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Research report
4 May 2020

Flight Centre backs down on $350 cancellation fee

Consumer pressure leads travel agent to axe cancellation fee.

Flight Centre has dropped the $350 cancellation fee charged to passengers who had international flights grounded due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The travel agent was under increasing pressure from consumers here and in Australia for its fees and was also potentially facing court action from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The cancellation fees were charged for each person covered by a booking. For two people travelling to the UK, the cost could be as much $700. On domestic and trans-Tasman flights, a $75 per person cancellation fee applied.

We criticised Flight Centre for charging customers steep cancellation fees, which we considered risked breaching the Fair Trading Act.

After initially defending the fees, the company is now waiving the charges for all bookings where the airline or tour operator has cancelled a service.

Flight Centre managing director David Coombes said it will be contacting customers about refunds.

“We are now re-processing refunds for past travel dates as early as March 16, 2020. Please be patient with our travel experts as they work through each booking and allow them time to contact you first,” he said.

We’re calling on other travel agents to follow suit and drop cancellation fees when services have been grounded as a result of the lockdown.

If you think you’ve been unfairly charged, let us know. You can also make a complaint to the Commerce Commission.

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