Are Airlines Inclined To Upgrade You If You Are Injured On Holidays?

29/12/2015 2:26 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Male nurse supporting man's leg wrapped in bandages

Australian television reporter Jodi Lee this week took to social media to express her disdain toward budget airline Jetstar after the airline allegedly refused her an upgrade to business class.

Lee had injured herself on holiday in Thailand and had a medical note stating that her leg subsequently required elevation.

A spokesperson for the airline told news.com.au that Lee was assigned an empty row so she would have a seat with more legroom.

This incident has sparked the conversation over where the responsibility in situations like this actually lies.

"Consumers need to take responsibility for any mishaps that happen when travelling. Don't assume that travel providers, in particular airlines, are going to do you any favours," Matt Levey, Director of Campaigns and Communications at Choice.com.au told The Huffington Post Australia.

"If you don't have travel insurance, you are at the mercy of the airline's cancellation and rebooking policies. Depending on the category of your ticket, this might involve forfeiting most or all of your fare, and paying some significant extra fees."

It is common sense for many people that anything that might happen is at the cost and responsibility of the individual that it occurs to, and it is for this very reason that travel insurance exists.

"The right travel insurance policy should cover unexpected costs, like those associated with an upgrade based on medical advice, but you should check that with your insurance provider first," Levey said.

"Unfortunately, you shouldn't expect airlines to come to the party free of charge. Choice's travel research found airlines were the main source of travel problems for Australian consumers last year, so issues with customer service are unfortunately not surprising."

If you're not insured, ultimately it is up to the individual to pay the additional costs, make alternate arrangements, or forfeit travel altogether.

"Leaving home with the right travel insurance is as important as taking your passport if you're heading overseas. Don't assume that travel providers are going to do you any favours, especially if you're travelling with a budget airline and when flight upgrades are big business," Levey said.

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