Qantas has denied reports it has been price gouging tickets, saying it still offers greater flexibility than pre-COVID.
Qantas was accused of price gouging in a report by the ABC, in which customers had complained that the flights they were able to rebook with flight credits were far more expensive than those you could purchase new.
A Qantas spokesperson told Yahoo Finance the airline was beginning to wind back COVID-era flexibility now that travel was resuming.
“At the start of the pandemic, we removed virtually all of the rules we had around flight credits given the huge disruption to people’s travel plans,” the spokesperson said.
“When the borders started to stabilise last September, we put some of those rules back, but still offered a huge amount of flexibility compared to pre-COVID. Previously, that flexibility was only included in the more expensive fares.”
Essentially, before COVID, if a passenger was forced to cancel their flight they could either ask to have the taxes charged returned to them or receive flight credits that could only be used for a flight of equal or greater value.
For example, if a person were to cancel their flight to Brisbane and ask for flight credits, they would still have a flight to Brisbane. They couldn’t ask for flight credits and then use them to buy multiple tickets for cheaper flights.
If a customer were to see that there were cheaper tickets to Brisbane than what they had previously bought they cannot get the cheaper ticket and keep the difference.
Yahoo Finance understands that Qantas brought in more flexibility with the use of credits during COVID when travel was uncertain, but has been slowly returning to the previous system.
“Right now, if people book a flight and then choose not to go, they get a flight credit with some rules attached,” the spokesperson said.
“This would account for less than 5 per cent of the flight credits we are currently holding. And if there are extenuating circumstances, we encourage people to talk to us.”
What if Qantas cancels your flight?
If the airline cancels your flight, the rules are different.
“If we cancel the flight, people have complete flexibility, including a cash refund or rebooking any type of fare, to the value of their credit,” the spokesperson said.
“The message for customers is that we offer a lot more flexibility with booking than pre-COVID, but we still have some rules in place. We’re completely transparent about that, and other major airlines have a similar approach.”