Travel disruptions: How to get your money back
The stress of having your holiday COVID-cancelled can be compounded by a fraught battle to reclaim your cash or with travel credits to use at a later date.
With recent lockdowns and border closures already becoming commonplace in 2021, it pays to know exactly what you can get back before you book and pay, especially if your plans are derailed. assume nothing
As painful as it can be it's never been more important to read the terms and conditions before making any booking, whether it be expenses such as flights, accommodation or car hire.
Consumer advocate Adam Glezer has been dealing with thousands of consumers stung and many disrupted travellers didn't know what they were entitled to until it was too late.
"Always thoroughly look through your terms and conditions, especially the refund and cancellation policies," he says.
"I've dealt with thousands of Australians that have had a real struggle on their hands getting money back from travel providers as a result of Covid."
Whether you can get money back on falls back on the fine print when you made the booking.
Manager John Sambuco, 36, has had five holidays cancelled in the past year due to COVID-19.
This includes one overseas trip and four domestic getaways and he says all interstate trips weren't able to happen because of state border closures.
Sambuco says throughout Covid whenever he did make a booking he paid close attention to the cancellation policies.
"I pretty much got every hotel refunded except one hotel in Tasmania," he says.
"I booked hotels mostly that I could cancel within 24 hours notice, but there was one hotel that had cancellation up until a specific date and they only gave me 50 per cent of my money back when I had to cancel."
The consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says the terms and conditions, "will vary between travel providers and in some cases consumers might not be entitled to a full, or any, refund of the booking".
The ACCC encourages all travel and accommodation providers to treat consumers fairly.
FLIGHT BOOKING TIPS
Whether you get a flight credit or refund back depends on who you book with and what type of fare you choose.
If your travel plans are disrupted Qantas chief customer officer Stephanie Tully says they've made it easier than ever to move flights around without being stung with hefty costs.
"We have seen in recent months that people are very keen to start travelling again, but they need to know that they'll be able to change their work or holiday plans if border restrictions suddenly change," she says.
"That's why we are making it easier for customers to move their flight dates."
Since the pandemic began Qantas has assisted more than 2.5 million customers with impacted flights.
They now have a "fly flexible" policy that allows unlimited flight changes for booking made up until April 30 this year on Qantas domestic flight.
Passengers can change flight dates up until February next year and no fees apply.
If the flight is cancelled due to Covid the customers can offer for a rebooking, voucher or refund.
Virgin Australia's general manager of network and revenue management Russell Shaw says "flexibility is more important than ever".
"We've extended our flexible flying policy for travel up to 31 January 2022 when a booking is made by 30 April 2021," he says.
"Guests can make unlimited changes to their bookings at no charge, and they also have the option to cancel their booking and opt for a travel credit with the cancellation fee waived."
Originally published as Travel disruptions: How to get your money back