LANDED WITH TRAVEL CREDITS - Coronavirus Feature

Research finds consumers might be flying into trouble with travel credits

Research by financial comparison site Mozo has found more than half of the travellers surveyed have been left with risky travel credits after their flights were cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“If your flight has been cancelled your best option is to push for a full refund and try to get your money back,” says Mozo spokesperson Tom Godfrey. 

“However, whether you are able to get a refund or are stuck with a flight credit will largely depend on the airline’s conditions of carriage and the type of fare you purchased.” 

New research from Mozo found only 1 in 4 people received a refund for flights booked before the impacts of Covid-19, while 55% received travel credit for their flights. It also found 18% lost money on their flights and 14% lost money on booked tours and prepaid events.

“With so much uncertainty around the future of airlines and international and domestic travel, settling for a flight credit could leave you grounded and out of pocket,” Godfrey says. 

Mozo found airline flight credits might seem convenient but they can come with restrictive and sometimes costly terms and conditions. 

“From six month expiry dates, to purchase limits on new flights, lost credit and additional phone booking fees, flight credits are not always your ticket to a smooth take off,” says Godfrey. 

“Unlike a cash refund, when you accept a flight credit you take on the airline’s risk and can be flying into a number of tricky terms and conditions. So with domestic and international still up in the air, it’s best to land a refund if you can.

Interestingly, nearly a quarter of Australians Mozo surveyed still intend to travel internationally this year, with 14% already purchasing cheap flights and a further 10% are locking in flights for next year.

When it comes to domestic flights, just under half of all Australians (44%) intend to travel domestically this year but only 6% have purchased flights, as many wait to see how the Covid19 situation unfolds. Only 4% have purchased flights for 2021.

Of those looking to travel locally when the travel ban is lifted, 27% are doing so to give back to the Australian tourism industry and 10% because it’s all they can afford.

Mozo also found 31% of people surveyed believe they can’t afford a holiday in the foreseeable future, while 15% want to enjoy overseas travel after living a restricted life.

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