Jetstar has refunded passengers that were incorrectly charged a $131 fee to change their flight after Jetstar cancelled on them and failed to provide a suitable alternative.
Australian Frequent Flyer member sammy had booked a return flight from Sydney to Maroochydore (Sunshine Coast) during a recent sale. This member had flown to the Sunshine Coast last Monday, as planned, and was having a relaxing time in Noosa when they discovered that Jetstar had cancelled their return flight back to Sydney.
sammy was due to fly home on Saturday, the same day that Queensland closed its border to anybody that has been in Sydney in the past fortnight. As a result of the sudden border closure, many airlines including Jetstar made a snap decision to cancel most flights between Sydney and Queensland. Maroochydore-Sydney was one of the affected routes, with Jetstar cancelling all flights out of the Sunshine Coast until at least September.
Customers such as sammy that were already in Queensland still need to get home to Sydney. But when this member proactively contacted Jetstar to request an alternative flight from Brisbane to Sydney, they were told they would need to pay a fare difference of $131 per passenger. (They were a group of four passengers, so that added up to over $500 in total.)
This member felt this was unfair, labelling the fee “extortion” as Jetstar had cancelled their flight in the first place.
They also noted they would now be $118 out of pocket for transfers from Noosa to Brisbane Airport, where limited flights are still operating from.
After the qld/nsw border closure was announced yesterday, we checked our return booking for Saturday.
Cancelled. In fact, every flight after Friday is now cancelled (and we still haven’t been notified by the airline)
This morning, doing the online chat thing, we requested to be transferred to a flight out of Brisbane.
They want to charge a $131 pp re route fee.
I think that’s a bit rough. Especially since we will have to pay $118 to transfer to Brisbane airport.
Would love to just stay here, but we have lives back at home.
Australian Frequent Flyer contacted Jetstar, who told us that this fee should never have been charged. According to the Jetstar spokesperson, the airline’s COVID-19 policy allows for additional flexibility when flights are cancelled. Customers are also entitled to one free change, although a fare difference applies if the change is initiated by the passenger.
Jetstar’s Fly Flexible policy states:
In the instance that your flight is cancelled by us, we’ll rebook you on the next available flight to your booked destination, at no additional cost to you. Alternatively, you can choose other options.
If sammy had tried to change to another Maroochydore-Sydney flight after their original one was cancelled, no fee would have been charged. But, as there are no more Jetstar flights on this route until at least September, the Jetstar spokesperson agreed that the contact centre agent should have shown better discretion here when rebooking them on a flight from Brisbane.
Jetstar has agreed to refund the erroneous change fees in full. That’s a good outcome for a scenario that never should have happened in the first place.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Stranded in Noosa.