Flight Centre will stop charging massive cancellation fees after customers hit back at the travel agency for charging them hundreds despite the coronavirus crisis not allowing people to travel.

In a letter sent to customers today, Flight Centre said it had listened to customers’ feedback and would be stopping its heavily-criticised $300 cancellation fee.

“The decision to waive (cancellation) fees will impact our business, nevertheless we have heard your feedback and we believe this step is the right one for the current economic conditions where stand downs and job losses are a daily occurrence for many Australians,” Flight Centre Travel Group executive general manager Allisa O’Connell wrote in the letter.

“The waiver follows ongoing discussions with customers and regulators, including the ACCC, and will apply retrospectively to bookings cancelled as a result of COVID-19 on or after 13 March 2020 for which a Flight Centre Cancellation Fee was charged. Please note this waiver applies to our fees – we cannot waive fees or conditions that airlines and other third party suppliers impose.”

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Customers who take credit from Flight Centre rather than refunds will be offered a $200 voucher.

More than 400 Flight Centre stores will close across Australia before July to give the travel agency cash to weather the coronavirus pandemic.

The news comes after Flight Centre in New Zealand also backed down to similar customer pressures.

New Zealand Flight Centre’s managing director David Coombes estimated the waived cancellation fees would cost them at least $7 million.