Angry customers slam Aircalin and Qantas for not refunding flights to Nouméa

Angry customers slam Aircalin and Qantas for not refunding flights to Nouméa

Airline passengers have taken to social media to express their frustration at not receiving refunds for their flights to New Caledonia after the French territory was hit by riots, shutting the island down.

Whilst refunds have been given for passengers whose flights depart before the end of this month (31 May), passengers who are traveling after this date are struggling to get their money back. Aircalin and Qantas are the only airlines to fly directly to New Caledonia.

Taking to a Facebook group set up for travellers to the territory, one user said she didn’t want to lose the $2000 she and her family had invested on flights.

“We have flights booked for July but have been told by Aircalin that we only get airport taxes back if we cancel now. Their policy for refunds due to the situation is only through to 31st may,” she said.

Another customer flying with Aircalin, said they had spoken to the airline about flights to New Caledonia leaving in June and were told they would get a decision in the next week.

Meanwhile, experience differed for customers that had opted to fly with Qantas.

One relieved traveller said: “We got a full refund from Qantas for fares and hotel. Our trip was for September. I called them and the whole process probably took about 20 minutes. Qantas was perfect and the money was back into the account after two days.”

This was not the universal experience, however. Another Facebook user said they had spent an hour on the phone with the airline and did not get anywhere.

A third passenger slammed Qantas for allowing them to cancel their flight on the way there (in June) but not their flight on the way back (in July). The airline said this was because the return flight was with Aircalin, however, the customer said they didn’t care what arrangements Qantas have in place with other providers – “I booked with Qantas,” they said.

Since riots broke out in the country, its national airport – La Tontouta International Airport – has been shut meaning tourists cannot reach the country.

Six people are now reported to have died after protests and violence broke out in the territory ahead of a vote in the French National Assembly on changes to the New Caledonian constitution.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, a spokesperson from Aircalin said they have now reviewed their policies and passengers travelling up until 30 June can get a full refund or change their travel date without fees.

Meanwhile Qantas said: “We’re in close contact with DFAT and Noumea Airport authorities and preparing to respond quickly to help get people to their destinations when it reopens.

“We will continue to contact impacted customers directly with a range of options, including refunds.”

Updates on Qantas’ travel policies can be found here.

‘The most terrifying experience and holiday of my life’ – First rescued Aussies return from New Caledonia

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