This week we chat with Travel Josh Engstrom from Liberty Travel about the changes to travel caps into Australia, the impact of these changes to flights and airlines, November and December flight availability and viewer questions!

Information is changing regularly so be sure to check back each week for updates.

Weekly Travel Advice Chat with Travel Josh

In our weekly video series, I chat with Josh about everything you need to know for your upcoming travel plans, getting back to Australia, and more!

If you have a question that you’d like to ask for next week, click below and you can let us know!

How is travel looking in the next three months?

We’re already on the other side of September! This year above all others I encourage anybody wanting to go home for the month of December to please start looking now. Decreased options, limited availability on those options and general overall worldwide disruptions will make it very difficult to get home if you leave it too late.

Current Australian flight caps

New South Wales will take an extra 500 arrivals from 27 September. Queensland and Western Australia will start with 200 each from that date, before increasing to up to 500 arrivals on 4 and 11 October respectively.

  • Sydney – 2950 arrivals per week
  • Perth – 1025 arrivals per week* (staggered increase)
  • Brisbane – 1000 arrivals per week*(staggered increase)
  • Adelaide – 600 arrivals per week
  • Canberra,Darwin – limits on each flights discussed on a case-by-case basis
  • Hobart – no international flight
  • Melbourne – no international flight arrivals

Availability of flights over the next two weeks (3rd Nov – 17th Nov)

I am seeing a few dates in this range with economy seating with American Airlines, however only a few days – everything else is Premium economy and up. Contact me if you want help finding economy fares back to Oz.

Flights will continue to be drastically reduced due to caps on Arrivals

Australia has capped its inbound passenger numbers, this is going to impact getting into Australia and make a difficult process even more stressful and uncertain. The importance of booking with a travel agent showcased in these turbulent times.

Where can you travel right now?

I get this question a lot and here are some options tailored to the US resident done by my work Liberty Travel – handy quick link to get started:

https://www.libertytravel.com/travel-articles/where-americans-can-travel-now

Updates from individual airlines

Air Canada (AC)

Airline has been selling flights into Brisbane from Vancouver for a while now, with flights to commence 25th October (running 7 days a week!) This is great news. A word of caution – we will have to wait and see if this route is a consistent and successful way for Queenslanders to get home to Australia. Watch this space!

American Airlines (AA)

American Airlines Flights LAX – SYD to commence in November!

This is just the best news to find yesterday. More flights means it will be a tad easier to get home now!

Starting the 10th Nov – flights will depart Tues/Wed/Fri/Sun – BIZ/PREME/ECON available – email me to inquire/book.

United (UA)

Still the most reliable route to Australia for New York-based expats – Still only from SFO – SYD – Availability is very tight for the coming weeks departure. If you urgently need to get home, this is your safest bet. If you can’t find seats let me know as I can waitlist seats as above.

United is expanding to also offer LAX – SYD flights, flights will operate Tuesdays and some Thursdays in Sept. It’s almost too late to book any reasonably priced economy seats for September – but as we move into October, it looks like United is ramping up its LAX – SYD route, offering daily flights and decent priced economy flights after the 9th of October.

Air New Zealand (NZ)

Have put a hold on a majority of its new bookings for flights to and from Australia until the current 24th October reassessment date (Sydney looks like their only option), this means that for new bookings – Air NZ is increasingly difficult

Delta (DL)

DELTA Air Lines has resumed its Australian operations, WED/FRI & SUN. Currently – You will need to book at least 8 weeks out to get any economy seats – availability is extremely tight. Getting good feedback on this service, and the ones I’ve booked all got home safe and sound – let me know if you want help to book Delta flights.

Singapore Airlines (SQ)

Changi Airport is going to open its airport soon to non-Singapore Nationals, There doesn’t appear to be any connections from the US that don’t include overnight stop-overs in Singapore, making this not a very attractive option for people.

