How to negotiate the new world of air travel
International flights with Qantas are set to resume from mid-November, but what will flying overseas look like in the age of Covid? Airport and in-flight experiences are changing and we’ll need to plan for plenty of new procedures. Here’s your top five pre-flight checklist to think about now.
Savvy tip 1
Health proof: Australians heading overseas will have to be fully vaxxed and probably show proof of a negative Covid test. Josh Clements of Sydney Airport says some international destinations require proof of a recent negative Covid test on arrival and rapid Covid tests will be available at Sydney Airport, but he advises travellers to know the rules beforehand. Having the IATA Travel Pass, a digital health pass, will help travellers verify Covid test results and vaccination status with health officials and airline staff here and overseas. Emirates is rolling out the pass on all routes.
Savvy tip 2
Home quarantine: While travel without quarantine is the ultimate goal, it’s likely Australians returning home from overseas will have to complete a period of quarantine at home. “We’ve been working closely with the federal and NSW governments on how we can safely transition to home quarantine, which is an important stepping stone in restarting international passenger services,” says Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
Savvy tip 3
Airport and in-flight experience: Social distancing, hand sanitisation and maskwearing will be enforced. Qantas and Virgin Australia encourage passengers to check in online or on their apps; passengers will selfscan passes to board planes; and cashless purchases will be compulsory.
Savvy tip 4
Airfares: We’ll likely see price hikes in peak periods, says Finder’s Angus Kidman. “Return Christmas flights to London with Qantas are peaking at around $3600 in economy this year,” he says. If you hunt around you can find deals. For example, economy fares with Virgin Australia to Fiji are selling for $228 one-way.
Savvy tip 5
Passports: Check your passport isn’t due to expire – some countries require that they’re valid for at least six months beyond your planned stay.