Flight refunds

I had booked for three people to go to Melbourne (from London) in November with Qantas.

I’ve just received an email saying the flight is cancelled and offering a voucher since my flight was booked as ‘not refundable’.

I had presumed that ‘not refundable’ applied if I wanted to cancel it and not vice-versa (since I’d booked this before the current pandemic I hadn’t worried about cancellations…)

I paid with my Amex card (if that makes any difference) to Qantas Air United Kingdom so I presume that UK legislation applies, which I think means that Qantas may be in the wrong here (from spending a few minutes googling) and that I should be able to insist on a refund.

Does anyone have any experience/views here?


I think if they have cancelled… they are in breach of contract and should refund you.

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I would not take a voucher as the future cost of your flights may not be covered, as their may be significant hike in prices? You are entitled to a full refund, as they have cancelled. Depending on the airline it can be a bit of a slog. My daughter is still having trouble with Virgin for a flight cancelled in May, they try every trick to hold on to your money. Best of luck.

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We had similar with Lufthansa, they asked if we wanted a voucher, milesandmore points or refund to the credit card it came from. So we said refund and it was there in hours.


I am waiting from end of April for a refund for flights to Iceland in July. - The credit card company is also chasing up the refund.

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That doesn’t sound like they are following their standard policy. The Qantas website says in relation to flights booked directly with them:

If we decide to cancel your flight, we’ll contact you as soon as possible in relation to your options, including a refund. You don’t need to do anything, and you won’t be charged any cancellation fees.

The process may be different if you have booked via an agent, but you should still be entitled to a refund.

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While this may seem like sharp practice, the harsh reality is that pretty much all airlines are on the brink of bankruptcy for obvious reasons. If they all gave prompt refunds to everyone there would be no airlines. No overseas travel. No holidays. Probably a lot less Coronavirus too.
I hope you get your refund, but I guess they are between a rock and a hard place right now.

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They are, as has been widely reported in national media, acting wholly illegally. There’s no rock or hard place analogy to be drawn here. You don’t get to bend the law to suit your circumstances because your business model has a problem.


We had our early July flights, totalling £2k cancelled by Ryanair in May. We filed a refund claim straight away.

I eventually resorted to twitter shaming them and got my money back this week.

They did try the old voucher trick and some very underhand smallprint on auto-email responses. Read correspondence thoroughly and watch what you click is my advice.


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That was my thought, it’s not a voucher for three flights but a certain sum. Plus, of course, what’s to say Qantas will be in business in 2022…

Thanks all for your advice here.

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Booked directly so will contact them tomorrow.

Thank you.

I spoke to the credit card company to see if thre was any progress - lots of apologies however some humour, He asked who the company was that was not paying up - I said **** he said “Oh no they are the worst, their name is one of the most used in the credit cards refund department”
So reassuring to know that I am dealing with a company that knows about refunds…

Hi Graeme, any chance you could illustrate a couple of examples so we know what to watch out for ? I also imagine that a few other industries could be using the same sort of underhand tactics.


@Don I was doing this on my iPhone. You fill in all the details requesting a refund, click send…and you get back ‘Your Request has been Sent’…only, it hasn’t. It took me four attempts to get the green version.


I see the ‘peach version’ has loaded second. It should be first.

How on Earth is shutting down your entire operation due to a forced lockdown a “business model”?!!!

BA cancelled my flights to the USA about a month ago, I had only paid deposit but got a full refund pretty quick, no discussion about vouchers. Hope you get it sorted

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I can imagine that many people just give up in despair !


The “business model” is this.

They continue to sell tickets for flights which they know will never take place. Those sales generate income and by refusing to refund those purchases they get to retain that income. They are breaking the law; have been told they’re breaking the law and yet continue to do so.

The above is predicated on the assumption that most people will not have the time, money nor energy to pursue their right to a refund. It’s a safe and successful assumption.

No overseas travel nor holidays is likely to save a lot of lives right now. It’s already hugely reduced the migration of this years flu from the Southern Hemisphere and the ecological benefits are not to be sniffed at either.

The original business model was arguable and, frankly, their wake up call was coming. They treat customers appallingly; do far worse to their staff (my sibling being one of them) and the current safety compromises mean you’d have to be a fool to fly right right now unless you had absolutely no choice in the matter.

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I think that’s the plan…or they hope you don’t notice your request isn’t actually submitted.


There are lawyers specialized in flight refunds. They took maybe 20% but generally win. At least what I read. They know how to attack the companies.