Virgin Australia (VA)

Now that it looks clearer that this airline will remain in the longer term, a media release from the two new stakeholders state that Virgin Australia will honor the more the $100 million worth of tickets canceled due to COVID and the company going into bankruptcy, this is great news for Aussies in the US who had their original VA flights canceled. Unsure whether they will be able to get refunds still, but at least when they do start flying again, you will be able to use your existing credit.

QANTAS (QF)

QF were expected to start their LAX-SYD route in August, this has now been canceled, checking their schedule, I can’t see any flights until at least November – this is a very sad departure, with new updates to come as they are released.

Qantas has updated their refund policy – so that it is easier to understand and hopefully easier for those whose flights were canceled to get a refund.

Qantas (and Virgin Australia) this week, as expected, suspended all remaining international flights that were in operation in cooperation with the Australian Government (https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/qantas-and-virgin-australia-suspend-remaining-international-flights-20200608-p550jl.html):

Qantas and Virgin Australia have re-grounded their remaining international passenger operations after government funding for the handful of overseas routes they were flying came to an end.

Emirates (EK), Etihad (EY) and Qatar (QR)

Please note that all passengers transiting UAE will need to provide negative COVID tests – please check out info on the specific airline for more info.

With no official statement – these airlines anecdotally are bumping economy class passengers from their flights – this is a worrying development, as this really does put people in jeopardy if they can’t afford a biz class ticket. Please contact me before you book any of these airlines and we can look at these options together.

With Emirates, you can now fly direct into PER/SYD/BNE via Dubai.

NYC – BNE – Thursdays only

NYC – PER – Wednesday’s only; DXB – MEL – Tuesday’s, Thursday’s & Friday’s; DXB – SYD – Monday’s, Wednesday’s & Saturday’s

ETIHAD – daily connections from NYC – SYD

QATAR –  NYC – BNE – MON/WED/FRI; NYC – PER TUE/THU/SAT/SUN

Questions & Bookings

Do you have any questions? Do you need travel advice? Contact Josh by his email, [email protected]

Josh Engstrom Liberty Travel

This week’s video transcript

America Josh: Hi everyone. I’m America Josh. And welcome to the 23rd of September. Update with travel. Josh Engstrom from Liberty Travel. G’day Josh, how are you?

Travel Josh Engstrom: Hey guys. Hey, Josh. Thanks for joining.

America Josh: No, thank you. this week, we’re going to be talking about the caps, that have changed. There’s been a recent change to the cap numbers, and we’re going to talk about the impact of that short term and longterm.

we’re going to look at availability over the next three months. we’re going to be looking at how airlines are responding and what they’re talking about. And we’re going to be sort of asking questions about, are you going to still be bumped now that we’ve increased these things and finally where you know what next, and then we’re going to answer some lessons. listener questions.

Travel Josh Engstrom: Yeah, we’ve got a couple of good juicy questions this week. So

America Josh: We really do. It’s great to hear from everyone. So if you do have questions, please do head to Americajosh.com/traveljosh. And we can answer them at the end of each week. And we work them into all the questions every week to make sure that we’re answering what you guys are, what you guys are thinking about.

So just to kick things off, the caps were increased this week. So what does that mean for current and future bookings?

Travel Josh Engstrom: Yeah, I’m finally, we got some good news this week, with the caps and what’s going on with every, with things. So the state governments and the federal government had a meeting on Friday.

And, the outcome of the meeting was that the caps were going to be upped by 2000 passengers a week. And that’s going to be, interestingly enough, spread out a little bit more. There’s three main ports going to be the beneficiaries of this increase of caps. So Sydney is to get an idea, 500 people per week.

I’m able to land into Sydney. Brisbane is to be getting an extra 500. awake, extra as well. And, pers is expected to get an extra 500 people per week. And then, the light changed to Adelaide, which is getting an extra a hundred. passengers per week. So that is really great news. I’m very happy.

America Josh: That’s fantastic. Yeah, no, we were talking last week about, you know, we need to start changing these, so it’s great to see that that’s supposed to happen. Is that the silver bullet, is that going to fix everything immediately? Like, will we really see numbers level back out? Or what do you think.

