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Flight Centre refunds for cancelled flights

pomona

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Agree. There is an Arabic expression , "they take with the right hand & give with the left" which is of course "unclean".
I did not actually sign up with Chubb, AMEX did, & that is my gripe. If AMEX cannot find the lacunae in the fine print on page 92 how the hell are we ? What's more they pay Chubb to provide a service for their members which we ultimately pay for.
 

equus

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received a response from Chubb that only return tickets back to Australia are covered. That is clearly ridiculous considering how many people fly out & cruise back, all the time thinking their flight is covered. I believe that would be a worthy cause for the AFC to take action in due course. They are really effective.

If this is the Platinum Charge insurance, then the wording is not return tickets, but return trip. The policy is very clear in Section 1 about activation of insurance that
Important: One-way Trips are not covered

Your one way air ticket would be covered provided that your cruise back (part of the trip) was also purchased on the AMEX card. If you paid for the cruise part of the return trip not in accordance with the activation requirements, then the whole trip is not covered.

If you did pay for the cruise on the AMEX, did you provide that information to Chubb?
 

jarman_ah

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Agree. There is an Arabic expression , "they take with the right hand & give with the left" which is of course "unclean".
I did not actually sign up with Chubb, AMEX did, & that is my gripe. If AMEX cannot find the lacunae in the fine print on page 92 how the hell are we ? What's more they pay Chubb to provide a service for their members which we ultimately pay for.
I think I understand... a lot of credit cards nowadays offer free travel insurance if you buy the tickets using that card, and I know that, on ozbargain, hundreds of bargain hunters say they wouldn't do travel insurance any other way. But, of course, that takes the choice out of the customer's hands, doesn't it? You may never even have HEARD of Chubb until Amex proudly announced that it had fulfilled its offer of "free" travel insurance. But, in fact, the policy they organise on your behalf may not suit your needs at all, and you'd never know until something like this happened. If I am reading those clues correctly, I wish you luck.... and it's worth posting on ozbargain to tell of your experience and warn others who mightn't be aware that they're walking into a trap.
 

OZDUCK

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Flight Centre refunds, when ?? AMEX travel insurance, caveat emptor !!

Has anyone received a refund for QF/AY itinerary to Helsinki, one way, Sept 24, or from QF, AY in general ?
I finally received an email from BYO 22 June, agreeing to refund the full amount to my Amex, but, it could take up to 12 weeks to process. Last month I received two "round robins" claiming as BYO had not yet received the funds from the airline/s, (which one/s?), they could not refund me my A$7536.

Amex paid the funds to BYO, not QF/AY, so , why is my refund dependant upon the airlines, &, who knows if they have/have not already refunded to BYO. Are the "round robins" just stalling tactics I wonder & more importantly will BYO still be around much longer ??

By the way, NB., I initially tried to claim the BYO "charges", which eventually disappeared thanks to ACCC/AFF, & received a response from Chubb that only return tickets back to Australia are covered. That is clearly ridiculous considering how many people fly out & cruise back, all the time thinking their flight is covered. I believe that would be a worthy cause for the AFC to take action in due course. They are really effective.

After a long chat with Amex we agreed I would wait until Oct 1st & if no refund ask them to process a charge back for the amount, maybe that will spur them into action, as Chubb is a waste of space.

Any comments, suggestions would be welcome

Our friend who was going to Europe with us on the same flights leaving on 17 August had booked through Flight Centre and on a QF ticket. This part of her trip was Per/Sin/Hel with QF/AY. She is still waiting for her refunds. We received ours in mid -July - booked with Finnair via a TA who is a member here but the refund paid directly to us by Finnair.
 

Stratocruiser

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I would like to follow up on my previous post. I have now received full refund for SQ Flights to Frankfurt (originally scheduled in August 2020) from Flight Centre. The refund was for 2 return F fare ($26K+).

However, I am still waiting for a refund for SQ F return flights ($12K+) to Singapore for June 2020 from Flight Centre. So far, I only managed to get hold of the agent 2 weeks ago just to be told it was been followed up. Emails to Flight Centre agent was met with radio silence. I wonder if the agent still works at Flight Centre now.

Should I approach AMEX and initiate a charge back? Or should I continue to wait for Flight Centre to refund the money?
 

jarman_ah

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Jul 12, 2008
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I would like to follow up on my previous post. I have now received full refund for SQ Flights to Frankfurt (originally scheduled in August 2020) from Flight Centre. The refund was for 2 return F fare ($26K+).

However, I am still waiting for a refund for SQ F return flights ($12K+) to Singapore for June 2020 from Flight Centre. So far, I only managed to get hold of the agent 2 weeks ago just to be told it was been followed up. Emails to Flight Centre agent was met with radio silence. I wonder if the agent still works at Flight Centre now.

