Flight Centre refunds for cancelled flights | Australian Frequent Flyer
Australian Frequent Flyer

Welcome to Australia's leading independent Frequent Flyer and Travel Resource since 1998!
Our site contains tons of information that will improve your travel experience.

Joining AFF is fast, simple & absolutely free - register now and take immediate advantage of these great BENEFITS.

Once registered, this box will disappear. And you will see fewer advertisements :)

Login Now to remove this and all advertisements (GOLD and SILVER members)
Not a member? Register Now for free

Flight Centre refunds for cancelled flights

Pug1

Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2014
Messages
275
We booked and paid Flight Centre for J flights on Qatar last September, for next August. Have cancelled them as it was too risky to take our trip. Our flights have gone from the Qatar manage booking site and we're not sure if FC has received the refund from them. Obviously FC is swamped at the moment and we are not hearing from them even though we know the person who booked this is still working there. Has anyone been able to get their refund from FC during this pandemic? We're prepared to drop the cancellation fees but would hate to lose the balance of the flight cost. I'm wondering if Amex would do a reversal for us as we paid for the tickets on our Qantas Amex. Hoping FC survives this mess. Grateful for any advice from the AFF experts.
 

Swisshardy

Newbie
Joined
Apr 1, 2020
Messages
3
Hi We has boomed and paid for Singapore Airlines flights via Flight Centre in September 2019 to travel in April 2020 this year. We emailed our Flight Centre rep and after a couple of days got them to cancel the whole package with Singapore Airline but had to pay $290 per person cancellation fees even though Singapore Airlines has cancelled our flights. It does take a couple of days to about 10 days for FC staff to respond though as they are totally swamped. Grateful that we could get the rest of the money back.
 

MEL_Traveller

Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
21,150
Yeah - there's plenty of chatter on a half-dozen forums about Flight Centre and refunds... full information is here: Coronavirus Travel & Business Update

There is no suggestion that FC is not refunding, however, in cases where you seek a refund, even if the operating airline cancels, FC will take out their $300 cancellation fee. If you voluntarily choose to cancel (ie the airline is still operating their flights), then you may be entitled to a credit, voucher, or a refund in line with the terms and conditions of your original fare or the current airline policy.

In any event, if yuo choose the 'refund' option, FC will take out their hefty $300 fee, per person.

I'm not exactly sure if FC taking $300 for a fee if the airline cancels is legal. Time will tell. There's an awful lot of very unhappy folks and I think there will be legal action at some stage, or a review by one of the regulatory authorities.
 

Pug1

Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2014
Messages
275
Hi We has boomed and paid for Singapore Airlines flights via Flight Centre in September 2019 to travel in April 2020 this year. We emailed our Flight Centre rep and after a couple of days got them to cancel the whole package with Singapore Airline but had to pay $290 per person cancellation fees even though Singapore Airlines has cancelled our flights. It does take a couple of days to about 10 days for FC staff to respond though as they are totally swamped. Grateful that we could get the rest of the money back.
Glad you got the refund and accepted the cancellation fees. A good outcome in my opinion.
 

Pug1

Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2014
Messages
275
Yeah - there's plenty of chatter on a half-dozen forums about Flight Centre and refunds... full information is here: Coronavirus Travel & Business Update

There is no suggestion that FC is not refunding, however, in cases where you seek a refund, even if the operating airline cancels, FC will take out their $300 cancellation fee. If you voluntarily choose to cancel (ie the airline is still operating their flights), then you may be entitled to a credit, voucher, or a refund in line with the terms and conditions of your original fare or the current airline policy.

In any event, if yuo choose the 'refund' option, FC will take out their hefty $300 fee, per person.

I'm not exactly sure if FC taking $300 for a fee if the airline cancels is legal. Time will tell. There's an awful lot of very unhappy folks and I think there will be legal action at some stage, or a review by one of the regulatory authorities.
thank you for the insight. I guess we're OK with the cancellation fees if it helps to keep FC afloat, as long as we get the fairly substantial balance of the J flights back. Fingers crossed.
 

MEL_Traveller

Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
21,150
Glad you got the refund and accepted the cancellation fees. A good outcome in my opinion.
Why why why??? That's a terrible outcome. The airline is offering a full refund, yet FC is creaming profits off the top. And I reckon they have incorrectly interpreted their own terms and conditions, which they are now saying applies to 'any' cancellation, when clearly anyone else would read it in the context that if the 'passenger' chooses to cancel.
 

SydneySwan

Established Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
Messages
1,686
Qantas
LT Silver
Why why why??? That's a terrible outcome. The airline is offering a full refund, yet FC is creaming profits off the top. And I reckon they have incorrectly interpreted their own terms and conditions, which they are now saying applies to 'any' cancellation, when clearly anyone else would read it in the context that if the 'passenger' chooses to cancel.
I absolutely agree. I have a trip to Tokyo on Virgin in discount Y that has been cancelled. It cost about $650 each so FC want to keep $300 per passenger of that. It is I suspect way in excess of their cost to process the refund.

