Qantas has increased flexibility for customers with a flight booked for travel before 31 July. Now, they can get a flight credit that they can use all the way until 31 December 2021 (more than 18 months from now). Read below for more details.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a negative impact on future travel bookings. To mitigate this, airlines both in Australia and around the world are introducing policies to encourage travellers to book, with the option to change their flight to a later date for free.

In this guide, I provide the announcements from the four major Australian airlines (Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Tigerair). I also provide direct links to international airlines’ travel advisories regarding the coronavirus.

Qantas and Virgin Australia planes on the tarmac
Both Qantas and Virgin Australia are offering free changes but only on certain tickets

Qantas & Jetstar

  • All domestic and international flights for travel until 31 July 2020 (previously 31 May) are eligible for a free date change or future flight credit
  • Must process changes by 30 April (previously 31 March)
  • The credit can be redeemed up until 31 December 2021 (previously 30 September 2020 or within 12 months of the date that the original ticket was issued, whichever date was later)
  • If you already have a Qantas flight credit issued on or after 31 January 2020, this will also be automatically extended but may take a few weeks to update in their system
  • Applies to all Qantas, Jetstar and partner airline flights
  • You are not entitled to a refund unless your flight is cancelled by the airline; if you want a refund rather than a flight credit, then sit tight until closer to departure to see if you’re flight is cancelled
Qantas plane
I am hearing that award tickets can get a free date change but cannot be cancelled for free
  • Award bookings are eligible for free date change (saving 5,000-point fee) but cancellation fee (6,000 points) may still apply (there are conflicting reports on this)
  • Can use credit on any domestic or international flight
  • Change fee will be waived when customers are ready to rebook. However, the customer will need to cover any fare increase in their new booking
  • If flights were booked through a travel agency or third-party website, e.g. Webje or Booking.com, customers will need to contact them directly to make changes to their booking
  • Waittimes when calling Qantas or Jetstar are very long
  • Quickest way to make a change: go to Manage My Booking on Qantas or Jetstar website; or contact the airline through private message on Facebook Messenger (Qantas, Jetstar) or Twitter (Qantas, Jetstar)

Travel alerts

Press release

Virgin Australia & Tigerair

  • Free changes and cancellations to domestic and international travel until 30 June 2020 permitted for existing and new bookings
  • Passengers can change their flight to a later date and/or to a different destination, without incurring a change fee. However, they will need to cover the fare difference if the value of their new fare is greater than the original one
  • Any domestic or international ticket can also be cancelled without incurring a fee and passengers will receive the full value of the booking as a flight voucher in their Travel Bank, valid for 12 months
  • If you have made a redemption with Velocity Points, you can change or cancel it for free: ‘you can self manage your cancellation online for any Reward Seat redemptions originally paid using 100% Points and receive a full refund’ (from this page)
Virgin Australia 737 on tarmac
If you have booked a flight using either cash or Velocity Points, you can cancel it
  • There is a maximum of two changes per international booking and a maximum of one change per domestic booking for guests thinking about changing their travel plans
  • Passengers with flights booked through a travel agent will need to contact their travel agent to change their booking
  • Quickest way to cancel your flight:
  • Quickest way to make a date change:

Travel alerts

Press release

Other airlines

Here are the links to travel alerts for the key international airlines flying to and from Australia:

Qatar Airways 777-300ER
Qatar Airways has one of the more generous change policies

If the airline you have travel booked with is not listed above, look for a travel alert or travel advisory on their homepage.

Summing up

It’s a smart move by airlines to encourage forward bookings by guaranteeing that travellers can change their travel date later on if they wish.

The quickest way to make any changes is to go online to do so. Manage your booking on the airline’s website and if it doesn’t give you the options you want, reach out via private message on social media. If you call, you will likely be on hold for hours.

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COVID-19: Airline change policies was last modified: April 3rd, 2020 by Matt Moffitt