Lorraine Galvin has been fighting for months to have the cost of her flight to Western Australia refunded after border closures forced the cancellation of travel.
Between December 22 and 30, 2020 the 83-year-old had planned to fly Qantas from Wagga to Perth for a visit to her daughter and grandchildren before they moved to Hong Kong in January.
But days before her flight was meant to depart, she was informed that Western Australia would be closing its borders due to COVID-19, effective from midnight on December 20.
Informed of the imminent closure, Mrs Galvin applied to the Western Australian government for a travel exemption. It was initially granted on December 15 but then was immediately rescinded on December 18 leaving Mrs Galvin heartbroken she would not be able to spend the time with her family.
It has now been a full year since she saw her daughter and granddaughters.
"I flew there in January 2020. At that time, none of this [pandemic] was even thought of," Mrs Galvin said.
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Mrs Galvin is now fighting Qantas for a full refund of the full $1,228.00 ticket price.
Although she has been offered flight credit for the full amount which expires, she says that is useless to her.
A spokesperson for Qantas Australia said the company has a policy of refunding or crediting after flight terminations.
"If we cancel a Qantas flight, we re-book customers on the next available flight if possible, alternatively they can choose a flight credit or a refund," the spokesperson said.
"If a customer needs to cancel travel because of changes to travel plans, including border changes, we offer flight credits. We have extended the validity of credits until 31 December 2023.
"Credits can be used for multiple bookings to any destinations as long as all travel is completed by 31 December 2023."
Mrs Galvin has also attempted to retrieve her money through Flight Centre, which is where she originally booked the tickets.
"In this instance, the policy in question is not Flight Centre's - it is the airline's," a Flight Centre spokesperson said.
"The company cannot change Qantas's policy, nor can it facilitate a refund without the airline's consent.
"On behalf of our customer, we will do what we can to help and we will request that Qantas provides a refund in this instance, rather than the travel credit that it currently offers."
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