The only way of avoiding the FC cancellation fee is to keep the full amount of your booking (less any supplier fees which can be up to 100% of the booking value) on file with Flight Centre to spend on travel within 12 months of cancelling, we will waive our own cancellation fees. Basically they are taking a leaf out of the airlines playbook. I think I can also convert the booking into Virgin Travel Bank.

I would prefer a proper 100% refund.
 

Pug1

Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2014
Messages
275
Why why why??? That's a terrible outcome. The airline is offering a full refund, yet FC is creaming profits off the top. And I reckon they have incorrectly interpreted their own terms and conditions, which they are now saying applies to 'any' cancellation, when clearly anyone else would read it in the context that if the 'passenger' chooses to cancel.
The alternative is FC goes bust and everyone gets nothing. Many, many travel agents will not survive this. Our flights were not cancelled but we chose to do so and forfeit the cancellation costs.
 

Pug1

Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2014
Messages
275
I absolutely agree. I have a trip to Tokyo on Virgin in discount Y that has been cancelled. It cost about $650 each so FC want to keep $300 per passenger of that. It is I suspect way in excess of their cost to process the refund.

The only way of avoiding the FC cancellation fee is to keep the full amount of your booking (less any supplier fees which can be up to 100% of the booking value) on file with Flight Centre to spend on travel within 12 months of cancelling, we will waive our own cancellation fees. Basically they are taking a leaf out of the airlines playbook. I think I can also convert the booking into Virgin Travel Bank.

I would prefer a proper 100% refund.
I understand your anger in view of the relative cost and cancellation fees. In our case the fees are a much smaller proportion of the money we paid. My concern is that FC survives this and we get something back as opposed to nil
 

Swisshardy

Newbie
Joined
Apr 1, 2020
Messages
3
We were told the cancellation fees were charged by SA and not by FC even though flights were cancelled by SA. Since our flights were not refundable, SA would hold full credit for 12 months or we cancel them and pay $290 pp fees to SA. In the end we just choose to pay the fees and get bulk of the money back.
 

MEL_Traveller

Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
21,150
The alternative is FC goes bust and everyone gets nothing. Many, many travel agents will not survive this. Our flights were not cancelled but we chose to do so and forfeit the cancellation costs.
Understand you made a decision to voluntarily cancel, and FC took their fees as per their contract with you.

But others may not be in as fortunate position financially as you are. Some families are reporting FC is taking $1200 (or more) for a booking that was cancelled by the operator and where the operator is offering a full refund :(

It's exactly this type of situation that we have consumer protection laws.

Flight Centre is the agent for the airlines they sell, let FC take it up with the airline to keep their commission. They shouldn't need to rely on cancellation fees to prop up their finances.
 

ailee

Newbie
Joined
Apr 2, 2020
Messages
6
Hi We has boomed and paid for Singapore Airlines flights via Flight Centre in September 2019 to travel in April 2020 this year. We emailed our Flight Centre rep and after a couple of days got them to cancel the whole package with Singapore Airline but had to pay $290 per person cancellation fees even though Singapore Airlines has cancelled our flights. It does take a couple of days to about 10 days for FC staff to respond though as they are totally swamped. Grateful that we could get the rest of the money back.
Hi Swisshardy,

Was your booking for a non-refundable ticket? If so, would you please assist me. Can I PM you for more details?

Or on that topic, is anyone who managed to get a cancellation through Singapore Air able (through agent or not) able to help me out with some information, so that I can get a refund?

Thank you
 
Last edited:

ailee

Newbie
Joined
Apr 2, 2020
Messages
6
Hi All,

I've found this link relating to cancellations from Singapore Air. It states there is a $200 cancellation fee for non-refundable tickets.

 

Swisshardy

Newbie
Joined
Apr 1, 2020
Messages
3
Yes our booking was for non refundable and the FC agent had mentioned that we could cancel the tickets and pay the cancellation fee of $290 pp. she did inform that it could take up to 14 weeks to get the payment but we were still happy with that as we get the bulk of the money back.
 

ailee

Newbie
Joined
Apr 2, 2020
Messages
6
Yes our booking was for non refundable and the FC agent had mentioned that we could cancel the tickets and pay the cancellation fee of $290 pp. she did inform that it could take up to 14 weeks to get the payment but we were still happy with that as we get the bulk of the money back.
Hi Swisshardy,

Thank you very much for confirming that! I have sent you a private message requesting if you could assist me further, thanks again!
 

