Etihad Airways will offer Australian passengers a full refund on all flights cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The airline confirmed it will contact customers who booked directly with them, as well as Australian-based travel agents to inform consumers about their options, even if they have already accepted a credit voucher.
The change comes after the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission held discussions with Etihad over the airlines rebooking policy.
From March 26, Etihad’s COVID-19 rebooking policy did not provide customers with the right to a refund if their flight was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Etihad Airways has now revised its policy. All customers in Australia who purchased tickets, regardless of where their flight was scheduled to depart from, are entitled to a refund.
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims said that “Etihad’s revised policy, and its decision to also offer refunds to consumers who weren’t previously advised of their right to a refund, should serve as a model for other airlines.”
“We are pleased that Etihad is fulfilling its obligations under its conditions of carriage by offering refunds to thousands of Australian customers with cancelled flights,” he continued.
Mr Sims emphasised that Australian Consumer Law applies to all businesses who trade in Australia, regardless of where they are owned and operated. “The protections of the Australian Consumer Law, which extend to all corporations carrying on business in Australia, prohibit making false or misleading representations about a consumer’s right to a refund, including their contractual refund rights,” Mr Sims said.
“Consumers who believe they are entitled to a refund because they booked their fare while in Australia and who are not contacted by Etihad or their Australian travel agent by 7 August 2020, should contact the business that sold them their ticket.”