Some air carriers – particularly those that specialize in long distance travel – offer many different ticket classes e.g. first class, economy, business class etc. Passengers who wish to travel in a ‘higher’ class usually pay a higher price for their ticket.

However sometimes even though a passenger has booked and paid for a particular class, the air carrier does not accommodate him/her in that class and he/she is forced to travel in a lower class. This situation is known as ‘downgrading’.

What are you entitled to if you are downgraded?
If you are downgraded then your air carrier must refund a percentage of the cost of the affected leg of your journey. The percentage varies depending on the distance of the flight concerned.

If you were downgraded on a flight of:

– 1500km or less than 30% of the cost of the affected flight must be refunded;
– 1500km to 3500km then 50% of cost of the affected flight must be refunded;
– of more than 3500km then 75% of the cost of the affected flight must be refunded.

Occasionally an air carrier will place a passenger in a class higher than that for which a ticket was bought i.e. it will ‘upgrade’ the passenger. If your air carrier does this then you should know that you are not required to make any additional payment.

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