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Flights to Australia - reliability?

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On 24/02/2021 at 12:35, bicek said:

We are moving to Melbourne with 3 little ones... a 6 year old, 3 year old and by then we will have a young baby too. Particularly concerned with quarantine facilities for families, and especially as we will have a tiny baby.

From looking at the Facebook Groups do you have any idea which cities have better quarantine facilities for families? We may need to be tactical on that front too... Not great news that Melbourne quarantine isn't well tailored to families. Sounds like they're shaking things up there considerably with talk of building a quarantine facility on the outskirts of the city, so it's hard to say what they will be offering in months to come. Thanks for the facebook group info. I've requested to join those so I can have a peruse for more info. 

We will probably register with DFAT soon so we can get a sense of how likely that is as an option. We are toying with bringing our dates forward a bit but very dependent on a number of different factors. So much to juggle trying to relocate in a pandemic! And we are restricted by the fact I'm pregnant and due to give birth in the summer..... 🙃 

I hear a lot of talk about using agents to book flights. I can't quite figure out if this is a sensible option and why it's an advantage? We would never normally go through an agent and prefer to do things ourselves, but maybe this is a foolish approach in the current climate. Anyone got any tips on this one?

Hi @bicek it's such a minefield isn't it? As if relocating across the world wasn't hard enough, throwing all the quarantine and Covid into it. 😅 With a newborn into the mix, that must be extra tricky!  

In terms of flights, I have been reading a fair bit on the two Facebook groups, and I think our approach for now will be to book direct with airlines ourselves.  If we do get bumped a few times, we may explore booking with an agent but fingers crossed. The latest Facebook posts suggest that Singapore Airlines is quite reliable in booking within caps (one person had their Melbourne flight cancelled - no surprise there, and they were immediately booked into flight to Sydney), so I think we may start with them. 

Ideally we'd land into Melbourne to avoid the complications. That said, we are flexible in terms of timing once we land in Australia, since we're planning to land between Sep-Nov and we aren't missing the start of a school year, we are happy to stay in a Sydney for a little bit. Given Sydney's caps 3X higher than Melbourne, it seems to make sense that Sydney flights are less likely to be bumped on that basis alone. 

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4 hours ago, Chocci said:

Hi @bicek it's such a minefield isn't it? As if relocating across the world wasn't hard enough, throwing all the quarantine and Covid into it. 😅 With a newborn into the mix, that must be extra tricky!  

In terms of flights, I have been reading a fair bit on the two Facebook groups, and I think our approach for now will be to book direct with airlines ourselves.  If we do get bumped a few times, we may explore booking with an agent but fingers crossed. The latest Facebook posts suggest that Singapore Airlines is quite reliable in booking within caps (one person had their Melbourne flight cancelled - no surprise there, and they were immediately booked into flight to Sydney), so I think we may start with them. 

Ideally we'd land into Melbourne to avoid the complications. That said, we are flexible in terms of timing once we land in Australia, since we're planning to land between Sep-Nov and we aren't missing the start of a school year, we are happy to stay in a Sydney for a little bit. Given Sydney's caps 3X higher than Melbourne, it seems to make sense that Sydney flights are less likely to be bumped on that basis alone. 

I tend to agree with you on pretty much everything you've said! Ive scanned a couple of the facebook groups (thank you by the way, very helpful!), and am definitely tempted to head Sydney way for the purposes of quarantine if it doesn't look like Melbourne is a feasible option at the time of booking. But yes, it would just be so much easier to be able to head straight to Melbourne.

Also agree re booking direct. Everyone seems to say only go with an agent you know and trust. I have no experience of using them, so I don't know/trust any! Picking an agent feels more of a gamble to me then just trying to get informed about airlines etc and then booking direct. Happy to do the research myself for now. There's a lot of good information floating around. 

