This week we chat with Travel Josh Engstrom from Liberty Travel about future projections of flying into Australia, Delta, Air New Zealand's operations opening up, and flights into Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, and Adelaide. We also answer viewer questions, check us out!
Information is changing regularly so be sure to check back each week for updates.
Weekly Travel Advice Chat with Travel Josh
This week we chat with Travel Josh Engstrom from Liberty Travel about future projections of flying into Australia, Air New Zealand's operations opening up, and flights into Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, and Adelaide. We also answer viewer questions, check us out!
If you have a question that you'd like to ask for next week, click below and you can let us know!
Australian flight and travel caps
Current increases have taken place in Sydney already, who’s cap has increased by 500 per week. We have then seen Delta increase it’s flights LAX – SYD to 5 days a week. Great news.
Brisbane has just started their increase by 500 per week (Oct 4th) so will be on the lookout for LAX – AKL – BNE routes with Air New Zealand. Fingers crossed this route starts again.
Perth caps increase this Sunday by 500 a week! Really really hoping for Cathay and Singapore Airlines to get more access to this route for all my wonderful WA clients! Watch this space for an update next week.
Why is it so hard to get into Brisbane/Cairns?
Same same but different to Perth – traditionally Brisbane and to a lesser extent Cairns have been major hubs for international travel.
Caps and restrictions into Brisbane, particularly for us in North America – Qantas and Virgin quitting it’s BNE – LAX routes, Air NZ quitting it’s AKL – BNE route all combined to make Queensland also very difficult to get to.
Let’s hope with the caps increased for QLD that Air NZ renews sales into this city.
When can I fly into Melbourne again?
This is the Million Dollar Question.
I hope that they are taking flights again in December, let’s hope the viral count stays as low as possible leading up to the Oct 24th meeting, let’s hope that they sort out their QR system (abolishing mandatory hotel QR would be a start).
We can do better, let’s hope this space starts filling with positive news soon for people immediately trying to get home.
Three-month and holiday travel
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.
Availability over the next period (3rd Dec – 17th Dec)
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 (details below) if you want help finding economy fares back to Oz.
6 Month Outlook
Let’s hope in the new year, we are better at living with the virus, are better at keeping virus caseloads down, and that the govt. takes strong action to allow its citizens to come home.
If you have the means to stay put into the new year, I expect with caps increasing or being cut altogether, we will be able to once again head home for whatever reason we like without severe financial and mental stress.
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:
Latest from individual airlines
Air Canada (AC)
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.
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
Flying 6 days a week (LAX-SYD) starting 1st November – MON/TUE/WED/FRI/SAT/SUN
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.
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]
This week's video transcript
America Josh: Hi everyone. I'm America, Josh. And welcome to the October 7 edition of our chat with Travel Josh Engstrom from Liberty Travel. G'day Josh, how are you?
Travel Josh Engstrom: Good. I get, Hey, I'm good. How is everyone? How are you Josh?
America Josh: Going very well, thank you. We escaped the city a little bit this last weekend, which it's some outdoor time and some greenery is it's nice.
Travel Josh Engstrom: Yeah. You've got to get outside while, while it's not too cold, right? Yeah.
America Josh: Most of it. Yeah. Winter is coming and it's getting darker and darker every morning from my wake up this morning, I got to see sunrise, which was, all right, let's jump right in. So we hear that there are some more flights it's being added to get back to Australia.
So do you want to tell us a, give us a little bit of an update about what's happening?
Travel Josh Engstrom: Yeah, of course you could use to give all of our listeners and readers this week. It looks like, that the airlines are starting to increase, the amount of bills, meaning they're increasing their amount of flights into Australia prime, primarily Sydney.
at this stage, I've got some good news that Delta that seemed to be upping their flights from three days a week to five days a week for the LA to Sydney, route, which is fantastic, which means if there's a sprinkling of availability going through, act quick on these, because they will be snapped up fast.
and then also we've got some good news that. in New Zealand, starting to sell flight again from North America through to Sydney, primarily at this stage it's Sydney, by Auckland. so that's going to add a bit of yield and a bit of a few seats, to the market to hopefully help Australians get home.
So that's great news.
America Josh: That's wonderful news. So related to that, Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, the sort of alternative flights that haven't been as available in the past few months, we started to chat about them last week. How are they looking at the moment?
Travel Josh Engstrom: So no real update for, the other cities into Australia, primarily at the moment, the higher availability is going into Sydney, as far as I know, Brisbane and Melbourne and, pers, well, Melbourne is still a no go zone, for international flights.
And I know that Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide is still extremely tight and extremely difficult to get into for the foreseeable future. Yeah. And when I talk about foreseeable future, I'm talking about up to December, January.
