Qantas and Jetstar are now looking to restart most of its international routes from the end of October 2021, matching up with when the Australian Government believes that the voluntary COVID-19 rollout will be complete.
From 31 October 2021, flights to 22 of the Red Roo’s 25 international destinations are planned to recommence, including Los Angeles, Singapore, London and more. However, New York, Santiago and Osaka remain off the map.
Qantas is also looking at using digital health pass apps — such as The CommonPass and IATA Travel Pass — as part of international travel. This move follows previous comments by Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, about vaccinations being required for international flights.
We are looking at changing our terms and conditions, to say for international, that we will ask people to have a vaccination before getting on the aircraft.– Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO, 23 November 2020
We think for international visitors coming out, and people leaving the country, we think that’s a necessity.
International flights to start at lower capacity
31 October is a four-month delay to the previous estimate of July 2021, which was always going to be an ambitious ask. Qantas now predicts that international capacity won’t fully recover until 2024, so the rebooted routes will start with a lower capacity.
This means flights may be less frequent and use the smaller fuel-efficient Boeing 787s where possible, even on flagship routes such as Sydney-Singapore-London — previously the domain of the Airbus A380 with First Class suites nestled at the front.
A quick search of Qantas’ flight schedules shows that the majority of Asian routes, including Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore, will be flown by the older Airbus A330-300s.
Meanwhile, Jetstar plans to resume flights to all 13 of its international destinations, including the most recent addition, Seoul. Both airlines also remain committed to ramping up Trans-Tasman flights by July 2021, with the capacity to respond to travel bubbles that may open.
‘Fly Flexible’ extended to international flights
Qantas’ ‘Fly Flexible’ policy now covers international bookings made from now until at least the end of April 2021 — this gives you one free date change, although fare differences will still apply.
Where possible, at Point Hacks we still recommend you use Qantas Points to book a Classic Reward Seat, as those currently have no change or cancellation fees at all, until at least 31 January 2022. It’s the only truly-flexible ticket that’s accessible to a broad range of people!
Both Qantas and Jetstar credit vouchers are now extended until 31 December 2023 for domestic and international flights, making it easier to book travel down the track if this year’s plans don’t eventuate.