Passenger slams Jetstar over 'extortionate' $1332 name change fee

Jetstar is accused of gouging excess fees from passengers over changes to tickets.

The cost of changing names on Jetstar tickets has been slammed as a “scam” after a passenger was hit with a $1,332 fee – yet the budget airline has stressed there's a valid reason for the hefty charge.

Daniel from Perth had been planning to fly to Adelaide on Monday, March 13, when he suddenly needed to cancel his trip.

“The only reason I was going to Adelaide was to visit my grandmother and introduce her to my fiancée,” he told Yahoo News Australia on Wednesday. “Sadly, my grandmother passed away at the age of 74 a few days earlier.”

A Jetstar plane on the runway.
The passenger from Perth had tickets to Adelaide to visit his grandmother when she passed away and he needed to alter his flights. Source: AAP

Having booked two return flights for himself and his fiancée, Daniel tried to give away their tickets.

“The only reason for wanting to change the name is they [Jetstar] have a no refund and no credit policy on their povo-pack [cheap] tickets so instead of wasting them, I was going to give them to a friend on the basis they would pay the name change fees.”

But trouble struck when Daniel tried to make the name change through Jetstar’s online chat. In his conversation with the online assistant, Daniel was told that it would cost $666 per flight to change the name on the ticket.

“You made a typo right?” the Perth man asked the airline employee. “You know the total cost of all four tickets is $750? You want $1,332 to change the name?” The online assistant confirmed the price was correct.

Daniel's conversation with the Jetstar online assistant.
In a conversation shared online, Daniel was told it would cost $666 per person per flight to change the name on the ticket. Source: Reddit

‘Extorting someone because they can’

Horrified at the cost, Daniel took to Reddit to share his shock.

“You all told me Jetstar made their money on extortionate luggage fees,” he wrote alongside a snippet of his online chat. “Turns out the real money is in changing names.”

The post has since racked up hundreds of reactions from appalled users.

“What the actual fudge,” one person wrote. “It would be cheaper to change your name,” another said. “I just looked that up, [it’s] $185.”

“A $666 fee, well the devil is in the details,” a third commented. “They’re awful, I’m not even surprised,” someone else added.

“I hate these gouging practices that are supported by poor management and board,” said another. “It’s a scam,” someone else wrote. “They’re charging way more than the cost, essentially extorting someone because they can.”

A Jetstar's check in desk at the airport.
Jetstar's policy on name changes is in place to stop people onselling tickets at a higher price. Source: AAP

Airline policy to prevent price gouging

When Yahoo News Australia contacted Jetstar, the airline pointed out the name change fees are clearly outlined in their terms and conditions.

“Like most airlines, a name change is not included as part of a basic fare,” a spokesperson said. “Customers with ‘Starter Fares’ who want to transfer their booking to another passenger are required to pay a change of name fee, plus the difference between the original fare paid and the advertised fare at the time of the change request.”

The policy aims to prevent people from purchasing cheaper fares with the intention of later selling them on to others at a higher price.

But Jetstar went on to add that it wasn’t made aware of Daniel’s circumstance when he contacted them.

“However since learning more, our customer team is reaching out to him to discuss the options under our compassionate policy,” the spokesperson explained.

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