26 September 2023

Pandemic hurdles still remain for travellers

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Travellers planning to leave WA to take advantage of interstate and international holidays have been advised to make sure they read and understand the terms and conditions (T&Cs) for each step in their plans.

Executive Director for Consumer Protection, Trish Blake said many consumers were keen to make travel plans now COVID-19 restrictions had been lifted, but the effects of the pandemic still lingered.

“When the cancellation of travel services is due to COVID-19 Government restrictions, consumers may not automatically be entitled to the same remedy options as they would in normal circumstances under Australian Consumer Law,” Ms Blake said.

“Given some bookings may not be flexible or refundable, understanding what the T&Cs actually mean before accepting them has never been more important.”

She said tips to “unpack the T&Cs” included understanding how they applied for each part of the trip (flights, accommodation, transfers, tours, car hire) especially in relation to COVID-19 cancellations or delays.

“Make sure you check and get written confirmation about the refund policy and look for flexibility to make changes,” Ms Blake said.

“Consider booking directly with accommodation providers or airlines if this provides more flexibility, and take out travel insurance, but be aware of coverage limitations, especially in relation to Government bans.”

She said travellers should stay informed about COVID-19 travel rules both at home and at holiday destinations, including any vaccine mandates, as these might be subject to sudden changes.

“Finally, have reasonable expectations that travel and hospitality has changed because of the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains and staffing,” Ms Blake said.

Travellers considering making a complaint, the Consumer Protection website can be accessed at this PS News link.

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