Do you know if Singapore are only offering tickets to UK passengers for flights that are non-transit? Or do you have to do the research to make sure it's a flight where you sit on the tarmac in Singapore and don't get off? Singapore Airlines was my first choice ideally. Otherwise may consider Qatar as they seem fairly reliable. They are still offering fully refundable / free unlimited changes to flights if booked by April. 

We are also aiming for Sept-Nov. My husband has to arrive by early December to activate his partner visa, so that is the timeline we are working to. I'd prefer to try and get over there as early as possible, with some buffer to allow for rebooking flights if they get cancelled. Really hope it doesn't come to that but need to be realistic!

Edited by bicek

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Definitely book direct with the airline, if things go pear shaped you are not then negotiating via a third party. Back when this all started Our holiday flights were cancelled those we booked direct with Bangkok air were refunded pretty quick.  However those booked via an agent took nearly a year of wrangling.  The airline had agreed to refund the flights but said I still had to go via the booking agent, even the bank didn’t help as it had gone past the time limit for a claim in the end a threat of legal action worked! We eventually got the full refund promised.

The agency were holding on to any cash returned by airlines for their own survival and trying to get people to accept vouchers etc.  I get that but that should not have over ridden my rights as a consumer.

Edited by rammygirl
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10 minutes ago, rammygirl said:

Definitely book direct with the airline, if things go pear shaped you are not then negotiating via a third party. Back when this all started Our holiday flights were cancelled those we booked direct with Bangkok air were refunded pretty quick.  However those booked via an agent took nearly a year of wrangling.  The airline had agreed to refund the flights but said I still had to go via the booking agent, even the bank didn’t help as it had gone past the time limit for a claim in the end a threat of legal action worked! We eventually got the full refund promised.

The agency were holding on to any cash returned by airlines for their own survival and trying to get people to accept vouchers etc.  I get that but that should not have over ridden my rights as a consumer.

Yes that's a good point. We had holiday flights to Australia last April which were cancelled. We had booked with Qantas direct. They were difficult to begin with but we got a full refund after a few months. No doubt would have been more stressful if we were having to liaise via a 3rd party. It was stressful enough as it was!

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On 24/02/2021 at 21:21, bicek said:

Yep I see what you're saying. I guess the main worry with Melbourne at the moment is the very strong resistance from Andrews about allowing international flights into Vic at all, and how long that could go on for. They didn't let any international flights land in Vic for months on end last year. So it may not be an option to fly to the state we want to fly into. Impossible to predict, too many factors at play. 🤯

I have a lot of family in Perth so if we landed in WA instead, at least we would be ok with staying there for a bit before our final leg to Vic (if there were border restrictions at the time of quarantine). 

WA also has a reduction on Incoming travelers - not sure what the numbers are now but previously they were one of the lowest quota's. 


I just want PIO to be a happy place where people are nice to each other and unicorns poop rainbows

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8 hours ago, ali said:

WA also has a reduction on Incoming travelers - not sure what the numbers are now but previously they were one of the lowest quota's. 

It's around 500 in Perth. 

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We booked direct via Etihad Airways and our flights went ahead on Monday 22nd Feb into Sydney. We’re currently in quarantine and will be heading over to QLD when we can.

The flights were great; we had a whole row of seats to ourselves so we could sleep. We flew via Abu Dhabi. No issues at all. Would definitely recommend.

Etihad also offer full refunds/free changes to tickets and you have COVID insurance so if you test positive prior to your flight you can rearrange free of charge. 

Edited by PickledRic

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13 minutes ago, PickledRic said:

We booked direct via Etihad Airways and our flights went ahead on Monday 22nd Feb into Sydney. We’re currently in quarantine and will be heading over to QLD when we can.

The flights were great; we had a whole row of seats to ourselves so we could sleep. We flew via Abu Dhabi. No issues at all. Would definitely recommend.

Etihad also offer full refunds/free changes to tickets and you have COVID insurance so if you test positive prior to your flight you can rearrange free of charge. 

How far in advance did you book your flight? Did you fly economy or business class? Thanks for the info, much appreciated. 

