Consumer organisation CHOICE’s Head of Policy & Government Relations Patrick Veyret believes Qantas Group’s flight credit system is still unfair, despite an update to the scheme earlier today.
Qantas Airways and Jetstar Airways customers have been given a 12-month extension to use their COVID credits – the fourth time an extension has been granted since 2020.
Before today, customers had to book and complete their travel by the end of the year, and following the latest change, they will have until December 2024 to complete their travel.
However, Veyret believes there’s much more to do to make all credits workable for all consumers.
“Flight credits should work like gift cards – people should have the choice to transfer the credits to other people, as well as split the credits over a number of transactions,” he said.
“Some Qantas flight credits can only be used for a booking of equivalent or greater value – so if you have a $300 flight credit, you can’t use it to book a $290 flight – that is clearly unfair.
“Qantas customers also frequently complain that when they go to rebook a flight at the same time on the same route, they have to pay significantly more when using a credit than they paid for the original flight.”
Customers are still required to book their travel by the end of this year in order to utilise their credit, with Qantas Group noting today’s 12-month extension will be the “final” extension granted.
Those holding a COVID credit will be emailed the changes to their vouchers, and if travel was booked through a travel advisor, the agent should be contacted directly to utilise the credit.
“We literally had millions of bookings that were cancelled during several waves of lockdowns and border closures,” Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer Markus Svensson revealed.
“No airline had systems that were designed to manage that in a seamless way and we realise there’s been frustration for some customers as a result.”
CHOICE’s response is the latest shot in a war between the organisation and Qantas, after the customer advocate filed a complaint with the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission in April calling out onerous restrictions in the airline’s credit redemption rules.
Qantas also picked up one of CHOICE’s annual ‘Shonky’ awards in November, for “disappointment on almost every front”, which the airline hit back harshly at, describing the awards as “a bit shonky themselves”.