Travel Josh Engstrom: Well, I think the good news is is that perhaps anybody that’s reached out to their local Australian consulate or embassy, I believe that those people most at risk financially or in terms of health, I think that there’s going to be some extra seats, given to those people.

because I believe that there is a bit of a backlog. for people not in an emergency situation, to repatriate, I believe that the increasing cats, particularly because, Brisbane and Perth actually phased increases. So it’s not like, as of yesterday, the caps have gone up, the caps are going to be, not in full swing until October, that increased.

So it’s important to know that at the moment, It’s still incredibly difficult for people in North America to get back to Australia. And, this isn’t a silver bullet for right now. as this progresses through the later part of the, a year and into next year, I think it will definitely help. but immediately not so much.

America Josh: Alright. So does that mean that, are we still expecting yeah. To see people where we’re hearing a lot of reports of people being bumped from flights, is that something we can continue to expect for the next few weeks and months?

Travel Josh Engstrom: Unfortunately, that is going to be the case, that people will continue to be bumped.

so that isn’t great news. hopefully now that the caps are being increased, instead of the airline offering you a flight in three months time, when you get bumped. hopefully that means that if you do get bumped, you get a flight, you know, relatively close to the original date that you purchased.

So fingers crossed that that happens.

America Josh: Okay. And are we saying what’s the response from airlines? Do we expect them to put blocks more flights on to sort of fulfill this or is it it’s sort of going to stay at effectively the same as it is, but with some more capacity.

Travel Josh Engstrom: That’s a bit of a tricky one. I can, I understand that there’s obviously a bit of a sigh of relief coming from everyone, like, Oh, okay.

You know, the government’s finally listening to us. and they understand that they’re the 4,000 cap is, is really difficult. so that’s really good news. I suppose at the other end of that, I suppose. it’s not going to necessarily be helping people that are trying to get home right now. Yeah.

America Josh: Okay.

Gotcha. what are we expecting for like the next three months? What are, what’s sort of your, we’ve been talking one month in advance, two months in advance, and now we’re sort of thinking three months in advance. What are you seeing for the next three months in general?

Travel Josh Engstrom: Well, there’s a bit of good news around, a few factors.

it looks like that the airlines that were, presuming to be starting to fly. So for example, we’ve got Air Canada that are looking to fly direct into Brisbane, starting on the 25th of October. they’ve been selling those flights for a while. So there’s a bit of a sigh of relief, like, okay, now that Brisbane’s increased the caps, hopefully that flight that I’ve already booked on air Canada, from Vancouver to Brisbane, hopefully now that will take place.

And hopefully now I won’t be back, obviously yeah, without that route taking place and having success and we can see a bit of, stability there. I’m still a little bit trepidatious to start. start letting them the clients, different airlines just yet. I’d stick to the ones that we’re already booking a lot at American United and Delta.

I would stick to booking with them for now. And then once those routes then open up and you can see traction that they are starting to run and that they are actually getting passengers into Australia. Then, then I would say, yeah, definitely. Now’s the time to book. Hi, in terms of accountability, I can see, December’s almost all gone completely, but if you’re willing to wait until the new year, I found some really good fairs in January, going back to Sydney and they, the pricing is, is very good.

so if willing to bite the bullet and then, and the next couple of months, where you are, in January is your next. Is your next part? your next opportunity do a book, some pretty decent economy fares home.

America Josh: Okay, fantastic. And when did we see the next review happening for the caps and the flights and flying into Australia in general?

Travel Josh Engstrom: The 24th of October is still the date set for the next review. So these kind of fortnightly or weekly Friday meetings of cabinet, doesn’t necessarily, change that they’re looking to update them in October as well. So these are kind of, these are just kind of bandaids. I imagine from, people around the world, putting their hand up saying this is unacceptable.

so it sounds like these are, kind of, measures to help people that are stranded right now. I guess if your, you know, I’ve got a, got a bit of stability, full time work, that kind of thing. I guess, hold off until January, if you don’t want to pay a huge amount

America Josh: Understood. we do have to listener viewer questions.

so the first one is from Tilly. Hi, I’m a new recruit to America, Josh. So I’m sorry if you’ve already heard this question. Not a problem, Tilly, everyone. There are no stupid questions in this classroom. it is. Is it common for people to be bumped off their flights out of the USA to Australia I’m booked to fly.

