Update 10 February 2021: Qantas is upping the ante by offering unlimited fee-free flight changes until 31 January 2022: a measured response to Virgin Australia’s previously-announced policy that allowed for free changes and cancellations to a travel credit until 30 June 2021.
But Virgin Australia isn’t planning on backing down just yet and is also extending its generous policy to match Qantas in terms of the January 2022 time period, including its free travel credit cancellation policy.
We were the first Australian airline to introduce COVID-19 booking flexibility, have put more than 2 million seats on sale in the last week, and rolled out an informative health and wellbeing series on our social media channels to ensure travellers are comfortable when they next fly.
We’ve also extended our booking flexibility for travel until 31 January 2022 when customers book before 30 April 2021 to give travellers peace of mind that they can book now and easily change the date of their flight if they need to.– Virgin Australia spokesperson, 10 Feb 2021
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a negative impact on future travel bookings. To mitigate this, airlines both in Australia and around the world have policies to encourage travellers to book now, with the option to change their flight to a later date for free.
In this guide, we provide the announcements from the major Australian airlines (Qantas, Virgin Australia, Rex and Jetstar), along with direct links to international airline travel advisories regarding the coronavirus.
Qantas COVID-19 change and cancellation fee waivers 
Fly Flexible until 31 January 2022 — unlimited flight changes included
If you book any Australian domestic or Trans-Tasman flight to New Zealand before 30 April 2021 (with travel up to 31 January 2022), then Qantas will waive the change fee if you wish to change your date of travel.
However, you need to cover any applicable fare increases for your new flights, and your date of travel still needs to be within 12 months of the original booking date. The policy does not cover other international flights or cancellations.
If you wish to voluntarily cancel your Qantas flight for a credit, then these conditions will apply instead:
|All Qantas-operated flights|
(Domestic, Trans-Tasman, International)
|Flights before 31 March 2021||You can request a Flight Credit before the departure day. This is valid until 31 Dec 2022.|
You will need to cover any change fees and fare increases at the point of booking using your Flight Credit.
|Flights after 31 March 2021||You can request a Flight Credit which is valid for booking and travel within 12 months from your original booking date.|
Standard change and cancellation fees apply, and you need to cover any fare increases.
In short, Qantas is not waiving change or cancellation fees when you convert your flight into credit for future use. The only way to be eligible for a refund is for Qantas to cancel your flight.
Visit Booking Changes and Refunds for more information.
Free cancellations on Classic Flight Rewards
If you have a Classic Flight Reward booking (using Qantas Points) and wish to change your date of travel or cancel your trip, you can do so by 30 April 2021 with no change or cancellation fees. This includes Qantas, Jetstar and other partner airline flights.
This waiver applies to itineraries that consist only of Classic Flight Rewards. If you combine a Classic Flight Reward with a non-Classic Flight Reward fare, this waiver won’t apply.
It’s a generous offer for frequent flyers, once again highlighting the benefits of flexible Classic Reward Seats as a great use of Qantas Points.
Visit Flexible Classic Flight Rewards for more information.
Virgin Australia COVID-19 change and cancellation fee waivers 
Flexible Flying until 31 January 2022 — unlimited changes and no cancellation fee for credit
If you book any Australian domestic, Trans-Tasman flight or International short-haul (excluding Tonga, Rarotonga and Port Moresby) flight before 30 April 2021 (with travel up to 30 June 2021), then Virgin Australia will waive the change or cancellation fees until 31 January 2022.
A fare difference is payable if you change fare classes, cabin class or your flight origin/destination. But if you stay within the same fare class, then no extra fare should be payable.
