Tigerair customers have been left facing unexpected expenses of thousands of dollars due to the airline’s cancellation of Bali flights.
Some ticket-holders complained of being left in the lurch with their travel plans, saying poor customer service had only exacerbated their frustrations when flights were suddenly cancelled.
Hundreds of passengers were left stranded after the airline was sanctioned in Bali for allegedly breaching Indonesian regulations, with some beginning to return to Australia on Virgin Australia flights on Thursday.
Emma Duggan and her family, who were travelling to Bali to meet with relatives, were faced with the choice between losing the money they had paid for accommodation and paying thousands more for alternative flights with other carriers.
Another passenger told the ABC he was happy with the alternative arrangements he was offered for a return trip from Bali to Adelaide, which involved a Virgin flight with a stopover in Brisbane, with overnight accommodation provided.
One day before Ms Duggan, her husband and small child were due to travel to the Indonesian island, she received a text message from Tigerair to say the flight had been cancelled, she told the ABC.
“After calling the airline and being placed on hold for the good of one-and-a-half hours only to be told that ‘yes, this is correct’, and that they are offering a refund of the ticket price ($1800 total) which would be in our account in four weeks’ time,” she said.
“I expressed that I found this to be unacceptable to which I was told, ‘too bad’.”
Ms Duggan was informed by her travel insurance company they would not receive reimbursements as the airline had accepted fault.
“In the meantime I researched prices for alternate flights and it became very obvious the competitor airlines were using the incident to jack up their prices, the worst of which was Virgin, offering the same return dates for $10,000 and the cheapest being Jetstar at $3920,” she said.
“I watched these prices jump by the minute, it was disgusting.”
@TigerairAU we will never fly Tiger again. Totally ruined the family's holiday!
— Mark Anning (@MarkAnning) January 11, 2017
“I have spoken with five people from Tiger already today, all of which have been completely unhelpful and although every one of them has admitted the airline is at fault for the cancellations, they are not willing to reimburse for the cost of the rebooking of flights through another carrier after failing to produce any real solution themselves.
“How is it at all possible for them to leave us so financially out of pocket after accepting full responsibility for the cause?
“I am a small business owner and my husband a career firefighter, we don’t have the means to wear such a large expense, especially one we are not responsible for.”
Virgin Australia did put on two additional flights to help get passengers home from Bali.
A spokesperson said the remaining 350 passengers in Bali will be reaccommodated on other services with other carriers over the next few days.
Passengers given option to fly business class, with costs reimbursed in four weeks
Mark Anning said his wife and daughter had to cancel their trip to Bali as the alternative offered by Tigerair was not a realistic option, leaving them out of pocket.
They were due to fly on Thursday but were informed on Wednesday the flight had been cancelled. The alternative they were offered was to pay for business class tickets on Garuda, with the difference of $5000 to be refunded in four weeks.
Mr Anning said paying an extra $5000 was not an option so they would lose the money they spent on the flights, as well as accommodation.
“They can’t get a refund on the accommodation either as the hotel said you need to use a different airline,” he said.
“[The insurance company] said they will not cover the claim as it was the Indonesian government that caused the cancellation.”