Australian airlines that fail to respond to consumer complaints will now be named and shamed, thanks to a new airline complaints watchdog.
Aimed at improving customer service and giving consumers a new tool to determine who to fly with, New Airlines Customer Advocate Julia Lines asks customers to try resolve the complaint with the airline first.
The website that went live on 1 July covers complaints like flight delays or cancellations, telephone or internet reservations, customer service at the airport or in-flight, baggage services, fees and charges, safety and security, airport lounge facilities, frequent flyer program terms and conditions, discrimination and services for customers with specific needs and requests for refunds.
Giving consumers more information than is currently available, Ms Lines said "we will be reporting publicly on the complaints we receive.
These complaints will be assessed and resolution sought by the Airline Customer Advocate. Should customers be dissatisfied with the outcome of the complaint process they will be informed of alternative avenues for dispute resolution.
According to news.com Ms Lines ranked to top consumer complaints as flight delays, cancellations, telephone reservation services, fees and charges, baggage services and loyalty frequent flyer schemes.
Describing the customer advocate as an ally for consumers when things go wrong and another option for travellers, Ms Lines asked customers to raise their complaints with the airline at first instance and if they are dissatisfied with that process they need to let the airline know that.
"There needs to be two initial contacts with the airline. So they are getting two attempts to fix the problem."
Transport minister Anthony Albanese who appointed Ms Lines said flying is much more affordable these days thanks to more competition, the rise of low-cost airlines and the variety in types of fares, classes and service levels.
"But cheap fares shouldn't mean cheap treatment and passengers are entitled to be treated fairly and decently by airlines, Mr Albanese stated.
And this means having their complaints dealt with properly and in a timely manner."
Airline customers can lodge complaints online at www.airlinecustomeradvocate.com.au
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W