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Qantas flight cancellation: The complete guide


How to claim Qantas cancellation compensation?

A family emergency, a sudden health issue, or something else unexpected, there could be many reasons for having to cancel your flight booking. Unfortunately, if you cannot make your Qantas flight, you will have to pay a cancellation fee on top of losing the money you already paid for your flight ticket. 

Pressing that cancel button (you will have to select “Manage” to cancel) can be a costly decision and you will have to familiarise yourself with the airline’s cancellation rules (fare cancellation conditions) in order to make the process as painless as possible. You can read more about Qantas Airways’s cancellation policy in our blog post.

If you also have travel insurance purchased when booked, you might save some money, so we recommend managing your booking well and exploring all your options, including a refund. 

Sometimes, however, it is the airline that cancels your flight. If you are a Qantas frequent flyer, you might know that the Australian based airline mostly operates direct international flights between Australia and Asia and Australian domestic routes. 

In case such a flight is cancelled, there is no universal law that would protect your air passenger rights and it would be up to the airline to compensate you as they see fit. You will have to contact your local Qantas office for assistance or, if you made your booking through a travel agent or other third party, rely on them to manage the situation and get the airline to find you an alternative flight and/or include a refund.  

Fortunately, under EU Regulation 261/2004 air passengers (United Kingdom citizens included) can receive financial compensation of up to €600 for a Qantas flight delay or cancellation for flights departing from Europe

Claiming compensation is easy with SkyRefund: our mission is to help travellers claim their reimbursement following a “No win, No fee” principle. You can submit your Qantas flight booking number and date and we will take it from there. We will contact Qantas’ customer service and go through the whole legal process on your behalf. We will only charge you 35% of the claimed cancelled flight compensation amount if we succeed in winning your case.

There’s only onegood thingabout a delay

You can get up to €600 in compensation

When can you claim flight cancellation compensation from Qantas Airways?

Imagine Qantas cancels your flight at midnight on the same day of your supposed departure. If you are wondering whether you can claim compensation, you need to find out what the reason for the cancellation is. According to EC 261, there are three conditions that need to be fulfilled in order for you to be entitled to Qantas flight cancellation compensation.

  • Qantas notified you about the cancellation less than 14 days before the originally scheduled flight date. 
  • The cancelled flight was scheduled to depart from a European airport. This includes all airports in the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA).
  • The flight was not cancelled due to any extraordinary circumstances. This term encompasses all situations that cannot be prevented by Qantas and would hinder takeoff. The most common examples include but are not limited to:
  • Bad weather conditions (snowstorms, low visibility, sandstorms, etc.);
  • Bird Strikes;
  • Security risks, sabotage, or terrorist attacks;
  • Strikes by the Air Traffic Control staff or the airport staff;
  • Closure of the runway and/or other Air Traffic Control restrictions.

It is important to point out, however, that the so called “wildcat strikes”, protests organised by unionised workers without the authorisation of the union’s leaders do not fall under force majeure circumstances. EU laws consider it the airline’s responsibility to manage its staff and not let protests disrupt the scheduled flights. 

Another factor that would not be counted as an extraordinary circumstance under EC261 is technical issues. European regulations are also very strict about the airline’s responsibility to keep its aircraft intact and ready for takeoff. Any issues with the plane that lead to a flight cancellation would be a good enough reason to request a reimbursement from Qantas.

Check Compensation

How much Qantas flight cancellation compensation can you receive?

The amount of compensation you can receive according to European Regulation 261/2004 for a cancelled Qantas flight that departed from a European airport is determined mostly by the flight distance for your whole journey (if it included a connecting flight). 

If your cancelled trip was less than 1500 km long, you would be entitled to EUR 250 (GBP 221), and for a trip between 1500 and 3500 km, the maximum compensation amount would be EUR 400 (GBP 353). And finally, for long journeys over 3500 km, you would be eligible for a reimbursement of EUR 600 (GBP 530). 

Luckily, the Qantas flights that fall under the EU legal regulations are intercontinental which means the total distance of your journey would always be over 3500 km and you would have a good chance of receiving the maximum compensation amount of EUR 600.

