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ADM21

Flights to Australia - reliability?

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Hi all, 

I'm relocating from London back home to Australia with my family in April and I'm keen to understand whether people are actually getting back home on the first flight they've booked?

We have a flight booked with Qatar in April but want to know how reliable the flights are and are people going to Aus needing to re-book?

Any insight would be really appreciated!

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I’m also interested in this question and keen to hear opinions- we have our visas and hope to leave end of July . We have to travel with Emirates as we have a travel voucher from cancelled flights from last yr.... with a house packed up and loaded onto a ship - a cancelled flight is the last thing anyone would want! 

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Quite a lot of our members have posted saying they have had flights cancelled on them, some a number of times. Some members managed it though and did their time in quarantine before starting their new lives.

 Quatar seem to be the airline most reliable at the moment going off posts on here. Fingers crossed you are all good and get here fine, you just never know with Covid, it can change week to week, even day to day if there is an outbreak. Lots of luck with everything

 Cal x

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I think you need to be prepared for flight cancellations, so have yourself a backup plan if you get cancelled at short notice - somewhere to stay for a few days at least.  Lots of hotels can be booked with first night cancellation cost.


PR (100) Planning to move to Perth September 2021

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Thanks for the responses everyone, I really appreciate it. I agree it's important to have a back up plan just in case. For flights being cancelled, can anyone share how long they had to wait for the next one and how helpful were the airlines? I'm hoping it would be a matter of days rather than weeks! 

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On 16/02/2021 at 09:50, ADM21 said:

Thanks for the responses everyone, I really appreciate it. I agree it's important to have a back up plan just in case. For flights being cancelled, can anyone share how long they had to wait for the next one and how helpful were the airlines? I'm hoping it would be a matter of days rather than weeks! 

Hi @ADM21 We have just started looking at flights as well though we're not planning to leave until September.  We are considering Singapore Airlines, Qatar, Asiana Airlines (if they restart flights from UK).  We also have points to redeem on British Airways but only enough to get us to Asia so that probably isn't an option (assuming we'd have to fly into Australia with minimal transit). 

From what I can tell, if our flights are cancelled, we may have to pay additional fee for the next flight if there's an increase in price.  

There's a Facebook group called "Australians Stuck Around the World" which has a lot of Australians sharing their experiences on cancellations.  You can also register with the DFAT website your intention to return home (if you haven't already).  If they run repatriation flights and have spaces,, you may be offered one (at commercial prices) if your flight is cancelled. Good luck! 

 

 

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Hiya,

Thought I would share our experience to give you an idea!

We had economy flights booked for 1st Feb with Qatar and they got cancelled a week before we were due to fly. We were given the option of keeping the ticket for another flight, getting a travel voucher or getting a refund. We opted for refund in case we decided on a flight with another airline and we received the money back within a few weeks (though I did contact them to prompt this). 

Ideally we had wanted to book the next available flights with Qatar but that was Mid March and an increase of £16,000 (2 x business class flights) so as you can imagine we decided against this! We looked at all the airlines and we couldn't buy a 'reasonably priced' flight until at least May / June. We have been weighing up whether to suck it up and pay business class for May / June time, or hold off until September when prices were a bit better and risk it again with economy (or get slightly cheaper business class then). We are going to wait until September now and will likely risk it one more time with economy to be honest and really hope and pray that there is less demand and more spots available by then! However we do have accommodation and work options if it got cancelled again so we would get by.

As many people have advised if you want less risk book Business or First class... and if this isn't an option then definitely have a back up plan in place and be prepared that it may take a looong time until the next flight!

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Thanks for sharing @PerthLondonGirl89 were you flying to Perth (assuming from your name)? We're going to Sydney so I'm hopeful as the caps are higher.

I agree re: business class but we are sticking to economy for now! Hope it all goes smoothly for you in September!  

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Yep London to Perth. They had halved the caps just before we were due to fly though. 

Our thoughts are the same re Business Class - really don't want to have to spend that money but it we keep getting bumped may have to reconsider.

Thank you and fingers crossed it goes smoothly for you too! Let us know how it goes!

