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Sunday 2 October 2022

Time to crack down on Australian airlines taking their customers for a ride

It is time for action.

If you buy food that is rotten you are entitled to your money back. If you purchase of bottle of wine that is corked then you are entitled to be reimbursed.

If an airline leaves you stranded, or downgrades you with no explanation, then you apparently have no consumer rights in Australia.

If Qantas, Jetstar or Virgin Australia dud you then you are supposed to cop it and shut up.

As our airlines hoist their prices sky high, and deliver increasingly poor service, what action is the Government taking?

None at all that I can see.

Which just isn't good enough. Time to pressure MPs to get something done.

Four recent examples of egregious behaviour, not to mention those poor souls left stranded in Bali.

1. Two gold Qantas frequent flyer members, both about to hit platinum, are vowing to never again fly with the Spirit of Failure. The two were booked to fly together from the US back to Australia. One was told she has the option of accepting a downgrade, or flying on another day.

No ifs or buts, take it or leave it. And they reported that Qantas service agents were ungracious and unhelpful .

Qantas told them that because their travel had already commenced they would only refund Australian $1500 for the change of class - the real value is $3000.

2. Another regular Qantas frequent flyer in the wine industry reported that Qantas has lost his checked luggage three times in the last month. Compensation: zero.

3. Food writer John Lethlean was among those left in the lurch this week by Jetstar, which cancelled a flight from Singapore to Australia with zero notice. 

Passengers already at the airport were told at midnight to find their own hotels after the flight was rescheduled for 24 hours later. But it is Grand Prix weekend so you there are precious few hotel rooms - and those that are available cost $800 a night. Tough. 

4. Legal eagle Greg Barns is another disgruntled customer, despite being a platinum flyer with Virgin Australia. 

He says he was told there were no upgrades available on a flight, but was then sent email asking if he'd like to bid for one. 

 Barns points out that Virgin charges $160 to change a flight but doesn't mind cancelling flights itself - with no compensation.

Enough is enough. Our elected representatives need to act, no matter how much influence the little Irish fella and the American lady have over them.

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