Most airlines now offer super low fares with conditions stating that if you cannot use the trip, for whatever reason, the money paid is forfeit.

22 replies

Richard Hames

QF0307579

Member since 13 Jun 2013

Total posts 2

Most airlines now offer super low fares with conditions stating that if you cannot use the trip, for whatever reason, the money paid is forfeit. Has this ever been tested legally through the court system?

spinoza

Member since 01 Feb 2012

Total posts 218

Geez I hope that can't be challenged in court. 

Based on my little knowledge of micro economics, if anyone ever wins a case like that, that just means higher fares for everyone else. If you can't committ to a date, don't buy the sale fares.

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,059

Richard,

On what basis might a challenge be put? A ticket represents a contract with an offer and consideration, which has been accepted.

The premise being, if you're not happy with what's on offer you would not accept. 

Serg

QFF

Member since 12 Apr 2013

Total posts 870

+1. There was clear conditions of sales and they were accepted. Therefore I fail to see how OP can chalange carrier.

wilsoni Banned

wilsoni Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 28 Sep 2011

Total posts 302

I think what Richard is referring to is the inability to transfer the ticket to someone else, and the inability to get a refund even though the airline has resold the seat to a new buyer.  I think in that context it's a very fair point. I wish someone would take a test case to court. The basis would potentially be that the terms of the contract are "unconscionable" and that the airline has abused its market power - corporate v individual. Maybe a complaint to the ACCC could help?

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,059

wilsoni,

Are you working on the assumption that the carrier is the sole operator on a certain segment, thereby abusing its market power?

Assuming there are multiple carriers operating a segment and all of them apply the same tight conditions on cheap fares - Does that constitute cartel behaviour? I suppose there is a burden of proof required to support the case for collusion...

wilsoni Banned

wilsoni Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 28 Sep 2011

Total posts 302

The abuse of market power in my view would be, however many carriers collude in the behaviour, in them imposing unconscionable terms - in the sense of helping themselves to double profit (or more).

Hugo

Member since 12 Jun 2013

Total posts 216

Are you actually familiar with how unconscionability works in Australian law? This particular case comes nowhere near what would be required.

spinoza

Member since 01 Feb 2012

Total posts 218

I'm no lawyer, but it is precisely because the company already knows a certain number of people won't make it onto the flight that they can sell it for cheaper.

Its not that different to buying a scoopon / groupon vs booking at a restaurant. By going the cheap route, you have less flexibility.

You mentioned the "inability to get a refund even though the airline has resold the seat to a new buyer" - if I'm not able to use a voucher at a restaurant, I can't demand a refund, or ask the restaurant to hold the table, cook the meal, and not let anyone eat it!

ecg

Member since 20 Dec 2012

Total posts 21

So not only do you want supercheap airfares but you want them to be refundable and transferable too.

Did anyone mention ME, ME, ME, ME, ME??

wilsoni Banned

wilsoni Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 28 Sep 2011

Total posts 302

Who is "you"?  Anyway, I don't see anything here that says anyone "wants" these fares to always be refundable - only that airlines don't sell the same seat twice or more without refunding at least a part of the cancellation(s).  As for ecg, his/her post speaks for itself - the me, me etc is ecg self-indulgently failing to articulate an opinion.

ecg

Member since 20 Dec 2012

Total posts 21

Yes, I'm sure the OP asked the question merely as an intellectual exercise.

Get over yourself.

 

Southland

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 31 Jan 2012

Total posts 57

Buy a fare that has in its terms and conditions the chance to refund or transfer. Easy as. Not sale fares

If not then they are the terms of purchase. Miss the flight forefit the money paid. Its quite clear when you buy the fare what you get.

brinkers

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 16 Jun 2011

Total posts 226

IIRC, in the Jetstar vs Free case ragarding fees for name changes, the Supreme Court supported the idea that cheap tickets could come with more restrictive conditions than more expensive fares. The airline offers cheap, inflexible or expensive, flexible and you as a consumer choose which way you want to go. 

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,059

I don't know about all of you but I think its awfully sexy when you're able to quote case law!

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Most airlines now offer super low fares with conditions stating that if you cannot use the trip, for whatever reason, the money paid is forfeit.

Attach Files