America Josh: Okay. Good to know. Well, so yeah, yeah. Got to plan ahead. As we've been saying from the beginning, on that, I know that we've got an update coming on October four, but what, what do you say that's from the Australian government?
What do you see for the next sort of, in addition to what you just said for the next three to six months, what are you saying?
Travel Josh Engstrom: Yeah. there's this sprinkling of availability, October, November, December into Sydney that I've seen today, that there are some economy seats and a bit more variability with Delta, adding a couple more flights a week, in premium economy, which is great news for us.
I still see the next three months to be particularly difficult for people to get back home. They really need to put in a lot of plans. And in some cases, yes, especially with the flats being held by people and maybe some changes just happening with people. make sure that you're on top of it. So if a seat does become I'm available, you're there ready to snap it up straight away for the six month period I saved.
Coming into mid January and then heading into February. I see that the availability kind of starting to get back to some kind of normality. so the expectation is there, by that time that we are all much better at dealing with the virus in particular women's, You know, passengers moving from one country to another, hopefully by March with kind of got our stuff together a little bit better than what we have over the last year.
Be in 2021 by then, which is, I mean, way better.
America Josh: Couldn't agree more. and I know that, we've been repeating this mantra a lot, but I think it's fun and planning and advance to the two things that everybody needs to accept at the moment is that the further you can plan in advance the better and knowing that the debt that you plan, you should be fine.
And from, you know, everything we've talked about today and in the previous weeks, but it's important to be flexible a few days other side, and really just sort of have a big picture. Look at your flight plans when you're trying to get back to Australia at the moment.
Travel Josh Engstrom: Yeah, I think in terms of like coming up with a winning formula for you to get home, the winning formula would be stick to if you're in the U S stick to your American carriers going as direct as possible to Australia and the winning formula being also plan in advance.
So I plan in advance, try and stick to your American carriers 10, and you should be able to have some luck, getting home.
America Josh: Great. And every week we take questions from all of the viewers and people that send us an emails. And thank you, Trevor
Travel Josh Engstrom: right questions this week. Bring, keep bringing the questions in guys.
It's my favorite.
America Josh: No, it really helps us know what people need to hear. So if you do have questions or if you want to read Josh's blog that he writes every week, head to America, josh.com forward slash travel. Josh, I've almost got this animation right with my hands. so if you head to that website, you can submit questions.
And the first question that we had submitted this week was from Jason and Jason writes is traveling to Australia, New Zealand, an option. It appears air New Zealand, flights and prices are reasonable and reliable. Well compared to other airlines,
Travel Josh Engstrom: Josh. Yes. So the answer to that question is yes, and that is a great development that's happening from what I can see.
I can only see the Oakland to Sydney roots. I'm opening up in December. I couldn't see Brisbane or Melbourne, that is likely to change. especially as we move closer to those dates. I see that particularly as Victoria starts to reopen. that, and especially with the Australian government, really wanting to try and get everyone home for Christmas.
I would imagine that, cross and New Zealand at Brisbane and Melbourne to that roots, which would be a great, why for Australians to get there from the U S.
America Josh: Fantastic. And the second question we've got this week is from James. Hi, Josh. Have you heard of people being bumped from UA eight, six, three, our economy tickets being honored, other flights going at limited capacity?
Travel Josh Engstrom: Yes. Well, that flight there is the original that, Oh, gee. flight for Australians, getting back to, Australia from North America during the COVID crisis, a United has been that service from San Francisco to Sydney has been the most reliable groups for Australians getting home throughout this whole period.
And, as far as how many seats are sold on that in economy class, I haven't had any clients bumped further than a day, when, they were bumps. So I feel very confident that economy tickets and, tickets that people have bought, for this route will be honored and continue to be a very reliable route for Australians heading into, back home.
America Josh: Fantastic. One thing I did want to touch on before we finish up that previous question I asked, I forgot to ask a follow up that I had around. I understand that New Zealand currently is closed, I think to everyone, but new Zealanders, but I just wanted to clarify that Australians are allowed to fly into New Zealand if they're passing through or what's the deal
Travel Josh Engstrom: there.
Yeah, so Australians are able to translate . So when you're transiting Oakland, you will stay airside. You won't pass customs and immigration. Your luggage will go onward through New Zealand, and your boarding pass will be collected, from your point of origin. So what that means is that you're not technically landing in Oakland per se, because you're staying airside in the airport.
Yeah. So it's, they're, they're allowing the strain nationals to transit. So that's a really good question.
America Josh: Fantastic, Josh, thank you as always and forever on watching. If you do have questions or you want to read Josh's blog, as I said, it's an America, josh.com forward slash travel. Josh, Josh, we really appreciate you taking the time again every week, and we'll talk to you next time.
Travel Josh Engstrom: Thanks so much, Josh. Thanks a lot.