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I have just checked the latest on Singapore Airlines website and whilst they've not allowed any transit passengers from the UK through Singapore Airport since January (or earlier?), they are now allowing some flights on a technicality. Essentially, you don't get off the plane, you just sit on the plane instead of entering the Airport, whilst they get any new passengers on board. Details are below. They haven't included flights onto Melbourne, I guess because there are currently no international flights landing in Melbourne at the moment. I wonder when that will change, seeing as their snap lockdown is over now, but Daniel Andrews seems quite resistant to the idea of allowing international arrivals into Victoria. 

https://www.singaporeair.com/en_UK/sg/media-centre/news-alert/?id=kiwkdrrv

Same-plane service for passengers departing from the United Kingdom to Australia or New Zealand

Singapore Airlines has received approval to carry passengers from London Heathrow Airport to Adelaide, Sydney, Perth or Auckland via Singapore. These transfer passengers will remain in the aircraft while in Singapore before continuing on to either Australia or New Zealand. Transfer and non-transfer passengers will be seated separately, and customers are required to stay in their designated seating zone throughout the flight. The expected ground time in Singapore is about 90 minutes, except for flights to Adelaide where the layover in Singapore will be 3 hours and 35 minutes. During this time, customers may approach our crew if they require refreshments. Please note that passengers are not allowed to change their seat during this time to comply with regulatory requirements. Due to regulatory requirements for entry into New Zealand and Australia, customers must also have taken a Covid-19 PCR test within 72 hours prior to the scheduled departure time of their flight and received a negative test result to be accepted for boarding.

Edited by bicek

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On 17/02/2021 at 23:51, Chocci said:

Hi @ADM21 We have just started looking at flights as well though we're not planning to leave until September.  We are considering Singapore Airlines, Qatar, Asiana Airlines (if they restart flights from UK).  We also have points to redeem on British Airways but only enough to get us to Asia so that probably isn't an option (assuming we'd have to fly into Australia with minimal transit). 

From what I can tell, if our flights are cancelled, we may have to pay additional fee for the next flight if there's an increase in price.  

There's a Facebook group called "Australians Stuck Around the World" which has a lot of Australians sharing their experiences on cancellations.  You can also register with the DFAT website your intention to return home (if you haven't already).  If they run repatriation flights and have spaces,, you may be offered one (at commercial prices) if your flight is cancelled. Good luck! 

 

 

From what I understand the repatriation flights can be quite costly! But it may be better then being forced to pay for business class flights, which many have had to do to get home. 

Yes from those I've chatted to on here about flights being bumped and transferred to new dates, it is sometimes weeks away, and typically having to pay any difference in flights, which seem to always be higher (understandable as you are essentially then booking days/weeks ahead rather than months in advance!). 

I have accepted that whatever flights we book now, will probably not be the flights we end up on. Hopefully I am pleasantly surprised! Maybe things will have settled down a bit more by summer/autumn. And maybe international caps will be greater, easing the bottleneck they're currently dealing with. It's impossible to say how this year will play out. Good to have contingency, back up plans, etc.. 

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On 20/02/2021 at 16:19, PerthLondonGirl89 said:

Hiya,

Thought I would share our experience to give you an idea!

We had economy flights booked for 1st Feb with Qatar and they got cancelled a week before we were due to fly. We were given the option of keeping the ticket for another flight, getting a travel voucher or getting a refund. We opted for refund in case we decided on a flight with another airline and we received the money back within a few weeks (though I did contact them to prompt this). 

Ideally we had wanted to book the next available flights with Qatar but that was Mid March and an increase of £16,000 (2 x business class flights) so as you can imagine we decided against this! We looked at all the airlines and we couldn't buy a 'reasonably priced' flight until at least May / June. We have been weighing up whether to suck it up and pay business class for May / June time, or hold off until September when prices were a bit better and risk it again with economy (or get slightly cheaper business class then). We are going to wait until September now and will likely risk it one more time with economy to be honest and really hope and pray that there is less demand and more spots available by then! However we do have accommodation and work options if it got cancelled again so we would get by.

As many people have advised if you want less risk book Business or First class... and if this isn't an option then definitely have a back up plan in place and be prepared that it may take a looong time until the next flight!

Thanks for the update, and sorry your flights got cancelled! Good news they were fairly quick to reimburse you for the flights. 

We don't have the option of business class so we will have to hedge our bets with economy later in the year and hope things have calmed by then. We have backup accommodation if we end up stuck for a short period. But our cat will be headed over to Aussie too, so we don't want to be in a situation where our cat arrives over there and we don't!