Before 30 April 2021, you can make unlimited flight changes for free, or you can cancel to a travel credit for no fee. However, if you want a refund and the flight isn’t cancelled, then you’ll have to go by the fare rules.
|For travel until 31 January 2022||Virgin Australia-operated flights|
(Domestic, Trans-Tasman, International short-haul only)
|Flights booked before 20 April 2020||Unlimited changes to dates and destinations before 30 April 2021, but with fare difference payable. Bookings can be changed up to 12 months in advance.|
Cancellations permitted to travel credit with no fee. Otherwise, normal fare rules apply.
|Flights booked after 21 April 2020 (including now)||Unlimited changes to dates and destinations before 30 April 2021, but with fare difference payable if you change fare classes.|
Cancellations permitted to travel credit with no fee. Otherwise, normal fare rules apply.
Note that if you held a credit with Tigerair before it was discontinued, those are now Virgin Future Flight Credits and can be used as above.
Visit the COVID-19 Customer Hub for more information.
Free cancellations on Velocity Reward Seats
If you have a Velocity Reward Seat booking (using Velocity Points) and wish to change your date of travel or cancel your trip, you can do so by 30 June 2021 with no change or cancellation fees (for flights booked before 31 March 2021).
It’s a generous offer for frequent flyers, once again highlighting the benefits of Reward Seats as a great use of Velocity Points.
Visit Velocity Reward Seats for more information.
Rex COVID-19 change and cancellation fee waivers 
Full refund policy (ongoing)
Former regional-only carrier Rex now boasts a comprehensive COVID-19 change and cancellation policy, as the airline gears up to enter the domestic capital city market from 1 March 2021.
- A full refund will be offered on any flights affected by cancellation or rescheduling
- Full refunds are also offered to customers directly affected by COVID-19 border and travel restrictions, even if flights are still operating. This also applies to promotional tickets.
Rex remains committed to a full refund of all tickets affected by any flight cancellation or rescheduling, without exception.
The Rex COVID refund policy goes far beyond the guarantees provided under Australian Consumer Law and seeks to alleviate the considerable hardships our passengers are already facing during the pandemic.
It also removes the risk they take in making bookings for future travel during this period of uncertainty– Warrick Lodge, Rex General Manager of Network Strategy, 12 January 2021
Even if you do need to pay a change or cancellation fee, Rex’s is amongst the lowest in the industry at just A$33 per change.
Jetstar COVID-19 change and cancellation fee waivers 
Fly Flexible (one free change, only offered up to 15 November 2020)
It’s important to note that Jetstar is no longer offering free fare flexibility on new flight bookings in 2021.
The airline previously offered a ‘Fly Flexible’ waiver on domestic Australian flights booked between 21 May to 15 November 2020, with travel until 15 December 2020. This window has now passed.
If you want flexibility with your Jetstar fare, you should consider:
- Adding a ‘Flex’ or ‘Max’ bundle to your flight
- Purchasing a new ‘FareCredit’ add-on to your ticket before check-out, which allows you to cancel your flight to a voucher for free before check-in opens for the flight at the airport
Qantas Frequent Flyer members who booked a Jetstar flight as a Classic Flight Reward will still be able to change or cancel it for free in accordance with the Qantas section above.
Visit Jetstar’s COVID-19 change and cancellation page for more information.
Australian State and territory border restrictions and updates:
For all domestic flights, please be aware that border restrictions are constantly changing across Australia. There may be various state government travel requirements in place. To find out more details on whether you can fly we suggest you call the airline directly or check your local state government site updates, below:
- Victoria COVID-19 Updates
- New South Wales COVID-19 Updates
- Queensland COVID-19 Updates
- ACT COVID-19 Updates
- Northern Territory COVID-19 Updates
- South Australia COVID-19 Updates
- Tasmania COVID-19 Updates
- Western Australia COVID-19 Updates
International airlines COVID-19 Updates
Here are the links to travel alerts for the key international airlines flying to and from Australia:
- Air New Zealand
- American Airlines
- Cathay Pacific
- Delta Air Lines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- United Airlines
If the airline you have travel booked with is not listed above, look for a travel alert or travel advisory on their homepage.
Additional updates by Brandon Loo.