We're joined by Consumer NZ advocate Aneleise Gawn, who talks us through the recently launched Flight Rights campaign and answers your airline-related questions.
Jon Duffy: Hi, and welcome back to another episode of Consume This with me, Jon Duffy, and our co-host Sophie Richardson.
Sophie Richardson: Kia ora.
Jon Duffy: It's great to be back again with you. It's been a while actually.
Sophie Richardson: It's been a hot minute.
Jon Duffy: It has. And you've been on holiday Soph, right?
Sophie Richardson: Yes. Not in a hot place. I went to Tasmania and it snowed, which was actually quite delightful.
Jon Duffy: Well, Tasmania is the same latitude as Timaru, I'll have you know.
Sophie Richardson: Oh... Well, there you go. That'll explain the snow.
Jon Duffy: For reasons that will become pretty apparent soon, your trip's actually pretty relevant to this episode, isn't it?
Sophie Richardson: Yeah. Quite relevant to what we're about to discuss.
Jon Duffy: That's right. Because currently the airline industry and in particular domestic travel in New Zealand – well, it's a bit of a mess.
There are loads of reasons for that. They stem from the fact that we're coming out of a global pandemic. Airlines downsized and are now rapidly upsizing again to bring capacity back on board, but the fact of the matter is the airlines are cancelling way too many flights at the moment.
We've been receiving hundreds of questions and complaints about airlines, and they range from questions around delays and difficult-to-make connections right through to cancellations, strandings and people's baggage not turning up.
And while all of this disruption's going on, at Consumer NZ we've got a bit hot under the collar, because as part of the hundreds of complaints that we are receiving about the aviation industry, we are regularly hearing from people who've been given inaccurate and sometimes misleading information about what their rights are when an airline delays or cancels their flight. We don't think it's fair in this day and age for airlines not to be upfront with consumers about what their rights are.
Sophie Richardson: It's just not on.
Jon Duffy: Agreed. So coming up, we'll be joined by our Consumer NZ advocate Aneleise Gawn. She'll be answering some of the hundreds of questions that you have sent into us. She'll be making sure we understand our rights and crucially how to enforce them should things go wrong.
Jon Duffy: At Consumer NZ we've been working hard to assist our members with their battles with airlines. And actually we've been helping lots of non-members where possible as well, but the flood keeps coming and this issue's clearly not going away. It was pretty obvious to us that we needed to do something bigger. And that's why we've just launched our Flight Rights campaign.
Sophie Richardson: What is the Flight Rights campaign Jon? What are you trying to do?
Jon Duffy: Well, it's pretty simple at its heart. We're calling for airlines to communicate honestly with passengers about the reason for cancellation and delays and clearly display their rights.
And we're asking people to sign a petition, to push airlines, to clearly communicate those rights when flights are cancelled or delayed.
Sophie Richardson: Right. So, that's just about- you know, I turn up at the airport, turns out my flight's been cancelled and I need to find out why that is – so if it's, say, an engineering issue – and get the airlines to be transparent about that, clearly tell me what my rights are in that situation, whether they’re required to rebook me or give me a refund or whatever it is.
Jon Duffy: Yeah. That's it in a nutshell.
Sophie Richardson: Cool.
Jon Duffy: And it shouldn't be difficult for the airlines to do this. I mean, the laws around what happens when a flight's disrupted haven't changed in a long time. So this is really settled stuff. It's just that airlines have never really been upfront, until very recently when Air New Zealand made some moves as a result of the work we're doing here.
Sophie Richardson: Yeah, because I was gonna say: this hasn't been happening then? Because I presume that's why we're running a campaign. The airlines just haven't been telling people that they're entitled to refunds or compensation?
Jon Duffy: They've been really opaque about that. But I think what's happened is the circumstances around COVID and particularly the last school holidays here in New Zealand, the scale of the disruptions really amplified the impact of a practice that was going a little bit under the radar prior to that because not too many people were affected by it. Huge numbers of people are now affected by this, and it's continuing because the airline industry's still getting back on its feet.