Should I approach AMEX and initiate a charge back? Or should I continue to wait for Flight Centre to refund the money?
I'd contact the FC branch by telephone (talk to the manager) and state your case. June 2020 is a long time ago, and, whatever their difficulties with airlines around that time, those difficulties must have been well and truly resolved before this.
 

flyingfan

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Finally got a >$4k refund from Flight Centre today, about six months after the family requested it.
 
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Stratocruiser

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Same, finally obtained refund ($12K) for June flight from Flight Centre. I have a horrible feeling that Flight Centre's time might be limited... 😢

Really really hope all will be over soon.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Yeah :( As I read somewhere else, most of the airline/travel business seems to be akin to a giant ponzi scheme. Bad luck if are the ones caught out at the end.
 

jarman_ah

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Same, finally obtained refund ($12K) for June flight from Flight Centre. I have a horrible feeling that Flight Centre's time might be limited... 😢

Really really hope all will be over soon.
Congratulations, also! That was a lot of money to be hanging in limbo for several months. I also wouldn't be surprised if the current crop of travel "agents" who operate by charging the customer as well as the airline fade quietly away as the current crisis leaves us. Certainly, they will never again be able to operate in such a blatantly "rip-off" manner, as COVID has made us all aware of how little "service" these companies actually provide for us, especially in the days of the internet, when any ordinary person can do exactly what these companies do, with no added risk of paying someone else's agent a hefty sum for utilising it. I'm glad real estate agents don't work like that!
 

MEL_Traveller

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Certainly, they will never again be able to operate in such a blatantly "rip-off" manner, as COVID has made us all aware of how little "service" these companies actually provide for us, especially in the days of the internet, when any ordinary person can do exactly what these companies do, with no added risk of paying someone else's agent a hefty sum for utilising it.

You'd think right? But look at webjet's operations... charging up to a 57% surcharge to make a booking. And they give you the exact flights which anyone could go book... but people must still be using them!

(57% surcharge based on a one-way fare SYD-OOL for 25 November 2020, base fare on JQ $61.49 plus webjet's domestic booking fee of $21.95 and fare-lock guarantee of $12.95 for a total billed to the passenger of $96.39).

Under the above calculations you'd think webjet must have zero domestic bookings... but that can't be the case.
 

jarman_ah

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You'd think right? But look at webjet's operations... charging up to a 57% surcharge to make a booking. And they give you the exact flights which anyone could go book... but people must still be using them!

(57% surcharge based on a one-way fare SYD-OOL for 25 November 2020, base fare on JQ $61.49 plus webjet's domestic booking fee of $21.95 and fare-lock guarantee of $12.95 for a total billed to the passenger of $96.39).

Under the above calculations you'd think webjet must have zero domestic bookings... but that can't be the case.
Jetstar once tried to impose a "credit card" fee on me which was around 90% of the value of the flight as advertised.... they wound up giving me enough voucher compensation to fund all the flight components of a holiday in Tasmania.... anything to keep the truth from getting out. The point is, when I booked I didn't know what these companies could get up to; and I also didn't realise that they wouldn't even talk to you if you tried to make a complaint. I didn't know anything about those Webjet charges until you pointed them out to me just now; but, having been caught once, I would have at least been ready for them in 2020 (I haven't used Webjet since 1982). There has, thankfully, been enough bad publicity about the surcharges, and what, exactly, being a "travel agent" actually means, that the number of naive travellers has dropped by about the same proportion as Flight Centre's revenue. The next generation of travel "agents" might be forced to be a little more up-front about where they get their money from. Everyone has sympathy for the thousands of good and honest businesses which have suffered because of COVID, but companies like Flight Centre (and, perhaps, Webjet) attract less sympathy than just about anyone else. They will depart unlamented.
 

MARTINE

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Glad to report all my fares refunded (>50k) with my travel agent (Travel Associates which are part of FC) and insurance (QBE) doing good job. No extra charges
 

doctau

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Upfront disclaimer: I work for FC but I'm not an agent.

I also wouldn't be surprised if the current crop of travel "agents" who operate by charging the customer as well as the airline fade quietly away as the current crisis leaves us. Certainly, they will never again be able to operate in such a blatantly "rip-off" manner, as COVID has made us all aware of how little "service" these companies actually provide for us, especially in the days of the internet, when any ordinary person can do exactly what these companies do, with no added risk of paying someone else's agent a hefty sum for utilising it. I'm glad real estate agents don't work like that!

Things will certainly be different in future, and not all the people or companies will remain. That said, I think there are still a few things that they do which will will continue.


