During this month and into early May, both Qantas and Virgin Australia are running repatriation flights to get Australians home. For those travellers currently overseas, how much does a seat on one of these flights cost?

Where are the repatriation flights operating from?

Qantas is operating scheduled repatriation flights for Australian citizens from four overseas ports: Auckland, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and London. (This is in addition to charter flights from places like South Africa and Peru.)

Qantas repatriation flights April 2020
Qantas scheduled repatriation flights in April-May 2020

Virgin Australia is also operating services from Hong Kong and Los Angeles to Brisbane.

Virgin Australia COVID-19 repatriation flights April 2020
Virgin Australia scheduled repatriation flights in April-May 2020
Ad – Scroll down to continue reading.Minimum spend, terms & conditions apply.

What can passengers on these flights expect?

Basically, a safe journey home. Service on these flights is vastly reduced.

  • Limited food and beverage service
  • No inflight entertainment
  • Economy Class only
Qantas 787 Economy Class
It’s all Economy Class (with more social distancing) on these flights
  • Seat selection unavailable
  • No points or Status Credits earn
  • No upgrades
  • Frequent flyer points cannot be used to book seats on these flights

Upon arrival back to Australia, passengers will go into a forced 14-day quarantine at a hotel.

How much do tickets on these flights cost?

OriginAirlineTicket costCost per hour of flying
Hong KongQantas$707$79
Virgin Australia$604$67
Los AngelesQantas$740 $57
Virgin Australia$745$57

All prices are for one-way travel and are converted from the local currency into Australian Dollars.

Obviously, you’d expect the 4-hour flight from Auckland to be cheaper than a 13-hour flight from London—and it is in absolute terms. However, if you divide the cost of the ticket by the number of hours in the air, the flight from Los Angeles is cheaper (per hour) than one from Auckland or Hong Kong.

Summing up

Some of the reasons that airlines can charge a premium for seats on repatriation flights are:

  • There is little/no competition on these routes
  • Travellers are willing to fork out more to get home
  • Loads need to be lower to spread passengers out across the plane
  • Airlines need to spend more time and money on the logistics of organising these flights

If you know anyone that needs to take one of these flights to get home, they can book a ticket on the Qantas or Virgin Australia website.

How much does a ticket on Qantas & Virgin Australia’s repatriation flights cost? was last modified: August 25th, 2023 by Matt Moffitt