Claiming compensation for missed flights

If you’re a Budget Direct travel insurance policyholder and you miss a domestic or international flight, your ability to claim compensation will depend on the circumstances.

If you are eligible for compensation, the circumstances will also help you determine exactly who you can claim from: your airline or us.

The airline’s compensation will vary, according to whether the event that caused the missed flight was within or outside their control.

Certain events outside of an airline’s control are covered by us, subject to your level of cover.

What’s covered?

If you miss a flight because…1 We can cover you for…2 Claim limits (per insured person, per event)
  • you suffer an unforeseen illness or injury
  • a relative of yours dies in Australia
  • travel restrictions are imposed on you following an epidemic, terrorist attack or natural disaster.

Cancellation and amendment fees, including the cost of flights you have paid for and cannot recover from any other source.

(If you provide them with proof of your illness — e.g. a medical certificate — your airline may extend the validity of your air ticket, to allow you to travel once you’re better.)

  • Comprehensive, Annual Multi-Trip: Unlimited amount
  • Essential: Up to $12,500
  • Domestic: Up to $10,000
  • Last Minute: No cover

Your scheduled flight to a planned and prepaid event (e.g. a wedding, funeral, conference, sporting fixture) is cancelled, delayed, shortened or diverted.

Alternative transport expenses:
Reasonable additional travel expenses incurred by you to reach the event on time.

  • Comprehensive, Annual Multi-Trip: Up to $5,000
  • Essential, Domestic: Up to $2,500
  • Last Minute: No cover
  1. These are just some of the reasons for missed flights that we insure; for the full list, including terms and conditions, please read the Product Disclosure Statement.
  2. Excluding our Last Minute policy, which does not include the ‘Cancellation and amendment fees’ or ‘Alternative transport expenses’ benefits.

What’s not covered?

If you miss a flight because…3 Will the airline compensate you?

Your were late for check-in or boarding because you:

  • slept through your alarm 
  • got stuck in heavy traffic on the way to the airport
  • failed to confirm the departure time, which was moved forward
  • were not carrying valid travel documents (e.g. passport, visas) 
  • didn’t allow enough time between connecting flights. 
Unlikely — it wasn’t the airline’s fault.

It was delayed or cancelled due to an event within the airline’s control, for example:

  • crew shortage or fatigue
  • delayed inbound flight
  • aircraft maintenance
  • an overbooked flight (i.e. you’re bumped)
  • baggage-loading problems.

The airline may rebook you on the next available flight to the same destination; or give you a refund.

If you decide to continue your trip, and depending the length of the delay, the airline may cover the cost of your meals and refreshments and — if you’re part-way through your trip at an ‘away port’ — overnight accommodation and transfers.

However, they may not compensate you for any other losses you incur due to the disruption to your trip (e.g. hotel and hire-car costs).

It was delayed or cancelled due to an event outside the airline’s control, for example:

  • poor weather
  • mechanical breakdown
  • natural disaster
  • strike or industrial action
  • riot or civil commotion.

The airline may rebook you on the next available flight to the same destination; or give you a refund.

However, they may not offer you any other compensation. 

(Depending on the circumstances surrounding the flight delay or cancellation, you may be able to claim some expenses from us.)4

  1. These are just some of the reasons for missed flights that we do not insure; for more details, including terms and conditions, please read the Product Disclosure Statement.
  2. For example, you may be able to claim ‘Additional expenses’ from us if your flight is disrupted due to a riot, strike or civil commotion and you need to return home to Australia (or your home in Australia if you’re travelling domestically) earlier than planned or ‘Travel delay expenses’ if your return flight to Australia (or your home in Australia if you’re travelling domestically) is delayed (excluding claims resulting from you missing a connection flight, civil unrest, or from strikes, industrial action or natural disasters that were public knowledge before you bought your policy). Our Last Minute policy does not include the ‘Travel delay expenses’ benefit. For more details, please read the PDS.

Conditions of carriage

When you purchase an air ticket, you’re entering into a contract with the airline.

The contract’s terms and conditions are set out in the airline’s ‘conditions of carriage’ (your air ticket may contain additional terms and conditions). 

The airlines’ terms and conditions include remedies offered to consumers affected by flight delays or cancellations.

It’s important to note that many airlines do not guarantee scheduled flight times, which are not part of their contract of carriage with you. They may also reserve the right to use substitute airlines or aircraft and to alter or omit stopovers.

Australian Consumer Law and flights

Airlines are required to comply with the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), specifically those that provide:

  • domestic flights
  • international flights departing from Australia 
  • international flights to Australia booked through the Australian website of an airline.

The ACL guarantees the rights of consumers when they buy goods and services. When you purchase a flight, for example, the airline is responsible for getting you to your destination — from A to B.

If your flight has been delayed or cancelled, and depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to a replacement air ticket or a refund.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has published a report, Airlines: Terms and conditions, to remind travellers of their consumer rights.

Read more about Australian Consumer Law and flights

If your airline denies you compensation you believe you’re entitled to, you can make a complaint.

Missed connection flights

If you miss a flight — whether it’s a direct flight or a connecting flight — because of an insured event (e.g. an unforeseen illness or injury), we can compensate you for your losses.

However, we do not cover claims stemming from any connecting (or non-stop) flight you miss due to an uninsured event, including any travel delays you experience as a result. 

It’s therefore advisable to, if possible, book connecting flights on a single airline or on airlines that are partners in an alliance (e.g. Oneworld, Star Alliance).

If a flight fails to connect, the airline (or alliance) is generally obliged to rebook you on the next available flight to your destination for no additional charge.

In other words, avoid an itinerary with two separate tickets on two different airlines. Otherwise, if you miss the connection, the second airline can treat you as a ‘no show’, cancel your reservation, and force you to buy another ticket for the next flight. 

What should I do if I miss a flight?

  1. If your airline is liable, speak to them about potential compensation, including replacement flights, refunds, and reimbursements.
  2. Keep receipts of any expenses you incur due to the cancellation or delay of your flight.
  3. If you miss your flight due to an event insured by Budget Direct, contact us to lodge a claim; we’ll ask you to provide supporting evidence (e.g. your itinerary, written confirmation of the flight cancellation or delay, a medical certificate).

Note that, if your airline offers you compensation, you’re expected to accept their offer. If you don’t, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to claim those losses from us. 

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