The Chronicle

Taking flight

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.

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