We're sorry for the inconvenience this has so far caused. Can you please provide your booking reference and we will assist from there.

Vinaka
 
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