San Francisco to Sydney in November on United. And I’m hearing horror stories of people arriving at the airport and they could be bound and unable to get another flight for weeks or months. Thanks.

Travel Josh Engstrom: Yeah, that, that question I have been getting quite a lot. And, there’s a few things in your favor there.

Tilly. I’ll have to say, you’ve picked the most reliable route that I’ve had success with since March. So the San Francisco to Sydney route. Well done. Good choice. I haven’t had any body pumped on their way to the airport so much. So in terms of the airline that you’ve chosen for your flight home, I think that’s a safe bet that even if you were to be bumped, and I’m not saying that you’re not, or you will be, at this stage, I’ve had very few people bumps, so I could expect that.

the chance of you being bumped is quite minimal. I certainly wouldn’t imagine you’d be in the cab going to the airport until you find out. the airlines are giving people as much time as possible to make other plans. So I think you’re on through hoop wicked with United. I think that’s a good option.

I think you’re 99.9% assured of getting home, within. A few days of your intended travel date. Exclamation Mark.

America Josh: Fantastic. And the second question is from Sten. Hi Josh. Joshua’s I’ve just had my fifth flight to Perth canceled despite the captain grace Cathay Pacific November 2nd from Seattle. If I fly from Brisbane through Brisbane, I gather I’ll have to quarantine there as it’s my port of entry.

What happens to my last flight leg from Brisbane to Perth, I’ll have extra luggage and want to be able to push that last flight out until after quarantine, without losing it. Our airlines allowing for that, I’m looking at flights, air Canada from Portland on November 2nd now. Thanks.

Travel Josh Engstrom: I just want to say thank you for sending that question through, because hopefully my answer is going to help, a variety of people out there that are looking to do the same thing.

so as we mentioned, just before that route with air Canada, from Vancouver, that, Brisbane is still a little untested, at the moment simply because it only starts on the 25th of October. So we’d hope for, by the time that you plan to leave in early November, that the route has been tested and st.

Pete passengers and getting through. It’s all good. The next part of that issue is then getting from Brisbane to Perth after quarantine. And that’s not an easy feat, Eva at this point. so obviously, you need to get permission to enter Perth, but also flights are quite limited then as well. My best advice to you at this stage is to contact Cathay Pacific.

And now that we know that the Western Australia or the Perth cap is going to be increased in October to an extra 500 passengers per week coming through that hopefully, maybe cafe Pacific will hopefully then have enough room to put you in one of those October or early November flight. And in which case you then wouldn’t have it, have to worry about that domestic flight at all.

The contact Cathay Pacific. see what they say. And then by all means, feel free to reach out to me. And, we can then have a look and see where you’re at after cafe events. If they can get you onto another flight in October early November. That’s my best advice to you.

America Josh: Awesome. Tilly, Sten, thank you very much for sending in your questions and everyone else.

If you are watching and you have a particular question that you’d like to ask travel, Josh from Liberty travel, head to America, josh.com forward slash travel, Josh, which is where Josh writes a blog every Wednesday and has updates about basically what we talk about today and elaborate on a few different things.

and you can check that out at that link. So America, josh.com. Slash travel. Josh, Josh, thanks so much for joining us again and all your helpful insights. I’m sure. not only Tilly and Stan will be happy with all the news this week. Thank you.

Travel Josh Engstrom: Yeah. And hopefully I answered the questions and if you have a few little sub questions that go ahead and go along with that, feel free to reach out to me personally as well.

Just send me a private message or whatever. I’m happy to help.

America Josh: Fantastic. Thanks Josh. Have a lovely week!

Travel Josh Engstrom: Guys.