So this will be a live issue for quite some time and we think change needs to occur so that people don't miss out on exercising their rights and potentially getting compensation they're entitled to.
Sophie Richardson: Yeah. Cool. Sign that petition.
Jon Duffy: Do it. So, yeah. I mean, thank you. That's great advice, Sophie. If you'd like to add your name to our petition and support our Flight Rights campaign, you can find it via the link in the show notes, which is probably the preferable thing, because the URL's quite confusing, but I'll give it a go: campaigns.consumer.org.nz/flight-rights
All right, so here to answer some of your questions is our consumer advocate, Aneleise Gawn.
Jon Duffy: Welcome Aneleise.
Aneleise Gawn: Thank you.
Jon Duffy: So what we're gonna do is we are going to throw some case studies at you and then ask you some questions about those case studies. Now, these case studies are actual people who have experienced flight disruptions with the airlines and have come to Consumer NZ for help, or for advice on their rights.
So Sophie, you've just come back from holiday, haven't you?
Sophie Richardson: I have, it was great. But I did have a bit of a bugger getting home. So, we were actually on time to Sydney. We had to fly via Sydney to get home. But then by the time we got there, the queues were just horrendous. It took us two hours to get through security and customs. And we got a call while we were in the line being like: "Hello, are you planning to come and fly home to Wellington today?"
And I was like, um, yes. The Air New Zealand woman was like: "Well, you've missed your flight now!"
Jon Duffy: Oh no.
Sophie Richardson: I was like, okay.
Jon Duffy: Well, that's interesting, isn't it? I mean, that doesn't seem like it's Air New Zealand's fault. They don't run airport security for Sydney airport. Do they?
Sophie Richardson: No, but they are responsible for getting us on another flight once we've missed it. It's not our fault either that we were there on time and it then took two hours to get through security.
Jon Duffy: Or is it? And is it a hot tip if you're traveling to Sydney anytime soon, get to the airport a hundred hours before you fly, at least?
Sophie Richardson: Yeah, definitely. We were in the express lane because they realized that we were already delayed, because we were coming through international transfers, and just to get through that took 40 minutes. So they put us in like the express queue and that took two hours. God only knows how long it took the normal line to get through.
So, yeah. Is it the airline’s problem?
Aneleise Gawn: Well, that's a very good question. It depends, is the answer. So, who booked the flights and who decided how much time you would have at the airport in between?
Sophie Richardson: So yes, it was them. So, I booked it all through Air New Zealand and it was a package ticket from Hobart to Wellington and they decided to route me through Sydney.
Aneleise Gawn: Well, in that case I would say that was within the airline’s control. They should have known and should have been able to predict that there could have been issues at the airport, which would mean you wouldn't get your connecting flight.
That means under the Civil Aviation Act you would be entitled to claim damages. Which means you can claim back costs that you incur to put you back in the position you would've been in had you not missed that flight. So did you incur any costs?
Sophie Richardson: I did actually. And funnily enough, my insurance doesn't cover them. So that's good to know, actually. I had to put the cats in the cattery for an extra night because we didn't get back in time to collect them.
Aneleise Gawn: So you can absolutely claim that back under the Civil Aviation Act.
Sophie Richardson: $36 here I come.
Aneleise Gawn: It may not be worth your time but...
Jon Duffy: You might have had to buy a sandwich cause you were getting hangry in the line.
Sophie Richardson: Yes. I had to buy drinks.
Aneleise Gawn: You can claim that back too.
Jon Duffy: Yeah. Wow. Okay.
Sophie Richardson: But yeah. Anyway. Oh, that's great. Cattery, yes. Done.
Jon Duffy: Boom. Hey, so it'll be really good actually, if you could follow through and do that and we'll see what response you get.
Sophie Richardson: Yeah. I will.
Jon Duffy: Cool.
Sophie Richardson: I also had to like- just now I...