However, it is also important whether the airline provided you with a replacement flight and if so, when it arrived at your final destination. If the alternative flight arrived with a delay of less than 4 hours, the compensation amount will be cut in half (EUR 300). 

Skyrefund makes it easy for you to check whether you are eligible for compensation and what amount of reimbursement you can expect: use our free compensation calculator and find out if you have a valid compensation claim.

We also put together the conditions under which you get a certain amount in the table below.

Less than
2 hours
2 - 3 hours
3 - 4 hours
More than
4 hours
/ Never arrived
€ 125 € 250 € 250 € 250 All flights up to 1500 km
€ 200 € 200 € 400 € 400 *ECAA flights of more than 1,500 km and
/all others between 1,500 and 3,500 km
€ 300 € 300 € 300 € 600 All other flights of more than 3,500 km

In addition

Replacement flight or refund

Apart from the compensation Qantas will be required to pay you under the EU regulations for a cancelled flight, they must also offer you either an alternative flight as soon as possible (or within a reasonable timeframe from the original departure time) OR a full refund of the ticket fare. Qantas could also offer you some flight credit as compensation for the inconvenience. 

What’s more, if you had a connecting flight and the cancellation happened after the first leg of your journey, Qantas should book you a return flight to the original point of departure. Keep in mind that this is only possible if your connecting flights were made under the same booking reference.

All of the above is valid even if the flight was cancelled due to extraordinary circumstances.


Right to Care

Qantas Airways is obliged to assist its customers in the event of a flight disruption. Air passengers can expect their food and drinks expenses covered, as well as accommodation and transport costs in case the replacement flight is scheduled for the next day and they have to spend the night at the point of departure. 

Airlines usually provide food vouchers which can be used at the airport, but should also reimburse you for any additional expenses you have while you wait, so be sure to keep all your receipts.


Replacement flight or refund

The European regulation 261/2004 protects your rights in any case of a flight disruption, so you will be entitled to compensation not only if your Qantas flight is cancelled, but also if it is delayed or you are denied boarding against your will (most often because of overbooking). The compensation amount also depends on the flight itinerary (the total distance) and the arrival time at the final destination and varies between €250 and €600. 

If your Qantas flight from Europe is delayed, it is important to note that the delay is calculated based on the time of arrival at the final destination. You would be eligible for a reimbursement only if you got to your end stop more than 3 hours after the originally scheduled and announced time of arrival. 

The condition about extraordinary circumstances is also applied in the case of a flight delay. You can consult our guide on Qantas flight delay compensation for a detailed breakdown of the claim process and find out how Skyrefund can help you receive what you are legally owed.


Replacement flight or refund

Qantas is the official flag carrier of Australia and was founded more than a century ago, in 1920, which makes it the third oldest airline in the world still in operation. The airline’s original name was Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited since it served only these two Australian territories. However, the name stuck even after the major expansion the airline experienced in the decades to follow and the acronym QANTAS remained as its official name. 

Qantas Airways is the largest Australian domestic and international airline and a founding member of the Oneworld Airline Alliance. 

Qantas has another airline brand, Jetstar, a low cost airline which operates both international and domestic flights (Australia and New Zealand). The main hub of the “Flying Kangaroo” (a nickname given to Qantas because of its logo) is Sydney airport. Qantas’s fleet consists of 323 aircraft, among which Boeing B787-9, 737-800, 717, and Airbus A380, A330, and A320. 

The Australian flag carrier flies to all other continents, including occasional Antarctica sight-seeing flights. These flights do not touch down and only exist as a tourist attraction. 

Qantas offers four travel classes to its passengers: First, Business, Premium Economy and Economy. You can read about the fare rules of each fare type on the official website of the airline.


Qantas Airways Rankings

The leading website for airline rankings, Skytrax, listed Qantas AIrways as a 4-star airline. The customer reviews (over 1700) left Qantas with a score of 6 out of 10, based on an evaluation of the food and beverages offered during the flights, the flight entertainment, the seat comfort, the on-board service, and the overall value for money.