Airline Travel Law
Airline Travel Law
If you are injured on an aircraft,
if you wait two years to claim itís too late
It is a quirk of air travel that an International Convention
known as the Warsaw Convention (also known as the Montreal
Convention) both gives and takes away rights to claim
It gives air passengers rights to claim compensation without
requiring them to prove that the airline was at fault. All
an air passenger needs to prove is that they were injured,
or a family member was killed, or their bags were lost, and
they will have a claim.
It takes away air passenger rights to claim full
compensation for injury, and their family members rights to
claim full compensation for death, by limiting the amount to
$725,000 and $1,600 for lost baggage (in Australia, to and
Equally as importantly, there are time limits for making
claims. Claims for damaged baggage must be made within 7
days, claims for lost baggage must be made within 21 days.
For injury or death claims, the time limit is 2 years.
Two years can pass quickly - too quickly as the Stephensons
found out. In their case, their husband / father was killed
when a helicopter in which he was a passenger struck a power
line, flipped and crashed. They made a workers compensation
claim upon the employer, the Parkes Shire Council, but left
it for 3 years before they made a claim under the Warsaw
The High Court of Australia has ruled that the Stephensons
rights to claim compensation of up to $500,000 each under
the Warsaw Convention had been extinguished because they
failed to bring their claim within two years.
For my case note,
click on Article 29 Warsaw Convention:
two years is too late to wait to bring a claim for the death
of an air passenger
Fare refunds for flight delays and
cancellations are now easier in Australia
It's frustrating to be waiting at an airport and watching
your flight being delayed on the Flight Directory. It's even
worse if it's late at night and the flight is cancelled
because it cannot take off before the curfew.
The airline will offer refreshments, meals and accommodation
for overnight delays. But what if you donít want to take the
When it comes to giving a fare refund for flight delays and
cancellations, airlines have been very reluctant:
Jetstar policy was that its 'Economy Starter' fares
and 'Plus Bundle' fares were non-refundable unless the
passenger purchased a flight bundle at additional cost.
Qantas policy was that refunds were not available for
its 'Red e-deal' fares.
Tigerair policy was that a "refund admin fee" was
payable for a refund, and the refund was only available as a
fare credit valid for 6 months only.
Virgin Australia policy was that refunds were not
available for its 'Domestic Getaway' and International
Short-Haul fares, and the refund was only available as a
fare credit valid for 12 months only.
The consumer regulator, the ACCC, has used its threat of
legal action for breach of the consumer guarantee that
services must be supplied within a reasonable time to have
these four airlines agree to offer fare refunds to any
passenger who requested one over the past 2 years and in the
In addition, it proposes to fine Jetstar $1.95 million
because its policy to offer refunds only if a more expensive
fare was purchased was far worse than the refund policies of
the other airlines.
The result is by no means perfect. Often a passenger has to
pay more to another airline for a fare if the flight is
cancelled and they may lose their connections. These extra
costs are not compensated. Nor is there any fixed
compensation available as there is in Europe where up to
E600 is payable for a flight delay or cancellation (as an
alternative to a fare refund).
For more information click on my briefing note
At last, a new regime for refunds for
flight delays and cancellations in Australia
Do airline cancellation fees and
charge fees annoy you? Help is on its way.
If you want to cancel your flight, for whatever reason,
you pay a cancellation fee. Is a fee of 60% of the fare a
fair fee if the cancellation is more than one month before
If you want to change to another flight, or want change
your booking, you pay a change fee. Is a fee of $80 fair if
you want to change to another flight which had spare seats?
If the airline cancels your flight, can you ask for
cancellation compensation despite the prominent 'no refunds'
notice? Is paid overnight accommodation and meals enough
compensation if the cancellation was the airline's fault?
The good news is that the consumer law watchdog (the ACCC)
is about to change the way airlines charge you excessive
cancellation and change fees if you want to change your mind
about a flight.
The ACCC also wants airlines to change their 'no refunds'
notices, and to give more compensation to passengers where
the airline has cancelled the flight due to the airline's
The ACCC has outlined its position in a Report -
Airlines: Terms and Conditions - and will be engaging with
airlines operating in Australia to change their terms and
conditions. It may even bring some test cases to the courts
on behalf of passengers.
For more information on the report, and to see 6 examples
out of 1,400 complaints the ACCC has received in the past 2
click - Memo to Airlines: It's time to
review refund policies, cancellation and change fees to
comply with the Australian Consumer Law
Will 'Yoga or Yogurt' replace 'Tea
or Coffee' on the Qantas inflight menu?
What's behind the new move by Qantas to emphasise health and
wellbeing, especially for long haul flights?
What Qantas has done is to commission scientific research on
counteracting jetlag, recommended physical activity, better
nutrition, better transit lounge design and improving the
cabin environment. Qantas is looking to do more than just
'Refresh' by providing a Refresh bag with bottled water!
There are legal, public relations and marketing perspectives
to this move -
- Legal - Qantas is keen to reduce passenger claims -
it is looking to improve the flight conditions and
provide better warnings and advice to reduce claims and
complaints for health related issues.
- Public Relations - Qantas is known for its 'safety'
branding. It wants to add 'inflight health' to its
branding / image.
- Marketing - Qantas wants to be able to market that
passengers will feel refreshed and rejuvenated at the
end of their flight as the reason why people should
choose Qantas to fly with.
We will know soon enough if the scientific research will
help Qantas - the first test will be on the 17 hour non-stop
flight from Perth to London on its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The flights are due to start in in March 2018.
For more click on my article, with public relations insights
by Richard Lenarduzzi and marketing insights by Michael
Will 'Yoga or Yogurt' replace 'Tea or
Coffee' on the menu for Qantas long haul flights?
The dangers of flying a drone near
aircraft, and what are the chances of your airplane hitting
The Australian Transport Safety
Board has recently investigated the chances of an airplane
colliding with a drone. It has issued a 48 page report: A
safety analysis of remotely piloted aircraft systems.
If you think of a drone as a mechanical bird, then data
upon bird strikes on aircraft will help predict the damage
expected from collisions between drones and manned aircraft.
Australian domestic airlines agree
to an Ďopt iní model for extra charges
Australian airlines will now use Ďopt iní choices in
their online bookings, where passengers need to agree to
extra charges being added. Instead of Ďopt outí choices ,
where the extra charge is added unless the charge is removed
by the passenger.
Do hidden extra charges annoy you
when booking flights or places to stay online?
Thereíll be no more drip pricing by Airbnb and eDreams in
Can hot tea served on a plane
cause back pain?
avoids liability for passenger injury from a hot tea
The hazards of Air Travel
Examining the booking and the ticket......then examine five
common legal situations involving the airline and the
Waiver Program (ESTA)
Enables nationals of 36 countries including Australia to
travel to the United States ... without obtaining a visa
Now sit back,
relax and enjoy the flight! - a case about aircraft
Car rental / hire car businesses overcharge for damage
repairs....A fall from a top bunk creates a $853,396