Jon Duffy: And another thing – I've got another problem!
Sophie Richardson: Yeah, actually I'm like, while you're here...
Jon Duffy: I've got this rash.
Sophie Richardson: On the way back, they didn't put our bags on the plane. And so the bags didn't turn up for like two days afterwards.
Aneleise Gawn: Yes.
Sophie Richardson: Can I claim compensation?
Aneleise Gawn: So given that you were coming home, you probably had most of your clothes at home already.
So if there was anything missing from your bag that you absolutely couldn't live without, then you would be entitled to claim for those essential items that you needed to go and replace while you waited for your bags to come back, right?
So under the Montreal Convention, that's covered. That's part of the Civil Aviation Act.
Sophie Richardson: Cool. All right. It was only Jon's whiskey that I brought back, so like, I mean, I don't know if I can claim that that was essential to have.
Jon Duffy: Well, I'm very glad to have it.
Sophie Richardson: And what is the process? I mean, now that I actually have to file my $36 claim for the cattery, how do I make this claim?
Aneleise Gawn: Well, thankfully Air New Zealand in the last couple of days, this week actually, has put up on its website some information for consumers. Which is a first.
Sophie Richardson: Woo.
Aneleise Gawn: It hadn't been there previously, but after some discussions with us they decided that they should be letting their passengers know about what their rights are in cases of disruption. So you can go online and look at their website and there's a link to a document that sets out the email addresses that you can contact, which is fantastic.
Sophie Richardson: Oh, that's great.
Jon Duffy: We should really acknowledge that from Air New Zealand. That's absolutely progress. Has Jetstar done the same thing?
Aneleise Gawn: Unfortunately, no.
Jon Duffy: Oh really? And we've been in touch with Jetstar, haven't we?
Aneleise Gawn: We have. We've engaged with Jetstar, but we haven't had a lot of buy-in on their part. They have some interesting information on their website that we think is potentially misleading. They tell people, for example, that they're only entitled to $150 in accommodation costs if their flight is cancelled or delayed and they have to go and stay in a hotel for a night, but nowhere in the Civil Aviation Act does it say that they only have to pay $150.
Sophie Richardson: I'm not sure many airport hotels would be $150 either.
Aneleise Gawn: No, you're dead right.
Jon Duffy: And you know... Before I worked here and before we got into this issue, I would just accept that. I'd go, oh, okay, 150 bucks. Fair enough. That seems reasonable. That actually it's quite misleading because it creates the impression that their liability is restricted to that amount when it's not.
Aneleise Gawn: That's right.
Jon Duffy: Mm-hmm. All right. So that's Sophie sorted out. Should we move on and get some real case studies?
Aneleise Gawn: Let's.
Jon Duffy: Not that you're not real.
From dodgy supermarket specials to fairer travel refunds – we’re on a mission to make things better. We’re aiming to raise $30,000 in four weeks to help us do more to stand up for the rights of all New Zealanders.
(Recorded phone message plays Lorraine's story)
Lorraine Bampton: Hi, Consumer.
Our Jetstar flight Wellington to Christchurch was cancelled due to technical issues. We needed to be back for work, but Jetstar could not get us home. We finally got a flight with Air New Zealand. This cost us $546 for two seats, Jetstar refunded us for our tickets promptly but the cost difference was $294.39.
Can we claim that amount back from Jetstar?
Jon Duffy: So Aneleise, what do you think?
Aneleise Gawn: I think absolutely they can. So under the Civil Aviation Act, if a delay is within the airline’s control and a consumer incurs costs as a result of that delay, they can claim that back from the airline. In this case, they had to pay for another flight on another airline. So they should not just be entitled to a refund of their original tickets, but they're also entitled to claim back the additional costs of the new flights that they paid for.
Sophie Richardson: So, what does within their control mean? Does it have to be like a force majeure for it to be outside of their control?
