Australia to have its own flight delay compensation scheme | ABC Radio Melbourne

Travel lawyer Victoria Roy was interviewed on ABC Radio Melbourne’s Drive program on 15 March 2023 in her capacity as travel law spokesperson for the Australian Lawyers Alliance.  In the interview she called for Australia to have its own flight delay compensation scheme, and compared Australian’s rights to consumers overseas.

You can read the transcript of her interview with Warwick Long below:

Warwick Long: Let’s talk about going on a holiday right now. And certainly, flights have been discussed a lot lately. If your flight is cancelled or delayed for a long time by an airline. Should there be a set amount of compensation that you can claim or that you’re entitled to? Overseas, there’s some examples in places like Canada and the EU where you can get compensation. So should it be here? You can let us know what you think on that.

Victoria Roy is a travel lawyer and spokesperson for the Australian Lawyers Alliance They’re making a call for more and she can tell us all about it now. Victoria. Roy, welcome to the programme

Victoria Roy: Hi, Warwick. Great to speak with you.

Warwick Long: What would you like to see?

Victoria Roy: Well, it’s time for Australia to have its own flight delay compensation scheme and to protect the rights of passengers. As you mentioned, there are schemes already in place in various jurisdictions across the world like the ones you mentioned, but even closer to home, such as Thailand and Malaysia and Australia is the only country that spans an entire continent and it’s time that we have a scheme of our own.

Warwick Long: And how would that scheme work? How do these schemes work around the world

Victoria Roy: Okay, so the key feature is that airlines have to give cash compensation to passengers in the event of delay that’s within an airline’s control. And looking at the EU example, short flights, the equivalent of, say, Melbourne to Sydney, if a passenger is delayed by 3 hours, then they’re entitled to €250, which is about $400 worth of compensation. And it’s a very straightforward process that they apply to the airline for.

Warwick Long: And is it a so is it a percentage of the ticket price? Does it vary on how much you paid or is it just a set amount

Victoria Roy: So in the model in the EU has set amounts depending on how long the flight was and how delayed the flight was. And that’s generally how different schemes across the world treat it. So, the longer that your flight and the longer the delay, the more compensation you’d be entitled to and there are set amounts for those things.

Warwick Long: So obviously looking then at what a model could mean for Australia, why doesn’t Australia have a flight delay compensation scheme if these other areas already do?

Victoria Roy: I think we should ask the Government why we don’t have one. I certainly think it’s time Australia has its own and we’re in a situation right now where Australians are already benefiting from foreign schemes in some circumstances, and they have to jump through these legal loopholes to get flight delay compensation in these rare circumstances where it is available. And it’s just time for Australia to have its own simple scheme for consumers here.

Warwick Long: And simple scheme is it would it be easy to enact or would it end up in higher costs of airfares if airlines have to build in the idea of compensation?

Victoria Roy: Well, I think Australia should look again at models overseas like the EU, where flights are still very competitive and passengers have these compensation rights. And ultimately a scheme would be an incentive to make sure flights are on time.

Warwick Long: So you’ve made this call as part of a submission. What’s the process from here?

Victoria Roy: Yeah. So the government just released its proposed terms of reference on a consultation it’s doing on the aviation industry and we’ve done the submission regarding the terms of reference. The terms of reference will be finalised later this year and then the Australian Lawyers Alliance will be putting on substantive submissions in support of this flight delay compensation scheme and other areas where we believe air passengers should be better protected by Australian law.

Warwick Long: Why does the Australian Lawyer Alliance come in here? What would you benefit from a compensation scheme?

Victoria Roy: Well, lawyers travel just like everyone else! But that’s not the reason. So the Australian Lawyers Alliance, we are basically a group of volunteer lawyers who look to promote the rights of the individual. And we have seen in the media these stories of, you know, terrible delays passengers are suffering from and the ones like me who work in the travel law space, we know that there are these schemes available overseas and we think it’s an injustice that Australian consumers don’t have a scheme here. And that’s why we’re calling on the Government to introduce one here.

Warwick Long: Well, we thank you for your time on the programme today to tell us a little bit about your plans for it. Thanks for joining us.

Victoria Roy: Thanks for the opportunity. All right. Thank you.

Warwick Long: That is travel lawyer and spokesperson for the Australian Lawyers Alliance, Victoria Roy.

15 March 2023

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