At the moment Qatar seems the best option, although it looks like there are options opening up for Singapore from the UK too now (see my earlier post). 

We are moving to Melbourne, but at the moment I am wondering what strategy to take in terms of which city in Australia to fly into. Melbourne seems like a risk at the moment as they keep stopping international flights from landing there. So maybe we need to fly into Sydney or another city and quarantine there, then catch a domestic flight across after, to improve our chances of the flight going ahead. Hard to say, we are holding off booking for another month or so. 

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1 hour ago, bicek said:

Thanks for the update, and sorry your flights got cancelled! Good news they were fairly quick to reimburse you for the flights. 

We don't have the option of business class so we will have to hedge our bets with economy later in the year and hope things have calmed by then. We have backup accommodation if we end up stuck for a short period. But our cat will be headed over to Aussie too, so we don't want to be in a situation where our cat arrives over there and we don't!

At the moment Qatar seems the best option, although it looks like there are options opening up for Singapore from the UK too now (see my earlier post). 

We are moving to Melbourne, but at the moment I am wondering what strategy to take in terms of which city in Australia to fly into. Melbourne seems like a risk at the moment as they keep stopping international flights from landing there. So maybe we need to fly into Sydney or another city and quarantine there, then catch a domestic flight across after, to improve our chances of the flight going ahead. Hard to say, we are holding off booking for another month or so. 

Hi @bicek we have the same issue, we are moving back to Melbourne with two kids 5 and 7 and have heard melbourne quarantine (there’s another Facebook group Parents in Quarantine Hotels) isn’t great for families and there’s much more limited caps (when they do take travellers!).

We are floating idea of flying into Sydney to increase chances of getting into Oz, hopefully better chance of apartment hotel , maybe spend a few days there and then do an internal flight back to Melbourne.  Will probably wait until May or June to book. 

Yes some of the DFAT prices sound pretty high! I guess they are full priced economy fares (?). Like you guys we are hoping things ease up by Oct, we are vaccinated and travel caps ease up. 

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18 hours ago, Chocci said:

Hi @bicek we have the same issue, we are moving back to Melbourne with two kids 5 and 7 and have heard melbourne quarantine (there’s another Facebook group Parents in Quarantine Hotels) isn’t great for families and there’s much more limited caps (when they do take travellers!).

We are floating idea of flying into Sydney to increase chances of getting into Oz, hopefully better chance of apartment hotel , maybe spend a few days there and then do an internal flight back to Melbourne.  Will probably wait until May or June to book. 

Yes some of the DFAT prices sound pretty high! I guess they are full priced economy fares (?). Like you guys we are hoping things ease up by Oct, we are vaccinated and travel caps ease up. 

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?

Edited by bicek

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22 minutes ago, 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?

To be honest, if it were me, I'd just fly to where it is that i'm locating to and save the potential of having to do quarantine twice by travelling interstate

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5 minutes ago, ali said:

To be honest, if it were me, I'd just fly to where it is that i'm locating to and save the potential of having to do quarantine twice by travelling interstate

Is there much chance of that though? It doesn't seem to be what people have experienced so far?

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5 minutes ago, bicek said:

Is there much chance of that though? It doesn't seem to be what people have experienced so far?

The internal borders change all the time in response to any community transmissions, during WA's own lockdown anyone from Vic had to quarantine and Perth (with one case of community transmission) was elevated to high risk by the other states.  No guarantees that the interstate borders won't change, but at least if you fly into the state you're heading into you know it's only 2 weeks.  I know that her in WA for example they were considering quarantine outside of the CBD  but there's been no further info on that.


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7 minutes ago, ali said:

The internal borders change all the time in response to any community transmissions, during WA's own lockdown anyone from Vic had to quarantine and Perth (with one case of community transmission) was elevated to high risk by the other states.  No guarantees that the interstate borders won't change, but at least if you fly into the state you're heading into you know it's only 2 weeks.  I know that her in WA for example they were considering quarantine outside of the CBD  but there's been no further info on that.

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). 

Edited by bicek

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7 hours ago, 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.

True, but that was during Australia's worst outbreak, when Melbourne was in strict quarantine, cut off from everywhere including all the other states.  At the time, it was thought that Melbourne's hotel quarantine system was unsafe and therefore couldn't be used.   It's been thoroughly overhauled and is now one of the strictest. 