Aneleise Gawn: Yeah. So things outside of their control are things like the COVID pandemic. You know, when governments shut down airports, things like bad weather, volcanoes – those are considered to be outside of the airline’s control. But things like staffing issues, staffing strikes, overbooking, they're all within the airline’s control, and mechanical issues as well. The airline can control how often they service the planes.
Jon Duffy: And I recall some complaints coming through where the airline has said all the flight crew have got COVID, therefore it's an act outside of our control, cause we're not responsible for the COVID pandemic. And we can't fly the plane with no pilots. No compensation for you.
Aneleise Gawn: I would argue that was still within the airline’s control.
Jon Duffy: And why is that?
Aneleise Gawn: If there were a whole bunch of people... the staff were sick with COVID, then they should have tried to make alternative plans and find other staff to fill in for the ones that were sick.
Jon Duffy: So it's a rostering issue rather than...
Aneleise Gawn: Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, sometimes these things are not necessarily black and white. It might be partly within and partly outside their control. But in that case, I think it's arguable that it was within the airline’s control.
Sophie Richardson: That was actually a Consumer member, Jon. It was Lorraine Bampton. We helped her get her $294.39 back from Jetstar.
And that was due to our good friend, Elizabeth Kim, helping her out on the phones with that one. Which is the benefit of being a Consumer member where you can call up and get help on the 0800 number.
Jon Duffy: Oh, nice work, Elizabeth.
Sophie Richardson: Unfortunately, this is a bit of a common problem and airlines don't always meet their obligations. And that leads us into our next complaint from Ben Van Rooy.
(Recorded phone call of Ben's complaint plays)
Ben Van Rooy: My Jetstar flight got cancelled about three hours before I left for the airport because – they say – of engineering problems. Because I was committed to be in Christchurch on the night, I could not make use of an alternative flight set aside by them for the next day. I rebooked the flight to Christchurch with Air NZ at a very inflated price of $353 one way. For compensation, Jetstar says they can only offer ticket value at $135. What can I do?
Sophie Richardson: What can he do?
Jon Duffy: Yeah. What do you reckon, Aneleise?
Aneleise Gawn: Well, this one you go back to the question of was the issue causing the delay within the control of the airline or not. And in this case, the cancellation was caused by engineering problems so that is within the airline’s control, which means that he is entitled to claim back any additional costs he incurred.
It's pretty classic Jetstar to deny that they are liable for repaying additional costs and getting someone to their destination if they catch another plane, but in actual fact, the Civil Aviation act says otherwise. So, we would recommend he goes back to Jetstar and claims those additional costs.
Jon Duffy: Classic Jetstar.
Aneleise Gawn: Yeah.
Jon Duffy: All right. So we'll dig into an email that we've received. This is from M.D., and it's about a change to departure flights.
So M.D. says:
"Our flight to Australia has been changed by the airline to a different day. It's a new flight number and one day later. This obviously cuts a day off an already limited trip and causes a lot of inconvenience to our plans for the day lost. Jetstar has said they can either refund the ticket – meaning we can't go on holiday as there aren't many other options – or we must take the new flight with no compensation for the inconvenience this has caused us and our plans. I want to understand if they're allowed to do this without compensating us in some way for the inconvenience."
What do you reckon?
Aneleise Gawn: Well, so you're not just entitled to compensation because you've been inconvenienced. You're only entitled to claim back damages if you have actually incurred costs as a result of the cancellation or delay.
So if this person had to forfeit a night in a hotel, spend extra money for some reason, then they can claim back those costs. But they're pretty unlikely to be able to claim back anything just for being inconvenienced.
Jon Duffy: Mm-hmm. So it's the actual loss they've incurred?
Aneleise Gawn: Correct.
Jon Duffy: Okay. Well, that seems very clear. So M.D. might be out of luck in that situation.
Sophie Richardson: Another one that's come up a few times is when the airline doesn't just cancel your flight, but cancels the whole route. And we've got a complaint from Joanne Fukuda.
