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Qantas cancellation policy: know your rights and obligations


Planning your travels can be a difficult task. Even the most experienced travellers face unexpected situations sometimes and need to make last minute changes to their bookings or completely cancel them: plane tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals, each business has specific requirements. 

If this has happened to you and you've had to miss a flight, you might know that each airline has its own rules when it comes to cancelling your booking. Low-cost companies are very strict about their cancellation rules, while big carriers give some leeway in exchange for a higher price. 

Qantas, the official airline of Australia, has its own policy when it comes to cancelling plane tickets. If you have purchased a ticket for a Qantas flight that you are no longer able to make, this article will give you all the important information you might need about the cancellation process.


How can I cancel my Qantas booking

Before we dive into the specifics and the cancellation rules, let’s cover the main and most basic question: how do you go about cancelling your Qantas reservation. Making the cancellation of your Qantas flight ticket online is fairly easy: you can retrieve your booking via the “Manage booking” option on the Qantas website and then choose “Cancel/Voucher”. 

If you cannot find the “Cancel” button online, you should contact your local Qantas office and ask the staff for assistance. Bear in mind that you might have to pay a service fee if you go to the airline’s office. 

If you are a Qantas frequent flyer, simply log into your account and you will be able to manage your flight booking from there. Loyal Qantas customers can easily find booking changes and other options in their personalised accounts. 

If your ticket was booked through a travel agent or another third party, you should turn to them for assistance, as they have your booking reference and itinerary details and can contact customer service on your behalf. 

In case you want to just change your booking and not cancel it altogether, you can also do that online by choosing the “Change” option after you retrieve your booking or after you log into your frequent flyer account. Depending on the fare type you bought, you might be able to make a change without any additional fees or pay not only a fee, but also the price difference if the replacement flight you choose is more expensive than the original one.

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You can get up to €600 in compensation

Cancellation rules and fees

As with any airline, cancelling your Qantas booking will almost always mean that you owe a cancellation fee. Depending on the fare you purchased, different rules and fees apply. Keep in mind that the fees are charged per person, not per booking, so if you reserved tickets for more people, each passenger’s cancellation will be subject to Qantas cancellation fees. 

Qantas offers four travel classes: Economy, Premium Economy, Business, and First. The fare types, however, differ depending on the flight route and can be: 

  • Economy Flex, Economy Red e-Deal (for Australian domestic flights) and Economy Sale;
  • Premium Economy Flex, Premium Economy Saver and Premium Economy Sale;
  • Business Flex; 
  • First Flex, First Saver and First Sale. 

Each of the fare types comes with its own fare rules and in order to check them, you need to first find your destination in the list, provided on Qantas’ website. The cancellation fees vary from 150 to 800 Australian dollars. 

It is also important when you cancel your flight: if it is within 24 hours of booking it, the fees will be lower. If, on the other hand, you decide that you do not want your ticket shortly before departure or you do not show up at the airport at all, you will have to pay a higher price. You will then receive a reimbursement but the refund amount will be the original price you paid minus the deducted fees. 

If you have travel insurance purchased when booked, you might be spared from some of the fees and save some money but we strongly recommend that you discuss this scenario with your insurance agent before you buy the policy.

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What if Qantas cancels my flight

So far we covered the conditions under which you can cancel your booking with Qantas airlines. But what happens if it is the Australian airline to cancel your flight? The answer to this question depends on your travel itinerary : where are you flying from and what is your final destination.


Australian domestic flights

When you get notified that your internal Australian flight is cancelled, do not be quick to change your booking until you are contacted by Qantas for any further information. They will offer you an alternative flight as soon as possible at no additional cost and without any fees. If that is not possible, they will present to you the other options, including a refund of the fare amount or give you flight credit.

On their official website, Qantas state that there are numerous refund requests that are prioritised in lodgement date order. The airline website says that the agents are working through them as quickly as possible but due to the current circumstances the processing time is more or less 8 weeks. 

This probably means you will have to wait a while before you receive your refund from Qantas, so we advise you to be patient and contact customer service in case of a big delay. You will receive an email when your request for a refund is processed.

If you are stuck at the airport waiting for a solution, you also have a right to care which includes food and beverages and covered accommodation expenses in case you need to spend the night before your alternative flight.


International flights

Pretty much the same advice mentioned above applies if you had an international flight and it got cancelled by Qantas. They ask passengers to be patient and wait for more information until the situation is sorted. You will most likely have the same three options: a replacement flight, a full refund to your original payment method or flight credit which you can use for another booking with Qantas.


Flights from Europe

Even though Qantas does not offer many direct flights from the Old continent, they partner with several major European airlines, so you could end up on a codeshare flight even if you made your booking through the official Qantas website. In the event of a flight cancellation, apart from the flight credit/refund/alternative flight and the right to care that we already mentioned above, the EU Regulation 261/2004 that was also adopted by the UK legislation can guarantee you financial compensation of up to 600 euros (528 GBP).

Of course, certain conditions apply in order for you to be eligible for such compensation and in the case of a cancelled Qantas flight, they are the following:

  • Your flight was planned to depart from a European airport, which includes the UK and all the countries from the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA).
  • Qantas notified you about the cancellation less than 14 days before the originally scheduled departure. 
  • The flight was not cancelled due to extraordinary circumstances (bad weather, bird strikes, strikes by the airport staff, Air Traffic Control restrictions, security threats, etc.)

You can read a detailed explanation about your rights under the European Union Regulation in our articles Qantas flight cancellation: The complete guide and Qantas flight delay compensation: The complete guide.

If you experienced a flight disruption (delay, cancellation, or denied boarding) with Qantas or another airline in the past 3 years and you flew from a European airport or with a European based airline, you might be eligible for compensation. The amount of reimbursement you can get varies from 250 to 600 euros and it depends on certain conditions like the flight distance, the length of the delay, etc. 

SkyRefund is a company that has made it its mission to help air passengers stand up for themselves and facilitate the process of fighting for their rights as much as possible. We have an experienced and enthusiastic team of lawyers who know the ins and outs of travel law and will be ready to help you win your case against the airline you flew with, be it Qantas or another carrier. 

You can check your eligibility by entering your flight details into our free compensation calculator and if you are entitled to compensation, you can submit your claim on our website. We will take it from there, contact you for more details, get in touch with the airline and take care of all legal proceedings. 
The best news for you is that we will not charge you if we do not succeed in winning your case. You will only have to pay us a fee of 35% of the compensation amount if we manage to make the airline reimburse you: “No win, no fee”.


About Qantas Airways

Qantas airline is the national carrier of Australia and has been since 1920 when it was first established. The original idea for the airline was for it to serve Queensland and the Northern Territory, and in fact that is how Qantas got its name: Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited. 

The Flying Kangaroo (Qantas’ nickname) is an airline with good customer ratings that primarily serves Australia and Asia, with some destinations in the United States and Europe (mostly seasonal charters). The main hub of Qantas is Sydney airport, but the airline itself is based in Mascot, a suburb of Sydney. 

Qantas’ loyalty program is called “Qantas Frequent Flyer” and it operates with Qantas points. You can earn points when you book a flight with the airline or when you make a purchase from any of its partners. The earned points can then be used for flights, travel class upgrades, hotels and rent-a-cars, at the Rewards store, etc. Members of the Points Club can also make Classic Flight Reward bookings.