Any ordinary person can do it, but will they? There are several demographics who don't want to organise their own travel, and want someone else to organise it for them. You have the more well-off people who are happy to pay rather than use their own time, you have people who don't like the planning part, and you have inexperienced travellers who are more comfortable someone else helping. I'm guessing more people will do it themselves, but those groups will still exist and need agents to serve them.


There's also the pricing aspects, with larger agencies or smaller ones who go through wholesaler/consolidators. Companies can do things like buy a block of 15 rooms at a hotel with a 20% discount, and sell them to customers with a 10% discount. Most people (especially online) are price-sensitive, and will happily book with an agent to get a cheaper rate, even if it means higher change/cancel fees or other things. Right now people care more than usual about change/cancellation fees and processes, but memories are generally short.


People often want to book multiple products, and OTA can make it a lot easier. Using one site to book everything, rather than four different ones for four products, saves a lot of time and people are prepared to do that for the same price or a small fee (or a large fee in WebJet's case). Airlines have been getting into that for a long while too, they want to be an agent as well and sell you a hotel room or car hire.
 

doctau

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(57% surcharge based on a one-way fare SYD-OOL for 25 November 2020, base fare on JQ $61.49 plus webjet's domestic booking fee of $21.95 and fare-lock guarantee of $12.95 for a total billed to the passenger of $96.39).

I'm still surprised that they get away with those fees, but obviously they do.

Or GoToGate (reasonably-priced on Google Flights and Skyscanner) who charge $4 to SMS you your PNR, $4.50 for SMSes of gate/time changes, and $30 to do the online checkin for you. Someone must be paying for those.
 

Seat0B

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Upfront disclaimer: I work for FC but I'm not an agent.



Things will certainly be different in future, and not all the people or companies will remain. That said, I think there are still a few things that they do which will will continue.


Any ordinary person can do it, but will they? There are several demographics who don't want to organise their own travel, and want someone else to organise it for them. You have the more well-off people who are happy to pay rather than use their own time, you have people who don't like the planning part, and you have inexperienced travellers who are more comfortable someone else helping. I'm guessing more people will do it themselves, but those groups will still exist and need agents to serve them.


There's also the pricing aspects, with larger agencies or smaller ones who go through wholesaler/consolidators. Companies can do things like buy a block of 15 rooms at a hotel with a 20% discount, and sell them to customers with a 10% discount. Most people (especially online) are price-sensitive, and will happily book with an agent to get a cheaper rate, even if it means higher change/cancel fees or other things. Right now people care more than usual about change/cancellation fees and processes, but memories are generally short.


People often want to book multiple products, and OTA can make it a lot easier. Using one site to book everything, rather than four different ones for four products, saves a lot of time and people are prepared to do that for the same price or a small fee (or a large fee in WebJet's case). Airlines have been getting into that for a long while too, they want to be an agent as well and sell you a hotel room or car hire.

You make some valid points @doctau and I'm sure those people from the demographics you mentioned are happy to pay for the services and value that they get. However, they are probably not happy to pay cancellation fees that were arbitrarily and unilaterally imposed, and to wait months for refunds or be denied refunds that they are actually entitled to, or offered virtually unusable, and therefore worthless vouchers (like Agoda initially offered me).

What would have been best and would have stopped threads like this, and probably a lot of vitriol directed at undeserving people in the front line, was if FC and others like it (my issue was with tripadeal on behalf of my elderly father-in-law) had acted reasonably and decently when the COVID sh*t went down. Some businesses (eg I had a good result from QFlyer) did and some did not (and I hear Luxury Escapes was pretty bad too), and they all had the same issues of work and costs and offered the same Travel Agent benefits that you mentioned.
 

jarman_ah

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You make some valid points @doctau and I'm sure those people from the demographics you mentioned are happy to pay for the services and value that they get. However, they are probably not happy to pay cancellation fees that were arbitrarily and unilaterally imposed, and to wait months for refunds or be denied refunds that they are actually entitled to, or offered virtually unusable, and therefore worthless vouchers (like Agoda initially offered me).

What would have been best and would have stopped threads like this, and probably a lot of vitriol directed at undeserving people in the front line, was if FC and others like it (my issue was with tripadeal on behalf of my elderly father-in-law) had acted reasonably and decently when the COVID sh*t went down. Some businesses (eg I had a good result from QFlyer) did and some did not (and I hear Luxury Escapes was pretty bad too), and they all had the same issues of work and costs and offered the same Travel Agent benefits that you mentioned.
Well said! The ones that DIDN'T act "reasonably and decently" will now reap the rewards of their contemptuous attitude towards their "customers"... maybe we should say their "clients" in the case of Flight Centre and their kind, since, if they charge us rather than the airlines, then aren't they OUR agents, and obligated to act in OUR interests?
 
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