(Recorded message of Joanne's complaint)
Joanne Fukuda: We had booked to Japan via Fiji Airways for December and January. They have now cancelled all flights to Japan until March 2023.
Although I have requested a refund, they claim my tickets are non-refundable and I can only have a credit or a refund on taxes. I am wanting to re-book tickets for Christmas using another airline, but cannot do this without a refund. Do I have any rights to a refund when it was them that cancelled the flight?
Sophie Richardson: Interesting.
Jon Duffy: This is a scenario that played out so many times in the early stages of the pandemic in 2020, when flights were just decimated all over the world and planes just weren't leaving the ground. But different circumstances I imagine. Aneleise, what do you think?
Aneleise Gawn: Yes. So it sounds like the reason the flight was cancelled in this case was something within the airline’s control.
It was cancelled so far in advance they obviously just decided it wasn't profitable, or for whatever reason they decided not to go ahead with the flights. So that sounds very much within the airline’s control.
You would likely be covered by the Montreal Convention. Both countries that you're flying from and to have to be parties to the convention. I'm not sure, off the top of my head, whether Fiji is a party to the Montreal Convention, but let's say that they are, then you are entitled to claim back any damages you incur as a result of the cancellation or delay.
So in this case, even though you have a non-refundable ticket, you can still claim back the costs of that ticket. If Fiji weren't to party to the Montreal Convention, then it would be a different story.
Sophie Richardson: Does it mean they're shit outta luck?
Aneleise Gawn: Pretty much. Yeah.
Jon Duffy: Can you give us a bit of background on how the Montreal Convention works and ties into the Civil Aviation Act, which you've also mentioned a couple times.
Aneleise Gawn: Yes. So the Montreal Convention is an international treaty that has been adopted into New Zealand. And so it's actually been incorporated into the Civil Aviation Act. So for domestic flights, the Civil Aviation Act applies, but for international flights and flights with domestic connections on international routes the Montreal Convention applies.
So there's an article on our website called [Your rights when travelling] and it covers travel, accommodation, baggage, all those sorts of things.
Jon Duffy: You're gonna be dealing with a whole lot of different industries, which possibly all have different rules around cancellations. And you know, how close to the time, you're staying in accommodation you can cancel & whether you can get all your money back. It's a bit of a minefield isn't it?
Aneleise Gawn: Absolutely. Yeah. There's so many run-on effects from your flight being cancelled or delayed, and it can be a huge palaver to try and sort out your life once there's been a change to your flight.
Jon Duffy: So what's your advice to people then? Do you build some contingency into your holiday for things to not go quite right? Particularly at the moment.
Aneleise Gawn: Yeah. I'm planning on traveling soon and I'm certainly planning on things going wrong.
Jon Duffy: Is that just cuz you're a very negative person?
Aneleise Gawn: That's because I receive an awful lot of these complaints, Jon. So I'm very realistic about my travel expectations.
Buy travel insurance if your traveling overseas, because you may have more rights under your travel insurance policy than you do at law. So for example, if you lost your baggage on a flight, you can claim back $2700ish for lost baggage under the Montreal Convention, but under your insurance policy you might be able to claim back a whole lot more than that. If you've got particularly valuable luggage, that's important.
Go somewhere early if you can. Don't just expect to turn up five minutes before whatever it is that you're attending and think that things will go swimmingly well. Turn up to the airport early. Allow plenty of time.
Sophie Richardson: Yeah...
Aneleise Gawn: That was outside of Sophie's control to be fair.
Jon Duffy: That's fair enough.
Sophie Richardson: I turned up on time.
Aneleise Gawn: She did.
Sophie Richardson: I was there when my flight landed and I went straight through, even though the ground staff were very grumpy with everyone. And were like, "why have you missed your flight? Why were you late?" And I was like, have you seen the queues? It's not my fault.
Aneleise Gawn: Yeah. So there's a lot you can do to try and make things run a bit more smoothly.
