Australian airline Rex has doubled down on its attacks against its much larger competitors Qantas and Virgin Australia by taking out full page newspaper ads to print copies of complaints made about its two rivals.
In the past year, Rex has gone from being a small regional operator to an aggressive airline that's undercutting the big players on primary routes such as Melbourne - Sydney.
It's latest campaign centres around its COVID-19 travel refund guarantee, which offers cash refunds to passengers whose travel is affected by the pandemic.
The airline says the guarantee even extends to promotional tickets that are normally subject to 'use-it-or-lose-it' conditions.
"Qantas and Virgin Australia have done the exact opposite and their practices not only have frustrated the public but have greatly dampened the desire to fly, thereby severely damaging the aviation industry," Rex said in a statement.
"Qantas, in particular, engages in under-handed tactics to avoid a refund at all costs. Qantas passengers have highlighted that this includes burying the refund application form deep in an obscure corner of the website, making passengers wait for hours on the phone, registering requests and not following up, and pressuring passengers to accept a credit instead of a cash refund."
Rex has accused Qantas of making refunds essentially impossible with procedures including:
Asking passengers to wait for Qantas to make contact after the flight has been cancelled
Asking passengers not to call if they are not travelling in the next 24 hours
Telling passengers that the booking may automatically be converted to a Flight Credit rather than a refund being offered, making it harder to claim a refund
Qantas responded with a statement saying it has offered customers "extra flexibility when they book, with the ability to change their flights once with no change fee or hold the value of the ticket as credit - though, a fare difference may apply when re-booking".
Rex said in a statement it estimates between AU$1 - $2 billion worth of tickets that are legally due for refunds have not been refunded, with many passengers waiting for over a year to get their money back.
'Repeated attempts to drag Qantas into a public slanging match'
"Since the start of the pandemic Qantas has assisted more than 2.5 million customers whose flights have been impacted by COVID-19 border restrictions, and offered increased flexibility for all customers, whatever ticket they buy. If a customer's flight is cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions they can already choose a refund, a voucher or to travel at a later date," Qantas said.
"Despite Rex's repeated attempts to drag Qantas into a public slanging match, our focus will remain on our customers and our people," Qantas said in a statement.