Having said that, if there is a breach at one of the hotels, then that hotel can't be used for a time, and that reduces the places available. That's going to be true of any state. Also if there's a breach in any state, the other states will close their borders to that state.  We've seen that happen several times already - hotel quarantine is far from a perfect system - so it will happen again.

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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18 minutes ago, Marisawright said:

 

True, but that was during Australia's worst outbreak, when Melbourne was in strict quarantine, cut off from everywhere including all the other states.  At the time, it was thought that Melbourne's hotel quarantine system was unsafe and therefore couldn't be used.   It's been thoroughly overhauled and is now one of the strictest. 

Having said that, if there is a breach at one of the hotels, then that hotel can't be used for a time, and that reduces the places available. That's going to be true of any state. Also if there's a breach in any state, the other states will close their borders to that state.  We've seen that happen several times already - hotel quarantine is far from a perfect system - so it will happen again.

I completely agree. It will happen again. In any of the states. Based on what has happened over the last year, and the current situation as it stands, it is my opinion that the odds are in favour of quarantining outside of Victoria, rather than trying to land in Melbourne. But as I said previously, it's impossible to predict and many competing factors to weigh up, so one can only make a calculated decision based on the knowledge they have at any one time. 

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4 hours ago, bicek said:

I completely agree. It will happen again. In any of the states. Based on what has happened over the last year, and the current situation as it stands, it is my opinion that the odds are in favour of quarantining outside of Victoria, rather than trying to land in Melbourne. 

Speaking as someone who ilves in Melbourne, I think you're wrong.  I think hotel quarantine and tracing staff in Melbourne are now so hyper-aware of the risks, having been burnt a few times, that the next breach is likely to be in another state, where people are starting to get complacent. 

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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Qantas have today announced 'a further suspension of scheduled international flights until the end of October 2021 due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation.'

Edited by Drumbeat

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6 hours ago, Marisawright said:

Speaking as someone who ilves in Melbourne, I think you're wrong.  I think hotel quarantine and tracing staff in Melbourne are now so hyper-aware of the risks, having been burnt a few times, that the next breach is likely to be in another state, where people are starting to get complacent. 

Speaking at cross purposes here I think. 😉

I am making no comment or judgement on the effectiveness of the quarantine system in any of the states. I don't have enough information to comment on this.

Simply stating that I don't feel confident that Victoria will be landing international flights as consistently as other states. They're closed to international flights now are they not? Andrews is vague about when they'll reopen to international flights. There's talk about end of March, but nothing concrete that the government has confirmed to airlines. Its causing chaos for passengers booked on Melbourne flights in the next month. Hence my opinion swings this way. 

It's just an opinion. We have no idea how the next few months will play out. 

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1 hour ago, bicek said:

Speaking at cross purposes here I think. 😉

....Simply stating that I don't feel confident that Victoria will be landing international flights as consistently as other states. They're closed to international flights now are they not?

I don't think we are talking at cross purposes.  Flights into Victoria are suspended because there was a breach in hotel quarantine. That has impacted the number of places available and also triggered yet another review of quarantine measures.  Once that's done, flights will return, and I'd say it's less likely there will be another breach in Melbourne because the quarantine system will have so many belts and braces it won't be funny.   Whereas other states won't necessarily make the same upgrades because they feel more relaxed - which means, IMO, that they're more likely to have a breach.  And when they do, it'll be their turn to suspend flights and suffer border closures.


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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1 minute ago, Marisawright said:

I don't think we are talking at cross purposes.  Flights into Victoria are suspended because there was a breach in hotel quarantine. That has impacted the number of places available and also triggered yet another review of quarantine measures.  Once that's done, flights will return, and I'd say it's less likely there will be another breach in Melbourne because the quarantine system will have so many belts and braces it won't be funny.   Whereas other states won't necessarily make the same upgrades because they feel more relaxed - which means, IMO, that they're more likely to have a breach.  And when they do, it'll be their turn to suspend flights and suffer border closures.

Other states have had outbreaks of a similar scale to the last one which occurred in Victoria. They haven't closed down their international flights into their state for nearly as long. 

And this is in large part to do with who is calling the shots in each state. 

The management of citizens returning to Australia should be a federal issue and not a state issue. It would resolve a lot of the issues. 

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