I had low expectations when I tried to cancel flights booked with Jetstar from Darwin to Adelaide on January 23. The tickets were for my 13-year-old children, who are now travelling with me on Monday to Canberra. They will fly home from there, not from Darwin.
I know that Jetstar is a budget carrier who openly states on their website: "You get what you pay for".
I didn't expect a refund. I was dubious about any prospect of getting a credit towards a future flight, but thought I would enquire.
After all, surely it was in Jetstar's interest if I cancelled, instead of failing to appear. That way they could score from me on the credit and sell the seats to somebody else.
But no, they preferred that I be a "no show".
The online booking system provides no mechanism to cancel a flight, so I chose the "live chat" option, rather than call.
The chat box told me I was third in the queue and not to reload my browser. Half an hour later, a customer service operator came online.
I spent 20 minutes chatting with her to explain what could have been dealt with in five minutes over the phone.
She said no refund was possible. My options were to transfer the tickets to somebody else (for a fee) or fly the twins on the same route at a later date (for a fee).
To cancel, she wanted to verify details personally with the twins, or our other option was to be a "no show" at the airport.
That's what we'll do, with $444 lost.
Unless somebody reading this would like to pay the transfer fee and receive half-price fares.
Live chat customer service
A final comment about "live chat" as customer service. I experienced it this week with a couple of phone companies and thought it worked well.
I didn't have to wait long, the issues were resolved quickly and I had a transcript of the conversations. It wasn't the same with Jetstar.
A phone company can quickly check your usage and billing details, etc. With Jetstar, the issue was complex and more easily explained verbally. The Jetstar system also didn't offer a transcript. I wonder why?