We used a travel agent to book our travel and they gave us an hour and 50 minutes in Auckland to go from a domestic flight to an international flight. And I said, yeah, I don't think so. Not in the current environment. I want at least three or four hours between my flights. Those sorts of things are gonna help you in the long run.
Jon Duffy: Usually people try to minimize their time at Auckland Airport!
Aneleise Gawn: I know, I know, but I really want to get on my international flight.
Jon Duffy: Fair enough. Fair enough.
So with Joanne, she was actually a Consumer member as well, and once she got in touch and we were able to get in touch with Fiji Airways. They agreed to refund her, but – and this is quite surprising – they said it would take six to eight months to process, which strikes me as an extraordinarily extended period of time! And unfortunately for Joanne, this leaves her and her family unable to travel this summer as they can't book before receiving a refund.
As I say, this seems like a pretty unreasonable wait and we would suggest to Joanne that she looks at initiating a chargeback through her bank, if she has paid by credit card, which can retrieve the funds from Fiji Airways and put them back in her account.
Aneleise Gawn: Agreed, give it a crack.
Sophie Richardson: Yeah. Shall we listen to the next complaint from Louisa Osborne?
(Recorded message of Luisa's complaint)
Louisa Osborne: Kia ora Consumer.
I'm one of the Emirates customers that had their flight cancelled by Emirates last week. The Christchurch to Sydney flight. It was cancelled because they've decided to push back the start date of this new flight route. And after a lengthy refund process, Emirates have deducted $150 off my refund. There's no way for me to contact them other than via phone to get any advice on this, which took hours last time.
Do they have any basis to deduct $150 from my refund when they cancelled my flight, not me?
Sophie Richardson: Sounds like they should.
Jon Duffy: That seems pretty cheeky to me.
Sophie Richardson: Yeah.
Aneleise Gawn: It's pretty bizarre.
Sophie Richardson: Why would they take... what's $150- like a...
Jon Duffy: Processing fee or something? I don't know.
Aneleise Gawn: But given that they were the ones that cancelled it and it was within their control, I would've thought that she would be entitled to a full refund. So I would absolutely be pushing for a full refund in this case.
Sophie Richardson: Our next one comes from Ian Fullwood.
(Recorded message of Ian's complaint)
Ian Fullwood: We booked and paid for flights to the UK in March on an Air New Zealand ticket, although the flights are with Singapore airlines. We were notified by our travel broker that Singapore Airlines have cancelled our return flight from Singapore to Auckland.
We are rebooked on a flight 10 hours later with no compensation, apology or anything. We are traveling with a seven-year-old child and have had to pay for a transit hotel. And we also miss our connecting flight from Auckland to Taupo, which we paid for with our Airpoints. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Jon Duffy: What do you reckon, Aneleise?
Aneleise Gawn: I reckon, again, he can claim back the cost of the transit hotel and any additional costs for missing the connecting flight. Obviously, they've lost the Airpoints so I would be asking for those to be reinstated. The change was presumably within the airline’s control, so they're entitled to claim back those costs.
Sophie Richardson: I've got one more that came in as an email. This came to us from S.C. So S.C. says:
"Hi there. I booked a flight from Brisbane to Christchurch on the 6th of November with Air New Zealand. They have advised me that it will now arrive in Christchurch at midnight, not 2:30 PM as booked. We have a separately booked domestic ticket with Air New Zealand, Christchurch to Dunedin that leaves at 5:00 PM.
If we accept the international flight change, we will miss our domestic flight home. I'm happy to accept the flight change if Air New Zealand adjusts our domestic flight to the following day. I also expect them to pay for the night's accommodation in Christchurch for the hours we will need to wait between our flights that were originally organized to be on the same day.
They have suggested that this may incur flight change costs on the domestic ticket. My understanding is that any incurred costs due to Air New Zealand's flight change should be covered by them. Can you please advise me on what I should reasonably expect?"
Aneleise Gawn: Well, in this case, I actually agree with S.C. Any flight change costs should be covered by the airline.