Great news it went smoothly for you. Hope quarantine goes well and quickly for you! And enjoy QLD once you get there! 

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32 minutes ago, bicek said:

How far in advance did you book your flight? Did you fly economy or business class? Thanks for the info, much appreciated. 

Great news it went smoothly for you. Hope quarantine goes well and quickly for you! And enjoy QLD once you get there! 

We initially had flights booked a couple of months in advance with virgin but they were to fly via Hong Kong and got cancelled. 

We booked our flights with Etihad about two weeks in advance. They cost about £6.5k for the two of us flying economy but we felt that the cheaper ones with other companies were probably not going to happen and we were more likely to get bumped off. Plus we basically flew business class because we had so much space! 

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On 25/02/2021 at 20:40, bicek said:

I tend to agree with you on pretty much everything you've said! Ive scanned a couple of the facebook groups (thank you by the way, very helpful!), and am definitely tempted to head Sydney way for the purposes of quarantine if it doesn't look like Melbourne is a feasible option at the time of booking. But yes, it would just be so much easier to be able to head straight to Melbourne.

Also agree re booking direct. Everyone seems to say only go with an agent you know and trust. I have no experience of using them, so I don't know/trust any! Picking an agent feels more of a gamble to me then just trying to get informed about airlines etc and then booking direct. Happy to do the research myself for now. There's a lot of good information floating around. 

Do you know if Singapore are only offering tickets to UK passengers for flights that are non-transit? Or do you have to do the research to make sure it's a flight where you sit on the tarmac in Singapore and don't get off? Singapore Airlines was my first choice ideally. Otherwise may consider Qatar as they seem fairly reliable. They are still offering fully refundable / free unlimited changes to flights if booked by April. 

We are also aiming for Sept-Nov. My husband has to arrive by early December to activate his partner visa, so that is the timeline we are working to. I'd prefer to try and get over there as early as possible, with some buffer to allow for rebooking flights if they get cancelled. Really hope it doesn't come to that but need to be realistic!

Someone was circulating on FB a SQ no-transit schedule from UK to various cities, and it was a weekly or maybe twice weekly flight for Sydney. This seems to tally up with what I’m seeing on SQ website for purchase for next couple of months.  Once we get to June the schedule seems widely open.  I’m really keen to book a flight while prices still look reasonable but thinking maybe best to wait until April for more clarity on both Singapore and OZ end.

Who knows, if most of UK is vaccinated by then maybe we will even get to stop over in Singapore for a couple of days if we show a negative PCR test? Could be wishful thinking on my part. 😅

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12 minutes ago, Chocci said:

Someone was circulating on FB a SQ no-transit schedule from UK to various cities, and it was a weekly or maybe twice weekly flight for Sydney. This seems to tally up with what I’m seeing on SQ website for purchase for next couple of months.  Once we get to June the schedule seems widely open.  I’m really keen to book a flight while prices still look reasonable but thinking maybe best to wait until April for more clarity on both Singapore and OZ end.

Who knows, if most of UK is vaccinated by then maybe we will even get to stop over in Singapore for a couple of days if we show a negative PCR test? Could be wishful thinking on my part. 😅

The flight schedules that are shown for airlines months in advance are pre-covid flight schedules so they're essentially nonsense. I was listening to a frequent flyers podcast the other night which had loads of helpful tips. I guess anything June onwards on SQ site is therefore potentially nonsense and would be a gamble. Unless complete normality returns by then (doubtful). It would be worth noting which flights are flying currently and targeting those flights as they're more likely to be the ones going ahead further down the line. I've seen the non-transit flight schedule for Singapore floating around FB so if I book soon I'd opt for one of those flights and book a matching one further down the line to increase likelihood of it going ahead. 

Also did you know that children are not included in the flight caps into Australia? I had no idea. So on that basis, I would think that airlines might prioritise families and less likely to bump them; a family of 4 will have paid more for their flights then 2 adults, but would only be using up 2 flight cap spaces. 

