Flight Centre caps fees but customers still furious

Flight Centre has capped its travel cancellation fees after sparking furore among customers hit with hundreds of dollars in fees for trips no longer possible because of COVID-19.

The travel agent today announced a backflip on its cancellation policy and will limit cancellation fees for international travel affected by COVID-19 at $600 for bookings of two or more people - previously it was $300 per person.

The cap will be $100 for groups of two or more travelling domestically. Previously, it was $50 per person.

Flight Centre has capped its cancellation charges for bookings impacted by COVID-19, but customers are still furious. Picture: AAP Image/Josh Woning
Flight Centre has capped its cancellation charges for bookings impacted by COVID-19, but customers are still furious. Picture: AAP Image/Josh Woning

In an email seen by The Daily Telegraph, the company said it has "made amendments to our fee policy in line with customer feedback" and consultation with the consumer body ACCC.

The travel agency raised the ire of thousands of angry customers calling for a class action after routinely charging cancellation fees of $300 for trips which couldn't be completed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But some customers are still furious, saying the new policy is just a "PR activity" and only benefits those with bookings of two or more people.

One customer slammed the $600 fee as "a joke" while another said it is "unfair," arguing customers shouldn't have to pay cancellation fees because travel restrictions are out of their control.

"It was just a PR activity to make it seem as though they were listening and gave a damn," one customer vented on Facebook.

Flight Centre has announced new changes to their cancellation policy after sparking outrage among angry consumers (Facebook)
Flight Centre has announced new changes to their cancellation policy after sparking outrage among angry consumers (Facebook)

 

Many angry customers claim they shouldn’t pay a fee after their plans were cancelled. (Facebook)
Many angry customers claim they shouldn’t pay a fee after their plans were cancelled. (Facebook)

The changes come as the agency continues to charge fees of more than $300 for bookings cancelled by consumers who can't travel or whose flight has been cancelled because of COVID-19.

Almost 6,000 furious customers have banded together to back a campaign calling for Flight Centre to offer customers full refunds on flights cancelled by airlines. Thousands of customers are also threatening a class action against the company while another Facebook page is calling for a class action against BYO Jet.

Current consumer laws allow companies to charge cancellation fees for trips cancelled due to COVID-19, but require them to be reasonable. But some have slammed the fees as unreasonable, saying that they don't pass the pub test.

The news comes after the company earlier announced it had stood down more than 6,000 staff as it struggles with the fallout from COVID-19.

Originally published as Flight Centre caps fees but customers still furious



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