MEL_Traveller

Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
21,150
There's a couple of issues here. If you choose to cancel (ie, Singapore Airlines still has your flight scheduled to operate), there may be cancellation fees levied by (a) Singapore Airlines and (b) Flight Centre. If you choose a voucher or credit from Singapore Airlines, you may be able to avoid both those fees.

If Singapore Airlines has cancelled your flight, their conditions of carriage apply which overrule any cancellation conditions attached to your fare. Singapore Airlines' conditions of carriage say that where they cancel a flight and cannot offer you an alternative, they will give you a refund.

They will pass this to Flight Centre who is then telling us that they will still charge their $300 fee. I don't believe they have grounds to do this and if you are faced with this yuo should contact your local Consumer Affairs hotline.
 

Pug1

Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2014
Messages
275
Understand you made a decision to voluntarily cancel, and FC took their fees as per their contract with you.

But others may not be in as fortunate position financially as you are. Some families are reporting FC is taking $1200 (or more) for a booking that was cancelled by the operator and where the operator is offering a full refund :(

It's exactly this type of situation that we have consumer protection laws.

Flight Centre is the agent for the airlines they sell, let FC take it up with the airline to keep their commission. They shouldn't need to rely on cancellation fees to prop up their finances.
I do understand your point and wish everyone well who wants to object to the FC charges.
 

ailee

Newbie
Joined
Apr 2, 2020
Messages
6
There's a couple of issues here. If you choose to cancel (ie, Singapore Airlines still has your flight scheduled to operate), there may be cancellation fees levied by (a) Singapore Airlines and (b) Flight Centre. If you choose a voucher or credit from Singapore Airlines, you may be able to avoid both those fees.

If Singapore Airlines has cancelled your flight, their conditions of carriage apply which overrule any cancellation conditions attached to your fare. Singapore Airlines' conditions of carriage say that where they cancel a flight and cannot offer you an alternative, they will give you a refund.

They will pass this to Flight Centre who is then telling us that they will still charge their $300 fee. I don't believe they have grounds to do this and if you are faced with this yuo should contact your local Consumer Affairs hotline.
I have actually contacted accc and they advised me that due to government restrictions, a credit note would be sufficient. Perhaps I should try NSW Fair Trading. Also, In the link I posted earlier, it states Singapore Air will charge a $200 fee on refunds, what is your opinion of that?
 

MEL_Traveller

Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
21,150
I have actually contacted accc and they advised me that due to government restrictions, a credit note would be sufficient. Perhaps I should try NSW Fair Trading. Also, In the link I posted earlier, it states Singapore Air will charge a $200 fee on refunds, what is your opinion of that?
The ACCC seems to be giving conflicting information here.

On the one hand they are saying that due to Covid-19 the normal right to refunds may not always be applicable. But they go on to say 'unless otherwise in the terms of your contract'
  • If your travel is cancelled the ACCC expects that you will receive a refund or other remedy, such as a credit note or voucher, in most circumstances.
  • However, if your travel is cancelled due to government restrictions, this impacts your rights under the consumer guarantees.
  • You may still be entitled to a refund under the terms and conditions of your ticket.
  • You should contact the business directly to request a refund or other remedy such as a credit note or voucher.
  • The ACCC encourages all businesses to treat consumers fairly in these exceptional circumstances.
The key here is the third bullet point. The Singapore Airlines conditions of carriage, like that of Qantas, provides for a full refund in the event the airline cancels.

Virgin and Jetstar have different conditions where events are outside their control (which Covid is).

So on that basis, ACCC's advice to you is based on bullet #1, and not on bullet #3.

Where does FC fit in to this? That's a different story. I don't believe their contract rules out a full refund where the airline cancels. So you should in theory be entitled to a refund without any of their fees and charges.

Going back to your link, it does say the following for flights cancelled by SQ:

Unused tickets - if your flight is cancelled:
Options: -​
1. Defer travel with final return date of 31Mar21.​
2 Refunds​
a. Refundable fares: Yes. Standard Fares Rules apply.​
b. Non-Refundable fares. Yes. For flight cancellations up to 30Apr20. Processing fee of $200 applies.​
i. Please use “Covid19” as the waiver code​

I'm not sure how/if that is valid. While EU261 does not apply (it is considered an extraordinary event), my understanding is that EU authorities have determined that a full refund is required. This would seem inconsistent with the $200 processing fee (and given that's in $, I'm guessing that could be Singapore dollars, and be a carry-over from their Singapore terms and conditions?)

The CoC for Australia says they will refund. So I'd be going on that basis. A subsequent policy shouldn't have the effect of overriding the contract you already have with them.
 
Last edited:

Community Statistics

Threads
86,100
Messages
2,063,463
Members
53,422
Latest member
gypsumdaya
Top