Tbh I'm just desperate to get to Australia at this point so I wouldn't stop anywhere even if given that luxury. I just want to get there ASAP! 😅

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On 26/02/2021 at 19:52, PickledRic said:

We booked direct via Etihad Airways and our flights went ahead on Monday 22nd Feb into Sydney. We’re currently in quarantine and will be heading over to QLD when we can.

The flights were great; we had a whole row of seats to ourselves so we could sleep. We flew via Abu Dhabi. No issues at all. Would definitely recommend.

Etihad also offer full refunds/free changes to tickets and you have COVID insurance so if you test positive prior to your flight you can rearrange free of charge. 

Congratulations on making it to Sydney and into Quarantine. We are heading this way to in couple of months just re-booked the flights again with Qatar this time. Can I ask have you been  advised it is 14 nights in quarantine or do you leave on day 14? We are planning to head to tassie straight out of quarantine just not sure what date to book the onward flight if its 14 days so 13 nights or 14 nights.

Hope that quarantine passes quickly for you guys and you get to QLD easily to start your new adventure in Oz 🙂

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24 minutes ago, Heading4Tassie said:

Congratulations on making it to Sydney and into Quarantine. We are heading this way to in couple of months just re-booked the flights again with Qatar this time. Can I ask have you been  advised it is 14 nights in quarantine or do you leave on day 14? We are planning to head to tassie straight out of quarantine just not sure what date to book the onward flight if its 14 days so 13 nights or 14 nights.

Hope that quarantine passes quickly for you guys and you get to QLD easily to start your new adventure in Oz 🙂

We had "14" sleeps in the hotel.

Arrived very late on a Sunday night, allowed out two weeks later on a Sunday morning, after those14 sleeps, so, allowed out on what would be day 15.


 Perth WA  / UK / Queensland

 

 

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27 minutes ago, AliQ said:

We had "14" sleeps in the hotel.

Arrived very late on a Sunday night, allowed out two weeks later on a Sunday morning, after those14 sleeps, so, allowed out on what would be day 15.

Thanks for the reply and the clarification that is what i had thought 🙂 perfect I can book the onward travel then once I know which airport in tassie the fur kid can fly into.  Its ike a game of chess planning this move but someone keeps on moving my pieces and its not me 😁

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On 02/03/2021 at 08:40, Heading4Tassie said:

Congratulations on making it to Sydney and into Quarantine. We are heading this way to in couple of months just re-booked the flights again with Qatar this time. Can I ask have you been  advised it is 14 nights in quarantine or do you leave on day 14? We are planning to head to tassie straight out of quarantine just not sure what date to book the onward flight if its 14 days so 13 nights or 14 nights.

Hope that quarantine passes quickly for you guys and you get to QLD easily to start your new adventure in Oz 🙂

Thank you 😊 quarantine has been relatively easy so far, we’re on day 7 now! 
we’ve been really lucky and got a spot in a hotel with beautiful views over the harbour and the opera house!

We arrived and checked in the very early hours of Wednesday morning; I believe we will be allowed to leave on the Wednesday in the morning, technically we will have done 14 sleeps as we went to bed as soon as we got here. 
 

I hope everything goes well for you 😊

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Singapore Airlines have got a few spaces left for travel in April (certainly for Brisbane). IIRC, they are around the £850 per adult one-way.


IELTS : 13/08/16: W8 S8 L9 R9. F2w ID Check/Rcvd: 15/08/16, 23/08/16 HCPC/SoR CoGS sent: 23/08/16. Skills Ax sent/Rcvd/granted: 30/08/16, 12/09/16, 10/10/16. AHPRA sent/AIP : 05/09/16, 28/12/16. EoI/invited: 20/1/17, 01/02/17. 189 submitted: 06/02/17, Caseworker: 23/02/17. Medicals: 31/03/17. Grant: 12/04/17. Child 101 submitted: 09/06/17. Granted: 06/07/17. Landed: 01/09/17.

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