Commissioner's Blog: Advice on travel credits and refunds

This announcement is for: 

Airline passengers continue to feel the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, even though the pandemic has eased off. Travel-related complaints to Consumer Protection more than tripled in 2021-22, compared to 2018-19 and we continue to receive complaints that are related to travel interruptions.

The majority of complaints (257 or 61 per cent) relate to flights, with many airline passengers telling us they’re struggling to get a refund or use travel credits since their flights were cancelled or delayed, some as far back as 2019.

If flights were cancelled because of COVID-19, then getting a refund, credit or date change will depend on the terms and conditions (T&Cs) you agreed to. Individual airlines have different policies in place, so if you booked direct, check the airline’s website for updates and read their T&Cs closely.

If you booked flights through a travel agent or another third party, the policies and T&Cs of both the agent and airline apply, so you will need to check both.

Not all bookings are flexible or refundable, and in many cases, a flight credit as per the terms and conditions of the booking may be what is offered in the event of a cancellation.  Some airlines will make exceptions for customers experiencing hardship.

It is always best to contact the airline or your travel agent in the first instance to request a resolution.

However, now we seem to be over border closures and government action that may lead to flight cancellations, it is important to be aware that if an airline cancels a flight they must provide a replacement flight within a reasonable time. If a suitable replacement flight is not available, passengers will be entitled to a refund.

Passengers may not be entitled to a refund if they miss their flight or change their mind and an airline’s obligations may not apply if reasons are outside their control, like bad weather.

The advice from Consumer Protection is always to look for flexibility when booking flights and check the airlines terms and conditions before you make changes to an existing booking.

Consider booking directly with an airline if it offers more flexibility or taking out travel insurance which covers cancellations and delays. While the majority of travel insurance policies now do cover the ongoing impact of COVID, most travel insurance policies contain a number of exclusions, so check what is not covered before you take out any travel insurance policy.

For more information, check the FAQs on COVID-19 related travel issues. If you are struggling to reach a suitable outcome with an airline, lodge a complaint on the Consumer Protection website or contact 1300 30 40 54 or

Gary Newcombe city 2
Gary Newcombe city 2, by CP Media

Gary Newcombe

Commissioner for Consumer Protection


Consumer Protection
Media release
13 Oct 2022

Share this page:

Last modified: