With airline schedules still not fully back, and last-minute flight cancellations a frequent occurrence, more Aussies are finding their plans disrupted.
When airlines cancel one sector of a booking, travellers are typically left with no flights at all given demand has already absorbed available flights. If there are seats available, they’re often not at the same price.
“The heartbreak of holidays and travel plans going off the rails as a result of flight cancellations is right now a regular occurrence,” the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) CEO Dean Long said.
“It’s often a costly experience as well, as typically high cancellation fees on hotel accommodation apply by the time an airline cancels your flight.”
The challenges created as a result are overwhelming and often costly for travellers.
Long said that Australia’s travel agents are passionate advocates for travellers whose travel plans are thrown into chaos as a result of this ongoing volatility in flight schedules.
“Our members are dealing with regular calls from desperate clients and we understand the frustration, but we also ask everyone to please remember that where we are able to find replacement fares, those fares are typically at double and triple the original cost due to the very limited availability and price increases,” Long said
“When booking flights and accommodation, talk to your travel professional to understand how you can build in flexibility and ensure you have the right travel insurance in place.
“We ask Australian travellers to please remember that in the current environment, the only remedy many airlines are offering is a refund which doesn’t help the traveller at all in terms of getting to their destination and that if we can actually find a replacement flight for you, you are almost invariably going to have to pay more than you did originally.
“Australia’s travel professionals are doing everything they can to help Australians keep travelling despite these challenges, and all they’re asking for is your understanding, respect and support as they do their very best to find solutions.
“So before you let fly out of frustration, take a deep breath and remember we’re working for you to get you to where you want to go.”
AFTA has asked anyone caught up in the frustration of this situation to please remember that while their travel professional is always available to help find a solution, they also deserve our support and respect.