This is a bit of a sticking point with us and Air New Zealand. In their recent guide that they've published, they say that if it wasn't all booked on one ticket, then they are unable to help. But the wording of the legislation doesn't actually say that. So. I would argue that Air New Zealand, in this case, they have caused the delay completely within their control. So S.C. is entitled to claim back costs.
Sophie Richardson: Interesting. because I would've said it was a them problem, not an airline problem because like how is the airline to know that they had a connecting flight? Other than now that they've advised them of such a fact?
Jon Duffy: Well, it shouldn't matter, should it?
Aneleise Gawn: No.
Jon Duffy: I mean, airlines won't know lots of things about what you've arranged to do once you've been dropped at a destination.
Aneleise Gawn: Agree.
Sophie Richardson: Okay. All right. What are our key takeaways Aneleise? What are top five things that people need to remember?
Aneleise Gawn: Well, there's a lot to remember when traveling. Look, this is a really complex area. It's pretty hard for consumers to navigate. So we are here to help you navigate it. If you have any issues and you're a member you can get in touch with us. Be prepared for things to go wrong, try to be across the airlines’ rules and terms of conditions, what sort of seat you've bought, and support our campaign to get better flight rights for consumers.
Sophie Richardson: Yeah. Support that transparency. Be a bit more like Air New Zealand and actually tell people what your rights are.
Aneleise Gawn: Absolutely.
Jon Duffy: Cool. Thanks Aneleise.
Aneleise Gawn: Thanks.
Jon Duffy: So, Soph.
Sophie Richardson: Yeah.
Jon Duffy: How do you feel? Do you feel better informed about your rights?
Sophie Richardson: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I'm walking out of here and claiming the cattery costs …
Jon Duffy: Boom.
Sophie Richardson: … is my takeaway from that one.
Jon Duffy: Yeah. Will you buy some cat treats?
Sophie Richardson: Maybe. They have been very sad that we were away. So yeah, they might get some nice little treats with that $36 I'm gonna get back from Air New Zealand.
But I think that was really, really interesting. And Aneleise really brought home that actually, if it's on the airline, if it's something within their control... well, then they need to deal with it. It needs to be on them to sort out the problem, either compensation or rebooking or whatever it is, they need to sort it.
That's really cool to know.
Jon Duffy: And using this platform to empower consumers so that they know what their rights are is one thing. But what struck me across the many hundreds of complaints we've seen about this issue is that, actually, most of the time people are really reasonable. They're like "Look, if you could book me on a flight within a few hours and it's not gonna cost me another night's accommodation, hey, I'm happy to wait around the airport for a few hours."
People are pretty flexible. It's just when they feel like they're being misled or the airlines are trying effectively to shaft them out of something that they're owed, that's when they get up in arms and that's where the airline industry, I think, needs to do a fair bit of work to rebuild trust.
Because what's been going on over the last, particularly the last couple of months, hasn't been good enough.
Sophie Richardson: So in order to help us help you, please add your name to our [petition on flight rights] and making sure that airlines tell consumers what their rights are when it comes to cancellations or delays.
So add your name to the petition now.
Jon Duffy: Thanks for your support.
Jon Duffy: You've been listening to Consume This with me, Jon Duffy and our amazing co-host Sophie Richardson. This episode was produced by Tom Riste-Smith. We're an independent not-for-profit dedicated to getting you a fairer deal.
Our work is funded by our members. If you're already a member - thank you - you've made a good choice. If you're not a member yet, [we'd love to have you on board]. As well as adding your voice to our mission and supporting our work, membership also gets you access to thousands of independent unbiased product test reviews, our magazine Consumer, full access to the Consumer website. And - and this is a big one - a dedicated advice line staffed by real humans who will answer the phone in a reasonable period of time and are waiting to help you with your issues.
Sophie Richardson: It might help get you a refund if our stories are anything to go by.
Jon Duffy: Absolutely.
Sophie Richardson: Thanks for listening to Consume This. It's been a pleasure as always.