Qantas’ Refund Policy Leaves Australians Gobsmacked

Many Australians are still extremely hesitant to book flights right now. Qantas wants to change that.

Been on a plane lately, fellow Aussies? Us neither.

Despite the fact that most of the world seems to be getting back to some degree of normalcy after two years of COVID-19 (the sizeable hiccup that is the Omicron variant notwithstanding), many of us have been hesitant to book flights, either domestically or internationally, for fear of having our plans disrupted thanks to The Spicy Cough.

This hesitancy has been an absolute headache for airlines, who are struggling to entice travellers to get back on planes and travelling again. No-one wants to book a flight only to have to cancel their plans and lose a big chunk of change.

That’s why Qantas, the country’s biggest airline and flag carrier, has announced a substantial revamp of their cancellation and refund policies, designed to get Aussies more comfortable with booking flights again.

Image: Flying Magazine

First of all, you’ll now get a full refund and no cancellation fee if you choose to cancel a booking “for any reason” within 24 hours of making the booking. And before you say anything, Qantas will refund to your original form of payment – meaning they’re not just going to give you travel credit. You book with cash, you’ll get a cash refund.

The refund will also cover prepaid add-ons such as seat requests, additional baggage allowances and offset flight carbon emissions. It also applies to bookings made with cash, frequent flyer points or a combination of both, Executive Traveller confirms.

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There are some conditions: the booking needs to have been made on either Qantas website, the Qantas app or over the phone with Qantas; the flight must depart from Australia (doesn’t matter where it’s going, though) and the cancellation has to be more than 30 days out. No last-minute mind changes.

It’s a policy that’s clearly designed to entice customers to book directly through Qantas – as well as one that’s designed to address how hesitant we’ve all become about booking flights. It’s similar to policies already put in place by other airlines, including Air Canada and Air France – although Qantas’ conditions are markedly more generous. It’s a sign of the times.

Image: Simple Flying

Of course, we’re talking about you cancelling your own flight here. If Qantas cancels your flight and they can’t get you onto another one in a reasonable timeframe, they’ll automatically issue you a flight credit – although you can apply to get a cash refund instead.

Yet another change Qantas has brought in to try and get more customers booking directly through them is that they’ve now made seat selection on all international flights free for all fares, for all Qantas Frequent Flyer members, regardless of membership status. They’ve also made it free to join the QFF rewards program if you make a booking online, which normally costs $99.50 to sign up to.

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Again, this is not entirely without caveats, as it only applies to standard seats – not extra legroom rows in economy and so on. Still, it’s a nice little perk that adds yet another advantage to booking directly through Qantas instead of using a travel agent.

Speaking of perks… Check out this flight attendant’s tip for passengers who want to get “the royal treatment” on their next flight.

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