How NSW’s border changes affect you: canceled flights, hotel reservations

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Flights are cut and travelers desperately seek refunds as border restrictions leave summer travel plans in shambles.

Flights are canceled, Christmas family reunions are in tatters and big question marks hang over summer vacation plans as every state and territory closes Sydney’s borders due to worsening northern beaches epidemic.

The crisis comes weeks after all border restrictions in Australia were finally lifted, giving millions of Australians the freedom and confidence to book travel for Christmas. The threat of a mandatory quarantine has now seen thousands of people scramble to reverse these plans.

Certain restrictions are also in place for travelers from the rest of NSW.

As a result, people are rushing to cancel bookings with Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia, as well as stays at Airbnb hotels and rentals.

Consumer Action Law Center general manager Gerard Brody said it made a difference whether the reservation was canceled by the customer or the supplier.

“If the consumer terminates the contract, which can be seen as a change of mind, it could mean that you will have to rely on what the terms and conditions say, in these circumstances,” he told the ‘ABC.
“Whereas if the accommodation provider, tour operator or company cancels, you should be entitled to a refund because they failed to meet their end of the bargain.

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“Sometimes it can be helpful to wait and see if the hosting provider will cancel and that will put you in a better situation, but I can understand that people want to take the lead in figuring out what their rights (are) for the circumstances as well. “

However, Brody said companies may be offering more flexible options for customers at this time as they want them to continue to book despite uncertain times.

“Accommodation providers and tour operators are trying to be flexible, they want customers to come back, it may be late in 2021, maybe they will offer some kind of relief that they can leave later, or in some cases , process refunds depending on the situation, ”he said.

AIRLINES COMPANIES

Qantas and Jetstar

Qantas and Jetstar were due to cancel flights today as new travel restrictions triggered massive cancellations of bookings from Sydney.

Airlines initially saw a surge in bookings as people sought to flee the port city before border restrictions took effect, and have now been inundated with cancellations as conditions change.

“Both airlines have seen a large number of customers cancel their reservations between Sydney and Melbourne and a number of other routes as of Monday. As a result, several flights will be canceled. We will contact customers directly affected by any flight changes, ”Qantas said in a statement.

Customers whose flights have been canceled by Qantas can choose between a flight credit or a refund.

Other customers may no longer be able to travel on flights still in progress and must contact their airline to cancel their reservations.

“For most of this year, we’ve provided customers with additional flexibility when booking, with the option to keep the value of the ticket as a credit or change their flights once without a change fee – however, a fare difference may apply when rebooking, ”Qantas said.

“We are seeing a high level of requests from customers traveling to and from Sydney who want to change their travel plans, so we ask anyone not traveling within the next 48 hours to avoid calling our contact center to help us manage these volumes. “

Passengers who need to change their reservation can do so directly through qantas.com and jetstar.com or through the Qantas app.

Those who have booked through a third party, such as a travel agent, should contact that company to change their reservation.

Virgo AustAsia

Virgin Australia is also offering more flexibility to passengers booking travel during the pandemic.

“As part of our promise to passengers, travel bookings by March 31, 2021 can be canceled as travel credit or changed free of charge via Manage Your Booking (fare differences may apply to changes)”, a said the airline.

However, the sudden change in travel conditions has seen Virgin Australia inundated with queries and prioritize passengers soon to be on the plane.

“Due to changing border restrictions, we are experiencing high call volumes,” he said on his website. Please only contact our Customer Contact Center if your trip is within the next 72 hours.

Visit the Virgin Australia website to manage reservations.

As with other airlines, those who have booked Virgin Australia airline tickets through a third party should contact that airline to change their reservation.

ACCOMMODATION

Hotels

Contact your hotel and / or check the terms and conditions of your reservation as it all depends on the type of reservation you have made.

Those who have booked fully refundable rates should have no problem getting a full refund, but the terms of the policy may differ depending on the provider if you have non-refundable rates.

Guests may also be entitled to a refund if their hotel is closed for their intended stay or cannot accommodate guests due to official orders, such as a lockdown.

People who have locked accommodation with booking platforms, such as Booking.com, should contact that company to see what options are available. Cancellation requests will generally be handled by the establishment.

Airbnb

Airbnb’s Mitigating Circumstances Policy, which was put in place to help guests at the onset of the pandemic, no longer applies to bookings made after March 14, 2020, unless the host or guest is actually sick with COVID-19.

“Our extenuating circumstances policy is designed to protect travelers and hosts from unforeseen circumstances that arise after booking,” said Airbnb.

“After the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, the mitigating circumstances policy no longer applies because COVID-19 and its consequences are no longer unforeseen or unexpected. “

The policy does not provide coverage if a reservation changes due to cancellations and transportation disruptions, travel advisories and restrictions, health and quarantine notices, and government warrants, such as border restrictions. .

“The host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual,” Airbnb said.

“Remember to carefully read the host’s cancellation policy when booking and consider choosing an option that offers flexibility.”

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